Monday, August 31, 2015

Music Monday - "Summer Nights" from Grease (1978)

Sharing a fun end of summer song with you -"Summer Nights" from Grease.  This movie musical came out in 1978, during my teen years, and I saw it several times the year it was released.  It was a huge hit with all my teen friends.  This scene is from early in the movie.  Sandy (Olivia Newton John) has just started high school at a new school.  She does not realize that her summer crush, Danny (John Travolta) is at the same school.  They are each recounting their summer romance to their friends ... with slightly different versions.

Is Grease one of your favorites?   What do you think of the upcoming live tv remake?   I would love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Author Interview and Giveaway: Code Grey by Clea Simon

Code Grey: A feline-filled academic mystery (A Dulcie Schwartz Mystery)
Series: A Dulcie Schwartz Mystery (Book 9)
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Severn House Publishers; First World Publication edition (August 1, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-0727885067

Did a down on his luck former student steal a priceless book? Grad student and cat lover Dulcie Schwartz thinks not and she sets out to prove it.” 

It is spring break, and Dulcie Schwartz has stayed behind in almost-deserted Cambridge, Massachusetts to concentrate on her thesis. But when a former student turned vagrant, Jeremy Mumbles, is found injured, with a valuable missing book clutched in his arms, Dulcie can t seem to let it go. What was he doing with the book? And why has it turned up after all these years?

With Jeremy now the prime suspect for a series of break-ins in the area, Dulcie is determined to clear the unfortunate former scholar s name. But when she finds a connection between the book he was carrying and her own research into an anonymous Gothic author, the search for clues takes on a new intensity and a new menace.
Birdhouse Books Interviews Clea Simon 

Birdhouse:  When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Clea: It was never a conscious realization. I always made up stories. As soon as I could write, I wrote those stories down. It was more a question of how could I make a living writing? And to do that, I went into journalism and then, finally, writing books.

Birdhouse: What was your favorite book as a child?

Clea: Oh, I had so many! I adored – still adore – C.S. Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia.” And when I was a little older I got into JRR Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.” Those were probably my main loves. You can probably see the influence of Narnia’s Aslan the lion in my ghost cat, Mr Grey.

Birdhouse: What is your writing day like?  Do you have any interesting writing quirks?

Clea: I go for a certain word count each day. That’s what works for me. And when things aren’t going well, I try to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I can throw out whatever I write the next day, but I have to get the words on paper or I can’t quit!  My biggest quirk is that I tend to not really get started till mid- to late afternoon. I waste hours doing everything and anything else first, but I’ve learned that’s just my process!

Birdhouse: What was the most surprising thing you learned while creating this book?

Clea: I got to research book conservation – how conservators work to save ancient texts, and how some old inks actually eat through paper over time. That was fascinating to me!

Birdhouse: Who are your favorite authors?

Clea: Oh, it depends on the day! I love Hilary Mantel and Donna Leon,  Anthony Trolloppe, and JRR Tolkien. Geoff Dyer and Naomi Novik… and that’s just today!

Birdhouse: What is your next writing project?

Clea: I have a new series kicking off next spring with “The Ninth Life,” also for Severn House (which is publishing “Code Grey.”) It’s a darker book than my other mysteries, and it’s basically focused on an orphaned girl looking to find out what happened to her murdered mentor. It’s narrated by a black cat who befriends the girl (she has saved his life). I’m working on the edits for that now, and it’s great fun!
About The Author
Clea Simon is the author of 18 mysteries in the Theda Krakow, DulcieSchwartz, and Pru Marlowe pet noir series. The latter two are ongoing and include her most recent books, Code Grey (Severn House) and Kittens Can Kill (Poisoned Pen Press). A former journalist and nonfiction author, she lives in Somerville, Mass., with her husband, the writer Jon Garelick, and their cat Musetta. She can be reached at

Author Links:
On Facebook:
My blog:
On Twitter: or @Clea_Simon
On Goodreads:
Purchase Links: 
Amazon B&N Book Depository

There is a giveaway for 1 hardcover copy.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Weekend Window Shopping at Birdhouse Books - 10% off 10 Day Sale ... and New Arrivals

Hi vintage friends!

