Holiday book sale

Posted in BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Certificate of Excellence in Literature

Got my certificate. A Certificate of Excellence in Literature. (Really? Really.)

It is an honor.

IMG_6739 (2)Thanks to the judges at the 2017 Royal Dragonfly Book Award contest for recognizing my mystery, “The Weight of Living” with a FIRST PLACE AWARD for Mysteries.

 “Winning any place in the Royal Dragonfly Contest is a huge honor because in order to maintain the integrity of the Dragonfly Book Awards, a minimum score is required before a First or Second Place or Honorable Mention will be awarded to the entrant – even if it is tIMG_6717 (2)he sole entry in a category,” explains Linda F. Radke, president of the Dragonfly Book Awards program. “Competition is steep, too, because there is no publication date limit as long as the book is still in print.”

“The Weight of Living” is the third Frank Nagler Mystery. They are set in Ironton N.J., and tell of the police work of Detective Frank Nagler, who takes on a range of criminals while he battles his own frailties.

This is second award for “The Weight of Living.”

The cover of the 2017 book, created by Anita Dugan-Moore of my publisher. Imzadi Publishing of Tulsa,  was awarded a Gold Medal in the 2017 cover contest sponsored by http://www.authorsdb.com, a website for authors and readers.

OTHER NEWS: My short story, “Who Shot the Smart Guy at the Blackboard,” a smart and sassy whodunit, was released by Imzadi Publishing. It’s FREE on  Kindle Unlimited and .99 cents otherwise.  The link: https://wp.me/p1mc2c-wY

 

The Frank Nagler Mystery series is: THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY, A GAME CALLED DEAD, AND THE WEIGHT OF LIVING.

 

A GAME CALLED DEAD was a runner-up in the Shelf Unbound 2016 Best Indie Book contest.

 

The Frank Nagler books are available at the following New Jersey libraries:

Brick  (Ocean County Library System) Mountainside; Morris County Library; Somerset County Library System; Bernardsville Public Library; Hunterdon County Public Library; Mount Olive Public Library;  Phillipsburg; Warren County, Franklin branch; Mount Arlington; Wharton; Dover; Hackettstown;  Clark, Parsippany and the Ramsey library, as part of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System; The Palmer (Pa.) Branch of the Easton Public Library; Deptford Free Public Library and Franklin Township Library (Gloucester Co.), New Providence Memorial Library.

 

The Frank Nagler mysteries are available online at:

Amazon: http://goo.gl/hVQIII

Kobo: https://goo.gl/bgLH6v

NOOK: http://goo.gl/WnQjtr

http://www.walmart.com

 

Posted in BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Things never said

IMG_1531There is something about the things that were never said

That linger in the hollows of memory, carving silence,

The things we say to ourselves,

Putting dreams to words and wishes.

Somewhere the lonely coldly sit,

And children with distant eyes, hunger,

Lovers, now back-turned, seek solace,

The scars of distrust still raw.

Come, bring peace and silence to a warring world,

Carry water to the parched,

Bread to the starving,

Softness to the wandering and wounded.

Love lasts, words are fleeting

Silence can be filled.

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‘The Weight of Living’ wins First Place in Royal Dragonfly Book Awards

“The Weight of Living” has won FIRST PLACE in the Mystery Category of the 2017 Royal Dragonfly Book Award contest.

 

I am amazed. Thank you to the judges at Royal Dragonfly.

Congratulations to all the winners. I am honored to be among your number

 

From the organization’s website: “The Royal Dragonfly Book Award contest honors excellence in all types of literature and book marketing, recognizing creativity and hard work for a comprehensive list of genres in 68 categories. Our judges are industry experts with specific knowledge about the categories over which they preside.”

 

“Winning any place in the Royal Dragonfly Contest is a huge honor because in order to maintain the integrity of the Dragonfly Book Awards, a minimum score is required before a First or Second Place or Honorable Mention will be awarded to the entrant – even if it is the sole entry in a category,” explains Linda F. Radke, president of the Dragonfly Book Awards program. “Competition is steep, too, because there is no publication date limit as long as the book is still in print.”

