Tag Archives: Black Rose Writing

Chase and Charlie by Jessica A Scott

Chase & CharlieOne never knows how siblings will act together as they grow up and mature. They can either become best of friends, or complete strangers. The fact is that although they may be related there is no real reason to for them to like each other. One of the big differences is when the siblings are of the opposite sex. It seems that brothers and sisters have a closer bond with each other and if the boy is older he feels he needs to watch out for his little sister.

This brings me to the book, Chase and Charlie, by author Jessica A. Scott. I will admit when I first saw the title I thought of many businesses and even TV shows that had similar names to the book. I think maybe I was sensing something when that analogy came to mind as the book makes use of old TV shows. I of course did not know that at the beginning but that’s what makes reading and discovery what’s in the pages so enjoyable.

Chase and Charlie will introduce the reader to brother and sister pair that seems more like an old comedic act. I write this as Chase is a gentle giant as we learn the boy is 6’6 and weighs 310 pounds. Charlie, on the other hand, is petite and seems to be an average height for a woman coming in at 5’5. I have to say when I read those descriptions I thought of Laurel and Hardy, or Abbott and Costello. I realize some reading this may not know those classic comedic teams but I digress as this is about the book.

Chase and Charlie opens innocently with an introduction to the characters and their unique love of movies. At the same time within that first page the reader will learn that Chase is accused of murder and Charlie will try to clear his name.  The supposed murder takes place after the two go to Chuck E Cheese and win enough tickets for a life-size Chuck E Cheese Doll. The two do get many looks from younger patrons, and their parents, for the win but this is a special night. The plan is to catch the latest Star Trek movie, and one last night out before Chase graduates college. However, they will never see the movie as a blackout happens within the theater and when the lights come back up someone is dead up front and Chase is standing there.

The book will take off from this point and some readers will find the book hard to put down. The reader will get to experience all the things Charlie will do to free her brother. She will go as far as attempting to break into a mental hospital which will leader her to meeting Hogarth, who offers to help her. Hogarth is a janitor of sorts at the hospital who suspect things are not right there and the two will find out how right he is. As they work on showing Chase’s innocence they will uncover so many secrets about the hospital while they race to hide from those who eventually want Charlie stopped from her snooping.

Chase and Charlie uses a wide range of analogies within the book, and references to pop culture. One of my personal favorites is a nod to the old show Hogan’s Heroes which I watched as a kid. The book uses many others which are well timed and show Charlie’s sarcastic character. There are moments of high suspense and danger running throughout the pages. The book is written through the eyes of Charlie which leads to unique perspective on the events as they happen. This will also make sure we know what she’s thinking and what she plans to do to clear her brother. There will be those who find the book to be hard to put down as they begin to read it due to how it’s written. In any case those who enjoy some pop culture mixed in with a suspenseful mystery will enjoy the book. I will advise do not ask questions about where are the parents as that may cause you to over think the situation. Their absence is explained within the pages as well. Readers should just sit back and enjoy the ride you will be taken on within the pages. The book is published by Black Rose Writing.

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Posted by on September 10, 2015 in Reviews


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Ten +1 Questions with Author John Hazen

John HazenJohn Hazen is the author behind the book Dear Dad. He took time to answer the new set of Ten +1 Questions that I have put together. So without more comment please check out John’s answers to the questions.

Question 1: When did you realize first wanted to be a writer? 

I can’t remember when I didn’t want to write novels, but it was always one of those things I “never got around to do”. I put forward a couple of efforts earlier in my life but they never went anywhere. Every time I did it all seemed so daunting and overwhelming, but it still didn’t dampen my dream of writing a book, someday. It wasn’t until I got myself my first laptop that I started to get serious about it and began to put my ideas down and fashion them into stories. The result is that I’ve now written four novels, one of which I self-published (Dear Dad) and two that have been published by a small independent publisher, Black Rose Writing (Fava and Journey of an American Son).

Question 2: How did your friends/family take the loss of your time as you wrote the book?

Most of my writing is done on the train back and forth from work or early in the morning hours so there hasn’t been a lot of lost time away from friends and family.

Question 3: What inspired you to write Dear Dad? 

