Ellen Thorp


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Behind Closed Doors, by Susan R. Sloan

By ellent | July 8, 2011

I truly like Susan Sloan’s writing prowess and her social allegations.  She truly does tap into our subconscience in a world of hidden secrets and dark convictions.  Her books are few and far between, I think this gives readers a tremendous quality in her work.

I was first introduced to her writing with “An Isolated Incident“.  Well, she’s done it again with “Behind Closed Doors“.  She examines the psychological damage and impact abusers have on the people around them and how their lives are forever changed by the circumstances they are living in.

Behind Closed Doors is the story of 18 year old Valerie O’Connor who visits her sister in Boston and meets charming, gorgeous Jack Marsh.  She falls madly in love and marries this man.  On her wedding night she is sexually abused by her new husband and this is only the beginning. She bares 5 children whose lives are molded by their father’s abuse toward them as well as their mother.

It’s very difficult to feel empathy for Valerie as she continues allowing the abuse to herself but more so, allowing this to happen to her children.  Yet this is what happens in domestic abuse, self esteem is long gone and very difficult to walk away from.

Most people are not very comfortable with this subject but Susan puts this right in your face and you just can’t turn away.  She is such a skillful writer that her characters are very three dimensional and real.  Her story leaves a very lasting impression on her readers.

Behind Closed Doors, once again, has Susan addressing real social issues that go on every day and so many of us are either not aware this is going on, or turn a blind eye.

This is a gripping story of three generations caught up in an on going cycle that no one seems able to break away from.

As with all of Susan Sloan’s books, I am left with questions for myself.  Could I make a difference, do I know someone who is living in this form of hell?  Could this story make a difference for a reader who is living this kind of hell?

I highly recommend anyone who has never read her work to pick this book up or any of her other high powered novels.  She is an exceptional, powerful author who delivers exceptionally, powerful material.

To those of you who have read Susan Sloan’s other works, you will not be disappointed.

“An absolutely incredible story of revenge”  James Patterson
“A well-built and very powerful piece of fiction”  Cosmopolitan

Thanks again, Susan!





Novels by Susan R. Sloan:

Behind Closed Doors

Act of God

Guilt By Association

An Isolated Incident


Topics: Book Reviews | No Comments »

Review: Cat Fear No Evil by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

By ellent | June 6, 2011

I have been so busy as of late and not been able to read as much as I’d like.  I have finally found some time to catchup on a few reads.  Lately I have been in a “Cozy” mode so I found a terrific Cozy Mystery by Shirley Rousseau Murphy that I’d like to share.  Cat Fear No Evil (from her “A Joe Grey Mystery”series) is a great Cozy Mystery that is totally enjoyable from beginning to end.

Joe Grey Mysteries have an interesting platform.  Joe Grey, Dulcie and Kit are all cats that were originally homeless and now have owners in the small town of Molena Point, CA.  They are not just cats – they talk!  Only their owners and a few other people know this and it’s kept very hush hush.

Joe solves mysteries by leaving messages with the police department, guiding them to the culprits.

Murphy really does capture feline personalities and behaviors.  These cats do have believable personalities that make reading these books ever so easy to fall into and find totally credible.

She captures a very nice balance between talking cats and their owners that allows the reader to totally accept the probability of such a notion.

Cat Fear No Evil offers a wonderful blend of very intriguing characters and a puzzling mystery that leads the reader into a complex maze.


Antiques and other very valuable items are disappearing from residents’ homes and shops in the small town of Molena Point, CA.  Joe and his two friends Dulcie and Kit realize there is something very sinister afoot.

Joe learns very early on that his old nemesis, a sinister black cat named Azrael is back in town and behind these thefts!

For readers that love cozy mysteries, this book should find it’s way on your list. For those who have never read cozy mysteries, but have an interest in checking them out, this is a great book to start with.

About the Author:

Shirley Rousseau Murphy has received six national Cat Writers’ Association Awards for best novel of the year and the Joe Grey books.  She also has five Council of Authors and Journalists Awards for her children’s books.

She lives in Carmel, CA with her husband and two feline ladies.






