Welcome to Steeped In Books, a place for book promotions of all kinds: reviews, give-aways, author interviews and a quiet rest station on your blog hop. I'm glad you stopped by for a visit. The tea is ready,...or maybe you would prefer coffee. Whatever your preference, enjoy a cup of refreshment while you browse what is offered here for your enjoyment.

Monday, January 30, 2012


Press Release

Every Child is Entitled to Innocence will be the first publication of the newly- formed Orangeberry Publishing Group. Due to release on February 14th, profits from the sales of this e-book will be donated to Child Helpline International.

Says initiator of the project, Dr. Niamh Clune, “I met many writers through the Internet that experienced difficult childhoods yet have overcome their brutal beginnings. I wanted to make the first Orangeberry publication a celebration of creative imagination. This powerful friend of damaged children plays an essential role in an abused child’s recovery. Gathering this series of stories was a joy. Orangeberry Books has developed special, vibrant relationships with contributors and has forged many lasting friendships.

We encouraged happy stories that reflected the innocence of childhood when infants feel wrapped in the warmth of loving arms. We wanted to contrast these with the sad ones, making them stand out in relief against a bright backdrop. We felt this comparison would demonstrate, without explanation, what happens when innocence is stolen.

In this book, the reader will find many wonderful, heart-warming stories; whilst the sad ones demonstrate the magnificence of the human spirit as it triumphs against all the odds.”

Executive Editor, Karen S. Elliott stated, “While I looked at all the stories in the Every Child anthology, I edited only a few. I thought it was important, for this tome, that the writers be able to express the heartbreak and joy of childhoods past without censorship.”

Spokesperson for Orangeberry Books, Niamh Clune, explained how The Orangeberry Group is at the vanguard of a new wave of Internet publishing companies. Orangeberry aims to put quality first and bring exciting, exceptionally talented authors to the reader’s attention. Its focus is not on commercialism, but on quality, beautifully written, well-told stories. Orangeberry will also publish poetry. A further aim of the publishing company is to bring a collection of exceptional artists from across many different art disciplines to collaborate on projects in a personal, hands-on, mutually supportive manner.

The motto of the company is, ‘Paying it Forward.’ The company relies on a well-developed social network, the dedication of the core team members, their talent and enthusiasm coupled with a socially entrepreneurial spirit. Supporters and members of this group will also benefit from on-line mentoring, a book-club, the Youth Tube Channel, and the OBBlog.

For further information visit http://www.orangeberrybooks.com

Join the FB group @ http://www.facebook.com/groups/orangeberrygroup/


by Georgia Saunders    
From Every Child Deserves Innocence 

Boston Swan Boats

Explosions of glass shattering. “Don’t walk in the pantry, Stella. Keep the baby in her room. Your dad is just drunk again.” “He’s asleep now, it’s safe to come out and sweep up the glass. No, don’t bother about that, I’m ok. Just get the glass swept up and then bring the baby out and feed her. I wish she would stop that screaming.”

“Your mother never kept you clean. When I changed your diaper, daughter, you always had a bright red rash.”
I am that baby. I remember the dark room…above the bed I wrote in crayon…Dog…God…

“Did you see what the baby wrote on the wall?” “She couldn’t write that, she isn’t even two yet. Stella must have done it. Tell grandma the truth, Stella. But how clever of Stella to know dog spelt backwards is god. She’s clever for her six years, isn’t she?” “Yes, but she can’t be using the crayons on the wall. More trouble from the landlord. And me pregnant again.”

Boston's Historic Beacon Hill
"Find the brush. The taxi is coming for you and baby brother Jimmy.” I whirl my four years around in a circle. “But I can’t find the brush.” “Well then go to your grandmother with your hair all tangled. You aren’t even looking for the brush.” Mother why is Jimmy crying so much? Be careful when you change him. You do it too roughly. Did you stick him with the pins again? I’m glad we are going to live with grandma. You don’t take care of Jimmy. “I’ve had all I can bear with that drunken father of yours.”

Stage directions: Fist coming through the glass in the front door window, bloodied by the fragments, reaches for the doorknob and turns it.

“No, Russ, you can’t come in here. Don’t cause a problem in front of the children – Russ!” Grandma is our first defense. Grandma is our legion of mighty warrior. Mother has a new husband now and we are safe here with our fat grandma who is the front line shield from Dad’s drunks. Baby brother and I are snug in the comforters. But what is happening to our Grandma?