Hope you're having a good weekend.  Wanted to let you know that I am running a HUGE 10% off, 10 day sale (8/28 - 9/7) at eBay.   You'll find over 2000 items on sale, including vintage children's books, cookbooks, Roadside Americana travel postcards, cat cards, dog cards, holiday cards (Christmas, Valentines, Easter, and more).   You'll find the sale items listed here:  10 Day, 10% Off Sale at Birdhouse Books.

I also have lots of new arrivals to share this week.  You can find these:

Birdhouse Books on eBay

Birdhouse Books on Etsy

This cute vintage Valentine features a pink rotary telephone.  "Nothing phoney about this! Be my Valentine."

 An anthropomorphic toy top is featured on this vintage Valentine card.  "You're tops, Valentine."

This vintage Valentine features anthropomorphic grapes.  "I like you a whole bunch, Valentine."

A 1960's big eyed cat is featured on this vintage Valentine.  "Don't pussyfoot around - be my Valentine."

This vintage Valentine features a cute little gopher.  "I gopher you, Valentine."

This vintage Valentine features a cute little bee.  "Just buzzin' in to say BEE my Valentine."

 This vintage Valentine features a little dressed monkey.  "Valentine, I've gone APE over you."

A cute dressed elephant runs by on this vintage Valentine.  "I have a trunkful of wishes for you."

This 1934 vintage Christmas card features Santa Claus and a sack full of toys for good boys and girls.

This vintage Christmas card features an old fashioned Santa Claus.  "Cheerio!"

 This is a newer  Christmas card by Marcel Shurman.  It features a teddy bear dressed up in a reindeer costume.
 This is an unused package of Disney party invitations by Beach.

These pretty bridal shower invitations are 1980's vintage by Hallmark.

Fried Feathers for Thanksgiving is a picture book by James Stevenson.

 Once a Mouse is a picture book by Marcia Brown.

Trick or Treat Little Critter is a Halloween picture book by Gina and Mercer Mayer.

The Amazing Turkey Rescue is a Thanksgiving picture book by Steve Metzger.

2 x 2 = Boo! A Set of Spooky Multiplication Stories is a Halloween picture book by Loreen Leedy.

 Wild Horse Winter is a beautiful picture book by Tetsuya Honda.

 The Valentine Bears is a sweet picture book by Eve Bunting, with illustrations by Jan Brett.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!   Will look forward to window shopping with you again next weekend.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Dear Abby - I Am Six!

Dear Friends,

I hope you have had a good week.  It's been a busy one here, and I have fun news to share:  I am now six!  We celebrate my "Gotcha Day" when I was adopted, August 25.  I was adopted at the age of 1, so I have spent 5 happy years with my Momma.

Today I just wanted to share a few photos from my birthday.  The photo above shows me looking very blonde - I like that!  And yes, it is true:  blondes do have more fun.

I had company in the afternoon and evening, and got treats, a new toy, and lots of attention.  I got a little bit wound up about all the comings and goings.   In the photo below, my Momma had to put a food bowl on her head in order for me to stay still for a picture.

This is my new toy.  It's a little lime green plush puppy.  All my toys are lovies ... I carry them around and cuddle with them.

At the end of the day, I decided I was really tired, and curled up in my cubby hole in the study here.  It is a stack of soft blankets, and a nice place to unwind.

So that was my fun day!  I don't feel any different being six, but I sure did enjoy the extra treats.

How do your pups or kitties enjoy celebrating birthdays or gotcha days?  I would love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Love and xxx's,

Abby (now 6!)

Book Review and Giveaway - The Reinvention of Albert Paugh by Jean Davies Okimoto

About The Reinvention of Albert Paugh

Dr. Albert Paugh is flunking retirement. After selling his Vashon Island veterinary practice, he soon finds himself not only lost without his work, but suddenly single. His efforts to carve out a new life, both as a bachelor and a retiree, only leave him feeling like his golden years are fast becoming years of gloom. His regrets pile up until he moves to Baker’s Beach where he gets to know a very special neighbor, learns that friends are the family you choose, and finds a new sense of purpose. The Reinvention of Albert Paugh is a sweet, funny love story about retirees that will delight readers (and dog lovers) of any age.

