Tuesday, July 18, 2017

New Detective Novel "One by One" by Robert Germaux with Book Excerpt and Giveaway

I LOVE detective novels and am always on the lookout for new books in the genre. Author Robert Germaux has just released his fifth book, "One by One", and, judging from the Chapter One book excerpt below, it promises to be a thrilling read. 

This isn't the first detective novel Germaux has written. I read and LOVED "Small Talk", Germaux's previous super sleuth story, so I have high hopes for One by One. Perhaps a book review is on the horizon? In the meantime, scroll down to the Chapter One book excerpt to get a glimpse of what's between the pages of One by One!

Print Length: 342 pages
Publisher: Robert Germaux (May 26, 2017)
Publication Date: May 26, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC


The victims appear to have had nothing in common, other than the fact that, as one officer put it, somebody wanted them dead. And that somebody left a “clue” at each crime scene, but as those clues began to accumulate, Detective Daniel Hayes and his hand-picked squad soon discovered that the clues appeared to have even less in common than did the victims. 

In order to catch his prey, Daniel realizes he has to change his focus and concentrate on an entirely different aspect of the case by following a twisting trail that eventually leads to a face-to-face encounter with the killer.


Both my parents were readers. I'm talking stacks-of-books-on-their-nightstands readers. So it's no surprise that an early age, I, too, became an avid reader. Everything from sports books (especially baseball) to Nancy Drew to the Hardy Boys to almost anything about distant and exotic places. And although I've always enjoyed putting words on paper, the writer in me didn't fully emerge until I retired after three decades of teaching high school English. I quickly wrote two books aimed at middle school readers, at which point my wife urged me to try a novel for adults. As is usually the case, Cynthia's idea was a good one. Over the next few years, I wrote several books about Pittsburgh private eye Jeremy Barnes, including "Hard Court." Along the way, I took a brief hiatus from the detective genre to write "The Backup Husband," the plot line of which came to me one day when I was playing the What-if game. On that particular day, the question that occurred to me was, What if a woman suddenly realized she might be in love with two wonderful men? After "The Backup Husband," I wrote "Small Talk," my first novel about Pittsburgh police detective Daniel Hayes. I then switched gears again with "Grammar Sex (and other stuff)," a book of humorous essays. Now I’m back with "One by One," the second Daniel Hayes mystery, which will be released on June 1st. You can find all of my books on my Amazon Author Page.

In our spare time, Cynthia and I enjoy reading (of course), seeing Broadway plays and musicals, watching reruns of our favorite TV shows, such as "Sports Night" and "The Gilmore Girls," and traveling to some of those distant and exotic places I used to read about as a child. So far, we've been fortunate enough to walk in the sands of Waikiki, swim in the warm waters of the South Pacific and enjoy a romantic dinner in Paris.

I love interacting with my readers and getting their input on my stories and characters. Please feel free to contact me on my website.


