Monday, December 22, 2008

Book Review - The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister


















The School of Essential Ingredients
Erica Bauermeister
Putnam Adult
ISBN # 978-0399155437

I'm finding it hard to do this book justice. It's intoxicating, intriguing and moving. It educates and entertains. It will make you giggle, sigh, yearn for romance and grieve for loss. Everything about it is beautiful, including the cover.

The main story revolves around a cooking class - the teacher and her eight students. But the stories of the characters are interwoven elegantly throughout, each dish triggering a memory vignette specific to each student.

I loved The School of Essential Ingredients, but then again, I love to cook and I love psychology. And I especially love words that make me see the story and feel the emotions of the characters. Erican Bauermeister is a talented writer and I can't wait to see what she does next!
(January 2009, pp 256, $24.95)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Book Review - What Happy Parents Do: Ninety-Three Cents and a Little Humpty Dumpty--The Loving Little Rituals of a Child-Proof Marriage


















by Carol J. Bruess and Anna D.H. Kudak

There is an old saying "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." The truth is if Mama AND Papa ain't happy, they're probably not doing their children any favors, either. Protecting and nurturing the parents' relationship is the most important thing in raising healthy, happy children.

What Happy Parents Do provides suggestions on how to take care of each other, and gives anecdotes from real couples on how they've done just that. Loving and supporting each other isn't always about grand gestures. Sometimes the little things we do mean much more.

What Happy Parents Do is an excellent little book to give to new parents!
(Fairview Press, pp 112, $14.95)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Be a Shutterbug!

Last Christmas, one of my gifts was a very nice digital camera. It was a discontinued model and cost less than $100.00. The photos are crisp and clean, and the camera is easy to use.

I have made it a habit to have it close at hand. I take it with me wherever I go. I took some gorgeous photos this Fall when I was out hiking in the nearby woods.

If you are a freelance writer, photos make your stories that much more desirable to editors. And some publications pay you for your photos, as well as your words. So, get to clicking that shutter, you never know when a photo might complement one of your articles.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving the bird







Well, maybe not so much the bird, as the means by which to cook it.









The husband and I bought an Electric Roaster five years ago. I was tired of tying up the stove when I wanted to roast a turkey, and it was an affordable solution at $30.00. Then, friends of ours bought a new house, so we gave them a roaster as a housewarming present. And then, we bought hubby's sister and brother-in-law one for Christmas.

A roaster is the type of present that the recipient either loves, or sticks in a cabinet somewhere to grow multiple layers of dust. In both cases of our giving, the roasters were big hits. As I was basting our Thanksgiving bird today, I had to smile, knowing our friends and family were making use of our gifts to them.

No matter what you had for dinner today, or how you cooked it, I hope you made lifelong memories and experienced heartwarming moments. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Books, games and holiday travel.

Thanksgiving is two days away and those who are heading out to see family are more likely to be traveling by ground this year. If you, and your kids, are roadtripping on Thursday, why not unplug the gadgets and enjoy some old-fashioned travel games. And when you need some quiet, have the older kids read to themselves, or read aloud to the littler ones.

The Licence Plate (or Roadside Sign) Game - Starting with the letter "A", have your kids find all the letters of the alphabet, in order, by searching license plates or signs.

The All 50 States Game - Look for license plates from all 50 United States. Ask if anyone knows anything interesting about the States you see.

The Progressive Story Game - One person begins to tell a story, and then each person gets to add a sentence. You never know how the story will end.

The Word Association Game - We do this all the time. Someone says a word, and then everyone else says a word the word before reminds them of - this can get pretty silly.

I'm sure there are other games to play, but these are the ones we've used over the years. Please feel free to share your ideas in the comments.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Book Review - The Mighty Queens of Freeville by Amy Dickinson


















The Mighty Queens of Freeville
Amy Dickinson
Hyperion
ISBN # 978-1401322854


I received this book in the mail last week. I started reading it and put it down two hours later. Amy Dickinson writes so fluidly that I had no sense of time passing. The Mighty Queens of Freeville is a memoir, full of astute observations about life, love and family. I teared up in more than a couple of places, and some of the passages will stick with me forever.

This book would be an excellent Christmas gift, but it won't be available to purchase until early February. Perhaps a gift card with the express purpose to purchase The Mighty Queens of Freeville?
(February 2009, pp 240, $22.99)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Just Write Blog Carnival

I am part of the Just Write Blog Carnival going on now. Please visit to see the other great blogs participating!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mind your mouth, as well as your manners.

Saturday evening, my husband and I, along with a friend of ours, decided to grab dinner at a local restaurant. We thought it would be a nice way to end the day, as they had been out deer hunting for most of it. We don't typically eat out, mostly because we both love to cook. We like this restaurant, though - good food, laid back atmosphere and affordable.

I ordered a Julienne salad, and our waitress said "Oh, the cook is gonna love you." I said "Because it's easy to make?" and that's when everything started to slide downhill.

Apparently she was being facetious. When she brought our food, she went on a rant, directed at me, about how it took time to slice the ingredients for the salad, thereby pulling the cook away from all the other orders waiting to be made(there was only one other customer present at the time, and the food I ordered was offered on the menu). Well, I guess I've been disavowed of the notion that a salad is easy to make.

I had a really hard time eating. Suddenly, I lost my appetite, and any desire to stay. My husband and friend looked at each other, and then at me, with confused expressions on their faces. They asked if I wanted to go home. I told them to eat their food.

I've been thinking about this since it happened. I was embarrassed to be berated that way in public. It was incredibly rude and unprofessional. And we won't be spending our hard earned money there again.

It did teach me something, though. No matter what your job is, how you conduct yourself, moment to moment, day to day, will ultimately impact your bottom line.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Book Review - The Trouble With Boys by Peg Tyre



















The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do
Peg Tyre
Crown
ISBN # 978-0307381286

"Is your smart, capable son starting to struggle in school? When he talks about his lessons does he seem bored, disengaged or fearful? Or do you just have an uneasy sense that he's falling out of love with learning? A great many parents from all walks of life are noticing the same thing. They're wondering exactly what is going on. Has something changed about our boys, their schools or our culture that is making it hard for young males to succeed? I've spent the last 18 months asking educators, psychologists, historians, social scientists, doctors, boys and their parents those exact questions. And the answers I've come up with might surprise you. If you have a son who is not thriving in school and you care deeply about his education and his future, I've written this book for you."
- Peg Tyre

I am raising three healthy, vibrant, active, boisterous bright sons - ages 17, 11 and 6. Without exception, they have all experienced ongoing issues with school. Not one of them enjoys homework. Each of them struggles with spelling. They have a hard time with organization and getting their assignments in on time.

We (my husband and I) read to them and with them. Our house is full of books. We all love music and words. Each boy has a vocabulary well beyond their grade level. We don't watch a lot of television, we limit their time playing video games, and we spend as much time as possible doing outdoor things - gardening, hiking, playing ball, fishing.

I've thought for years that boys have a more difficult time in a structured school setting than girls. My only daughter (19) was an excellent student. She learned quickly, enjoyed school, participated in extra-curricular activities and graduated High School with a solid B average.