My Review

The Reinvention of Albert Paugh is such a lovely read.  I immediately liked Al, a recently retired veterinarian, and Bert, his loyal chocolate Lab.   Al is at loose ends after retirement, and even more so when his wife suddenly and unexpectedly wants a divorce.

This is the story of how Al - and Bert, of course - move on to a new place and a new life.  The story is told with warmth, humor, and a disarmingly realistic tone.

The descriptions of everything in this novel are so detailed and perfect.  Al describes a trip to the beach:  "The early morning showers had left rain-washed sunlight, a lemony light that filled this golden day of autumn.  It was so beautiful and the air was so crisp, the kind of fall day that always made Al think of the first football game."

Then there are wry, unexpected observations like:  "Al experienced all animals as sentient beings and often felt Bert was almost human until he saw the delight Bert took in rolling in rotten dead stuff."

Jean Davies Okimoto has a gift for distinct and creative characters.  This includes some fine dialogue that really builds the story and moves the story along.  I loved the way the story of Al and Bonnie unfolded.  These are characters that I cared about, and enjoyed getting to know in this book.

I did not know what to expect from a novel about a retiree living on Vashon Island, slowly building a new life for himself.  I'm so glad I took a chance on this unique and distinctive novel.  I recommend it highly to dog lovers, readers interested in life in the Pacific Northwest, and anyone who loves warm, compassionate fiction.

About Jean Davies Okimoto

Jean Davies Okimoto is an author and playwright whose books and short stories have been translated into Japanese, Italian, Chinese, German, Danish, Korean and Hebrew. She is the recipient  of numerous awards including Smithsonian Notable Book, the American LibraryAssociation Best Book for Young Adults, the Washington Governor’s Award and the International Reading Association Readers Choice Award. Her picture book, Blumpoe the Grumpoe Meets Arnold the Cat was adapted by Shelly Duvall for the HBO and Showtime television series “Bedtime Stories.” Her debut novel for adults The Love Ceiling was a season’s pick by the King County Library System, named to the ABA Indie Next Reading Group List and ebook Fiction Winner in the 2009 Indie Next Generation Awards. She has appeared on CNN, Oprah, and The Today Show. Jeanie, who is also a retired psychotherapist, began writing for adults when she and her husband Joe retired to Vashon Island in 2004 where they (and their dogs Bert and Willie) are visited by deer families and their six grandchildren.

For more information on Ms. Okimoto, please visit her website at

You can find the book at Amazon


One lucky winner will win a copy of The Reinvention of Albert Paugh.  Contest open to readers in the US and Canada.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received this book from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review and Giveaway - Counting on a Cowboy by Debra Clopton

A new tale of romance, family, and taking risks—don't miss Debra Clopton's Counting on a Cowboy! After losing everything she held dear, Abby never wants to love again. But a certain cowboy may just spur her to wonder if love might be worth the risk. As Abby throws herself into helping Bo navigate fatherhood, hope sparks between them, revealing that maybe, just maybe, they can navigate their dark pasts and emerge together into a future as bright as the Texas sun itself.

My Review

Counting on a Cowboy is the story of Abby and Bo.  Abby moves to a small town after tragically losing her husband and baby.  By chance, she meets Bo, a cowboy who lives with his brother and aging grandfather.  Just as they meet and get aquainted, Bo discovers that he has a one year old son -- who arrives unexpectedly on his doorstep.  

This novel explores how two broken people find strength within themselves and through a relationship in order to heal and move forward with their lives.

The love story was so winning.  Abby and Bo are very warm, sympathetic characters, and I found myself rooting for them.  I love the way their relationship unfolded slowly in the book.

I also loved the small town setting with the quirky townspeople and the cozy atmosphere where everyone knew their neighbors.  Bo's family is also wonderful - especially his lovable grandfather, Pops.  There even is a cute Basset Hound!

