Wednesday, February 5, 2014

China Jewel ebook review, interview and giveaway

China Jewel ebook review and giveaway

China Jewel (River Sunday Romance Mysteries) by Thomas Hollyday

Media around the world cover an inspiring and beautiful ocean race as international tall ships once again sail the ancient tea trade route to China. Yet, beneath the bright sails hide evil and treachery as the competitors sabotage and even murder each other to win the billion dollar prize.

An American entry, the Peregrine, a replica of a famous Nineteenth Century clipper built in the same small Maryland shipyard, is tarnished by rumors. Claims are made that the original Peregrine was involved in criminal activities as well as the violent theft of a famous Chinese jewel and the brutal death of a young girl.

Jim Cutter, Peregrine race director and his friend professor Katy Marbury research the true story of the ship's past. They constantly risk their lives as they uncover a tale which may affect the future of modern China, all the time knowing they are targeted by an unseen enemy.

Then far at sea, the Peregrine mysteriously disappears. Cutter must find and rescue the ship against impossible odds. Tough former soldier that he is, he must still conquer his recurring personal demon. His only son is aboard. He deserted his son once before and he fears he will fail him again.


Author Thomas Hollyday creates Chesapeake Bay characters who resonate with authenticity as they stand forth in world themes and conflict.


Thomas Hollyday (1942-present) was born in Easton, Maryland. His father was an acclaimed photographer and his mother a brilliant teacher.His father's family were active in the history of Maryland since its settlement while his mother's family were prominent in Democratic Party politics. His grandmother's family descended from a well known German industrial family of Baltimore. He grew up in the southern atmosphere of the Eastern Shore with its maritime and military heritage. He studied writing with Elliott Coleman at the prestigious Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars and with C.Michael Curtis of the Atlantic Monthly. He served with distinction in Vietnam and became a successful international businessman.He also drew illustrations for national magazines and published maritime and Civil War history. He currently edits the Wet Their Whistles newsletter for animal water rights ( He draws the popular humorous Animal Viewpoint Cartoons for newspapers. He continues to please his fans with new novels in his River Sunday Romance Mysteries collection. In his fiction he describes his recurring theme that human settlers since prehistoric times in the Chesapeake region have left a mist of legend and history that permeates its modern stories with a certain compelling truth. At the same time he incorporates the stories of machines with those of their human owners. Each novel, located in the small town of River Sunday, Maryland, also records the continuing beautiful nature of the area. His writing portrays today's problems, conflicts, and memorable local characters with their loves and their combat with evil. In Slave Graves Hollyday examines freedom and in Magnolia Gods, the issue of nuclear war. In the third novel, Powerboat Racer, he writes about racism, while in Gold, his theme is the homeless.His latest book,Terror Flower, about which critics write that he is a master of suspense,considers the strange faces of terrorism. These are well researched,fast paced stories, in which local heroes, both men and women, fight the high technology of modern adversaries often with only their bare hands and cunning.
Critical reviews:"Hollyday has an excellent sense of place, and I was most interested in the location, having spent a large part of my life along the Chesapeake and southern Delaware shores, a fascinating area with plenty of history."
Terror Flower has top fiction review: "This book has everything I like in a good mystery or suspense novel. A great story line with well rounded characters, easy to read dialogue (so important!) and descriptions that paint vivid pictures in your mind. When you feel the wind in your hair as they race down the road or feel the tension building in yourself as an argument is played out in front of you on the page - you know you've found an author who has not only a great idea for a story, but the talent to pull it off." K. Hale.
On Terror Flower from Midwest Book Review "The simplest solution is not always the correct one. 'Terror Flower' is a novel set in a Chesapeake Bay town, following Smote Rojos as he tries to find the truth behind the drowning of his grandfather. Exploring the tensions of the area and the country, Thomas Hollyday presents a novel with many levels and much to consider, and makes 'Terror Flower' a fun and much recommended read for mystery and fiction collections. J. Cox
book review:July 20 2012:Powerboat RacerBy: Thomas HollydayMy Review:Sometimes, when reading a book that is racially charged, the author can go overboard and make readers feel a bit uncomfortable or leave them squirming in their seats. Not so with this book, Powerboat Racer, by author Thomas Hollyday. Instead, he does a great job of bringing to the surface the prejudice that we still struggle with in our country, and how a small town, and big city reporter each deal with it.
The book revolves around Harry Jacobson, who was at one time a highly respected journalist in New York City, but has been fired from his job. Feeling disgraced, he leaves the city and takes a job as an editor for a small paper on the Chesapeake. Being a sleepy town, there is very little "big" news to report, so when some children come across a sucken racing boat said to be lost over 30 years ago. Thinking it is a run of the mill story, he heads out to check it out. When he arrives on-scene, his curiosity is immediately peaked due to the people that have come out to the scene.
After he does some research, the finds out that the boat belonged to a black man, Walker James. The boat, named "Black Duck", was the scene of a fire that resulted in the death of two white women. After the fire, Walker James was never seen again, nor was his body found - leading the entire community to assume he purposely killed the women and then fled.
Due to the racial controversy in the town, Harry struggles with whether or not he should even cover the story or dredge up old wounds in the community. As he starts to receive threats on his life, he proceeds to uncover the mystery that has plagued this community for over 30 years - and the truth that gives this story its unique twist.
I really enjoyed the story and the characters were very well rounded and believable. Fast paced mystery with many twists and turns - definitely worth the read!
Anne Stinson, long time established book critic of Maryland, writes "The shrewd reader will identify one bad guy early on, but the ending of the book, fraught with as many special effects as an action movie, has a climax as vivid as an IMAX movie that makes the audience wear those funny 3-D glasses. In short, Terror Flower is a cautionary tale. (It's) Not a likely scenario but a deliciously scary battle between good and evil...I really enjoyed this tale and read it twice. Recommended."
Sandra Gallegos, Married to a Geek blog critic- re: Powerboat Racer-
"Reading any story or news that have to to do with civil rights being violated or the struggles people had to endure to get the freedom we have today is always interesting and intriguing to me. I love to read any kind of book that can take me back to a time when history was being created. This book does just that! I realy felt like I was discovering the truth right along with Harry during his investigation. Thomas did a great job in his writing. Yes, it's true digging into the past and finding the truth seems hard at first but discovering the truth is always a good thing regardless of how hurtful it seems which is what we conclude with this story. I am sure this is the case with many untold stories out there. This makes you want to start an investigation on your own."
Jackie Paulson August 14 2012 "Just when I thought I knew it was the nephew a surprising twist comes to play with my brain. I felt like I was there in each of the scenes and I could imagine myself being there as if it were happening to my brother...I enjoyed reading this mystery,thriller, as each page led me to want to keep on reading until the mystery was solved.