To learn more about the Dragonfly Book Awards, visit www.DragonflyBookAwards.com

“The Weight of Living” is the third Frank Nagler Mystery. They are set in Ironton N.J., and tell of the police work of Detective Frank Nagler, who takes on a range of criminals while he battles his own frailties.

This is second award for “The Weight of Living” this month.

The cover of the 2017 book, created by Anita Dugan-Moore of my publisher. Imzadi Publishing of Tulsa,  was awarded a Gold Medal in the 2017 cover contest sponsored by http://www.authorsdb.com, a website for authors and readers.

OTHER NEWS: My short story, “Who Shot the Smart Guy at the Blackboard,” a smart and sassy whodunit, will be released by Imzadi on Nov.24 on Kindle Unlimited. I’ll publish the link as soon as I have it.

 

The Frank Nagler Mystery series is: THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY, A GAME CALLED DEAD, AND THE WEIGHT OF LIVING.

 

A GAME CALLED DEAD was a runner-up in the Shelf Unbound 2016 Best Indie Book contest.

 

The Frank Nagler books are available at the following New Jersey libraries:

Brick  (Ocean County Library System) Mountainside; Morris County Library; Somerset County Library System; Bernardsville Public Library; Hunterdon County Public Library; Mount Olive Public Library;  Phillipsburg; Warren County, Franklin branch; Mount Arlington; Wharton; Dover; Hackettstown;  Clark, Parsippany and the Ramsey library, as part of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System; The Palmer (Pa.) Branch of the Easton Public Library; Deptford Free Public Library and Franklin Township Library (Gloucester Co.), New Providence Memorial Library.

 

The Frank Nagler mysteries are available online at:

Amazon: http://goo.gl/hVQIII

Kobo: https://goo.gl/bgLH6v

NOOK: http://goo.gl/WnQjtr

http://www.walmart.com

 

 

 

 

Posted in BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The anatomy of a winning book cover: ‘The Weight of Living’

What does a book cover say about the book within?

The cover of my third Frank Nagler Mystery, “The Weight of Living,” created by Anita Dugan-Moore, in a simple design and color palette, captured what the title implies: That living has weight.

Beyond that, the cover – depictions of a nun crying, and the blank face of a girl  — drills to the core of the story. Why is the girl’s face blank, and why is the nun weeping?

I bring this up because the cover of the 2017 book was awarded a Gold Medal in the 2017 cover contest sponsored by http://www.authorsdb.com, a website for authors and readers.

Congratulations Anita!!

There were 69 winning covers, and while readers were encouraged to vote for their favorites, it seems that the number of votes was not alone the determining factor. That strongly suggests that the judges examined the quality of the art and the connection to the story.

So why a weeping nun and a blank-faced young girl?

The girl is central to the mystery.  She is discovered on a cold March night in a grocery store Dumpster, wearing just shorts and a tank top. She does not speak nor at first interact with the other characters, being deeply withdrawn.

The mystery in the book, involving, long-hidden family secrets, financial crimes, both modern and historic, an evil manipulative villain and a family of damaged people seeking peace, centers on key elements: Who is the girl and what is her name? And why is she standing in a trash bin? Is she homeless, or is something else going on?

At the center of all this is Sister Katherine, a nun who has known Ironton, N.J,. Detective Frank Nagler since he was in elementary school. Admittedly, she was a surprise, arriving out of nowhere, but ending up essential to unraveling this story.

 

Here’s how this breaks down in the book, and how Anita’s artwork perfectly captured it all.

The girl is introduced in the first paragraph:

 

“She seemed hollow, the girl did.  Breathing, hearing, touching, but absent.  Small, dark dots sunk into an ashen blank face, eyes impossibly dull for someone so young, eyes that stared straight ahead at the faded green wall; hard, eyes so hard that did not seem to register the color of the wall, the brown of the tabletop, the light bulb above her head or the presence of anyone else.  Robotic. From the police car to the police station and into the back office she walked with slow,  short steps, and once in the room without being told, she slipped sideways into the green vinyl chair with the tear in the seat that exposed the white cotton batting inside; the chair that engulfed her, hips too small to fill the worn indentation in the center of the seat as she faced the wall, folded her hands on the table and sat upright.”

 

Nagler wondered if she is mentally ill, abused, or afraid.