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Real Books vs Digital Reads: Who’s Winning

By ellent | April 30, 2011

With the onslaught of digital books and their growing popularity I thought I’d just throw in my two-cents worth regarding real books vs digital reads. A book with either a hard cover or soft cover is three dimensional.  It has pages and it has a certain feel to it.  Having a real book, somehow, I can sense the work that went into writing this story.  A digital book is just that, a digital book.  You buy them, download them, read them and then – that’s it.  Granted they are easier to carry around and I think they are a great idea for school books! Digital books will remove a lot of weight stress from carrying around backpacks loaded down with all scholastic reads.

The Book:

Upon purchasing a book and reading it you have all sorts of alternatives for this book.  Some books you might want to keep because it’s something you know you will read again.

On the other hand, you might have a used book store either online on brick and mortar and would like to place this book up for resale.  No, you won’t get what you originally paid for it, but you will get something for it.  A lot depends on the condition of the book but it’s yours to do with as you please.

Another avenue that is before you is passing the book on to someone you know will truly enjoy the book as much as you did.  This gives praise to the author and keeps the story alive.

The Digital:

Upon purchasing your digital book and reading it you have no options.  This book is stored somewhere in time for you to possibly read again some day.  But outside of that, it’s yours period.

As I stated earlier, they are a wonderful alternative to carrying around a years worth of scholastic reads and definitely will prevent back problems.  I’m not quite sure, with a digital book, that there is a sense that someone really wrote this.

On the other hand, there is one upside to digital.  If you are someone who reads a book and then believes it belongs in the trash, you never have to worry about doing that again.  That is not to say that I will not shutter at the shear thought of a book landing in some landfill somewhere, because it’s been read and it’s a done deal.

If you want a book that can be passed on or you can possibly sell so someone else can enjoy it at a reduced price, then you are keeping a story alive.  You are sharing your experience with others and telling the author – Hey great job – Thanks for writing this!

I like getting a book with a wonderful dust jacket that shows the artist’s prowess.  An artist that has captured the essence of a story.  Nope, won’t get that with a digital book either.

I do have a small library of books that I will keep with me always.  The stories that had an impact on me and I will read again.

As always, this is simply my opinion, I believe I will continue to buy books and will pass them on for others to enjoy.

I will put them in my store so someone may purchase these books at a very reduced rate.  Possibly they can not afford new books but want so much to read a particular author and this is a great alternative for them!

I will hand a book over to someone in hopes that they will enjoy this book as much as I did.

And above all else, I will thank the author for their time, their talent and their hard work to give me knowledge, humor, mystery or even dragons and warlocks!

Whatever format you prefer, I do applaud that you are reading!




Here’s a great link to humorous videos on books vs kindle

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Cozy Mysteries Are Hot!

By ellent | April 2, 2011





Once in a while, I enjoy picking up a book that’s a light read.  Being a huge fan of mysteries, I often grab a “Cozy Mystery”.  Those great stories that are not Serial Killers and other extremely intense undercurrents.

Cozy mysteries are a huge and extremely popular mystery genre.  The titles and backgrounds are everything from tea shops, cooking, haunted houses, cats, dogs, Antique shops and quilting – just to name a few.

The main character is usually a woman who is an amateur sleuth that local police refer to as a busy body or just down right nosy! In many cases, they know just about everyone and are dogged at solving the crimes.  They are intelligent and usually draw their conclusions from life experiences.  They always know someone on the police force to draw valuable clues and other information.

One of the greatest cozy mystery detectives is Miss Marple, created by the legendary Agatha Christie.  Appearing as a nosy little old lady, but gifted with a keen eye and enormous ability to small overlooked details.  This character has also graced numerous television and film productions.

Cozies rarely focus on sex, profanity or violence.  The murders, in general, take place quickly and are bloodless – meaning usually a form of poisoning.  Sex is implied and only in a passing.

Another great author of cozies is Lilian Jackson Braun.  She began her writing career in a hard boiled mystery format.  20 years later she transformed to cozy mysteries with the ever popular “Cat Who” Series.

Mary Daheim has a wonderful line of mysteries “A Bed and Breakfast Mystery”, as well as other series of mysteries.

More woman read cozies than men.  This is not to say because they are light reads or that women  don’t read heavier works.  To the contrary, most women who read cozies are highly intelligent and read a variety of material. In many instances, they have successful careers and are looking for a little escapism from the “real world”.

These mysteries are well constructed Who Done Its, sprinkled with humor and donned in the value of family and friends.

I love a Good Cozie!