Ellen Tishler was killed in her home in Hampton Township, about twelve miles north of Pittsburgh, but still within Allegheny County. My team works out of Zone 3 in the city, so in the normal course of events, we wouldn’t have had anything to do with the case. We were called in because the chief of police in Hampton thought it might be something SAS should be handling.
The chief’s name was Benjamin Roberts. He was a shade under six feet, with dark hair cut very short and the beginnings of a little potbelly, but still in good shape for a guy chasing sixty. His uniform was neat and clean, his tie perfectly knotted, his shoes spit-shined. Ex-military, I was guessing. Roberts had a reputation for being old school all the way. He even conducted inspections at the start of most shifts. He also had a reputation as one of the sharpest cops in the county.
It was three o’clock on a sunny September afternoon when Henry and I arrived at the two-story brick colonial on Edgerton Drive in the upper-middle class neighborhood. The chief greeted us at the door.
“Ben Roberts,” he said, shaking my hand. “Thanks for coming, Detective Hayes.”
“It’s Daniel,” I told him. “And this is my partner, Henry Reynolds.”
Roberts nodded at Henry, then motioned for us to enter the house.
“I appreciate you gentlemen driving out here,” he said. “I hope I’m not wasting your time.”
“You’re not,” I said. The three of us were standing in a small foyer. I could hear people talking and moving around in what I assumed was the living room, down the short hallway and to the left.
“When you called,” I said, “you indicated you thought this might be a case for the Special Assignments Squad.”
“Yeah,” he said. “Crime scene’s got kind of a weird look to it. My department doesn’t handle many major crimes, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t your run-of-the-mill homicide. Anyway, c’mon in and have a look.” He led us down the hall and around the corner, and Henry and I got our first look at Ellen. 
If it wasn’t for the small hole in the middle of her forehead, it would have been easy to assume that she had simply dozed off while reading that month’s issue of Beautiful Homes, which was lying on the floor next to the large floral-patterned wingchair. Ellen was slumped in the chair, her head tilted to one side, her right hand dangling over the armrest. Her eyes were closed, and there was no noticeable blood.
“Small caliber,” I said. “Maybe a twenty-two.”
Roberts nodded and said, “That’s what I was thinking. Probably a revolver.”
“So no shell casings,” I said.
“And no exit wound,” said Roberts. “Bullet must have bounced around in her head a bit. We’ll find what’s left of it at autopsy.” He shrugged. “Might not be enough to identify or match. We’ll see.”
Henry and I stood for a minute to take in the scene. Ellen appeared to be in her mid-to-late seventies. She was wearing an expensive-looking dark green pants suit, with low-heeled brown shoes. Her white hair was nicely coiffed, as though she’d recently been to a salon, and there was a string of pearls around her neck. I doubted if this was how she dressed for an afternoon at home.
“Who found the body?” I said.
“Next door neighbor, woman named Alice Cloakley. She and the deceased were supposed to go out for lunch today. Ms. Cloakley came over around noon, found the front door ajar, came in and discovered the body.”
“Ms. Cloakley still around?” asked Henry.
Roberts nodded towards the back of the house.
“She’s on the patio. I figured you’d want to talk to her.” He paused, shifted his weight from one foot to the other. “There’s something else. It’s the main reason I contacted you.”
He’d been carrying a large plastic evidence bag, and now he held it up for Henry and me to see.
“We found this on the body.


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Friday, July 14, 2017

Pinup Girl Gift Tags FREE Printable Download

Here's another one of my free printable downloads via my 2 Hearts Design Shop website. It's definitely one of my favorites so I'm sharing it with my DIY Mom Blog readers. This printable is for your own personal use only, as it's been designed and created by me. Do not use parts of it or all of it, except for your own personal use.

*Click to open the photo in a new window. Save to your computer and print from there. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

10 Phenomenal Websites to Find 4th of July Art Activities for Kids

fourth of july craft
© All Kids Network, 2017

You know it's summer when the 4th of July rolls around! Keeping the kiddos active and entertained all summer can sometimes be a challenge, but it doesn't have to be when we have so many great FREE art activities at our fingertips. I've compiled some wonderful websites that offer free printables, activities, games, craft projects, lessons and more. And since the 4th of July is just a few days away, I'm starting there.

DLTK's Crafts for Kids

DLTK's Crafts for Kids has a ton of great FREE artsy activities for kids. Their page of Independence/USA printables is sure to get kids and adults excited for the holiday.

Coloring Pages for Kids

DLTK's sister site, Coloring Pages for Kids, has a wonderful array of 4th of July and USA-inspired kids coloring pages. Check them out here. 

Tip Junkie

Tip Junkie is an awesome website for crafts, printables, activities and more. You can find a generous page of 4th of July activities, games, crafts and printables for kids and adults here. 

Mr. Printables

With a name like Mr. Printables you just know this site will be chock full of ideas and inspiration. Check out their 4th of July Activities page here. 