 My Review

China Jewel by Thomas Hollyday
Love this book right from the start because it has me looking up world maps of the race destinations and other words I'm not familiar with.
Within the first few chapters I have found myself smiling, almost laughing out loud with tears in my eyes because of a phrase or cadence I had read.
What a story, there's so much to it on many levels. This book would please all readers no matter what it is they are looking for. The mystic of Pancake...
Romance, flowers/gardening, mystery, treasure, sailing, and travel.
Loved all the locations described in the book. With just the right amounts of romance and love in the book so as not to take away from the action and adventure it's a very well rounded book.
I was surprised at many thing that happened during the journey with all the action and was craving more from the occupants on the brig at the time of the sail. Such a smooth read. Hope author will make another book from their viewpoint.
Easy to keep track of the characters and love how they are all linked together. This author's name will be put on my 'read if you want a good story and you won't be disappointed' list. I have some reading to catch up on as the author has lots more books available.
I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Interview Questions and Answers: 

What was your favorite part writing

The development and discovery of characters is my favorite part. I came up with these interesting people and put them into the story situation. Often, during the writing, they have unplanned different reactions to problems and I find that fascinating. When I started with Cutter I had him a pretty hard bitten man. As the story developed I found that his interest in flowers from his childhood began to drive the softer part of his personality. It opened the way for him to have a new relationship with his son. 

What was the most difficult part to write?
My books follow the basic plot of a stranger coming to a small town, finding love, and solving a major crime which has the local people terrorized.  Usually the terror or crime is related to a major problem in today’s society. In China Jewel I was interested in greed and how it drives business both now and in the past. I used the story of a clipper ship, the John Gilpin  one on which I had done years of research, and adapted it and its navigation log to the Peregrine and a modern ocean race. I must say that turning my own sailing knowledge into enough expertise to command the story  for sail expert readers took a lot of work.  I hope I have succeeded as it was a challenge but one that I loved doing.

Have you yourself done the extensive sailing as described?
Wish I had. I remember  that my Maryland writer cousin Chris Tilghman once  said to me that he had little experience  on an ocean liner when he described one in  his prize winning book. My own ocean experience was in a tramp freighter as a super cargo crossing the Pacific on the way to Vietnam during the war. I must say that she was really a tramp and her speed was not much more than a Nineteenth Century sailing ship.  I have spent years sailing the Chesapeake. I also  spent months planning an underwater  search for the wreck of the John Gilpin  in New York harbor.

What gave you the idea to write this book? 
 As in all my novels,  I was able to juxtapose the past and the present with this story. The tale of the race provided  opportunities for romance and suspense. The legends of the Chesapeake gave color. The characters were ideal for good and evil and enough adventure to provide the reader with a fast moving story.

What do you do to relax-get away from writing: cooking, sailing, running, etc? 
Well, my wife and I are quilters. I do watercolors and various illustrations. Beyond that, I have my astronomy interests and to keep me in shape, I swim.


scans of quotations from the book and pictures to illustrate them

Chesapeake made keepsake boxes and they are very popular. I’ll offer one free as a prize  

Prize: one keepsake box (US only) , 5 ebook copies to winners (INT)
author's works:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


julie barrett said...

Great to have read your book, Thomas.

Exc read and I'm amazed to learn of the quilting as it's something I also love to do.

Julie Ryan said...

Looks like a good read

julie barrett said...

Thanks for stopping in Julie. Enter for your chance to win one of the prizes.


amy o'neal said...

thanks for the invite julie

Dii said...

Beautiful cover, wonderful review, Julie!

tammy ramey said...

love the cover it's beautiful and the book sounds wonderful. i can hardly wait to start reading. :)

tammy ramey

Lynelle Clark said...

Thanks for the invitation and Giveaway. Love historical books and this one sounds interesting.
Wish you all the best.

Lynelle Clark said...

Thanks for your invitation to this great giveaway. Love historical books and this sounds interesting.
Wish you all the best.

Lynelle Clark said...

Thanks for the giveaway, sounds very interesting.
Wish you all the best

Katrina Epperson said...

This looks like a great book. What was Thomas's inspiration?

julie barrett said...

Katrina, that was one of my questions to him also. it's answered above :}