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TO ASK OR NOT TO ASK...
I know, Shakespeare said it was "To be or not to be." I was going to say, but I'm talking
from a writer's Point-of-view. Wait! He was a writer too, come to think of it.
I'm referring to reviews. Yes, I've had a few that made my spine tingle and my hair curl
(an that takes a lot more than a salon can do!). For the most part, the reviews I've had have been pretty favorable.
I have a good friend who had a military career. He has writen about his VietNam experiences
in War Stories and White Lies. So, when I wanted an honest opinion about the military aspects of my Civil War bok, And We'll Call Her Generl Leigh, I knew he was the one to ask. I am going to put his enire review on here. Yes, he had some negative things to say about the
way I handled certain aspects of the war, but I am not in the least bit upset by them. Why? Because it was a learning experience
for me. If I eve write another Civil War book (don't hold your breath), hopefully it will be a better, more accurate
book because of his comments.
If you are in this wriing game and you want to keep playing, you need to develop some
As I'm sure you have probably all heard me say many times, "If I learn one new thing and
make one person laugh, or at least smilte, every day, I know it's going to be a good day.
So, bite the bullet, be prepared for the consequences, and write on...
Janet Elaine Smith
And We’ll Call Her General Leigh
December 20, 2013
The book is a delightful lighthearted romance set to the tune of one of the most tragic
events of our nation’s history. The Civil War pitted brother against brother, friends against friend and the distasteful
segregation of the black race. Bright appropriate traces of humor are scattered throughout the book to blend a love story
with the hardships of war.
The setting is the area in and around Harpers Ferry West Virginia at the Davis ranch,
owned by a Union officer Col Davis related to Jefferson Davis and friends and West Point classmate of Robert E Lee.
The namesake of the book, Leigh Davis plays an important role as a tom boy raised by
her father Col Davis. She and Lulu, a black servant, are skilled in providing support to the wounded of both sides of the
war. She is involved with 2 likable characters on each side of the war and one finally wins her heart in spite of the tragedy
of war and being a spy.
Janet Smith has a gentle romantic touch regardless of the overwhelming balances of
war in and around Harpers Ferry. The sense of blood and gore are handled with good taste. The end is as good guy get the girl
and they will eventually ride off into the sunset happy and in love regardless of the circumstances of the times.
Reviewing a book as sensitive as this novel portrays is a daunting task. The author
must paint a picture that is reactive to the 5 senses.
The actions of Civil War and the 1st battle at Harpers Ferry were caught
up in the romance of the novel. The date of Sept 1862 and a description of Harper Ferry and its importance to both sides of
the war should have been explained to give the reader a good anchor point. The major players in the Civil War such as General
Grant and General Lee never rode into a battle as they were too valuable as commanders. General Lee was directing the invasion
of Maryland as he instructed Gen Jackson to invade Harpers Ferry.
During the Civil War in
1862, both side were using 50 to 58 caliber musket balls or the famed 58 caliber Minie’ ball caused devastating damage
due to the low velocity and size of the lead bullet. A wound like Grant received
would have probably taken off his shoulder or at least caused enough damaged to be laid up for a year. But this is a love
story and the hero needs to get well as soon as possible so the story could move on.
With all said and done you can’t have a romance novel without some leeway in
poetic license. Regardless how the war flowed or who the characters were, the word at the end of the book says it all. “The
end of an old comfortable lifestyle, the end of the war. No, thought Mercy, it is the beginning,” was the only way a
romance novel like “And We’ll Call Her General Leigh,” could end. It smooth’s out all the historical
Nice touch to put “The End” at the end of the book reminiscent of the romance
movies of the 30’s.
L Lee Parmeter, Author and Story Teller.
You just never know
FANTASTIC NEW REVIEW FOR HOT NEW BOOK!
by Janet Elaine Smith
coming soon from StarPublish LLC
The last thing on earth Mitzi LeFleur
needs is Bob Jones, her ex-husband. She's successful in her career, beautiful, sophisticated, and settled into her own life,
the hard work of years during which Bob has done a great job of running from one debacle straight into another. He's left
behind a string of failed business schemes, not to mention four ex-wives (Mitzi, plus the three who came after her) and seven
children. None of those children belongs to Mitzi, and that's the reason he gave for divorcing her. He wanted a family that
Mitzi couldn't provide. So why does he keep his distance from all seven of the children he claimed to want so much? Mitzi
wonders that when Bob calls her again after a long silence, and she also wonders what sort of woman he's picked out to become
wife #5. Because that's got to be why he's calling her, as he always does when he needs someone to share major news. Or someone
to pick up the pieces, after his life comes apart yet
Mitzi can hardly believe Bob's news this time, though.
He's made a success out of a business venture at last, and he needs her help if he's to hang onto that success. Will agreeing
to uproot herself with a coast-to-coast move, and entering into a business partnership with her ex-husband, lead Mitzi to
anything more? And what about those seven children and their three mothers? Someone's got to teach Bob Jones how to do the
thing he's always wanted to do more than anything else in the world, but has always wound up running away from in terror.
Someone's got to teach this man how to be a father. What more unlikely candidate for that job could there be, than Bob's childless
and completely un-maternal first wife?
Poignant and yet sparkling with humor, this is without question Janet Elaine
Smith's finest work as well as her most recent. It's a simple story, simply told despite what might sound like myriad plot
complications, and any reader who picks it up will surely be able to relate. Heartwarming in the best sense of that sadly
--Reviewed by Nina M. Osier, author of 2005 EPPIE winner REGS
for Murder Review
Betty Crocker, move over. As I read this
I almost expected to find a free sample of brownies or something like that. How rare is it that you can read a book and get
your daily vitamins too? Leave it to Ms Smith to deliver the goods. Patrick is one of the smarter cops because he knows when
to shut up and listen to Grace. Oh, you don’t know about Patrick and Grace? Shame on you. Get thee to a bookstore and
get “In St. Patrick’s Custody”. You might as well put the rest of her books in your cart because you’ll
regret it if you don’t.
Meanwhile back at the Orchard, we see
that the apple does not fall far from the tree. Throw in some morning sunshine and a bit of oatmeal and you have a sure-fire,
money-making recipe for Murder (and a winner in the book department). This is another fantastic book to add to your collection.
Patrick and Grace fly to the heartland and solve a very strange case of who squeezed the life out of a returning son. Life
in small town America is well revealed here. She writes a microcosm of how small towns mistrust strangers. You’ll laugh,
you’ll cry, you’ll get angry, but you won’t stop reading.
Read this book in the kitchen because
you will want to let life imitate art as it were. Can you recreate the miracles? Try it, before you finish. Try it again after
and see the difference.
A Lumberjack Christmas--Revisited
Reviewed by Joyce Anthony
Miracles abound in this incredible Christmas story by Janet Elaine Smith. I read it
for the first time this year and my son and I agree it is to become a regular tradition in our home.
Have you ever
read a book that fills your soul with such magic you want to become a part of it? This is what happens when you read this
book. From the first pages when feisty Martha meets her match in a young doctor heading for a small lumber settlement in the
cold of a Minnesota winter, to the last pages of
a modern day Christmas with the descendants of those who start the story, you will find yourself drawn in, filled with a sense
of warmth that speaks of love and miracles.
A gentle giant named Hjelmer will have you seeing the wonders of nature
when he sees the snow-laden trees and says it is like "they are telling God they love Him." The only woman in the lumber camp,
Maya, had me thinking of my grandmother and wanting to reach through the pages and hug her. The sight of a Santa in red long
underwear and a beard made from--well, I can't spoil that one for you, had me
laughing out loud.
When we next see
Santa, it's generations later and he's Jewish. He is still bringing joy to children when he helps six-year-old Martha discover
miracles amidst her tears. The lumber camp of Sawbill Landing has transformed into a small town, with the descendants of the
original inhabitants facing different hardships. You'll meet a grandfather who always leaves his door unlocked in case someone
needs a place to stay, an old woman who has become the family's confidant,
she hasn't spoken in so long and a couple having marital problems that threaten to tear their home apart.
in the first part of this book involve a large tree that has stood the test of time and the same tree is still bringing miracles
generations later. Throughout the book, faith and love hold everyone together.
I never would have believed a story
containing two of the most unusual Santa Clauses and an evergreen tree could have me feeling that the world is indeed full
of wonder, love and miracles. I'm making this part of my Christmas tradition, I guarantee reading it once will have you doing
Thanks to the reviewers and their kind words. I would love to see this one made
into a movie. I think it could give Indiana Jones a run for his money. My opinion, but others have said so too, and it seems
to appeal to both men and women.
You want proof I know these people? Check this one out!
In a message dated
7/10/02 9:34:10 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
<< And mine has things like John Grisham, Bertrice Small, Deb Stover,
Criswell, and a few other "goodies"! "LOL! >>
I always said you have impeccable taste, Janet! :)
"Millie Criswell has struck gold with this series, one that tends to
me of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plumb stories."
ROMANCE REVIEWS TODAY
THE TRIALS OF ANGELA, Ballantine Ivy, On Sale NOW!!
MAD ABOUT MIA, Ballantine Ivy, On Sale February 2003!!
From Kikki, a devoted fan. It doesn't get much better than this!
....You HAVEN'T read a Janet E. Smith book YET???? Jiminy, you and I have
similar tastes in books......when I tell you that you won't be
disappointed in any of her great, unique stories,
(especially PAR FOR THE
COURSE) I really mean it!
You definitely should take the time (and the pages just fly
by, honestly) to
read them.....you are shortchanging yourself....
From best-selling author Julie Kenner, with new release Carpe Demon.
THAT'S FABULOUS, JANET!!! Congratulations!!!!!!
> As for the folks that say
you're a wannabe, my
> reaction is why the heck
> are you listening to them??? You're writing the
you want to write
> and had the initiative to go out and sell them
> yourself b/c you believed
> in them
even though NYC didn't snatch them up. I
> think that shows a lot
> of moxie.
> Who doesn't want
the million dollar deal? After all,
> financial freedom
> is a big thing for everyone, but the really
important thing is to love
> what you do. Financial success is only one line of
> demarcation of
in this business, and, frankly, it's a very
> fuzzy one
> considering how few authors -- even published by NYC
houses -- earn a
> living wage. I think that writing what you love and
> getting it out
> there into the
hands of readers is absolutely huge.
> If you want to
> publish with a "big" house, then that's great. Keep
shooting for it,
> and the fact that you're building your readership
> with POD just may
> help. But do
I think you're "fooling yourself" (or
> that you're one of
> the "little people," LOL!!) NO!!! Absolutely not!
> I think you rock :)
||"Susan James" <SJames@rica.net> Add to Address Book|
||Fri, 9 Apr 2004 06:47:06 -0400|
||[ManifestingWriters] To Janet||
|Well, Janet.........yahoo has been a bit slow, at least on my end.....|
but just so you know......I was so
interested in all that you have
done and are doing......that I went to the University of Virginia
Library and looked
up all of your articles.
I was so overwhelmed with your talent and gift that I made
copies of all of them while
at the library. and the copy machine
stopped working because I had put so much money in it, for all
of your stuff,
that it just couldn't take any more.
I then brought all of your articles back and pulled out
a Mr. Goodbar and
a 3 Musketeers bar in celebration of what
I was to partake of.
I then took them to bed with me, to continue reading.
fell peacefully asleep among all of your gifted words and they
swirled around me like nuggets of refined gold.
you for writing all that you do for many who then are taken
away in their imagination, which unknown to them is exactly
can make their dreams come true....just as you Janet are making your
James/Vast Five Productions
Raves and Reviews
Brand new review, just in from Mystery Reader's Journal (Summer, 2002)
Recipe for Murder
By Janet Elaine Smith (Seattle, Washington)
Recipe for Murder (PageFree Publishing) the second book in the Patrick and Grace Mysteries by Janet
Elaine Smith, follows Walter Schmidt from the Haven of Rest Homeless Shelter at New York City to his home town of Albany,
Nebraska. Patrick OMally (retired New York City cop) and Grace Johnson (recent widow who ended up in the homeless shelter,
teamed up in the debut book in the series, In St. Patricks Custody and they have now been summoned by Walters mother when
she found Walter hanging in the apple shed. Grace and Walter cooked together at the homeless shelter, and the only clue he
has left for them is a key to a safety deposit box in Norfolk, Nebraska. When they open the box, it contains a recipe for
cookies, which Walter says will make them "as rich as Mrs. Fields and as famous as Amos."
Albany is a typical small town, where outsiders are eyed suspiciously, and that is even more true when
Patrick and Grace begin pointing fingers at the locals, insisting that Walter would never commit suicide. Before long, everyone
seems like a suspect, and Walters recipe is definitely "to die for."
The local sheriff is as determined to keep Patricks and Graces noses out of his business. There are
more secrets in this little town than you can imagine, and as they unravel, Patrick and Grace are asked to leave before it
gets too dangerous for them.
Patrick and Grace manage to endear themselves to many of the local residents, in spite of the sheriffs
threats, and Grace sets to baking Walters cookies. The heat turns up (causing the fire department to show up when the batch
in the oven gets way overdone) and before long people from neighboring Norfolk join in the quest to find the secret for Walters
cookies. Even the pharmacist tries to chemically analyze the cookies to learn the secret.
Patrick and Grace, as always, manage to get into more trouble than a roaming two-year-old. Stake outs,
illegal U-turns, just plain old-fashioned spying, and a teenager who shows up on the scene just in time to catch someone hanging
a second body in the apple shed add mystery and intrigue to a charming down-home "cozy" mystery that will make your tastebuds
Patrick and Grace have met with great admiration in their first book, In St. Patricks Custody.
Naomi Dunavan of the Grand Forks Herald says "You are going to love Grace Johnson. You will want to sit down and have a cup
of coffee with her; I just know you will."
Kathryns Mystery Women Reviews says of Recipe for Murder: "Smith paints a quaint small town setting
and appears to have had some fun with city folk Grace and Patrick adapting to the environment while tempting a murderer with
the aroma of fresh baked cookies and the ring of a cash register."
Annette Gisby in Twisted Tales Reviews says, "Although a murder mystery, there is no blood and gore
here. Its a book that leaves you thinking, very fast-moving and with a wealth of characters that seem to jump out at you from
the page, as if they were in the room with you. For such a small town, there are quite a few suspects in the investigation
and it will be difficult to guess the culprit before the end. I was convinced twice I had it figured out, only to be thwarted
A lovely touch at the end is Walters recipe for the cookies (and you dont even have to kill anyone
to get it!).
At the end of Recipe for Murder you will find a teaser for the third Patrick and Grace Mystery, Old
Habits Die Hard, which will take place back at the homeless shelter in New York City and St. Patricks Cathedral, of course.