Peg Tyre, through her thorough and comprehensive research, has written a book that explains some of the whys and hows of boys' current struggles to attain a solid education. In reading it, I found myself nodding and saying "Ah hah!" If your son(s) are falling behind or seem lackluster about attending school, this is the book you need to read!
(September 2008, pp 320, $24.95)

If you'd like to see a video of Peg Tyre talking about her book, please click here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gEqI86KRAA

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

High turnover in the print world

According to many Tweets and blog posts I've been reading lately, more than the usual number of print magazines are folding and editors are either losing their jobs, or moving on to other publications. As a freelance writer, this is rather worrisome. Luckily, I also know how to write for the Web, so there are other options open to me. And, I'm not afraid to stretch out to write for Regionals and/or Trade magazines.

I've never aspired to be a "niche" writer. Being a "generalist" keeps many doors partially open, as long as I am willing to reach wider and higher. How will you adjust to fewer print publications being produced?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Book Review - Janeology by Karen Harrington







Janeology
Karen Harrington
Kunati Inc.
ISBN # 978-1601640208

"Jane, a loving mother of two, has drowned her toddler son and is charged with his murder in this powerful examination of love, loss, and family legacy. When a prosecutor decides Jane's husband Tom is partially to blame for the death and charges him with "failure to protect," Tom's attorney proposes a radical defense. He plans to create reasonable doubt about his client's alleged guilt by showing that Jane's genealogy is the cause of her violence, and that she inherited her latent violence in the same way she might inherit a talent for music or a predisposition to disease. He argues that no one could predict or prevent the tragedy, and that Tom cannot be held responsible."

Janeology is a heartbreaking story. It's not bad enough that Tom loses a child and his wife, but then he is charged with being a neglectful father, because he couldn't predict his wife's behavior. The depth and breadth of this book lead the reader to consider how far a person will go to understand their circumstances and prove their innocence. Well written and intriguing, Janeology is a book you won't want to put down.
(April 2008, pp 256, $24.95)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Busy with books and writing

I've been working with a client on developing marketing materials. Sooo much fun! I enjoy being in on a project from the ground up.

I'm in the middle of two different books, look for reviews of them over the next two weeks. And I've been trying to get caught up on all the magazines I've received lately.

As soon as the kids get home from school, we'll be doing dinner and then it's off to Trick or Treat. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hope

I've been hesitant to talk politics here. I don't want to dissuade people from reading if they don't agree with my beliefs or affiliations. It makes no difference to me whether you are a Republican, Democrat or an Independent, please vote on Tuesday. It's your right, as our government is by and for the people.

Having said all that, I watched Barack Obama last night. I found myself on the brink of tears a few times. America is facing incredibly difficult times right now. Many of the people I know are starting to sweat. They're not sure what their future looks like and it scares them to death. I worry about them, as well as about my own family.

Every time I listen to Senator Obama, I feel myself drawn into his message of change and hope. Let's face it, hope has been scarce lately. Dogged acceptance of circumstance seems to be the current atmosphere. I think America is better than this. The last eight years have bogged us down further and further into a quagmire of fear and disappointment. Uncertainty and desperation are not good places to work from.

I think that Barack Obama has what it takes to run this country. I've read and watched as much as I can about him. If you don't share my opinion, that's okay. It's a free country, last I checked. And yes, I've read up on McCain, and Palin, and Biden.

My birthday is Election Day. I will be 39 years old. I have never looked forward to a birthday so much as this one. Not even my 21st. I want to know who our next President will be, and I want the campaigning to be over.

I'm back.

Last time I posted I was waiting on things. My friend who was in the hospital is okay. My book was returned. And the work was fun to do.

I tried my hand at copywriting and discovered that I really like it, I'm good at it and I'd like to do more. It's fun turning dry facts into "gotcha" copy!

I'm also back to writing query letters to publications. Some ideas have popped over the last week or so, and I want to turn them into articles.

So, I'm back on the writing train. And I'll be blogging daily again. I've missed it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Waiting game...

Today will be a day of waiting....

I'm waiting on a book to be returned to me. I'm waiting to hear about a friend of mine who is in the hospital. I'm waiting to hear about potential work.

So, instead of being unproductive while I wait, I'll be writing a press release for a client, formatting a book review and spending a little time on housework.

October has been a very strange month, so far.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Book Review - The Dracula Dossier by James Reese











The Dracula Dossier
James Reese
William Morrow
ISBN # 978-0061233548


I love it when worlds collide! The Dracula Dossier is the story of Bram Stoker (pre-Dracula), and his unwitting introduction and subsequent involvement with a man presumed to be Jack the Ripper. James Reese paints a stunning portrait of Stoker and his circle of literary friends - Walt Whitman, Lady Jane Wilde, her son, Oscar and Sir Thomas Henry Hall Caine.

I see Mr. Reese as a sort of magician. In the writing of this book, and showing us the fantastical life of Stoker, he lets us see what happens behind the smoke and mirrors.
(October 7, 2008, pp 368, $24.95)

Friday, October 3, 2008

There is only one "u" in nuclear

One of my pet peeves is the pronunciation of the word nuclear as nuculer. President Bush says nuculer, as does Governor Sarah Palin. It makes my teeth hurt when I hear it.

I looked the word up at dictionary.com. This is what I found.

—Pronunciation note In pronouncing nuclear, the second and third syllables are most commonly said as /-kliər/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[-klee-er] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation, a sequence of sounds that directly reflects the spelled sequence ‑cle·ar. In recent years, a somewhat controversial pronunciation has come to public attention, with these two final syllables said as /-kyələr/[-kyuh-ler]. Since /-kliər/[-klee-er], the common pronunciation of ‑cle·ar, might also be represented, broadly, as /-kləyər/[-kluh-yer], the /-kyələr/[-kyuh-ler] pronunciation can be seen as coming from a process of metathesis, in which the /l/[l] and the /y/[y] change places. The resulting pronunciation is reinforced by analogy with such words as molecular, particular, and muscular, and although it occurs with some frequency among highly educated speakers, including scientists, professors, and government officials, it is disapproved of by many.

So, I suppose it's acceptable, but I still don't like it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Good news!

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent has been chosen by The Happy Bookers Club for discussion during the month of October. Please feel free to join the discussion!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Last Blog Stops for September

Please drop by...

Devourer of Books for a review of The River, By Moonlight by Camille Marchetta

The Bluestocking Society for a review of Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins

Friday, September 26, 2008

Blog Stops!

Please visit

Flibbity Gibbet for a review of Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins

Mom Is Just A Nickname for a review of The River, By Moonlight by Camille Marchetta

Bookish Ruth for a review of The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

One Blog Stop today!

Stop by Sharp Words for a fantastic review of The River, By Moonlight by Camille Marchetta.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ch... ch... changes

Changes are afoot. I'm working through them now. Will post more later.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Two Blog Stops today!

Please drop by Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'? for a review of The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent.

And then visit Writers, Witches and Words... Oh, My! for a review of Camille Marchetta's The River, By Moonlight.