I’ve always been a bit of a history buff and have especially been fascinated by the Civil War. Many people at the time viewed the Civil War as a just war that needed to be fought. Juxtaposed with this is the fact that I grew up in the Vietnam War era with the nightly televised antiwar protest images being pumped into my brain. I thought it would make for a great novel to somehow contrast the two wars (with a nod being given to World War II in the process), but I’m a novelist and I didn’t want it to come off as a dry history lesson. That’s when it occurred to me that what better way to compare the wars than to have to same person participate in both wars?

Question 4: During the initial writing process where did you get the idea for the book and its characters?

When I get an initial idea for a book, I can’t say that there is very much in the way of specifics. I have a general concept of what the book is about (e.g., comparing two very dissimilar wars or what would happen if a person who lost someone on 9/11 was suddenly able to extract ultimate revenge), where I ultimately want to end up and perhaps the lead characters but beyond that, the rest comes to me as I write. I have great admiration for those authors who can outline their books ahead of time. Me, I make it up as I go along. I always tell people that some of my favorite characters are minor characters that I originally introduce to help move the plot along but then as I’m writing they grow in importance and become pivotal characters in the book. In Dear Dad, Doc and Jon were that way. I just love the way these characters develop before my very eyes.

Question 5: Who were some of the authors that inspired you as a child growing up and their books? 

Would it be going back a little too far to cite Virginia Lee Burton who wrote Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel as a profound influence? It’s the first book I recall reading. Seriously, my favorite all-time book is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I read it first in either Junior High or High School and I’ve re-read it a number of times since then. In high school and for years afterward I would latch onto an author and read everything I could by him or her one after the other. I did that with John Steinbeck, James Mitchener and Robert Ludlum. As you can see, my tastes are rather eclectic.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the first completed version of your book? 

It was quite a rush, I must say; quite a feeling of accomplishment and pride. I must say that even now I look back at my books and say to myself: ‘Wow, I did that?’

Question 7: Do you continue to write and in what genre? 

Oh yes, I’m still writing. I write in the suspense/thriller genre. All my books have some sort of historical component but I like to have some sort of twist. Dear Dad, for example, has a time travel component to it. Presently, I’m working on revamping the first novel I ever wrote but was never released. It’s called Aceldama and has a fantasy aspect to it, asking the question: What if someone were to stumble across one of the thirty pieces of silver given to Judas to betray Christ?

Question 8: Who do you imagine being the people reading your book? 

I’m hoping that Dear Dad has an appeal to a broad spectrum of people. I could see history buffs liking it. I could see the time travel crowd having an interest. I can the family-values set taking a look at it because of the father-son bond you mention in your review. Most importantly (and I want this to apply to all my books), I see people being attracted to the book because they just plain like to read a good story.

Question 9: Any good suggestions for those who want to try writing their own book? 

Perseverance. You can’t let yourself be overwhelmed at the outset but construct it as you would if you’re building a house. Just like you wouldn’t start doing your interior decorating until you got the structure and plumbing and electrical in place, neither should you rush the building of your story. Don’t get ahead of yourself but put the book together bit by bit and scene by scene. You also need to have a thick skin and accept constructive criticism gracefully. In Dear Dad, for example, an early draft had a whole family that one of my readers said really did not add much to the story and in fact distracted the reader from the main plotline. I really liked the family and I miss those kids, but I had to agree and they were expunged from the final version of the book. Lastly there’s an old writer adage that I think writers should always keep in mind: ‘Show, don’t tell’. The example I remember is instead of saying ‘Ted was filthy rich’ say ‘Ted glanced at his Rolex’. It gets the same point across but in a more descriptive way that helps the reader paint a picture in his mind

Question 10: When not writing how does you like to spend your time? 

I just like spending time with my wife of 35 years, my best friend, Lynn. We love to travel and play tennis but more likely than not we’ll just enjoy each other’s company doing about anything.

The + 1 Question

If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?

I’d love to retrace the trip my grandfather made in 1920 when he was sent on a business trip from Boston to Calcutta, India. He wrote a diary of that trip which I subsequently used as the setting into which I wrote my most recent novel, Journey of an American Son (how’s that for a shameless plug for one of my other books?) As you can imagine, a trip that today would take less than a day at that time took months as he took a train across Canada, then steamers to Tokyo, Singapore and ultimately Calcutta. Along the way he also rode on rickshaws, dinghies and Model Ts. After he concluded his business, he got back on trains and steamers but headed west to go through the Suez Canal up through Europe and then across the Atlantic back to Boston. Now that would be a book tour!

