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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 thick skin.
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...

Readers Review

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 inconsistencies.

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
Some weeks one book will sell, while another week it is something completely different. Right now it seems to be Pampas, my inspirational adventure, intrigue, mystery romance set in Argentina. There have been some fantastic reviews that have gone up on lately. Please go here and take a look. Then click on the book to order a copr of your own. It was a fun one to write, and it seems to appeal to both men and women.
And to the reviewers who had such kind words to say about Pampas, thank you.


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 overworked word!

--Reviewed by Nina M. Osier, author of 2005 EPPIE winner REGS


Recipe for Murder Review

By Ron Berry


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,
because she hasn't spoken in so long and a couple having marital problems that threaten to tear their home apart.

The miracles 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 the same.

It is hard (if not impossible) to tell what book will grab somebody's attention at any given time. Lately it seems to be Pampas, my inspirational, romantic, intrigue, mystery, adventure story set in Argentina. For some terrific reviews, go here
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!
From: | Block Address  | Add to Address Book
Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2002 10:42:52 EDT
Subject: [READ] Re: Web Page

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."
                                                                                                               Carol Carter, 
                                                      ROMANCE REVIEWS TODAY
                                                      THE TRIALS OF ANGELA, Ballantine Ivy, On Sale NOW!!
                                                      MAD ABOUT MIA, Ballantine Ivy, On Sale February 2003!!
                                                      <A HREF=""></A>  

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
very 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 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
> books 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
> success 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 :)
> Julie

From: "Susan James" <>  Add to Address BookAdd to Address Book
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2004 06:47:06 -0400
Subject: [ManifestingWriters] To Janet

Well, 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.
I fell peacefully asleep among all of your gifted words and they
swirled around me like nuggets of refined gold.

Thank you for writing all that you do for many who then are taken
away in their imagination, which unknown to them is exactly how they
can make their dreams come true....just as you Janet are making your

Love Susan

Susan 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 water.

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 again!"

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.


"I want to tell you how much I enjoyed My Dear Phebe. I was literally moved to tears at the flash forward when they are all grown up. It was riveting. I especially loved reading the letters at the end and seeing how you tied them all together with the plot. Thank you very much for sharing this story with us." KC (member of Manifesting Writers)

No. 1 bestseller on of all books on Scotland (nearly 8,000 titles) for over 2 months!

"This is a historical epic, filled with passion and conflict. It is well-written and provides an entertaining read."
Romantic Times, Dec. 2000, (rated with 3 stars!)

"Janet Elaine Smith's 'Dunnottar' isn't just a writer grabbing for a subject to write about--it's about family.
Like the Camelot genre...
Smith's background in history and genealogy provides a good backdrop for the story."
Doreen Yellowbird, Grand Forks (ND) Herald

"Your new novel, 'Dunnottar,' which I am reading with interest and much enjoyment.
I wish you every success with 'Dunnottar' and subsequent novels. If at any time in the future either I or the Castle Custodian can be of assistance to you please do not hesitate to be in touch. I trust that you will get the opportunity in the near future to visit the Castle in order to inspire your imagination further."
Mr. Kenneth Munn, Dunecht Estates, The Dunnottar Trust, Scotland

"This book is a great read; once I got hooked I couldn't put it down. This novel makes the Keith family really come to life."
Leland Meitzler, Editor, Heritage Quest Magazine

"I just loved 'Dunnottar.' The only problem I had was n trying to figure out which characters were real and which ones were fictional. When you told me which ones were created in your mind, I felt so bad that as a Keith, I called our family together and we had a wake for them."

(And 'Marylebone')
"I finished 'Marylebone' last night, and loved it every page of the way. If I were to have to choose between it and 'Dunnottar' I would choose the former, but fortunately we don't have to choose, but can showcase both of them in our library shelves. The best of both worlds!"
Rev. Walter Scott, MN

"I enjoyed 'Dunnottar,' but I can't wait for the next Patrick and Grace book. When will it be out? They are such fun!"
Kay Keith, CA.

(In response to Ch. 1 of RECIPE FOR MURDER, which appears at the end of IN ST. PATRICK'S CUSTODY) "You mean we won't find out what happened to poor Walter in the apple shed in Nebraska for a whole year? That's almost criminal!"
A MN reader.

"One can't help growing fond of Grace Johnson. If Grace moved to your block you'd invite her over for coffee; I just know it.
When Grace learns of their (her children) plan, she runs away. She lets one son in on what she's doing, but doesn't tell him where she's going. She does promise, however, to call him once a week. When I read that, I liked Grace even more.
Janet, through Grace, weaves a most engaging tale of who takes the statue of St. Patrick and how it is recovered. In doing so, Grace helps solve a crime that has bothered Patrick since his pre-retirement police office days. And in all the goings on, Patrick and Grace discover they may be falling in love."
Naomi Dunavan, Grand Forks (ND) Herlad

"It tells the story of a young Desert Storm widow, Susan Quincey, who finds some surprises, a little romance and a few Christmas miracles.
As a teenager...Smith visited Duluth often. Fascinated by the city's houses on the hill, she imagined what it would be like to live here. A real incident gave the spark of imagination that led to this story."
Duluth (MN) News Tribune, Dec. 24, 2000

"My mother-in-law gave me the book. I don't know how you did it, but I WAS Susan Quincey. Her story is so much like mine. My husband died in 'friendly fire' in Desert Storm and I have a son who never saw his Daddy. I had not been able to cry from the first day I heard he was dead. You finally allowed me to cry and it felt so good!! Now I can move on with my life.
Do I have anybody else in my life? There was a fellow I work with, and he had been asking me out for a long time. I kept telling him I wasn't ready yet. After I read the book, I called him and told him I wanted to go out. When he asked me where I'd like to go, I said 'McDonald's!' He didn't understand--until he read the book, too."
A reader from CA.

"I used it for a class assignment for my ninth-grade class. They all just loved it, even the boys!"
A MN teacher

"We read it together as a family at the breakfast table, chapter-by-chapter. After we had finished the table, our daughter announced, 'I liked that. I'm going to find Jeremy so I can marry him when we get big.'"
A reader from VA.

"Before diving in, calibrate your expectations--this is a light, fun romance.
Also, don't expect detailed descriptions of what it was like to live in 1713 in Massachusetts, and don't expect satiric contrasts between the lifestyles of then and now, a la 'Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.' Often, the abrriers he (Dr. Angus) faces are ones of personality and knowledge rather than of time. These differences aren't the focus of the story; they are its context. The focus is on the characters and what they say and do.
Just expect and enjoy a love story--with a twist.
Much of the fun--and there's lots of fun here--comes from the interplaybetween Angus and his new bride.
The dialogue moves fast, unencumbered with depantic realities. The plot moves along quickly too, focusing on their relationship first, Sam the pirate second, her family third, and, last of all, the minor challenges posed by the time difference.
Maria is presented as an enticing, quick-witted, playful flirt. She has no magical powers other than her beauty and young and vivacity.
Smith (the author) explains, 'Since she was an ancestor of mine, I figured it was my forte to redeem her.'
But this witch needs no redemption. She's simply delightful--witch or no witch. I look forward to the promised sequel, 'Port Call to the Future.'"
Richard Seltzer for reviews. (See complete review on My Links.)

"This is a fast-paced, page-turning book and I was eager to see what happens next. It is based on a true story, but some things have changed for the book, adding to the story of Maria Hallett, rather than detracting from it.
All in all, a very good read."
Annette Gisby, Twisted Tales Review (See the entire review at My Links.)


A great book is like a great mind; it keeps on giving
over and over and over again!
Check Janet's books out here.