Mom Junction

Mom Junction has a wide variety of craft activities for adults and kids of all ages. Their 35 Best 4th of July Coloring Pages for Your Toddlers will keep kids entertained and busy for a while. Don't let the "Toddlers" in the title fool you - these coloring pages are definitely suitable for any age!

Hello Kids

Hello Kids is a wonderful resource for teachers, parents and kids K thru 8th grade. You can find a terrific collection of Independence Day coloring pages here. 


Crayola.com is another great craft resource. Their page of Independence Day printables includes a variety of educational and fun printable activities for children. 

Easy Peasy and Fun

The Easy Peasy and Fun website has compiled a convenient and downloadable PDF of adorable 4th of July graphics for kids to print, cut, color and share. 

Raising Our Kids

Raising Our Kids shares two pages of cute and vintage-looking 4th of July coloring pages for kids of all ages.

All Kids Network

I've saved what I think is the best of all 4th of July resources for kids. You HAVE to check out the All Kids Network! This site is a goldmine of ideas, inspiration, activities, games, you name it, for teachers, parents and kids. Check out their Kids 4th of July Crafts page here, but be sure to stick around to find tons more goodies! Their projects, materials lists and instructions are topnotch!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Book Trotters Book Subscription Box Review

It’s no secret that I absolutely LOVE books. Children’s books are among my most favorite books to read. It’s so important to me to share my love of books and reading with everyone I come in contact with.

Subscription boxes are all the rage right now and book subscription boxes are among the most popular. I mean, who wouldn't want to receive a box of books in the mail?!

When I heard about Book Trotters, I decided to reach out to the company's owner, who was gracious enough to provide a box for review. Here’s my take on the Book Trotters subscription box.

My chosen book box was the “Baby Bear Book Pack” subscription. This package is described as “ideal for families with up to 2 kids from different age groups. It ensures each pack will have at least one book per young reader in the family.”

The box arrived quickly. I was kept informed of the package delivery status the entire time it was in transit, via daily email updates and a convenient clickable USPS tracking number. This was a great customer service perk!

The box arrived a day earlier than expected (another plus) and everything was packaged securely and professionally in a sturdy shipping box. Inside, I was thrilled and impressed to see each book was wrapped beautifully in colorful wrapping paper, and bundled with high quality twine and a Thank You card.


Not only was each book wrapped with gift paper, it was also wrapped with tissue paper underneath. Book Trotters also included three sturdy activity cards in the package.

The books themselves were a wonderful collection of hard and softcover books. My next step will be reading each book and sharing them with some of my kiddos to get their take.

Overall, I'm very impressed with my Book Trotters book box experience. Five well-deserved stars for customer service, packaging, shipping and products. I would definitely recommend this service to consumers!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Author Interview with Educational Children's Book Author Carole P. Roman

Please tell us a bit about your Countries books:

The If You Were Me books are an introduction to customs and culture around the world. It is a series designed to place children in the same shoes as a child in different parts of the world, letting them experience the things that are important in their lives. The idea of countries, borders, and customs is hard for young ones to grasp, so I broke it into various subjects that small children could identify with- what their name might be, where the country is located, what they would call their parents, what kind of food would they eat, what one thing identifies the country, like a landmark. They finish each book able to identify both similarities and differences. With the added benefit of having multiple books, they can compare how life is all over the world.

Have you always known you wanted to be a writer?

I am an avid reader. I will read everything. I don’t think I had the confidence to write until Createspace came along and said, you don’t need to worry about rejection- we will give you a platform. I have written my entire life, plays, stories, I did a vanity published romance years ago, but with Amazon, KDP and Createspace, I can now do it successfully.

How did you come up with the idea to write books about children from different countries?