This is the second novel in the Four of Hearts Ranch trilogy.  I did not read the first book, but this novel worked well as a standalone.  (That said, I would like to go back and catch up!)

I recommend this book for fans of inspirational fiction, contemporary romance, and women's fiction.  Anyone who loves a warm, cozy, small town setting will also enjoy this read.

Saddle up with Debra and her new book and enter to win her Love at the Reins prize pack!

counting on a cowboy-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
clopton collage

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 8th. The winner will be announced September 9th on Debra's blog.

counting on a cowboy-enter banner

I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Throwback Thursday - World Book Encyclopedia

I grew up before the Internet.  When we had a research paper assigned at school, kids went to the library to look for information in books and the reference section -- and usually had a set of encyclopedias at home.

In my family, we had The World Book Encyclopedia.  I used it often for school reports, and sometimes just read at random about interesting topics like animals or dogs.  I remember there were some pages that had acetate layers, so you could look, for instance, at parts of the body one layer at a time.  My Mom still has this encyclopedia set at her home, and I still enjoy looking at it.  

We also got a yearly annual from World Book, with updates on current events and new information from the previous year.

World Book is still around and published in both print edition and online resource -- visit World Book here.  I found it heartening to know that this beloved encyclopedia is still around!

Did you have an encyclopedia set when you were growing up?  What do you remember about it?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Author Interview and Giveaway - Killer Run (A Tourist Trap Mystery) by Lynn Cahoon

Killer Run (A Tourist Trap Mystery Book 5)
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Lyrical Underground (August 18, 2015)

Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More—has somehow been talked into sponsoring a 5k race along the beautiful California coast. The race is a fundraiser for the local preservation society—but not everyone is feeling so charitable… 

The day of the race, everyone hits the ground running…until a local business owner stumbles over a very stationary body. The deceased is the vicious wife of the husband-and-wife team hired to promote the event—and the husband turns to Jill for help in clearing his name. But did he do it? Jill will have to be very careful, because this killer is ready to put her out of the running…forever!

Birdhouse Books Interviews Lynn Cahoon

Birdhouse: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
Lynn: I always wanted to write fiction since I was a teen. I just didn’t think it was a practical goal. So I went to college and got a degree in political science. When I had a brush with Breast Cancer a few years ago, I realized, someday isn’t promised any of us, so I started seriously writing and submitting.
Birdhouse: What was your favorite book as a child?
Lynn: I had two that stuck with me. A Wrinkle in Time and The Phantom Tollbooth. Something about going off into space or an alternate universe has always fascinated me. I still love stories that walk me through a different universe, like The Stand or The Talisman by Stephen King.  I find it fascinating to explore others imaginary lands.
Birdhouse:  What is your writing day like?  Do you have any interesting writing quirks?
Lynn:  Since I work a full time job on top of writing, my day is all over the place. I aim for at least a 1000 words a day depending on what’s going on with my author life. If I’m getting ready or in the middle of a release, I may not reach that goal. I get up early and write, then when I get home, I finish up the word count goal before I go to sleep.
Birdhouse:  What was the most surprising thing you learned while creating this book?
Lynn: How much I love being able to write all day. I was off the day job when I wrote Killer Run and I had all day, every day to play with the story. It was magical.
Birdhouse:  Who are your favorite authors?
Lynn: Right now I’m back on a Heather Graham kick. I’m also working my way through Robyn Carr’s Thunder Point series. Any author with a good small town I can fall in love with is on my radar.
Birdhouse:  What is your next writing project?
Lynn:  Working on a new cozy series my publisher will be releasing next October.  Love building a new town in my head, with all the kooky characters, of course.

About The Author
New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho native. If you’d visit the town where she grew up, you’d understand why her mysteries and romance novels focus around the depth and experience of small town life. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and two fur babies.