The Black Watch

The next day we see. The coffee table is smashed in two by a fist of fury. The birdcage is on the floor and the parakeet is dead. “I know, Ma, I tried to keep him out,” Grandma says to great grandma, who lives in the other half of the first floor. Great grandma is worried. It was her brother, after all, who married one of the MacKies, introducing the lineage of drunks to our blood. “The Fergusons, the Campbells, the MacDougalls, the MacCleods, the MacPhersons, the MacKenzies and the rest of the family on P.E.I. - they all know how to hold their liquor.
They drink, too, but they don’t go crazy busting up the furniture and smacking on their women. Worst our people do is act like my fourth cousin William Hume, who got drunk while he was up to Boston one year visiting us. Got up on the roof of the Hilton playing his pipes at two in the morning. Drunker ‘n a damned Orangeman, he was, but he wasn’t mean about it.”

The mid 1700's brought major changes to the Highlands of Scotland with the end of the Highland Clan System, increased population and a dim future. Many sought a better place to live and new opportunities. For these reasons many Scot's left their homelands and made new homes in Cape Breton. Cape Breton has since become a stronghold of Gaelic culture, some say more fiercely Scottish than Scotland. In the final years of the 18th Century, early census show many Irish living in Cape Breton. In fact, in smaller numbers, they arrived before the Scot's, coming from Ireland via Newfoundland. Irish Surnames are still found in many communities.

Among the Irish Surnames of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia is MacKie

“In those days first cousins could marry. Our pastor said it was okay,” says Grandma. “It was a different time. First cousin’s marrying ran in our family anyway. You know my second cousin Mary married her first cousin William, and my third cousin Elizabeth - that’s Mary Hume’s Elizabeth, not Mary Campbell’s Elizabeth - married her first cousin James…” Grandma continues, reciting the family tree to the 5th cousin of every 3rd. “Uncle Seamus married a MacKie, and their son is your grandfather Pat – and a mighty drunk was he before your Dad. That’s why I put up with it all these years, honey. I knew it was my fault for marrying into that line, you know. Besides, he’s my son. I love your dad, no matter what problems he has. It hurt him so when his dad, your grandfather Patrick, ran out on us. Uncle Seamus felt bad about it, and your great grandma let him know he was to blame for the MacKie line coming into it all. We were fine without them. ‘Mean drunks going back as far as you could go,’ is what your great grandma always said.”

Baby brother Jimmy is growing fast. I protect him when I can. Our family owns a huge rooming house where we live on the first floor. Sometimes Grandma is too busy cleaning in the two stories of rental rooms above us; she doesn’t see where the beautiful blonde blue-eyed boy child wanders. Some perverts who live up there do.

Dad is brought home by the police from a barroom brawl where he tried to fight three men. That’s my dad, for ya. Wouldn’t be so bad, but the bar he caused the ruckus in belongs to my best friend’s father. They live next door to us. Now my friend isn’t allowed to play with me anymore.

Highland Sword Dance

Grandma takes us to P.E.I. to visit our family. We run barefoot with our cousins all summer, loving the baby chicks and the woods, and swimming in the Beautiful River with its mystery of death. I know there is a woman at the bottom of it, her long hair floating with the river’s flow. I don’t like to go to the muddy river with the jelly fish that have stingers and the dead woman who haunts my dreams.

Tartan of P.E.I.

My cousin Glen was killed by a drunken motorist on the dusty summer road and lies in the graveyard I have to pass every day. My stomach feels queasy when I have to walk by the wild rose bushes there. I know Glen, but I don’t know him dead. He scares me lying in his too-quiet grave. He comes out and blocks the road when I try to pass as I walk from our cottage to my cousin’s house. He wants me to see him, but I’m scared to.

Another cousin has lost his leg. He’s grown. Edward. We pay a get well visit to the family. His false leg stands in the corner of the stairwell at his house. We saw the car – a mangle of twisted steel. “It’s a wonder he survived. Something has to be done about the drunks on the road.” “Eddy may have been drinking himself. How’s your Russ doing these days up to the States? When is he going to come down East again and visit us?”

“He’s still battling the bottle. It’s the MacKie blood, I tell you. A man who’ll run off and marry a woman overseas, leaving his sons behind - well, it hurt Russ too much, that’s what it did. He never got over it, and he blames it on me to this day,” Grandma says. “And Georgia is so good in school. Did you see her grades this time?” “Wonder why her mother gave her that name. What does she need with a southern belle name like that?”