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Posted by on July 1, 2015 in Interview


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Congratulations to Winners, and What’s Next

CongratulationsThis past Giveaway saw a large influx of traffic to the blog which was great to see. Unfortunately the high traffic did not correspond to a large number of entries for one of the free books. Those who did enter are fortunate as this limited the pool and in some cases made it really easy to determine who would get a FREE book courtesy of Black Rose Writing.


So before I go any further with my thoughts here are the winners.

Hilger awarded to Nicole Nesberg
Thunder Bay awarded to Wendy V
Why 319? Goes to Darrel W


As I promised I put the entries through a Random Number Generator and some it was really easy and another, well things came out so each entrant got a book.  You got love when something like that happens.  The winners should be getting contacted soon on which version they wish to have and receive their book.

As for the future of the blog at this time I am CLOSING submissions for reviews. I have a nice list of books that I must read, and when those are finished going to be doing some introspective thought on how to continue.  There is a chance the reviews may end and I will go back to just pushing my own short stories or posts on Multiple Sclerosis and life. I’m not sure at this time how I will continue, thus why I am going to be posting a feedback request with a form attached asking for comments on the blog.

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Posted by on March 2, 2015 in Reviews


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Book Giveaway Contest

AnnouncementStatic fills his ears as the radio turns on and the he searches the stations trying to find a station to listen to hitting the scan button on his car radio. All he keeps finding is the same old Top 40 hit, country or classic rock song he’s heard hundreds of times and finally the scan stops when he catches on two words. “Free book”.

Announcer: That’s right you have an opportunity to drop one of three free books on that brand new E-Reader, I-pad, tablet, smart phone or digital device you got for Christmas. Black Rose Writing has offered up three of their books for you the listener to enjoy.

Listener: Yeah right, nothing in this world is Free.

Announcer: You are asking, “what’s the catch”,  as any sane person would when they see or hear the word Free.

Listener: Oh here it comes, probably got to pay some shipping and processing. (Laughs to self).

Announcer: The catch you fear is not difficult you just read the book reviews on Shawn “Knightmist” Micallef’s blog and make a comment on any of the reviews for these books from Black Rose Writing.

Your comment will automatically enter you into the contest to win a digital copy of one of the books.   (Announcer keeps talking repeating what he just said)

Listener: Read a blog, and comment, I guess I can give that a shot for a free book. I just hope the reviews are good and the books seem interesting.

Announcer: To enter go to and check out the reviews.  Again go to KNIGHTMIST.WORDPRESS.COM that’s spelt K-N-I-G-H-T-M-I-S-T (dot) wordpress (dot) com

Listener: Well that guys voice was annoying but sounds like quite the thing as all I have to do is read and comment. I think I’ll give it a shot.


Announcer (in a fast voice): Contest is open to all residents with a valid email address. Email address should be left in the comment to allow notification and sending of appropriate book format. If do not feel comfortable leaving your email address an email to with Contest as subject, name, and email address inside.  Only one comment per book is allowed, but you may comment on multiple books. Contest will be open for 1 week with all entries due by February 28, 2015. Versions availble are Epub and Mobi.

I-Pad is a registered trademark of Apple Incorporated.


Listener:  I just love how they say so much with that legal disclosure and so fast, ok so what else is on the radio. (Hits the scan button on his car radio.)


Disclaimer: As stated all are welcome to enter the contest and last entry must be posted by 11:59pm (Central) on February 28, 2015. All entries will be given a number and a random number generator will be used to select the winner.  Individuals are only allowed to win a copy of one of the books. If you enter for multiple books please state which is your preferred book in the comment.

For questions please send email to with subject of Contest Questions. Good Luck and if this is a successful contest there be more.

Don’t be afraid that after you enter to put a tweet, share, past on Facebook and use hasthag #knightmist. Let’s see if I can get trending.