Author Links
Twitter –
Website –
Amazon Author Page –

Purchase Links:
Amazon B&N
Shop Indie Bookstores

Two lucky winners will receive an e-book copy of Killer Run. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Pretty Woman in Boat at Sea - Vintage Postcard

Found at Birdhouse Books - vintage boat cards

Author Interview and Giveaway - Murder She Floats by Stephen Kaminski

Murder, She Floats:
A Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective Mystery

Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Paperback: 212 pages
Publisher: Cozy Cat Press (August 22, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1939816498


A suicide note found in a locked room. A shard of glass buried in a scoop of whipped potatoes. A pickle jar filled with poisonous spiders. Precious jewels yanked off of a woman’s neck but left at her feet. It’s just a week in the life of Damon Lassard when he boards The Vitamin of the Seas with his charismatic mother for a ‘relaxing’ Caribbean cruise. After Damon’s acerbic dining companion is found floating alongside the ship and local police rule the death a suicide, the loveable amateur sleuth is left to find the killer himself. He encounters seductive sirens, cunning con artists, and fascinating family members en route to solving not only the murder but a handful of clever capers as well.

Birdhouse Books Interviews Stephen Kaminski 

Birdhouse: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Stephen: I realized I wanted to be a writer when I was in junior high school. I spent a lot of lazy, summer days in rural Michigan lying on a blanket in the grass reading mystery and spy novels and dreaming of writing them myself one day.  Circuitous educational and professional paths have sent me into various worlds—engineering, law, television media, and non-profit management—but writing mysteries has always been in my veins (where it battles coffee for ultimate supremacy; blood is a distant third).

Birdhouse: What was your favorite book as a child?

Stephen: That’s an incredibly hard question, but I’ll go with the combination of “A Light in the Attic” and “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein. The vivid imagery that gushed from Silverstein’s pen to my impressionable mind forever stuck with me.  They are now among my daughter’s favorite books.

Birdhouse: What is your writing day like?  Do you have any interesting writing quirks?  

Stephen: My writing day is not so much a “day” as a “When can I find 60-90 minutes?” approach.  A full-time job running a national health services organization and an active family life centered around a nine year-old tornado keeps me “swamped” until close to nine o’clock most evenings.  So typically, on weekdays, I write at my kitchen table (occasionally with a glass of red wine and always with a selection of candy—because everyone needs more candy!) after nine.  On weekends, I typically rise in the pre-dawn hours and write in my basement in the dark (swapping wine for coffee, but keeping chocolate and licorice at the ready) until the tornado kicks up her heels.    

Birdhouse: What was the most surprising thing you learned while creating this book?

Stephen: The most surprising, and interesting, thing I learned while creating this book relates to the inner workings of a cruise ship.  Murder, She Floats is set on a Caribbean cruise. In conducting research, I spent time exploring many crew-only areas of one of Royal Caribbean’s largest ships—the bridge, dining hall, crew bars, kitchens, theater back-stage areas, etc. The bowels of a massive ship is like a city unto itself and seeing these areas first-hand provided me with unique insight that makes the book very believable.   

Birdhouse: Who are your favorite authors?

Stephen: I have so many!  In no particular order: Ken Follett, Lawrence Block, Faye Kellerman, Alexander McCall Smith, Ruth Rendell, Jeffrey Archer, P.D. James, M.C. Beaton, Jonathan Kellerman, John Sandford, and Agatha Christie.    

Birdhouse: What is your next writing project?

Stephen: It’s a secret for now—something similar in style to the three books in my Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective series, but different.  Don’t worry, there will surely be at least one dead body!

Thank you so much for having me.
About This Author
STEPHEN KAMINSKI is the author of the Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective series published by Cozy Cat Press. The first three cozy mysteries in the series are It Takes Two to Strangle, Don’t Cry Over Killed Milk, and Murder, She Floats. Each of the three has won a Reader Views Literary Award and Don’t Cry Over Killed Milk Don’t Cry Over Killed Milk won the 2014 Murder & Mayhem Award for Best Classic Cozy and was a finalist in both the 2014 Clue Awards.  Stephen is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Law School. He serves as the CEO and Executive Director of a national healthcare association and lives with his wife and daughter in Arlington, Virginia.

Author Links: 

Purchase Links
Amazon B&N

a Rafflecopter giveaway