Is your child a budding author?

Somewhere in my browsing of the web last week I found a cool website for kids who write!

Register for free at Tikatok, upload your child's illustrations and writings, and for right around $20.00, they'll ship you an actual book.

When my daughter was small, her aunt and uncle wrote a storybook for her. If something like this had been available then, I would have spent the money to have it hard bound. Check it out.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Blog Stops today!

Please visit -

She Reads Books for a review of The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

Devourer of Books for a review of Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins

From The Cheap Seats for a review of The River, By Moonlight by Camille Marchetta

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Freelance Writing stuff

Freelance Writing Jobs - FWJ branches out into radio today at Blog Talk Radio. The show starts at 11 am EST. Today's topic will be first freelance writing jobs and how things have changed since that first gig.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Blog Stops today!

Something She Wrote for a review of The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

Jenn Hollowell: Author and Mixed Media Artist for a review of The River, By Moonlight by Camille Marchetta

Vitesis for a review of Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins

Friday, September 12, 2008

Two Blog Stops today!

Two more fantastic reviews!

Stop by Jenn Hollowell: Working Writer to read a review of Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins

and then, Book Room Reviews for a review of The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

Also, check out this blog post about Book Trailers.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Honor the memory, but continue to live.

It's raining today. I turned on the television, but then promptly shut it off. I haven't forgotten and I never will.

Instead of being glued to the news, as I was seven years ago, I will take advantage of a day without children underfoot. I have lots of ideas for blog posts, a fantastic mystery to finish reading, a book review to write and a double batch of chocolate chip cookies to make. That should keep me busy until the kids arrive home around 3 pm.

In my way, I will honor the life, and lives, gifted to me. I will hug my boys a little longer when they come in the door. I will curl up next to my husband when I crawl into bed tonight. I will text my daughter the words "I love you." I will be present in the moment, because it is the only one that truly exists.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Blog Stops today!

The reviews for the books touring this month at Blog Stop Book Tours have been nothing less than stellar. The three today are living up to those before them!

Please visit -

From The Cheap Seats for a review of Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins

Writers, witches and words... oh, my! for a review of The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

B&B ex libris for a review of The River, By Moonlight by Camille Marchetta

Monday, September 8, 2008

Two Blog Stops today - Midwife of the Blue Ridge and The Heretic's Daughter

Stop by -

The Book Faery Reviews for an excellent review of Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins

Literarily for an amazing review of The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

Friday, September 5, 2008

More Blog Stops today - Midwife of the Blue Ridge, The River, By Moonlight and The Heretic's Daughter

Please stop by -

Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'? for a review of The River, By Moonlight by Camille Marchetta.

Mama Needs A Book Contract for a review of Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins

Anything That Pays... A Freelance Writer's Blog for a review of The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Escape

I spent my early afternoon up at the local cemetery. No, no one died. It just happens to be the most peaceful place available to me lately.

My step-son is attending High School online, which means he's at home a couple of days a week when he's not working at Mickie D's. We have a DSL line and if more than one of us is connected to the 'net, my computer bogs down. So, instead of growing ever more frustrated, I decided to go read a book (for review) in my car at the cemetery.

It's actually kind of cozy. I tilt the steering wheel up, push the seat all the way back and get comfortable. Then I push the button for MN Public Radio and relax. I can hear the birds singing and the breeze blowing through the trees. And there's usually not a living soul around to interrupt me.

How do you escape when the need arises?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First day of the school year - 2008

All around the United States, stay-at-home and work-at-home Moms are breathing a sigh of relief right about now. Summer is fun, but it's really nice to send the kids off to school to fill their brains with knowledge, and get back to some semblance of normalcy.

I've already taken a shower (in a blissfully empty house), started a load of laundry and washed a sink full of dishes. I will be using the rest of my quiet time to straighten up and organize my office, finish reading Shadow of Colossus by T. L. Higley and quite possibly write a query letter or two. Blog Stop took what little time I had over the summer, so I REALLY want to get back to a bit of freelance writing.

Monday, September 1, 2008

September's Blog Stop Book Tours start today!

Please visit -

Mom Is Just A Nickname for a review of Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins

Devourer of Books for a review of The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

The Bluestocking Society for a review of The River, By Moonlight by Camille Marchetta

Saturday, August 30, 2008

September is historical fiction month, or so it would seem.

As I've mentioned before, I was not a big fan of Historical Fiction as a kid. I suspect that has much to do with the fact that history classes in school were pretty dry - so and so did this, because of that, on this date. Memorize, regurgitate, file away in the back of the brain.

I've been reading a ton of Historical Fiction lately, and absolutely LOVING it! The three books touring at Blog Stop Book Tours in September are all H.F. and well worth reading.

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent










The Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins










The River, By Moonlight by Camille Marchetta

Please drop by to see where these books are stopping on their tours and to read interviews with all three authors. These are talented, brilliant writers!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Oh what a beautiful morning!

My six year old woke me up this morning with "I'm hungry!" - sounds like a clarion call to me.

So, I rolled out of bed, grabbed a very necessary cup of coffee and got him some breakfast. Then, I was pleasantly surprised to find lots of discussion going on at Author Talks! Good questions and answers for so early in the morning.

The last Blog Stop of Ellen Meister's tour is today. Please visit She Is Too Fond of Books to read an excellent review of The Smart One!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Author Talks! with Ellen Meister, author of The Smart One

Comments are now enabled at Author Talks! Ellen will be available tomorrow and Saturday to address comments and questions about her book The Smart One. Come by and join the discussion!

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

...with school bells aringing and mothers everywhere singing,
be of good cheer! The beginning of the new school year!

Sorry, but I just needed to let a wee bit of my elation out. Today was busy. I posted the author and book information for the September virtual book tours at Blog Stop. I also added two author interviews to the Author 10 Q&A page.

I've decided to hold my commentary about the Presidential race until after the Republicans have completed their party in the Twin Cities. I figure I should at least give the GOP a chance. It probably won't sway my opinion, but I like to be well informed before stating my mind.

I'm off to listen to Obama accept the nomination. America has come a long way, baby!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Busier than a one-armed paper hanger.

Lots of stuff going on here. Last night was my 6th grader's open house. Tonight was my 1st grader's. Between last minute shopping for school supplies, marking names on everything and filling out paperwork for the kids to take to school with them on Tuesday, I'm not sure if I'm coming, going or upside down.

Add to that housework, cooking, my work and trying to get some sleep. Whewwwww!

I have some things I'd like to say about the Democratic National Convention, but that will wait until tomorrow. For now, I will check email one more time and then crawl into bed with a book. I may get one page read before my eyes slam shut.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rescue me...!

The husband, the boys and I decided to hike down by the river last night. It was a gorgeous, temperate Minnesota evening and we wanted to take advantage of it. As we were walking back to the car, I heard a mewww. Then I heard another one, looked over across the road, and saw a tiny, not more than 10 weeks old, kitten. All alone, no houses it could belong to, and no collar.

Call me a sap, a sucker or downright sentimental, but there was no way I could leave that kitten on the side of a well traveled highway to get squished. I rescued it. We brought her home, introduced her to our other cats and they are now trying to work out their differences.