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Posted by on February 23, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Ten Plus One Questions with Robert Reynolds

Robert ReynoldsRobert Reynolds is the mind behind Thunder Bay. He is one of those few authors who do not have a major web presence at this time so it is not easy to provide you with an author link. I did find a story from the Alpena News talking about the book. Just click the link here to take you to that article.  Just a note it is possible that you may have to login/create an account to read but it’s worth a shot. As you read his answers to the questions you will find that he has a love for Michigan and the areas he talks about in the book.   You will also get a sense that his writing can have an impact on his readers as he has other books that are available.  Now here are those questions and Robert’s answers.

Question 1: What inspired you to write Thunder Bay?

The name Thunder Bay had intrigued me for many years. I researched the area a little and I was fascinated about the number of shipwrecks in the bay and across the Great Lakes. I kept Thunder Bay in the back of my mind knowing someday I wanted to use it as a title. I simply had to come up with a plot.

Question 2: Is there any significance to the name/names of your main characters?

I wanted simple, common names for my characters. I’ve never gotten into the “Daphne and Lance” types of names. I want my characters to be believable and their names to be believable also. As I’m writing, I picture certain characters in my mind and try to find a suitable name. I try to use names common to a particular area. For example, if I’m writing a Texas book I might use Mahan because it’s fairly common in Texas. I doubt if I’d use it in a Michigan story because it’s not common to Michigan. Polish names, are however. Beyond that, there’s no real significance.

Question 3: During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your own memories?

Yes, quite often, but mostly in regard to the Michigan countryside and the Great Lakes, themselves. I want readers to “see” and experience these things as they read my books. In Thunder Bay there’s a scene where the main character drives up to the straits one evening. While they are dining they look out and see the lights on the Mackinac Bridge. I want the reader to experience the awe of this engineering masterpiece. Likewise, during the storm on Lake Huron, I want the reader to feel the fury of the lake. Other than a crossing the straits on a car ferry back in the 50s, I’ve not been in a storm on the lake, but my memory from that dark, rainy, rough night was certainly a part of what I put into the stormy lake in my book.

Question 4: What were some of your favorite books growing up?

The Yearling; Bambi: (as a small child)

Willard Price adventure books: Amazon Adventure; South Seas Adventure; Underwater Adventure and Hardy Boys mysteries (early school years)

Mila 18; Islands In the Stream; The Source; The Quiet American; various sports, music, and biographical works (adult)

Question 5: Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?

It depends on the book. For Thunder Bay, people tell me they enjoy recognizing places they know within the state of Michigan and around the Alpena area. Others liked the book’s theme of current events. About my other books (not published by Black Rose, however), veterans enjoy the military aspect and local color of my Vietnam books. On one of my earlier Michigan locale books, one reader told me a particularly touching scene caused him to cry. Still another (Vietnam locale with a romance angle) several have told me they were caught completely by surprise at the twist to the ending. I guess taking all this into consideration, readers seem to enjoy how I try to set the mood and describe the surroundings.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?

 I was very pleased! I had sent along a brief plot summary and my thoughts on a suggested cover. The cover designer nailed it on the first attempt and had added a few things to make it even better than I had imagined it. I was up home (central Michigan area) and drove up to Alpena to get a fresh look at Thunder Bay. When the cover design was sent to me for my review, I was truly amazed at how well he had captured it. Black Rose presents an excellent product.

Question 7: Do you continue to write?

Oh yes. I’m constantly writing. Since Thunder Bay’s release, Black Rose has published my latest. It’s an old time western called Sorrowful. I have other projects in various stages and recently, after meeting up with a coworker who I worked with in the Philippines at the time of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in ‘91, I’ve started writing about that event. I also have finished a manuscript for another Michigan locale book that has a western feel to it. This one takes place in the Upper Peninsula around the turn-of-the-century. I have far more ideas for books than I have time to write them.

Question 8: What is the message you want people to take away from the book?

I mostly want them to simply enjoy what they read. It’s like a movie a person goes to see just for the fun of it. Thunder Bay is not preachy, although it has a present day theme. I wrote it for entertainment. I suppose there is one more thing. Main characters often seem to be young, handsome, athletic and even wealthy. The main characters in Thunder Bay are older. I wanted a story that would allow for a romance to develop on an older level and where the career experience of the main character would allow the plot to develop. Basically it’s ordinary people being involved in less than ordinary circumstances. Why not have an “old hero” for a change?

Question 9: If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?