“Georgia is going to a new school next year. It’s for gifted students. She’ll be near Russ’ apartment. He insists I let him take her and Jimmy to live with him. He says they are not being brought up right with me. They are spoiled. They run around dirty like wild puppies. No, he hasn’t been drinking so much lately. Well, I have to let them go, he’s their father. Jimmy? He’s having some trouble in school. Teacher says he’s drawing pictures of swastikas. Where did he even learn that in the third grade? I’ll never know.”

“Jimmy set fire to some barrels in a neighbors’ yard. We don’t know what’s wrong with the boy. He’s the handsomest boy though, isn’t he? His father took care of it. Said it was time for his son to get his first spanking. Jimmy set fire to a mattress after that. Yes, the both kids are with their father now. He said I wasn’t raising them right.”
“Now you kids take this five dollars and get some dinner here at the drug store. After that, go back to the apartment. I’ll be back later after I see my girlfriend. Georgia, didn’t I tell you not to wear that dirty headband again! You need to brush your hair. I’ll be back. They sell food at the counter. Here’s two more dollars for desert. Go home right afterwards, hear?” “Okay, Dad.”

“Georgia, the laundry needs to be taken to the laundromat. Well, you’ll have to carry the bags there, what do you think? I’ve got to work, don’t I? You kids need clothes for school. Get this kitchen cleaned up.”
“Georgia, there’s only this one single bed because that’s what we have. When I’m home, you kids can sleep on the mattress on the floor. What the hell is wrong with that? Jesus H. Christ, you two are way too spoiled by your Grandma.”

“Georgia, as your teacher in the gifted program, I am concerned at the way I see you coming to school. I’m concerned that you don’t have enough supervision at home. Is there a problem we should know about?”

“Georgia ran away, and Jimmy followed her. I don’t know where they’ve gone.” “I’m in New York, Dad. I haven’t called for three months because I didn’t think you really gave a damn” - and besides, I wanted to give you back some of the pain you give everyone else in the family. Were you embarrassed when the school called and you had to tell them your kids ran away? “No, Jimmy’s not with me.” Jimmy fell in with some older men who took care of him pretty well – that’s what happened to my brother.

“I’m fine, Georgia. And don’t call me Jimmy anymore. Call me Seamus, instead. Get it? ‘Jim, you shame us’?”
“When you get back from your journeys, Georgia, you need to look into committing him. He’s your brother. He’s dressing up impersonating an officer.” Don’t worry, he’s just doing his thing. It’s part of that culture. Oh, you wouldn’t know anything about that.

“Jimmy is a heavy drinker now. And he’s on smack. Your mother refuses to acknowledge him as her son. She has no love in her heart for anyone. Something wrong with that woman to throw away two children to feather her own nest.”
“Jimmy’s dead. It was his liver. You don’t want to look at the corpse, it’s very bloated. He was a very sick boy. No, don’t go down there to look. It’s better you remember him the way he used to be. Yes, he ended up drinking himself to death, just like your father did and your grandfather, and his grandfather before him. It comes from the MacKie line, you know.”

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Guest Author Mary Pat Hyland

Author info: Mary Pat Hyland is an award-winning, former newspaper journalist who writes mainstream novels and short stories set in upstate New York. "The Terminal Diner" is her fourth novel. Previous works include the Maeve Kenny series-"The Cyber Miracles" and "A Sudden Gift of Fate"- and a St. Patrick's Day riff on Dante's "Inferno" called "3/17". She has since published her fifth novel, "A Wisdom of Owls"--the third book in the Maeve Kenny series. Her work is inspired by authors such as Eudora Welty, Anne Tyler, John Irving and Flannery O'Connor. Hyland's interests
include the Irish language, gardening and cooking (yes, that includes

"Men like pie." Who would know the truth behind those words better than Elaina Brady's mother Maria? Months after she showed her teenage daughter how to bake perfect pie and hours after offering that culinary wisdom, Maria abandons Elaina, her sister Dee Dee and their father Walt. All it took was a lingering, lusty look from a Missoula trucker who stopped by their family's diner and ordered a slice of lemon meringue. Maria hitches a ride west with him, and with that impulsive decision, sixteen-year-old Elaina loses her mother and gains a job baking pies at the diner.
A decade after Maria's departure, Elaina is still working at The Terminal Diner, just around the bend from an upstate New York airport. Her humdrum life is defined by pie-baking routine. Elaina realizes painfully that all she still knows about the opposite sex is summed up in the three last words her mother spoke to her. Then one deceivingly beautiful morning in September 2001, horrifying acts committed by terrorists a hundred miles away upset her world, bringing new influences into her life and inspiring her to be like her mother-impulsive. Will Elaina survive the consequences of her actions?
This suspenseful story is the fourth novel by Amazon Top 100 bestselling author Mary Pat Hyland.