Introducing Shadow - 10 weeks old



















And this is Girr - 6 months old.
















And this is Honey - 4 years old.














Honey and Girr look a lot alike in their facial markings. Honey is a marble tabby. We're not sure about Girr. Shadow is a Tortoiseshell Tabby.

I didn't intend to have a house full of cats, but as it happens, I do.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Blog Stop today for Ellen Meister's The Smart One


See what Dawn has to say about Ellen Meister's The Smart One over at Anything That Pays... A Freelance Writer's Blog!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Woopsie!

I got so busy with work this morning and kids this afternoon, that I just now realized I hadn't blogged yet.

My stepson's birthday is today. He's 17. Happy birthday to him!

My littlest boy asked me to make playdough earlier. So, I used Google to find a recipe for it, and I made a batch. We used food coloring to make blue, yellow and green dough. We had lots of fun squishing the dough to even out the color. I had green fingers for a little while. Cam and my older boy played at the table for a couple of hours. It was great.

The recipe follows.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
2 tablespoons oil (olive or vegetable)
2 tablespoons cream of tartar

Mix flour, cream of tartar, salt and oil in a saucepan. Slowly add the water. Cook over medium heat, stirring until dough becomes stiff. Turn out onto wax paper and let cool. Knead the playdough with your hands until of proper consistency.

It feels just like playdough you'd buy at the store, but it doesn't smell like it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Blog Stop today.

Read a review of The Smart One by Ellen Meister at Book Room Reviews!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Book Review - A Broom of One's Own: Words on Writing, Housecleaning, and Life by Nancy Peacock

A Broom of One's Own: Words on Writing, Housecleaning, and Life

Nancy Peacock


In A Broom of One's Own, Nancy Peacock, whose first novel was selected by the New York Times as a Notable Book of the Year, explores with warmth, wit, and candor what it means to be a writer. An encouragement to all hard-working artists, no matter how they make a living, Peacock's book provides valuable insights and advice on motivation, craft, and criticism while offering hilarious anecdotes about the houses she cleans.

A friend of mine handed me a copy of A Broom of One's Own, smiling broadly, and was adamant that I read it. "You'll love it!" she said.

Well, she was right, I did love it. Nancy Peacock shares insights as to the life of a writer. It's not all glitter, gold and instant fame. Mostly it's compulsion, and fear and minor success. As the old saying goes, "Don't quit your day job."

If you're a writer, I highly recommend reading A Broom of One's Own. You'll see yourself in the pages.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Blog Stop today for Ellen Meister's The Smart One

Stop by Fighting With Writing to read a great review of Ellen Meister's The Smart One.

Also, Ellen will be available for comments and questions on August 29 and 30 at Author Talks! Please come by and join the discussion.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Judging a book by its cover... we all do it.

Through my work as a virtual book tour coordinator, I've seen a lot of eye catching book covers lately. Now, the cover does not necessarily determine the quality or subject of the story, but it can certainly influence our choice to purchase it.

Think about it, if all book covers were white, with the title and author's name on the front, it wouldn't be nearly as much fun to browse at the bookstore, would it? It's visually entertaining to see all those colors and fonts.

Book cover designs are all about grabbing the buyer's attention. Half the battle of selling books is pursuading a person to pick up the book, read the back cover and flip through the pages. And, hey, if the book looks good, maybe it'll find a permanent home on the buyer's bookshelf - long term exposure and promotion.

So, here's my question...

Does the design on the cover of a book influence you? What motivates you to choose a book - the colors, the pictures, the font? I'm terribly curious to know, so feel free to share.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Simon says...

A fellow writer friend of mine gave birth to a beautiful little boy a couple of weeks ago. Little being an understatement. You see, Simon was born at 24 weeks gestation, weighing in at 1 pound 7 ounces. In the first two weeks of his life, Simon has already undergone heart surgery to close the hole in his heart that all babies are born with, but causes issues in preemies.

Simon is a fighter, just like his mama. Mysti is amazingly strong. Instead of letting her fear and concern shut her down, she has kept on trucking. She has her priorities straight, not the least of which is her older son, Jaden. Jaden is 4 years old and he worries about his mom and his new baby brother.

If you'd like to read Simon's story, as it's written, please visit Mysti's blog, One Woman's Heart. Mysti's strength in the face of extreme adversity is a source of profound inspiration.

Book Review - Being Written by William Conescu






















Being Written
William Conescu
Harper Perennial
ISBN # 978-0061451348

Imagine being the only one who knows an author is writing your part in his story. What would you do for a larger, or maybe the largest, part in the book? Daniel aspires to be THE main character in the novel he hears being written. Each time the pencil scritches on the page, Daniel listens attentively and acts to maintain his existence in the prose.

I couldn't, and still can't, decide whether Being Written is the story of the machinations of a madman's mind, or the story of a character trying to earn his place in a book. I'm not sure it matters. William Conescu has written an intriguing tale in an original way, and for that I am grateful.
(September 2008, pp 224, $13.95)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Books, books and more books!

I've been reading a lot the last two days. Yesterday, I read Being Written by William Conescu. It packs a lot of punch in 193 pages. I'll be reviewing it tomorrow.

I just started The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss - more Historical Fiction. It'll take me a bit longer to get through this one, but so far, it's a keeper!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Choices... and the road less taken.

A friend/acquaintance of friends passed away yesterday morning. He was in his late fifties and he was a performer. He spent his life doing what he loved. His name is not likely one you'd know.

I could link to what his best friend posted in a blog, or to the write up in the local newspaper. I could even link to his website, but this really isn't about his personal details.

I've had many opportunities over the last few years to see the show. I was at the venue five times, two years ago. But, see, the thing is... the performance wasn't something I was particularly interested in at the time. I'd heard great things, but I thought nah, I'll get to it next time. Now, there is no next time.

I have a bad habit (as I suspect we all do) of thinking I have all the time in the world. There will always be tomorrow. Every few years, I'm snapped back to reality and reminded to DO IT NOW! whatever it is. The man whose life reminded me of this again did exactly that. The only moment that truly exists is the one we're experiencing right now.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Random things...

It was an incredibly busy weekend. House stuff, kid stuff, garden stuff. We accomplished a lot!

I also devoured Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer. I enjoyed it, but thought it could be shorter by about a quarter. Interesting plot twists that I, and I'm sure her other millions of readers, never saw coming. It was a bit anti-climactic where the climax should have been, but she did leave herself open for a spin off series.

Today will be busy. Brainstorming session with a friend and marketing genius. Writing interview questions for the authors touring in September. Networking. And, of course, stuff with the kids.

Three more weeks til school starts....

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Blog Stop today - Ellen Meister's The Smart One

Another fantastic review of Ellen Meister's The Smart One at The Book Faery Reviews!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Blog Stop today - Ellen Meister's The Smart One

Read an amazing review of The Smart One by Ellen Meister at Musings From The Mitten!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

For a lazy summer day, it's sure been busy.

So far today...