He asks: “How dark a place does it have to be that you’d leave it wearing

what she was wearing? How  bad does it have to be that sitting in a garbage

bin was a better choice?”

But social worker Grace Holiman says, no: “She knew you were there. She was just measuring you.”

It takes, Leonard, Nagler’s blind, book-store owning friend, to offer more insight: “I was thinking about the little girl, what she must be going through.  I tried to speak to her when we were kidnapped” — he laughed — “trying to reassure her. She was so withdrawn; I could feel it in her hands when we talked.  I told her I was blind, and the only way I would know she was still there was if I held her hand. Sometimes the pressure was tight, hard, like she was holding onto this world, and other times light and playful. When she held my hands tightly, I think she was fighting against her protective instinct to slide deep within herself.”  He leaned forward and rested his cheeks on his balled fists. “I wanted at times to figuratively reach inside her soul, to free it, but I could not. Someone must, Frank, or she will be lost. We are so much alike, she and I, so apart from this world.” He wiped his eyes, now tearing.  “I didn’t even have a name I could call her. Who has no name, Frank?”

 

So, the little girl’s blank face is a mystery, and draws others to create meaning. Anita’s depiction does exactly that. What is she hiding? How to get below that façade to read her heart?

 

Then there is Sister Katherine. On the cover her uplifted face looks to God and the tears express devotion, pain and even a quiet joy.

The cover reflects this single line from the book: “She closed her eyes and lifted her face to the slight breeze. Small tears gathered and ran down her lined, perfect face.”

Anita’s drawing perfectly reflects this.

 

But what is behind the tears?

In part this: “There is evil in that — my — family, Frank. Evil for generations and it has damaged the souls of so many and broken the bodies of others.  I joined the church so those smeared by this blackness can be made pure.” She smiled. “Remember when I told you ‘get that bastard?’ Who did you think I meant?”

Her face became peaceful, and as he watched Nagler finally understood that old church word: Beatific. Life’s labors done; peace awaits.

“God has given me many tasks, Francis. This is the last.”

That task: To offer hope and peace to her broken family, generations broken, especially her sister Sarah Lawton.

“He bought her, you know. Sarah,” she said, turning back to Nagler. “He told the Lawtons that Sarah was being enrolled in a school at his factory, and paid them five hundred dollars for the loss of her companionship and labor. My mother said they thought it was odd, but it was the Depression and that amount of money was unimaginable for a poor family.  Appleton told my parents that they would see Sarah monthly, but the truth was, they only saw her again after she was dead. I can still hear Mrs. Lawton’s wailing.”

Sister Katherine is a remarkable character, both deeply wounded, but strongly determined to find healing, not for herself, but for others.

So, her tears on the cover are not for herself, but for the lives of others.

 

 I applaud Anita’s  cover  art and celebrate our collaboration.

 

I will be at the Easton, Pa. Barnes and Noble for a Local Authors Day on Saturday, November 18th, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.  The store is at 4445 Southmont Way, Bethlehem, PA.,  off Route 33 at Freemansburg Road.

The Frank Nagler Mystery series will be on sale: THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY, A GAME CALLED DEAD, AND THE WEIGHT OF LIVING.

 

A GAME CALLED DEAD was a runner-up in the Shelf Unbound 2016 Best Indie Book contest.

 

The Frank Nagler books are available at the following New Jersey libraries:

Brick  (Ocean County Library System) Mountainside; Morris County Library; Somerset County Library System; Bernardsville Public Library; Hunterdon County Public Library; Mount Olive Public Library;  Phillipsburg; Warren County, Franklin branch; Mount Arlington; Wharton; Dover; Hackettstown;  Clark, Parsippany and the Ramsey library, as part of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System; The Palmer (Pa.) Branch of the Easton Public Library; Deptford Free Public Library and Franklin Township Library (Gloucester Co.), New Providence Memorial Library.