Topics: Book Reviews | 4 Comments »

The Best Way To Sell Your Novel With No Literary Agent

By Reviewer | December 17, 2010

In spite of what you hear about publishers accepting submissions only from agents, and about what an agent can do for a writer, there are nonetheless many situations during which you don’t essentially want an agent. This is excellent news at a time when it appears fewer agents than ever are open to new talent.

Small or Specialised Publishers

The smaller publishers-and at the moment there are greater than ever, most of them outside New York City-are often perfectly joyful to simply accept submissions straight from writers. In fact, I have discovered that a lot of them are intimidated by literary brokers, and like to work instantly with writers.

You’ll find the names and addresses of smaller publishers, from regional presses to college presses, in Literary Market Place (LMP). This costly volume might be present in virtually any library’s reference department. It includes a itemizing of publishers by topic matter. For those who consider that your novel has a niche audience that makes it right for considered one of these publishers, or has a regional appeal that makes it a good wager for a local writer (an instance can be a narrative based on a local historical incident), attempt submitting directly. Until you have a great purpose to do in any other case (for instance, directions from the writer), start with a question letter and observe up as appropriate.

Major Publishers Willing to Work Direct

There are still some main publishers that state brazenly that they’re willing to receive material immediately from writers. This doesn’t imply they are joyful to receive unsolicited manuscripts. It means they are keen to obtain question letters from writers, and can ask to see manuscripts that sound promising. While you submit your manuscript in response to an editor’s invitation to do so, it becomes solicited.

In directories like Writer’s Market, you may learn whether a writer is open to unagented submissions. You can even go to the web site of a publisher you bear in mind; often you will see that submission guidelines. Submission policies differ significantly; an organization’s preferences at all times supersede conventional practice.

One notable instance of a writer that not solely is open to unagented material but even encourages it (by periodically holding writing contests and competitions) is Harlequin, the world’s largest romance writer, whose divisions embrace Harlequin itself as well as Silhouette, Spice, Mira, HQN, Kimani Press, Steeple Hill, Purple Gown Ink, Luna, and Worldwide Library. Within these lines are imprints that publish modern romance in all its variations, historic romance, romantic suspense, mainstream ladies’s fiction, “chick lit,” fantasy, inspirational fiction, African American fiction, and even erotica. The corporate does not settle for unsolicited manuscripts,Special Circumstances

There are different ways to get editors to consider your work without having an agent, even if the editors work for publishers whose official policy is to not accept unagented material.

You may know somebody, or know someone who is aware of somebody, whose books are printed by one of the major publishing houses. If that’s the case, as that someone for a referral. If that’s not possible, as for permission to use this person’s title and ship a query letter with SASE (a self-addressed, stamped envelope), mentioning that name proper up front. Chances are high good the editor will agree to look at your manuscript, if only out of politeness.

If you attend a writers convention or conference and meet an editor who publishes the form of e-book you’ve got written, ask him or her for permission to ship your manuscript. If the editor agrees, mail your manuscript the minute you get dwelling, being positive to mention where you met the editor and that he or she agreed to learn your book. Put this info on the very beginning of your cowl letter, so that an assistant screening submissions will make sure you see it and place it on the “Look” pile!

HELPFUL HINT: If you ship material in response to an agent or editor’s invitation mark the skin of the envelope REQUESTED MATERIAL. That way your package deal will not work itself into the dreaded slush pile-the stack of unsolicited manuscripts, which receive little or no attention.

Maybe you occur to know an editor who publishes what you write. If that’s the case, merely ask in case you can submit your manuscript. Few folks placed on the spot on this means have the heart to say no. You will get a studying, and in case your novel is as good as I hope it’s, your buddy, relative, or acquaintance will probably be comfortable she or he said yes.

Oh, What the Heck!

Don’t tell, but despite their “official insurance policies,” many main publishers that claim to be closed to unagented material do open query letters, and do ask to see manuscripts. Should you’re sure a particular editor at a selected publishing firm could be perfect on your novel, what have you acquired to lose by sending a question and SASE? The worst that can occur is that you’ll receive no response.

On the other hand, just a few weeks ago I acquired a call from a woman whose first method to an editor at one of New York Metropolis’s largest publishers was by way of a query letter, with none particular suggestion or connection. She and this publisher have simply signed a healthy, two-e-book contract. If you do not have an agent however are desperate to get your writing profession going, attempt one or more of the above techniques. I see them work for a large number of writers.

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