- typed up and emailed answers to interview questions
- run to the grocery store with the youngest boy
- fed the kids lunch - waffles, yummmmm
- grabbed something to eat for myself
- baked lemon bars, mostly because it's cool today
- started reading a book for review
- glanced through the new issue of The Writer magazine
- washed dishes
- done laundry

I still have more to get done, but I'm thinking it's been a productive day so far.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I'm here...

Woke up with a headache trying to take hold, so I worked on the things that HAD to be done. Really not so hot in the focus arena now, so I'm calling it a day.

Hope everyone had a better day than I.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Book Review - Guernica by Dave Boling

I seem to be on an historical fiction kick lately. Guernica by Dave Boling is just one of the books I've read lately about real life events.

"In 1935, Miguel Navarro finds himself in conflict with the Spanish Civil Guard, and flees the Basque fishing village of Lekeitio to make a new start in Guernica, the center of Basque culture and tradition. In the midst of this isolated bastion of democratic values, Miguel finds more than a new life—he finds someone to live for. Miren Ansotegui is a charismatic and graceful dancer who has her pick of the bachelors in Guernica, but focuses only on the charming and mysterious Miguel. The two discover a love that war and tragedy can not destroy.

History and fiction merge seamlessly in this beautiful novel about the resilience of family, love, and tradition in the face of hardship. The bombing of Guernica was a devastating experiment in total warfare by the German Luftwaffe in the run-up to World War II. For the Basques, it was an attack on the soul of their ancient nation; for the world, it was an unprecedented crime against humanity."


If you're an art buff, you have probably seen Pablo Picasso's painting, Guernica. I am almost ashamed to say that I was unaware of the painting or the town.

I loved this book, because it made what happened at Guernica real to me. I cared about the characters and I cried when I read the pages describing the bombing. Dave's writing is breathtakingly vivid. I could see the destruction. I could also feel the emotions of the people living through an unexpected attack on their lives. If you have the opportunity to read this book, take it, it'll be worth it!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Book Review - The Smart One by Ellen Meister

Just before jumping off yet another life- changing cliff, Bev, “The Smart One”, is thrown back into her old neighborhood and all that goes with it: her two sisters, the boy next door (whom she dated when they were teens until she found her little sister alone with him), aging parents, and a little murder-mystery thrown in for the ride.

When confronted with the reality of their shared past, the sisters suddenly find all their old secrets bubbling to the top – jealousy, low self esteem, fighting for attention – and become friends at last.

I enjoyed following the fast-paced story line, made possible by Meister’s skilled and witty writing….she had me until the last chapter, which I felt was unnecessary. The many directions these characters were going didn’t fit into a nice little box with a bow. Ellen Meister has written a fun and touching story full of characters that are real, if not a bit off-center. I look forward to meeting more of them.
- Lori Schneider

This review is part of Ellen Meister's Blog Stop Book Tour for The Smart One.

Friday, August 1, 2008

First Blog Stop for Ellen Meister's The Smart One


Cruise on over to Mom Is Just A Nickname to read the first review of The Smart One by Ellen Meister!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fanfare and timpani!

The table is finished and in our living room! Actually it's been in the house for a week, but I'm just now getting around to sharing photos.

Our neighbor had two extra chairs, unfinished, still in the boxes, so she contributed them to the cause. My husband will be making benches for either side of the table.

Not bad for $25.00 and some elbow grease, eh?






Two months down, one month to go...

Running a business from home is a challenge, especially when you're raising kids along with growing your business. I've been lucky enough to be sharing "kid care" with 3 other moms this summer. Our children are all around the same age, and there's been a variation on a theme of musical chairs along the lines of "who's house will the kids be at today?"

I will be sorry to see the summer end, but happy when September 2nd arrives.

All that being said, let me guess... you've been dying to know what book will be touring in August, right? Not so much? Well, I'm going to tell you anyway.


The Smart One by Ellen Meister is touring with Blog Stop Book Tours in August! Information is posted at the Authors On Tour page, and there's an interview with Ellen at the Author 10 Q&A page. Ellen will also be participating in Author Talks! toward the end of the month. So if you want to join in the discussion, go get the book!

The first Blog Stop for The Smart One is tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Blog Stop today and Author Talks!

Okay, the first ever Author Talks! book discussion is open! And look for a review today of Leah Starr Baker's The Bunko Babes at From The Cheap Seats... Reviews, Writings & More

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Author Talks! at Blog Stop Book Tours

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Leah Starr Baker, author of The Bunko Babes, will be available tomorrow and Thursday to chat with readers about her book. I will open up comments tonight before I go to bed. Stop by Author Talks! and leave a comment or a question for Leah.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Next to the last Blog Stop for July

Wow! July has flown by. Stop by A Mama's Rant for the next to the last review of The Bunko Babes by Leah Starr Baker.

The last stop will be on Wednesday.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Blog Stop Book Tours Author Talks!

July 30 and 31, Leah Starr Baker, author of The Bunko Babes, will be stopping by Blog Stop Book Tours to "chat" with readers. I'll post the link to the page on Tuesday, July 29.

It will work like this... I'll open up comments the morning of July 30. If you have comments or questions for Leah, post them, and then Leah will stop in periodically to address or answer them. The Author Talks! page will also be available July 31.

I really want to get a dialogue happening, and I thought it might be a cool way to connect Leah with readers. I'm hoping to do this with each author that tours.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dealing with loose ends.

Thursday seems to have become my day for catching up. So far today I've scheduled dates for book reviews for August, run to the hardware store, read some of the book I'm reviewing next week, washed dishes and run a load of laundry through the wash. And, oh yeah, read a bunch of blog posts that I subscribe to through Google Reader.

I still have things to get done today. Look for a blog post tomorrow about the new thing I'm trying out this month at Blog Stop Book Tours. The name of it is Author Talks!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Blog stop today for Leah Starr Baker's The Bunko Babes

Stop by Anything That Pays... A Freelance Writer's Blog to read a terrific review of The Bunko Babes by Leah Starr Baker

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Reigning in... stretching out.

So... ummm... yeah, I was missing in action yesterday. I have a better excuse, though, than the dog ate my homework.

I don't know about you, but I need room to work and especially to think. With the kids home for the summer, and all the things we've needed to get done while the weather is warm, the house has not been an uncluttered, pristine expanse of comfortable space. When the clutter reaches a certain point, I start to feel as though the walls are closing in. It usually takes an interesting catalyst to kick start me into taking back my space. The catalyst showed up Sunday afternoon.

We don't have a dining room, nor do we have a kitchen nook. This means that we haven't ever had a dining table in our house. We have TV tables that we use every evening when we sit down to dinner. I've been growing ever more dissatisfied with this arrangement, especially in the last six months or so.

We decided a month ago, that if we could find a table, we'd get rid of our couch, and put a table where the couch currently sits. I found a table! The antique shop down the street had one for $25.00. It needed to be refinished, about ten hours of work between sanding and polying, but we're no strangers to hard work. It should be done by Saturday.

In order to be ready for the couch to go out, and the table to go in, I spent yesterday cleaning and re-arranging the living room. It took me most of the day, but it's done.

