Daily Archives: July 24, 2009

Book Review – A Year on Ladybug Farm

Title: A Year on Ladybug Farm

Author: Donna Ball

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date: March 2009

1st Edition

Pages: 374

Price: $14.00

ISBN: 978-0-425-22587-5


A Year on Ladybug Farm is the story of three women in their fifties who strike out on an adventure together. When Bridget’s husband dies, the women who have lived most of their adult lives on the same street and have travelled the world together decide it might be time to purchase a home together.  They find a run down mansion in the Shenandoah Valley that they each fall in love with.  Cici wants to make use of her skills with tools, while Lindsey pictures the dairy barn becoming her art studio and Bridget is in love with the kitchen.  If nothing else, Cici runs the numbers and decides that with the needed improvements, it could be a great investment. The house gets its name from the multitude of ladybugs found in the vacant house.  They feel the ladybug is a good omen and decide to give it a year to see whether they feel the same way at years end.

 The main characters are Cecille Burke, a divorced, REALTOR with a daughter in college and an ex-husband who is wealthy and hob knobs with Hollywood celebrities.  Lindsey Wright is a single, teacher and an artist who seemed to have postponed her own attempts as an artist, while Bridget Tyndale is a recent widow with two grown children whose cooking skills make her the one the other two turn to for catering the grand parties, the three women have a reputation for putting together.

 The characters feel whole; in fact, I would love to find friends like them.  I was not ready to let the characters go by story’s end.  Luckily, I discovered a sequel coming out in October. 

 The author wove a ghost, other quirky characters, and subplots to make a most enjoyable read.  Her description of setting was realistic and pulled me deeper into the story.

 I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys heart-warming stories about women who have lived long enough to experience life’s ups-and-downs and still have the courage to find new adventures.

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Posted by on July 24, 2009 in Book Review


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Want to Write A Novel – Secondary Characters

If you have been following my blog, you know that the past few days, I’ve been working on secondary characters, specifically victims, because I am writing a mystery.

 The how-to book I am using, suggested that my story have three crimes with three victims, haven’t quite got there yet.  I have two crimes and two victims.

 The first victim came to me when I started developing my original idea.  That victim is my protagonist’s, (sleuth’s) fiancé Brad.  Because these characters don’t have a huge part in the story, I’m not spending as much time developing them that I will on the protagonist (sleuth), antagonist (villain) and some other secondary characters that support the story with possible sub-plots.

 Bradley Morton is 45 years old, 6’ tall, dark hair with distinguished gray temples; he is smart but somewhat smarmy. The protagonist’s friends have thought this every since they first met him.  He cheats on Rachel.  The villain will use him as a pawn to get back at Rachel. Since it will help the story if the victims have secrets, his secrets are that he cheats and gambles and Rachel doesn’t know about it. 

 The second crime is the murder of one of Rachel’s college professors.  He is Benjamin Hollingsworth.  He is 46 years old. (For some reason my protagonist is attracted to older men.) Benjamin is 5’10” tall slender with an almost feminine structure and features.  He likes to dress as a woman and that is his main secret.  He also flirts with the coeds, not necessarily, because he is interested in them but because he likes to check out their beauty secrets.

 Some of his other secrets that may come into the story, or may not are: He resents students who have succeeded where he failed with his writing.  He drinks a lot. He does have a completed manuscript that has made the rounds to lots of publishers.

 As for the crimes themselves, they will both be murders that happen in the bedroom.  The first is Bradley, the fiancé and as I explained before, he will die while with another woman but Rachel will make it look like she was the person he was with, at the time.  It saves her pride until the police discover that he was poisoned.

 Ben’s death will be similar.  Rachel will have had some contact with Ben after Bradley’s death.  He will die while with someone else, but what connects the crime to Rachel is that, that someone will plant a personal item of Rachel’s at the scene.

 I may need to create another crime but for now, I think I will leave it with these two and go on.

 I hope you are having as much fun developing your story and characters as I am.  If you want to give me suggestions or any comments about what we are doing, please do so.  I hope you will continue following my adventure and I really hope you are writing along with me. 

I will be developing a separate page on my blog with the each step we take while writing this novel.  If you are joining me now and want to catch up, that is where you should go.

 Our next step is creating the antagonist (villain). 

 Until next time,



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