I was in Vegas for a family vacation. My grandchildren and I were walking on the strip and when my oldest grandson saw the Eiffel Tower, he asked what it was. I tried to explain national identity and realized his four-year old mind couldn’t understand what I was talking about. I ruminated all night and at about dawn, both the format and  the name of the series came to me. I wrote Mexico, France, Norway, Turkey, and Kenya that first week, wanting to make sure I explored the “four corners of the earth.”

What do you enjoy most about writing for children?

I love their discovery. I enjoy hearing from parents that they are having fun reading the books and learning right along with their children. When I hear that I created an opening to further discussion or exploration to learn more, or somehow one of my books helped a child deal with peer pressure, problem-solving, or any other kind of distress, I feel completed.

What kinds of things do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I work in a family business, so I am pretty busy with my day job. I do yoga, play with my grandchildren, have lunch with my daughters-in-law, beta-read my son’s books (he is author Michael Phillip Cash). I promote all of our books on social media and keeping our names in the spotlight. I play a wicked game of craps and love Words with Friends.

Who are some of your favorite children’s book authors?

I love JK Rowling. I read Harry Potter when it first came out and was not impressed with it. However, my grandson was having a reading issue in school. I started reading with him on Facetime nightly and now a year and over twenty books later- we are reading for an hour together every night. I adored harry Potter after reading it with him, and will admit was teary when we finished the last book. We are reading the Percy Jackson series right  now. He enjoys the Hilo books by Judd Winnick. I loved Martha Doesn’t Like to Share by Samantha Berber, Knuffle Bunny by Mo Wiiems and No, David, by David Shannon are some of my favorites too.

What types of books do you like to read?

I am a big history reader, both fiction and nonfiction. My entire life was spent reading blocks of genres. My 20’s were filled with science fiction, my thirties were spy thrillers, my forties were all about historical romance, fifties were the years of historical fiction and now we are in a free-for all- I’ll read anything.

What would readers be surprised to know about you?

I can work on my books and have an entire conversation while being creative. I am the Queen of Multitasking.

How can readers connect with you?

What are you currently working on?

I have just completed If You Were Me and Lived in...Cuba, as well as If You Were Me and Lived in..the Ancient Mayan Empire. I am finishing up an early reader chapter book- my first called Oh Susannah: It’s in the Bag and I am starting another self-help with my social media partner called Self- Publishing- As Easy as ABC. I am also doing my own Blog radio show called Let’s Say Hello to our Neighbors highlighting children’s books. http://www.podfireradio.com/

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

Don’t be afraid, join a good discussion group on Goodreads and ask questions. Write and when you are done, be prepared to wear multiple hats, otherwise no one will hear about all your hard work.


Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of the Captain No Beard series. Both Captain No Beard-An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life and Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis have received the Kirkus Star of Exceptional Merit. The first book in the series was named to Kirkus Reviews Best 2012. Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis has been named to Kirkus Reviews Best of 2015. Each book in the series has won numerous awards including the NABE Pinnacle Award, IAN Award, Moonbeam Award 2014, National Indie Excellence Award Finalist, Shelf Media Outstanding Series Award, ForeWord Review Five Star and Finalist in the Book of the Year, and Reader's Views Children's Book of the Year 2013.

Carole P. Roman is also the author of the award-winning non-fiction culture series, "If You Were Me and Lived in...", that explores customs and cultures around the world. She has co-authored a self-help book, Navigating Indieworld A Beginners Guide to Self-Publishing and Marketing. She lives on Long Island with her husband and near her children and grandchildren. Carole invites readers to connect with her via her website.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

FREE Father's Day Badges Printable Download

We didn't want to forget dear old dad, so we've created a FREE Father's Day badges printable download for the kiddos to print, cut and give to dad on Father's Day, June 18. As always, this free printable is for your own personal use. Click the photos, save to your computer and print from there. Or you can go straight to the PDF download here. 

© DIY Mom Blog 2017

© DIY Mom Blog 2017

© DIY Mom Blog 2017