As of Sunday morning, I will finally have a place to have coffee with my friends. I will also be able to sit at my table to write (gasp!) longhand if I want. My kids will have space to do their homework. I'll be able to do crafts with my youngest boy. I won't have to spread the bills out on my bed when I'm doing the monthly write checks thing.

I'm so excited!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Amazing book review today!

I've been doing virtual book tours since May, and I have to say, the bloggers who are reviewing books for the tours are fantastic! Smart, insightful and good writers - they are joy to work with!

To read what one of them has to say about The Bunko Babes by Leah Starr Baker, stop by Writing From Kiddom today.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rain

Is there anything better than the sound of a good soaking rain? There very well may be, but I can't think of anything right this second.

The mellow hiss/patter is intermittently interrupted by a crack of thunder. The lightning is keeping me from wanting to wash the dishes in the sink or load the washer (not that I ever really want to do those things anyway).

So, instead of attacking the household chores just yet, I think I'll sit down and work out my schedule for the rest of July and create a to-do list. That's productive use of a for-the-most-part-quiet summer rain, don't you think?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Book Review - The Bunko Babes by Leah Starr Baker

The Bunko Babes
Leah Starr Baker
Harrison House
ISBN # 978-0978513757

The Bunko Babes by Leah Starr Baker is one of those summer reads whose title and cover usually would send me elsewhere. Thankfully that didn’t happen this time, for which I was pleasantly rewarded. It isn’t often an author is able to include a character’s faith without attempting to convert the reader or use it to create conflict.

At first, keeping track of the many characters became more and more of a chore, to the point where I gave up – since they were the same women found most anywhere. However, this did allow me to relax and connect with the story Baker tells, which is where the power of this novel lies. The story of a life filled with the power of love - of family, of friends and of God - is never easy to put into words. Words that left me smiling.
- Lori Schneider

For more information about The Bunko Babes and Leah Starr Baker, please visit Blog Stop Book Tours.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Departure... of sorts.

I've spent the better part of the morning listening to Bernanke talk about the sad state of our economy. I'm discouraged. He keeps talking about how we got here, but not a lot about good solutions for improvements.

Gas prices are up. Food prices are up. When income can't possibly keep up with inflation, what is there to do?

Well, here's what we're doing.

  • We're driving a lot less. Hubby is picking up things we need at Target, or Walmart, or Home Depot on his way home from work. He drives right by the stores, so why make a trip when we don't have to? The local grocery and hardware store are within walking/biking distance, so if we need something right away, we're using our own physical power, instead of gas.
  • We're eating out less. We don't go out to eat very often anyway, but now it's really not an option.
  • We're using our Sam's Club membership much more. Since we're eating at home more, we're buying in bulk. It absolutely saves us money.
  • We are absolutely not installing the window air conditioner this year. On hot days, I close up the house by noon, and use box fans to keep the air moving. It was 101 degree heat index last Thursday. Our house stayed at a comfortable 83 degrees.
  • We are turning off lights when we don't need them. They throw heat during the day, so keeping them off keeps the house cool.
  • We're tending and nurturing our garden. Right now, we have raspberries, black raspberries, peas, cucumbers and tomatoes starting to come in. Have you seen how much tomatoes cost at the grocery store?! Not to mention the salmonella scare? Our gardens are organic, and we know whose hands have touched the food.
  • We are watering our gardens with rain water we've collected in plastic barrels. I refuse to pay for water, when it's only used for watering.
  • On cool days, we make our own bread. Granted, the Kitchen Aid mixer my mom bought for us years ago, makes it a much easier process, but still, when a loaf of bread is almost $2.00, making our own is cost effective.
  • We're buying 3 to 5 dozen eggs, instead of a dozen at a time. Much cheaper.
  • Our kids are drinking much more water, much less juice and pop. It may even save on dentist bills down the road.
  • And, we are using our library cards.

I'm sure there are other things we're doing, but these are the ones I can think of right now.

What are you doing to cut costs?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Something new!

Leah Starr Baker, author of The Bunko Babes, has graciously agreed to be part of a book discussion group, to talk about her book, at Blog Stop Book Tours. I've been thinking about doing this for a couple of months. And, it will start with Leah, sometime toward the end of July. Stay tuned for specific details.

For today's review of The Bunko Babes, stop by Something She Wrote.

Friday, July 11, 2008

One Blog Stop today!

To read an incredibly articulate review of Leah Starr Baker's The Bunko Babes, cruise on over to Mama Needs A Book Contract.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Happy Anniversary to me!

A day late, but... yesterday was the one year anniversary of this blog! I made a commitment last July to write every day, Monday thru Friday. For the most part, I've honored that.

The blog has evolved since it began. I had intended to write about Freelance writing, but it soon became much more about books. I'm good with that change.

So, yeah, just thought I'd mention it.

What a difference a day makes...

Woke up this morning full of energy and ideas. I've been letting baby-step thoughts hang out in the back of my brain for the last couple of weeks - giving them time to stretch and grow. Today, I can finally get them on paper and organize them.

I'm not so patiently waiting for ARCs to arrive in the mail. There are some great books being released this Fall, and I get to read a couple of them soon.

Lots to do, so I have to get to it. Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'm a witch... well, not really.

Yesterday, I reviewed The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent. I wanted to share what I discovered, about myself, while reading the book.

The names of the people accused are real. One of those people is John Proctor. John Proctor was the first man accused, tried and hung for witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials.

I've been researching my family tree off and on for years. Last Fall, I finally traced my Brackett line back to Scotland. In my research, I had run across the name Proctor. So, after reading The Heretic's Daughter, I looked the name up, and discovered that the Bracketts married into the Proctors just after the Salem Witch Trials.

I am a 10th generation descendant of John Proctor. As one of my friends said, when I related this story to them, "Well, that explains everything!"

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Book Review - The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent






















The Heretic's Daughter
Kathleen Kent
Little, Brown and Company
ISBN # 978-0316024488

"Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter are forced to stand together against the escalating hysteria of the trials and the superstitious tyranny that led to the torture and imprisonment of more than 200 people accused of witchcraft. This is the story of Martha's courageous defiance and ultimate death, as told by the daughter who survived.

Kathleen Kent is a tenth generation descendent of Martha Carrier"



Kathleen Kent's debut novel is a dark and enlightening tale of what happened to one family during the Salem Witch Trials. Daughters forced to turn against mothers, husbands against wives - this is what mass hysteria does to communities.

I have been interested in what happened in Salem, Massachusetts since I read The Crucible by Arthur Miller, when I was in grade school. The Heretic's Daughter is much more historically accurate than The Crucible, and (I think) a much better read. I really connected with the characters. I found myself wondering what I would be willing to sacrifice for my children, had I been in Martha Carrier's shoes. And, I wondered if my daughter would have been able to let me be hauled off to prison, if I had told her to let it happen, so that she could live.

The Heretic's Daughter is one of those books that I couldn't put down. However, the book didn't leave me wanting more. The story was told - clean and neat. There didn't need to be more.
(September 3, 2008, pp 352, $24.99)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Late to class... detention?