 

The Frank Nagler mysteries are available online at:

Amazon: http://goo.gl/hVQIII

Kobo: https://goo.gl/bgLH6v

NOOK: http://goo.gl/WnQjtr

http://www.walmart.com

 

Posted in BooksNJ2017, collaboration, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Elvis hair

You ran your fingers through my Elvis hair,

slicked back and duck-tailed

as we mouthed “Love me Tender” between kisses

in the wet grass of that last night

before they cut it all off at Fort Dix

and it fell to the floor piled with the all the rest,

the last piece of our youth swept up,

sheared and bagged, tossed away,

lined us up, all the same, skin-headed, pimply boys

armed with man dreams stuffed with glory

before they dropped us in the jungle

where the stubble grew sweat

and the night hardened us to terror

and we stumbled and battled

to stay alive, to save our brothers,

fought to stop the screams of war 

from filling my head,

to keep that piece of you locked safe,

the scent of your skin, the taste of your mouth,

the tickle of your voice in my ear,

the wrinkle of your nose,

blue eyes that burned your love through me,

fought to come back

and know that roses are red

and not frosted-killed brown,

that you would finger curl my hair

before your tongue plunged into my ear,

and your mouth devoured me

and we locked together rolled and writhed

and let the world share in our screaming secret,

that memories were once real

not faint wishes

where in my sleep we are still arms locked and bodies pressed,

and that instead of good-bye

I had whispered I love you to your open heart.

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‘Who Shot the Smart Guy at the Blackboard?’ to be released Nov. 24 on Kindle Unlimited

“Who Shot the Smart Guy at the Blackboard?”
 is the quick story about an encounter between Cassie Blondell, a federal attorney and political operative, and Derek Mainly, a newspaper reporter.

It will be released by Imzadi Publishing Nov. 24 as an ebook on KINDLE UNLIMITED. Cost  99 cents. Look for more information on the book link closer to the release date.

The is a fun story: quick, funny, sexy and tongue-in-cheek.

The title was suggested by Dave White, a New Jersey mystery writer (http://www.davewhitebooks.com/) at a panel run amok at this year’s NJBOOKS2017.

 

A sample: “Cassie Blondell stood alone in the driveway, bathed in the soft combined glow of a streetlight and house-mounted spotlights. Her hair was golden and her figure was framed so perfectly by the lights Mainly dwelled on the thought of how beautiful she was, and forgot for a moment that she really disliked him, having once ordered her staff thugs to throw him out of her office. It was something about a story that included her, a campaign donor and a missing check.”

 

I will be at the By The Book event from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5, at the Beaver Brook Country Club, 25 Country Club Lane, Annandale, NJ.

The authors and designers alley will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Frank Nagler Mystery series will be on sale: THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY, A GAME CALLED DEAD, AND THE WEIGHT OF LIVING.

 

A GAME CALLED DEAD was a runner-up in the Shelf Unbound 2016 Best Indie Book contest.

THE WEIGHT OF LIVING is an entry in the 2017 Best Books Award contest.

 

The Frank Nagler books are available at the following New Jersey libraries:

Brick  (Ocean County Library System) Mountainside; Morris County Library; Somerset County Library System; Bernardsville Public Library; Hunterdon County Public Library; Mount Olive Public Library;  Phillipsburg; Warren County, Franklin branch; Mount Arlington; Wharton; Dover; Hackettstown;  Clark, Parsippany and the Ramsey library, as part of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System; The Palmer (Pa.) Branch of the Easton Public Library; Deptford Free Public Library and Franklin Township Library (Gloucester Co.), New Providence Memorial Library.

 

The Frank Nagler mysteries are available online at:

Amazon: http://goo.gl/hVQIII

Kobo: https://goo.gl/bgLH6v

NOOK: http://goo.gl/WnQjtr

http://www.walmart.com

 

 

 

Posted in BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘The Weight of Living’ entered in 2017 Best Books Award contest

“The Weight of Living,” the third Frank Nagler Mystery is an entry into the 14th Annual Best Books Award contest.

The winners are picked by a judging panel and will be announced in mid-November.

This is how “Weight is described on the contest page:

“What does it mean that a young girl is found standing in a Dumpster outside an Ironton, N.J. grocery store on a cold March night? That’s the puzzle facing Detective Frank Nagler. Nothing is what it seems. Why are he and his friends being followed by a black SUV?  Why does the search involve Sister Katherine, a nun from Nagler’s youth?  And why does everyone seems to be lying about everything?
 
That’s the challenge facing Nagler in the third Frank Nagler Mystery, “The Weight of Living.”
 