If there were to be a sequel, considering the main character’s age, the story would have to allow for his personal life and romantic involvement to develop. Thunder Bay implied there is more to it, but left that angle open. Any sequel must consider that and if there’s to be an exciting plot, it must be believable and recognize the main character’s limits for addressing the problems within the plot. This question has got me thinking about that….
Question 10: Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?

To be honest, (I don’t have a copy of Thunder Bay in front of me…have given them out) and I don’t recall my dedication in this book. I’ve dedicated other books to family members, people I served with in the military, members of the Civilian Conservation Corps, etc. But with Thunder Bay, I’d have to see how I dedicated it to comment on that.

The + 1 Question: If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?

Tough question! Most logically for this book, the Thunder Bay area would probably be the place. However, for exposure, perhaps New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles in hope of the book being “discovered”. The words “Travel to”, Rio or Southeast Asia first come to mind, but I doubt it that would do much for book sales and exposure. Fun, yes! This book, no. Perhaps Detroit or Chicago because they are large cities within the Great Lakes area. Tough question….


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Posted by on February 21, 2015 in Interview


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Why 319? by Author Mark Love

Why 319Detroit has names such as Motor City, Motown, Hockey Town, and for me birth town. I write that as I was born in one of the suburbs of Detroit many years ago now. It is one of the major reasons that when going through the Black Rose Writing catalog I stopped on this book and knew I must read it.  The book I’m referencing is Why 319? by author Mark Love. I will do a note to football fans the book has nothing to do with a set of numbers often yelled by a quarterback in the NFL.

Why 319? is set within the mean streets of Detroit and does include some of the suburbs of the city.  This setting plays a factor in the book as in large cities police within burbs do not always communicate together and a potential serial killer can go unnoticed for a long period of time. It’s fortunate that the murders catch the attention of the right group of police. They start putting together the settings of how each of the three women are found and realize there is a serial killer lose in Detroit. The question now is will they be able to find the killer before another woman is found dead.

Jefferson Chene is one of those police officers who is involved in the investigation, and in fact outside of his boss is the team leader. The character, like all in the book, is well written and not perfect. They have flaws, can be dark and brooding at times but it fits the harsh reality of what is Metro Detroit.

Mark Love takes his knowledge of Detroit and does use real places in the book to help the reader connect to this city. You get an idea of the bleakness of Detroit but at the same time how people love the city. The main question will be, how will they get this killer off the street.

The book opens with a prologue giving the reader insight into the killers mind. The actions and thoughtful planning being done to determine who will be next is chilling. The cold calculating way in which we are introduced to that mind shows the reader what to expect from the book. As the first chapter begins it’s a crime scene and an investigation begins. It is during this opening not only is the reader introduced to Chene but the title of the book will become apparent. As you continue with the book the police procedural takes place and you will get more than you asked for within the pages.

Author Mark Love delivers a great book that uses the mean streets of Detroit in a great way. Those who know the city may know, or remember, some of the actual places mentioned in the book. Those fans of crime procedurals will enjoy the methodology and techniques used to find the resolution to the murders. The key thing is the book is a great read and do not go thinking you may have an idea who it is as this isn’t TV and a guest star isn’t the guilty person so it will not be obvious. The plot will grip the imagination and so will the joy of reading this great book.


Posted by on February 10, 2015 in Reviews


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Book Giveaway Announcement

This is going to be a quick and dirty post as I want to give everyone some advance notice. I just cannot contain the excitement on what is going to be a grand experiment and impact all who want to follow me down this path.

I’m sure some readers will wonder about my intentions but again this is a first. The outcome of this upcoming major event for the blog could see if I try this again.

I admit I’m not holding out tons of hope but hey this isn’t just for me, it’s for the readers out there. The open blog calls for past holidays have been mixed so as this one isn’t going to require too much hoping for a nice amount of interest and participation.

So no more dancing around, this is what I have coming up.

There are going to be two book reviews that feature books from Black Rose Writing. The publisher has been kind to offer some e-books as a giveaway. Yes you saw that right through their support readers will have a chance at winning one book, oh wait sorry, it’s two books, oh again I’m wrong. There is a chance of winning one of THREE books that will be given away after the next two reviews.

So keep an eye out as the first of the reviews happens next week and there will be a full announcement coming soon. So if you are at all interested help get word out and share this post and do not be afraid to hit the like button.

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Posted by on February 6, 2015 in Uncategorized


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