Okay, I'm a little late to post this morning. I already know I'll have detention, because I have work to do tonight.

One Blog Stop today at Mom Is Just A Nickname. See what Beth has to say about The Bunko Babes by Leah Starr Baker.

Friday, July 4, 2008

It's Friday, and it's Independence Day!

As much as I have been known to bitch lately about the sad state of our country, I happen to love July 4th. I love what it stands for, I love that it falls in the Summer and I love that I get to spend it with my family!

It's a beautiful, warm, clear day here. Perfect grilling weather.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

One Blog Stop today!

Stop by Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'? for a review of The Bunko Babes by Leah Starr Baker. Leave a comment or ask a question as Leah will be stopping in a couple of times today to respond.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Networking is fun!

One of the benefits of my career is meeting amazing people. I had the supreme joy of talking on the phone with Ellen Meister yesterday morning. She is the author of Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA, and has a new book, The Smart One, being released in August.

I was invited to her launch party, but I can't go, as it's in New York, and I am in Minnesota. However, a freelance writer friend of mine lives close to where the party will be held, so she will be attending in my stead.

I spend a lot of time networking, looking for marketing/promotion ideas and leads. When I have the opportunity to connect people, I do it. I see it as networking Karma. Plus, it's just plain fun!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy July!

July is a great month! Especially since July 4th provides a three day weekend this year. We'll be sticking around home this year (gas prices and all that), but we'll be enjoying ourselves with friends (possibly camping nearby).

July is also the month I'll be touring The Bunko Babes by Leah Starr Baker at Blog Stop Book Tours. The first Blog Stop is today at Not Enough Coffee. Feel free to leave a comment or question for the author. She'll be stopping by to visit!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Final Blog Stops for June!

Please visit Perpetual Folly for a review of Springtime On Mars by Susan Woodring.

And, later this evening, stop by Trish's Diary to read her thoughts about Apologies Forthcoming by Xujun Eberlein.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Two Blog Stops today!

See what Annie thought about Xujun Eberlein's Apologies Forthcoming at writers and witches, and words...oh my!

And then, check out Writing From Kiddom for a review of Madapple by Christina Meldrum.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Summertime... and the living is?

I adore Spring. Everything wakes up, greens up, perks up. Summertime, not so much amore.

It's starting to get hot here. My computer hard drive begins to complain at around 3 pm when the house temperature climbs above 85 degrees. I'm thinking about cooking dinner at 5 am, so that I don't have to add to the sweat factor in the evening.

I can't whine too much though, as we need the high temps to encourage a huge yield of tomatoes, cucumbers and squash. If you get the chance this summer, try grilling sliced zucchini and summer squash. Slide skewers through them sideways, gloss them up with olive oil, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper - then lay them on the grill. Amazing!

I am off now to get chores done before it gets too warm. And then, back to work.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

One Blog Stop today!

Erika, over at Musings From The Mitten, shares her views about Apologies Forthcoming by Xujun Eberlein.

Edited to add a stop posted late in the day. Stop by Trish's Reading Nook for a review of Springtime On Mars, by Susan Woodring.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Time to think...

The littlest boy is off at the movies with Grandma, middle boy is with his dad and oldest boy can take care of himself. I can actually hear myself think. Woah.

I need to add books to my Shelfari bookshelf. I need to come up with ten questions for an author interview. I need to update my website. I need to build the Blog Stop page for the author on tour in July. I have four hours.

Best get to it!

Monday, June 23, 2008

AW June Blog Chain

I am taking part in the Absolute Write June blog chain. This time the chain had no theme. It started out with a post about Abstinence Pants and worked its way around to suggestions for things to blog about. I like reading random blog posts, but it makes it interesting to wrap up the chain.

I've decided to write about perspective and abundance. Every single post in the chain can be interpreted from many different perspectives. I can see a lot of different opinions being held on each topic. That's what makes the world interesting.

As for abundance, well, it's June. Flowers are blooming, strawberries are ready to be picked, and friends and neighbors are visiting each other, now that the weather is conducive to spending days and evenings outside. Summer is the season for connecting, with people and nature.

I'm feeling terribly blessed with abundance lately. Are you?

To read the rest of the chain, follow the links below.

Spittin' (Out Words) Like a Llama

Polyamory

Life in Scribbletown

Polenth's Quill

Auria Cortes

Blog in a Suitcase

Delirious

Asian Business

If you ask me anything I don't know, I'm not going to answer.

As Yet Untitled

Puttin' Words on Paper

Fumbling with Fiction

Rotating Bear

spynotes

Virtual Wordsmith

Two Blog Stops today!

I just posted a guest book review here at Virtual Wordsmith for Susan Woodring's Springtime On Mars.

And, cruise on over to Maw Books to read a review of Madapple by Christina Meldrum.

Book Review - Springtime On Mars by Susan Woodring

Ok, I admit it – in my mind, the words “short fiction” or “a collection of short stories” are synonymous with “read only if forced” or “not interesting enough to be a novel”. And if the title even slightly hints of science fiction, forget it, fiction isn’t supposed to make me think that hard.

Susan Woodring’s Springtime on Mars doesn’t fall within any of my preconceived notions of short fiction. With solid writing and a willingness to reveal the person behind the persona, Woodring’s writing is straightforward without being raw, her stories fresh and imaginative.

Springtime on Mars provides an entertaining and thought-provoking look into the varied lives of mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and spouses . Whether you like them as people or not, you can’t help but recognize their humanness, regardless of their age, gender, or life lived. It’s a great summer read, to be enjoyed on a lazy afternoon (or two).
- Lori Schneider

Lori was kind enough to be a guest reviewer for Blog Stop Book Tours. And for more information about Susan, please visit her website, www.susanwoodring.com .

Friday, June 20, 2008

One Blog Stop today!

To read a beautifully written, insightful review of Susan Woodring's Springtime On Mars, please stop by Writing From Kiddom!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Book Review - Unafraid: A Novel of the Possible






















Unafraid: A Novel of the Possible
Jeff Golden
AuthorHouse
ISBN # 978-0595471928

"What if John F. Kennedy had survived his wounds in Dallas and gone on to serve two full terms in the White House? What if the aftermath — astronomical public approval ratings, a presidential agenda that sails effortlessly through Congress, a parade of the world’s most beautiful women through the White House at his whim — moved him to wonder “Is this all there is?” What if he decided to see if America’s walk could match its talk?"

Jeff Golden has written an historical fiction novel that reads like a fantastical memoir. Unafraid paints the picture of a country forever changed by the near death of its president, and the accomplishments he achieves during his eight years in office.

Written from the perspective of Caroline Kennedy reading the first draft of the must read biography about John F. Kennedy, you'll find yourself caught up in the hope of a life lived to fulfillment. I would find myself having to shake off the world I was reading about, and momentarily shocked at the way America really is today.

Color me an idealist, but I enjoyed reading about a world where the President had integrity and advisors who were smart and reasoned. I loved this book, because it provided one vision and answer to a question asked by millions of Americans.