It is an intense, involving page-turner, with scenes that will shock the reader and grab at the emotional bond they will have with the characters, all leading to a surprising, yet hopeful end.”

Here’s the link to the contest page:

http://americanbookfest.com/generalfiction/mysterysuspense.html

The Frank Nagler books are available at the following New Jersey libraries:

Brick  (Ocean County Library System) Mountainside; Morris County Library; Somerset County Library System; Bernardsville Public Library; Hunterdon County Public Library; Mount Olive Public Library;  Phillipsburg; Warren County, Franklin branch; Mount Arlington; Wharton; Dover; Hackettstown;  Clark, Parsippany and the Ramsey library, as part of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System; The Palmer (Pa.) Branch of the Easton Public Library; Deptford Free Public Library and Franklin Township Library (Gloucester Co.), New Providence Memorial Library.

 

The Frank Nagler mysteries are available online at:

Amazon: http://goo.gl/hVQIII

Kobo: https://goo.gl/bgLH6v

NOOK: http://goo.gl/WnQjtr

http://www.walmart.com

 

Posted in BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Living’ cover a semi-finalist. Thanks for helping. Vote from Nov. 1 to 5

The brilliant cover for the third Frank Nagler Mystery, “The Weight of Living” is a semi-finalist in the cover art contest run by authordb.com.

The cover art is by Anita Dugan-Moore, of my publisher Imzadi Publishing of Tulsa.

I am trilled and blessed to have such talent supporting my books.

Anita combined these two descriptions of main characters from the book to create the amazing cover:

The little girl: “She seemed hollow, the girl did.  Breathing, hearing, touching, but absent.  Small, dark dots sunk into an ashen blank face, eyes impossibly dull for someone so young, eyes that stared straight ahead at the faded green wall; hard, eyes so hard that did not seem to register the color of the wall, the brown of the tabletop, the light bulb above her head or the presence of anyone else.” 

 

Sister Katherine: “She closed her eyes and lifted her face to the slight breeze. Small tears gathered and ran down her lined, perfect face.”

The voting for the winner runs between  Nov. 1 to 5.

 

Here’s the link: https://authorsdb.com/2017-cover-contest-results/24376-cover-contest-2017-the-weight-of-living.

Thanks for your support.

Posted in Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Something like a blues song

When my brother and his wife Judy were touring the Midwest this summer as the folk music act Andy & Judy —  http://www.andyjudysing.com —   I joked they needed another train song, and suggested the title, “Waiting on the Detroit Limited.” Well, this is not that song, but it is something.

Chorus: When it only feels like leaving,

Carrying dreams we meant to share.

Know that roads do circle, and hearts have room to spare.

Listen to the wind and hear the voices there.

What we leave behind will follow.

Sunset tonight is sunrise tomorrow.

 

Verse: African winds still rain,

Raining down forever

The voices cracking through trees

Where strange fruit was hung.

I can see the storm clouds lifting,

Feel the warming sun;

Take my brother’s hand

When all our work is done.

 

Verse: I saw you standing, standing on the street

Wet eyes closed, tears rolling on your cheeks.

Your hand was once warm in mine

We shared the secret smile.

Would your voice again be soft,

A whisper in my ear?

Let us lean again at the corner

And laugh away the tears.

 

Chorus: When it only feels like leaving,

Carrying dreams we meant to share.

Know that roads do circle, and hearts have room to spare.

Listen to the wind and hear the voices there.

What we leave behind will follow.

Sunset tonight is sunrise tomorrow.

 

 

Verse: The steel rang loud under my hammer,

The plow furrowed the rocky soil.

I went to war a boy. What would I be tomorrow?

Tell us your dreams, shed the many sorrows.

The baby cried in my hands as you smiled,

And the old man closed his eyes, journey done.

Thank you, ma’am, he said, you brought me to the end.

No, sir, I said. It is your life that we commend.

 

Chorus: When it only it feels like leaving,

Carrying dreams we meant to share.

Know that roads do circle, and hearts have room to spare.

Listen to the wind and hear the voices there.

What we leave behind will follow.

Sunset tonight is sunrise tomorrow.

 

 

Posted in BooksNJ2017, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Poetry, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment