Sunday Book Review – The Yiddish Gangster’s Daughter – Joan Lipinsky-Cochrane

My Sunday Book Review – The Yiddish Gangster’s Daughter by Joan Lipinsky Cochran. I had this book on my Kindle and finally got to it while on vacation, buried among many books. I originally purchased the book because of my interest in the old mobster days of Miami Beach. Combine that history with a good old family saga, it was a fun read.





Since separating from her philandering husband, Boca Raton writer Becks Ruchinsky has struggled to build a closer relationship with her quirky and contentious father, Tootsie, who lives in a retirement home. One evening, as she and her father are relaxing on the home’s front porch, an elderly woman accuses Tootsie of having murdered her husband fifty years earlier.

Tootsie admits to ratting on the man, who’d cheated their Jewish syndicate boss out of thousands of dollars, but denies killing the widow’s husband. He also admits to having friends in the Jewish mafia and shares stories about his experiences. But the more time she spends with her father, the more convinced Becks becomes that Tootsie is lying about his involvement. Determined to discover the truth about her dad’s past, she sets out on a journey to undercover his darkest secrets. She learns he worked for the Jewish mafia –running numbers for the Cuban lottery, beating up Nazi sympathizers, and smuggling arms to Israeli independence fighters. When she learns that he murdered his best friend and, possibly, his own brother, she must decide if she can accept his criminal past – or cut him out of her life.

The Yiddish Gangster’s Daughter also explores the impact our parents’ relationships have on our own. Throughout the book, Becks challenges her father on his infidelity toward her mother and becomes frustrated by his refusal to acknowledge that what he did was hurtful to his entire family. She’s upset when Tootsie minimizes her husband’s affair and encourages her to take him back. Ultimately, Becks realizes that she cannot forgive her husband for cheating until she comes to terms with her father’s infidelities…and her mother’s willingness to put up with them.

A gripping and thought-provoking murder mystery, this award-winning novel explores the colorful and precarious world of the 1940s and 1950s Jewish mafia . . . and the limits of familial love.


My 5 Star Review:

Becks Ruchinsky, culinary writer, brings us into this family saga/murder mystery. Becks is going through a separation with her husband Daniel and struggles with taking him back because of memories of her mother putting up with her own philandering father. Despite past hurts, Becks maintains a relationship with her father Tootsie, where she drives from her Boca Raton, Florida residence to his retirement home in Miami every Sunday to keep the family ties alive. Through some of their conversations, Becks learns  about the some of the antics her father participated in, in his earlier gangster years where he got caught up with the Jewish mob that reigned Miami in the 50s.

Becks’s curiosity gets the better of her after learning about some of her father’s family secrets and decides to do some investigating of her own into some of the shady characters Tootsie hung out with but refuses to get more into detail about. The more she learns, the more she questions her father’s morality.

Becks finds her own life spiraling into a world of trouble when she digs a little too far and finds the past coming back to bite, threatening her own life. When she finally learns the truth about what transpired, how her uncle really died, and a few other close to home murders of the past, Becks questions her own family values and wonders if she can continue on with a relationship with her father after finding out his crimes – wondering if their relationship can continue once the truth comes out.

The story is told from both, Becks’ and Tootsie’s perspective. Well written, odd moments of humor and well researched on the era of the ‘old days’ in Miami Beach with plenty of Yiddish expressions used by old timer Tootsie.

Writer’s Tips – 5 Tips for Better Book Cover Typography, Free Fonts, #BookBub Ads & More!

I came across some valuable shares this past week.  A nice mix of book cover design tips, writing what you know, more downloadable FREE fonts, how to use BookBub ads, and some great tips on what to look for before making your books into audio.


More free downloadable fonts from Nicholas Rossis



Book cover design tips

Source: 5 Tips for Better Book Cover Typography |


Some seriously great information for authors who are considering getting their books done in audio version. Nicholas Rossis has covered it all in this post

As audiobooks are the fastest-growing segment in publishing, I have been researching that market. One thing I realized is that choosing a narrator is probably the most important decision you make w…



Excellent article from the blog of Anne R. Allen on writing what you know for different genres

Say ‘Bye Felicia to Mary Sue: Why Writing What You Know Can Doom Your Story








A comprehensive guide to working with BookBub ads



Op-ed – Is giving our books away for free really a good thing?

Are Free Books a Good Thing?



How to add Sub-Categories to your blog posts to help readers find related posts in your archives, by Hugh Roberts





Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge -D.G. Kaye, Poet of the Week

What a thrill to be named Poet of the Week at Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge. There’s some wonderful competition in this group so I was doubly touched to take the honor for my Haibun on Humanity.


Life is like a cup of tea


Each week, I like to highlight a poet who I call the Poet of the Week, who has shared an exceptional message, or shown impassioned creativity through words or form. Poetry is all about perception, so don’t be shocked if you don’t feel the same way about a poem that I do.

This week, I’ve chosen D. G. Kaye, aka Debby Gies and her Haibun, double Senryu (with video) called “Humanity,” as the Poet of the Week. Not only did her poetry speak to me but the video is moving beyond words. Sometimes, we need a reminder of who we are and what is at stake.


Poetry Rules: – Choose your form of poetry and use SYNONYMS ONLY for the words – Hobby and Play



I believe with all the madness in the world, these moments in times of  turmoil serve as reminders of ongoing world struggles we live through  and somehow overcome. But the past has a way of resurfacing. This  video is a quick refresher course on some of the biggest things in life  that can happen to us – things we often take for granted thinking   they’ve been eradicated – things we think won’t happen again.  But they do.


Life is like a sport

We keep on striving to win

Winners and losers


Keep sight of the wins

The alternatives are dire

Lives become the game


when you watch the video – Even though I did…


You can find my original post with the video the poem was based on HERE


Source: Colleen’s 2019 #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge Recap No. 129, #SynonymsOnly – The Faery Whisperer

The Annual Bloggers Bash Awards 2019 Vote is LIVE! – The Annual Bloggers Bash

The Annual Bloggers Bash Awards are now open for voting. I’m thrilled to be nominated again this year in the category of ‘Best Blogging/Writing Blog, along with some other fantastic talent! I hope you will all take a moment to visit the voting page and cast your votes for your favorite blogs and bloggers.


It’s that time of year again… The 2019 Annual Bloggers Bash Awards are now open. As always, we had a huge number of nominations. So let me thank everyone who took the time to nominate their fellow bloggers. Without you guys nominating, there would be no bash awards. To the awards:

Winners will be announced at the Bloggers Bash in London on June 15th. The winners post will go live here at 6pm on the same day. If you haven’t bought your ticket yet, please click the link below:


Please remember to keep our fun, supportive ethos in mind when voting. Please note, there are 8 categories and you can only vote once per category. 

A word from the committee:

Please note: we will not be entering into any discussions or arguments about the nominations or voting process, the fact that it is an online vote without judges, or the size of nominations in one category compared to another. The awards were designed to be a fun, inclusive extra for those who cannot attend the event in London and this is how it will remain. Unfortunately, we are not going to ever be able to please everybody, and anyone who seeks to cause a fuss will automatically be removed from the voting.


With that out of the way let’s get cracking.

Best Writing Blog LogoFirst up we have Best Blogging / Writing Blog.

Blogging / Writing / Short Stories / Poetry

Suitable candidates for the Best Blogging / Writing Blog offer consistent advice and guidance about blogging, hints and tips for using social media effectively, tutorials, advice on writing, writing prompts or offer beautiful poetry and short stories.

Nominees for this award are:

Anne R Allen’s Blog… with Ruth HarrisElena PetersChris The Story Reading ApeTallis SteelyardJill WeatherholtNight Owl PoetrySue Vincent’s Daily EchoThe Faery WhispererGin LemonadeKaren’s WorldSyl65’s BlogD. G. Kaye WriterHead Full of Dreamsneha98blogThe Rendezvous ClubThe Feathered SleepThe Poem ZoneAnnette Rochelle AbenDean Wesley SmithWillow CroftLosing the Plot, Uptown Oracle,

Please continue reading and casting your votes HERE


Source: The Annual Bloggers Bash Awards 2019 Vote is LIVE! – The Annual Bloggers Bash

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – Puerto Vallarta, #Mexico Part Two – Renting, Shopping, Tipping and Water | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine


Welcome to this month’s edition of my Travel Column. Last month in my column, I shared a bit of history on beautiful Puerto Vallarta as well as some tips on dining, beaches, and things to do. For this month’s edition I’m going to share some tips based on my personal experience on notable places to visit while there, what to pack, caveats of renting a condo, and protocol on some of the Mexican customs.



What to pack?

Pack for summer temps. Keep in mind that nights can be breezy so you may want to throw in a few long-sleeved Tees and/or a light sweater.

As usual, I bring too many shoes and basically end up wearing the same two pairs when going out. During the day you will live in flip flops or sandals. When walking any distances, and when walking downtown you will want to have comfortable shoes on. Trust me! The downtown zone still has cobble stone roads. Heels aren’t going to be your friend there. I acquired a new affection for FitFlops after buying a pair to take with me before I left. I plan on getting a 2nd pair and that’s all I really need to wear out. They are ultra-comfortable and very stylish, they even have styles with bling – and that’s good enough for me, lol. Of course, you will want to have a pair of sneakers too.

I mostly live in my bathing suit and cover-up by day and a sundress or a pair of capris and a top by night. I don’t see many people wearing long pants even at night so don’t fill your suitcases with them as they will likely just be taking up space and never worn. The jeans I wear on the airplane are the only long pants I take.

Don’t forget to pack your favorite pillow. If you’re anything like me and are fussy about your pillows, you will be happy you brought yours. See if you can find a smaller travel version of your favorite pillow like I’ve found, which will take up less space in your bags. And don’t forget the essentials: sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses.


rental keys


Thinking of renting a condo in PV?

If you’re interested in renting a place for your vacation in PV, I’m sharing my list of how to go about the process, what to look for, and things to beware of:

There are plenty of online sites where one can find places for rent in PV, and many property managers who look after several properties can also be found on various websites. But if you’re not familiar with where to begin, my recommendation is to look on VRBO and Air BnB.

One thing that is almost certain is that all rental prices are expected in US dollars. Depending on which service you book through, prices will vary so it’s important to do your homework and check similar offers for similar same sized properties around same locations.

Every place for rent seems to have their own different terms of contract. Some will ask for 50% down and the balance due 2 months prior to arrival, some will only require 20% deposit and balance payable on arrival (those are the only terms I rent a place with), while some offer rebates if you must cancel and some don’t.

It’s important to do an internet check when renting to make sure you’re renting from someone reputable. It’s not difficult to type a name of someone or the name of a condo complex in a Google search bar and take it from there. TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Yahoo are also great places to check reviews from previous fellow travelers who will share their experiences. Personally, I prefer renting directly from owner as opposed to a manager, but there are exceptions. I like to call that person to gather information rather than rely solely on what’s written on the description. This also allows me to get a good feel of the person I intend to rent from.

Make sure you ask about ‘added fees’ such as: security deposit required, clean-up fees, and oddly, some funky other mysterious fees I’ve seen around. If someone is paying for an ad, they should have photos and a good description of the property and surrounding areas.

In Mexico, it seems that electricity is often a separate charge on top of the rental fee. Rarely will you find it included in the price. Depending on the honesty of the person you’re renting from you’ll end up paying anywhere from $50 US per month to exorbitant money grab rates as high as $200 a month. Always ask!

Ask about these rules of the property:  . . . Continue reading




Source: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – Puerto Vallarta, #Mexico Part Two – Renting, Shopping, Tipping and Water | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Sunday Book Review – How Far is Heaven by Janice Spina

My Sunday Book Review today is for Janice Spina’s – How Far is Heaven. This book is a wonderful mixed genre of family saga and mystery with a touch of spiritual. My favorite character is little Deanna with her big heart, her mature sense of knowing for an 8 year old, and her unrelenting belief in her father.





Parker and Priscilla Wilfork are happily married with two children. Life seemed perfect and peaceful until Parker goes on a business trip and does not return. Priscilla finds her world turned upside down when she searches for answers to how and why Parker disappeared.

One night Priscilla has a dream that Parker is an angel. Does this mean that Parker is now dead? After two years and no sign of Parker except in her dreams, Priscilla makes the decision to tell her children that their father has gone to Heaven.

Priscilla tries to get their lives back together until one day Deanna disappears too. Now Priscilla must go on a quest to find her daughter before it’s too late. She fears her daughter’s disappearance might be connected in some way to her husband’s. Can Priscilla go on with her life if she loses Deanna too?

With the help of a handsome police Sargent, Blake Furelli, they work together to try to find Deanna and solve the mystery behind Parker’s disappearance. During this trying time, Blake, who suffered a loss of his own, feels drawn to the ethereal beauty of Priscilla.


My 5 Star Review:

How Far is Heaven  offers a great mix of mystery, romance and angelic messages.

A seemingly happy couple – Parker and Priscilla are broken up by a tragic incident when Parker ventures out for a business trip but never returns home. Priscilla finds help with trying to find her missing husband from a compassionate police Sargent, Blake, who makes it his mission to solve the mystery of her missing husband.

In the midst of the investigation, more grief fills Priscilla when her 8 year old precocious daughter, Deanna, goes missing. We are left wondering how these two events are connected  and we’re kept hoping through the investigation that Deanna will be found. Through the tragedy that ensues, Priscilla tries to keep it all together for the sake of her missing daughter and for her little boy. As the investigation continues, Blake finds himself taking a great shining to Priscilla as he feels a common bond with Priscilla’s loss and his own recent suffering of a great loss. Blake’s compassion for Priscilla grows into a friendship.

Meanwhile, sweet Deanna keeps her hopes of being found alive because of her spiritual connection with her father’s spirit and the ‘promise’ he made her that he’d always protect her.

This book is a moving story of tragedy with faith and love sustaining everyone to keep hope alive while trying to maintain peace and normalcy within a loving family, all the while keeping us glued till the end, as we wait and hope to find out if the little girl will be found and what happened to her father.

Love never dies, even after death.

#Booklaunch – Understanding – An #Anthology of Life Events

 I am proud to present today, an anthology on life of events that I am thrilled to be part of along with 19 other writing friends, including, and compiled by author and friend Stevie Turner. The book is only $1.00 and all proceeds are going to cancer research.





The following authors and bloggers kindly answered questions posed by Stevie Turner regarding significant life experiences they had undergone. These events include sexual abuse, a near death experience, alcoholism, being diagnosed with cancer, depression, losing weight, getting married, being a mother to many children, being the daughter of a narcissistic mother, and many more!

All proceeds will go to Cancer Research.

Thanks to:
Alienora Browning
Sally Cronin
Dorinda Duclos
Scarlett Flame
Bernard Foong
Darlene Foster
Janet Gogerty
Debbie Harris
Lucy V. Hay
Miriam Hurdle
Phil Huston
Pamela Jessen
D.G Kaye
Lynda McKinney Lambert
Jaye Marie
Clive Pilcher
Abbie Johnson Taylor
Beem Weeks


Excerpt from part of my entry:


Daughter of a Narcissist

I may not have a PHD beside my name, but I’ve spent a lifetime analyzing my own mother’s debilitating narcissism.

When I was a young child, I had no concept of the meaning of the word narcissist, nor was I familiar with the word itself. I eventually learned that my mother’s behavior fit perfectly into that category.

I made it my business to observe her closely, question her lies (to my father, not to her), and learn to recognize her habits and exaggerations in her stories in order to first, figure out the real story by separating the truth of her words without her embellishments, and to try to understand what spurred her theatrical behavior.

Her physical beauty was a great aid in highlighting her theatrics. The people she ensnared with her false superiority were those with low self-esteem, men who were enamored by her beauty, and those of us who knew her well but either had never acquired the nerve to call her out or knew better that it would be fruitless to bother.

I watched many men through the years, including my own father, become victims of my mother’s charming ways, just as much as I witnessed those same men become morally degraded by hurtful words when she lashed out at them because of her possessiveness and jealousies. Even as a child, I became aware of her bullshit shenanigans, but I dared not confront her or call her out.

As the years progressed, I continued to analyze her antics and I still got caught in her webs of deceit. When I was a child, I got sucked into playing a part in some of her cover-ups and lies, helping her hide things from my father. The list goes on, until I too became a pawn in her lies, when she betrayed what I thought was a mother-daughter confidence I shared with her. Many people were hurt for no reason – particularly my father. But I learned that was one of her weapons in her arsenal. She was jealous of the relationship I had with my father. She kept that confidence I’d shared with her until it would come in handy – and it did. If she wasn’t happy, someone else had to be miserable too.

I talk about these issues with hard experience and write more about them in my books Conflicted Hearts and P.S. I Forgive You because I lived under the rule of a narcissist for over 50 years.

Guest Author Hugh Roberts Launching More Glimpses

I’m thrilled to have Hugh Roberts over at my blog today to share in promoting his newest – long awaited, follow up book – More Glimpses. Hugh is known for his crafty short stories which reel us in with curiosity, holding our attention till the very end as we await the ‘twist’, which Hugh has come to be known for.


Welcome to my blog today Hugh, and I know my readers are in for a real treat with a sneak peek into one of your characters – Jane Collins from the story – The Jump. Are your dreams real? Do your dreams haunt you? Read Hugh’s introduction to this mysterious story and get hooked.


Author Hugh Roberts


About Hugh:

Hugh W. Roberts is a published author who lives in Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom.

Hugh gets his inspiration for writing from various avenues including writing prompts, photos, eavesdropping and while out walking his dog, Toby. Although he was born in Wales he has lived around various parts of the UK, including London where he lived for 27 years.

