Books, Flu Season and a Virus


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Last week Influenza-A took down all three of our kids. They were so sad, lying around in their pajamas, fighting fevers, watching movies, eating applesauce, coughing and napping at all hours of the day. They were clearly not their normal, busy, active selves.

Despite my best efforts to separate them and bleach-clean every surface of the house, the virus spread from child to child. But that’s what a virus does. They are experts at multiplying and finding new hosts to inhabit. Plenty of blockbusters and top-sellers have been created about the damage an aggressive virus can do, so if you like medical thrillers about world-wide pandemics and the heroes that stop them, here are two I recommend to you:

JerkA Jerk, A Jihad, and a Virus by Gary F. Jones

Veterinary virologist Jason Mitchell can’t keep his mouth shut, can’t lie convincingly, and can’t follow orders. He’s an unlikely candidate to help the CIA locate and destroy a deadly hybrid virus stolen from Jason’s lab at the University of Minnesota. From Washington to Djibouti, From Minneapolis to Yemen, Marines cringe, Senators turn livid, and CIA agents shudder as Jason struggles to prevent the virus from becoming a biological weapon in the hands of jihadists.

Jason and Ann Hartman, veterinarians, lovers, and graduate students, conduct a study of BCV in calves, a common virus that causes diarrhea in cattle. A recently arrived Chinese student accidentally exposes the calves to the SARS virus, a close relative of BCV. The calves and the Chinese student develop a severe and puzzling pneumonia. The Center for Disease Control isolates a hybrid BCV-SARS virus from the Chinese student and the calves. The FBI is notified of the new and dangerous virus.

Ahmed, more con man than graduate student, discovers samples of Jason’s that contain the virus. He steals them and flees to Yemen where he pretends to be a devout Muslim to get funding from a jihadist group. The jihadists believe the virus will be valuable as a biological weapon and as bait to lure the CIA into military action that will kill innocent civilians and increase hatred of the US. Jason and an unconventional CIA agent redefine “thinking outside the box” as they con Ahmed, dodge bullets, and thwart the jihadists.

bloodBlood of the White Bear by Marcia Calhoun Forecki and Gerald Schnitzer

Dr. Rachel Bisette is drawn to the Four Corners to lead the search for a vaccine against a lethal pandemic. One elusive indigenous woman, Eva Yellow Horn, carries the gift of immunity. In her search for Eva, Rachel discovers power beyond science, the secret of an environmental disaster, and the truth of her parents’ death.


All books by BQB and WriteLife Publishing are available on Amazon, B&N, or can be ordered from your favorite local bookstore.


Politically Thrilling Novels


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These are formative days. In the last week, the 44th President of the United States signed many executive orders, finished his term and left the office. Immediately after, the 45th President of the United States took his oath and began signing executive orders to start his four year term.

The position of President is one of intrigue and mystery. Only 45 men have held the office. And don’t we all wonder what REALLY happens in the Oval Office? Oh, the secrets those walls must hold. With all the special late night meetings, phone calls, deals and negotiations, it is no wonder that so many thrillers are based in Washington D.C.’s politically steamy climate.

If you like to read political thrillers that will keep you up at night trying to figure out all the twists and turns the characters take, try these suggestions by Keith M. Donaldson:

death intern new coverDeath of an Intern – A Laura Wolfe Thriller by Keith M. Donaldson

A riveting, suspenseful introduction to Donaldson’s series, Death of an Intern features Laura Wolfe, a tenacious beat reporter for the Washington Star. Laura tracks a DC serial killer who butchers pregnant women and steals their fetuses, dumping the naked bodies with no identification in an obscure part of the city. When shown the body of victim number two, Laura recognizes her as someone she remembers from a reception for the vice president of the United States.

The victim is quickly identified as Janet Rausch, and Laura begins digging into her background. When the public Janet does not match with the private one, Laura begins to question whether there may have been more to Janet’s death than being a serial killing victim. Laura continues investigating and goes from the dirty back streets of DC to the nation’s capital, to the Virginia suburbs, and into the polished halls of political Washington, as the public is terrorized by a third murder, showing all the signs of the previous two.

senatecloakroomSenate Cloakroom Cabal – A Laura Wolfe Thriller by Keith M. Donaldson

“We don’t manufacture cures. We manufacture dependencies.”

So says the head pharmaceutical lobbyist to the majority leader of the United States Senate. Soon after that utterance, a miracle-cure cancer drug is rejected by the US Food and Drug Administration because of purported side effects.

A first-year senator, Roanne Dalton senses illegal activity in her own party, but is powerless to act on her own. Instead, she seeks an objective investigator and turns to the well-respected and savvy Washington Daily Star reporter Laura Wolfe.

Senator Dalton and Laura suspect a Capitol Hill conspiracy with horrific consequences—keeping this anxiously awaited drug away from the American people—a conspiracy of greed and deceit that, without warning, turns deadly.

Senate Cloakroom Cabal is the second installment in the thrilling Laura Wolfe series, following Death of an Intern.

Rude-Front-Cover-400x600Rude Awakenings by Keith M. Donaldson

On his first day in office, Centrist Party President Mike Macdonald is awakened by the words, “Sir, there’s been a nuclear explosion.”

In a nanosecond, his agenda revolving around a carefully crafted financial, economic, and military renewal program for America changes. Millions of American citizens have been slaughtered and displaced. His vice president, former Indiana Governor Bryanna Dudley, is being flown out of DC on Air Force Two and will initiate the rescue and recovery organization from 40,000 feet.

Macdonald must hold the government together, but in the midst of dealing with untold aspects of the aftermath and searching for the terrorists responsible, a global currency manipulation begins devaluing the US dollar. As the country’s plight rapidly deteriorates, Macdonald creates an international financial scam that must work.

Invoking your courage, sense of romance, and fervor for overcoming the malicious, Rude Awakenings gives new meaning to the words “political thriller.”

All books by BQB and WriteLife Publishing are available on Amazon, B&N or can be ordered from your favorite local bookstore.

Books about Animals – For All Ages!


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I’ve been reading Dewey, The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter for our January Book Club gathering. After our last several ‘thick and heavy’ selections, we decided we needed something lighter for the holidays. The book is about the librarians and volunteers in a small Iowa town who found a kitten in the book return slot one frosty morning. The kitten, after he is cleaned up and loved, becomes the library cat and takes on the name Dewey (for Dewey Decimal System). He is a lover of warm laps, hide-n-seek, red yarn and rubber bands. As a complex cat, he also seems to form relationships with those who need him most.

deweyAt the halfway point in the book, it is equal parts Dewey and small town Iowa farm life. The head librarian and author (Myron) shares the history of her hometown as it is affected by savage grasshoppers, farming recessions, a downtown fire, budget cuts and a library remodel. She also shares her personal life with chapters about an alcoholic husband, single parenting, returning to school and managing Dewey.

Books about animals have an interesting way of bringing out the best and worst observations of human nature through the animal’s eyes. We are only human, after all. And they are only animals, after all. At all ages, a close and personal interaction with a pet or encounter with wildlife is amazing. Here are some books about animals that you won’t want to miss:

Picture Books:

Bunny-Cover-With-Medals-596x600Mr. Blue Front Cover





Middle Grade Books:






Books for Adults:

little birdslife, little brown dogdoc



Click on any cover to learn more about the book and author.

All books by BQB and WriteLife Publishing are available on Amazon, B&N or can be ordered from your favorite local bookstore. Bookstores may order from IPG (Independent Publisher’s Group).