Mary Pat Hyland tells me she baked and photographed the pie on the cover. The cherries were picked in an orchard mentioned in the story (under a pseudonym).

My "Always Honest" Review of The Terminal Diner

I love it when a book so well describes what the characters are eating that I get hungry and have to fix myself whatever it is they are chowing down on.  And it wasn’t even the luscious pie pictured on the front cover that got to me.  No, it was the diner comfort foods Elaina’s dad cooked up that drove my imagination into salivating mode.  Mmmm...meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  And the food Elaina cooked at home like creamed chipped beef over “freedom” fries - man, I just had to have some.  Elaina even described how she made the roux for the chipped beef, and I wasn’t able to quiet my brain until I walked to the store and got some Stouffer’s creamed chipped beef. 

Truth is, I’m still not over the imagery of those enticing all-American meals at the Terminal Diner.  As I write this review several weeks after finishing the book, there sits in my fridge the leftover meatloaf from tonight’s supper.  Funny how a book can do that to ya.  Gone with the Wind had me drinking coffee every time Scarlett’s maid brought her a silver pot of hot java.  Angela’s Ashes had me making cups of tea with milk and sugar every other chapter.  What can I say?   My own type of 3-D enjoyment.  

Not that the hankering for comfort foods is the only residual left in my brain after reading this great story. Mary Pat Hyland had no trouble getting Elaina's pain and boredom across to me – her frustration at never getting to do the exciting things others did with their lives, her fantasy of just taking off like her mother had, and then her guilt at leaving her poor lonely dad alone at the diner if she ever fulfilled her fantasy.  The father’s pain was palpable whenever he thought about the way his wife had just run off and left him with two girls to raise.  It was real. I felt it to my soul. I liked that. 

The book blurb promises suspense, and the story delivers handsomely on that account.  I honestly read the book in one afternoon – couldn’t get away from it, even to go to the store for the aforementioned chipped beef and fries.  The 9/11 horror was treated respectfully and its inclusion in this family diner story added to my empathy with reactions in the neighborhoods outlying New York City.  You feel it.  You are there with the community as the tragedy unfolds. Ms. Highland’s writing skill puts it right in your virtual experience bank.  I even had to pull out a twenty dollar bill to check if what the customers in the Terminal Diner were saying about it was true.  Had to look up on-line how to fold it just right – yep! – there it was.  Amazing!  Don’t know how I missed that information back in ’01.

I won’t spoil the story for you by telling you too much.  The characters almost breathe.  Altogether a great read.  I recommend this book.



links: Author's website: http://marypathyland.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2012




Thursday, January 5, 2012


Q: Go count the number of unread books sitting on your shelf. How many?

GEORGIA'S ANSWER: I have a few unread e-books on my computer(4), some of which I will be reading this month to post reviews. Does that count? Nothing unread on my shelves. I usually get my books from the library, read them and return. Right now, I am caught up.

Here's a book that needs to be on your 2012 TBR
As the economy worsens there are many new people falling into homelessness from the middle class.  These people are the most unprepared for what they will find in the streets and therefore the most likely to be victimized.  Follow the journey of Ella, homeless only 6 months, as she learns the sometimes vicious ways of the street.  How Would YOU Fare in the Streets?  Don't Make the Mistakes Ella Made.
Get your Print Copy or Load on your Kindle Now

I suggest you choose "Street Life" from the play list to go with this post. 

"Georgia Saunders puts a face on homelessness, and it is OUR face." - Ginny Sorrell of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach. 

"I want to commend Ms. Saunders for not sugarcoating the harsh reality of homelessness"  - Ro Goodman, author of Snow Escape

For me, the last few chapters of Home Street Home left me crying (literally!) at Ella’s final decision.  Nancy Cudis of Simple Clockwork blog

dear ms. saunders, i've just finished reading "home street home." you've written a wonderful book, gutsy and touching and reminding us that sometimes the human spirit is indomitable. just a terrific story. be proud, ma'am, be very proud. with all best wishes for future success, w. murphy