Hugh suffers from a mild form of dyslexia but, after discover Blogging, decided not to allow the condition to stop his passion for writing. Since creating his blog ‘Hugh’s Views & News’ back in February 2014, he has built up a strong following and now writes everyday. Always keen to promote other bloggers, authors and writers, Hugh enjoys the interaction Blogging brings and has built up a group of on-line friends he considers as an everyday essential.

Hugh is a writer of short stories and the author of Glimpses and More Glimpses. A keen photographer, he also enjoys cycling, walking, reading, watching television, and enjoys relaxing most evenings with a glass of red wine.

Hugh shares his life with John, his civil-partner, and their fur babies, Toby and Austen, their Cardigan Welsh Corgis.




Do you believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden? Or know the real truth about what lurks inside every mobile phone? Would you steal items from a blind person, or send your neighbours on a time travelling adventure fraught with danger and menace to save the human race from a bug? How about staying in a sleepy village where many murders have taken place or coming to the aid of royalty while out shopping?

These are just some of the subjects covered in the second collection of short stories and flash fiction from author and writer, Hugh W. Roberts.

‘More Glimpses’ gives the reader an opportunity to take a peek into the lives of normal, everyday people whose lives are all on a path full of twists, turns and unexpected endings. However, it’s not only about the humans; nothing escapes the extraordinary journeys Hugh has planned for you. If you are a lover of shows such as ‘Black Mirror’ or ‘The Twilight Zone’ then you’re in for another exciting trip in this second collection from Hugh. Come and meet the characters who had no idea their lives were about to be turned upside-down. Enjoy the ride!

“Hugh W. Roberts is back with More…Glimpses, that is! This is his second collection of short stories showcasing the dark and somewhat twisted mind of humankind. Roberts’ witty imagination, coupled with his love of stories from The Twilight Zone and Outer Limits, crafts 32 more tales of dark humour and hair-raising tales in a variety of genres, some a short read, others a little longer to get your heart racing! In every case, just when you think you’ve got the tale figured out, Roberts drops in a completely unexpected ending that may make you jump, laugh or even ponder your use of technology! The Tunnel, Baby Talk, Floral Hall and The Right Choice were my favourites!” – Terri Webster Schrandt, Writer and Blogger.


Are the strangers in your dreams real people?

My pseudonym is Jane Collins. Unless you’ve read the story ‘The Jump’, from the book ‘More Glimpses’, then you won’t know who I am… yet.

I first appeared in a dream that the author, Hugh W. Roberts, had. I’m not here to talk about his dream, but it’s a significant piece of information. Why? Because when Hugh woke up from that dream, I heard him ask himself if I was a stranger in his life or just a figure of his imagination.

As a writer, Hugh thought that I was a figure of his imagination, but something at the back of his mind has been niggling at him as to if that statement is true.

Now, with the publication of his new book, you’re all about to find out the answer.


Every day, life brings us into contact with people, many of whom we may only cross paths with for a split-second. However, that brief encounter can be the doorway for people, like me, to enter your dreams.

I’m glad, and you’ll be glad to know that some of us don’t have the power to be remembered. Why?  Because we rely on you to remember your dreams. After all, we all dream every night, don’t we? However, how often do you remember what you dreamt about last night; let alone what you dreamt about last Wednesday night?

Here’s another question I keep hearing Hugh asking himself: Are the people in the dreams we don’t remember, more dangerous than the ones we do remember?

It’s an interesting question and, one day, you will find out the answer.

I’m delighted that I ended up as a character in one of Hugh’s stories. I helped him with the ending. I’m not giving anything away here, other than it was the perfect ending for me.

A word of warning, however. Once you read the story, don’t judge me. The same goes for when I enter one of your dreams. Don’t judge me until you get to know me.

If you’re as lucky as Hugh, you will be able to control what I do in your dream(s). On the other hand, maybe you should tread carefully when you first encounter me. It’s entirely up to you. Who knows how many times you will face me?

I’m delighted with the role Hugh gave me in the story. I can’t say whether it’s an accurate reflection of who I am, because that would spoil the story for you. Let’s say that he gave me the perfect role.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that if you don’t read ‘The Jump’ that you’ll never encounter me in your dreams. You’ve read what I’ve written here, haven’t you? Now, our paths have crossed.

Sweet dreams.

‘Are the strangers in our dreams real people, or just figures of our imagination?’


Here is a first review for More Glimpses:

Terri A Webster Schrandt

March 18, 2019

Format: Paperback