My mother was 19 years old and a senior in high school when Kennedy was assassinated. She has related the story of that day to me. Kennedy's death was the end of many dreams of a better America for many people. None of us can know what the world would have been like had that bullet been off by a few inches, but Jeff Golden has shown us what Camelot could have been.

I want to believe in hope, and strength, and courage in the face of danger and adversity. I want to believe that the world is a safe place for my children. Unafraid let me pretend for a little while.

(February 27, 2008, pp 355, $18.95)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Two Blog Stops today!

Please visit Vitesis to read an excellent review of Xujun Eberlein's Apologies Forthcoming.

Drop by YA Bookmark: Novels for Young Adults to read a review of Christina Meldrum's Madapple.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Confession



Hello, my name is Mary, and I am an addict. I'm addicted to books. I lose sleep, I put off things I should be getting done to read a few more pages, and find myself putting the book down after a few more chapters.

When I know a book is due to arrive in the mail, my heart beats a little bit faster when I see the mail truck. If the book is in the mailbox I dance a little jig. If it's not, I am disappointed.

When I visit people's homes, I am drawn to their bookcases. I stand there, head cocked, scanning titles. I ask to borrow books without even thinking about it. I exclaim over books I've read and start a discussion about them.

It's sick, I know, but I don't know how to stop.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Two Blog Stops today!

Pop on over to Escape To Books to read a review of Springtime On Mars by Susan Woodring.

And then, stop by Something She Wrote for a review of Christina Meldrum's Madapple.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Where did the day go?

I don't typically post on Saturday, but I was out last night when the other two reviews were posted for Blog Stop, so I wanted to share the links today. I have some amazing bloggers reviewing books, and these two are no exception.

Hop on over to Not Enough Coffee to read a review of Springtime On Mars by Susan Woodring.

And then stop by From The Cheap Seats... Reviews, Writings and More to see what Laskigal had to say about Christina Meldrum's Madapple.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Oh Lord, what a morning...

After a night of being woken up by a tossing-and-turning husband, and a small, adorable child crawling into bed with and snuggling up to me, I gave up on sleep at 6:30 this morning. I poured myself some hot coffee, fired up my laptop and leaned back in the cushy chair. As I was checking emails and catching up on blog feeds, I realized it was quiet, but for the sound of the breeze and the birds twittering outside the window. Take time to smell the roses, or listen to the birds, people. It's so worth it.

There will be a few posts today, as the reviews are posted for the books touring with Blog Stop Book Tours. The first one available today is for Xujun Eberlein's Apologies Forthcoming at Escape To Books.

Enjoy your day!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Blog Stop today!

Please stop by Writing From Kiddom and read a fantastic review of Apologies Forthcoming by Xujun Eberlein.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Storms

It's been storming here, off and on, all morning. The weather pattern this Spring has been just as odd as the Winter was. A couple days of gorgeous, sunny weather, and then days of rain and storms.

When the storms are severe, as they can be here in the Midwest, I shut my computer down. I can't afford to lose the information, and I can't afford to buy a new one right now. So, I protect it at all costs.

I actually need to look into business insurance. Is there such a thing for work-at-home freelancers?

I'll do some searching today and fill you in tomorrow. If anyone has any ideas, please feel free to share.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Yeah! It's there now!

Due to a brown out, the review Xujun Eberlein's Apologies Forthcoming at From The Cheap Seats, was delayed by a day. But, it was well worth the wait. It's an insightful review. Take a look!

Watch for two more blog stops Thursday and Friday for this amazing book!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Three Blog Stops today!

Xujun Eberlein’s Apologies Forthcoming - Review at From The Cheap Seats

Christina Meldrum’s Madapple - Review at Mom Is Just A Nickname

Susan Woodring’s Springtime On Mars - Review at Devourer of Books

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Office space vastly improved... !

I posted about my office months ago. Click here to see what it used to look like.





This is what it looked like around 1 yesterday afternoon.















This is what it looks like today!


















Little did I know that I would be treated to an amazing acoustical box effect, as well. The sound from my Bose speakers is channeled and amplified by the desktop and shelf above it. Anyone who knows me, knows that sound is incredibly important to me. I plugged in the speakers, turned on the music and just about fell on my bum. I literally cried with joy!

My husband is the best man I know.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Two more Blog Stops today!

Read a review of Madapple, by Christina Meldrum, at The Book Faery Reviews. I love the name of this blog, by the way!

And read Susan Woodring's (author of Springtime On Mars) thoughts on why short story collections are great for discussions in book clubs at Books On The Brain. There is a link to a review of Susan's book and a book giveaway at the bottom of the post, as well.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wow! What a week!

Yes, I know it's only Thursday, but it feels so like a Friday. This week has been an exciting, emotional roller coaster for me.

Saturday, May 31, my daughter graduated High School and moved out on her own. Monday was the first time there have been three books to promote with Blog Stop Book Tours. Tuesday was a presentation at the WAH Expo. Wednesday, more blog stops to promote, and an internet radio interview with Erika Geiss. Today is the last day of school before my other three kids start Summer break.

I'll be grateful to see the weekend, if only to decompress from this very full first week of June.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Two blog stops today!

Read in interview with Susan Woodring, author of Springtime On Mars, at She Reads Books.

And, there will be a review posted of Madapple, by Christina Meldrum at Sharp Words today.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

WAH Expo

Today, at 11:30 am Eastern Time, I will be talking about Blog Stop Book Tours at the WAH Expo. The WAH Expo is a three day event with speakers and exhibitors talking about what they do and how they do it. It's free to attend, so please drop in!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Blog stops today!

Check out Perpetual Folly for a review of Apologies Forthcoming by Xujun Eberlein.

Stop by Book Advice for the Book of the Month, Madapple by Christina Meldrum.

Please visit Mom Is Just A Nickname to read the review of Springtime On Mars by Susan Woodring.

And tomorrow, please join Susan Woodring tomorrow at 12:30 for a virtual lunchtime chat! She'll be discussing her story, 'Birds of Illinois' from her new collection of short stories, Springtime on Mars. You can find the
entire story at Press 53's website: http://www.press53.com/Chat_Room.html.

Friday, May 30, 2008

In-depth interview with Xujun Eberlein, author of Apologies Forthcoming

The second half of Jerry Waxler's in-depth interview with Xujun Eberlein - author of Apologies Forthcoming - is available at Memory Writers Network. Jerry asks some excellent questions and Xujun is very forthcoming (no pun intended) in her thoughtful answers. Please visit and leave a comment if you're so inclined.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Review - Candles Burning by Tabitha King and Michael McDowell


















Candles Burning
Tabitha King and Michael McDowell
Berkley Hardcover
ISBN # 978-0425210284

"After her father's horrific murder, Calley Dakin and her mother find themselves exiled to Pensacola Beach, where a woman awaits their presence. A woman who understands that Calley is no normal little girl, but can't begin to imagine just how strong her bond is with her father-even after death."

I've been putting off writing this review, because honestly, I wasn't all that impressed. I bought the book on impulse, thinking it would be good, because I'd read one of her earlier books many years ago. There is nothing technically wrong with the writing. I just didn't enjoy the story all that much. In fact, it's darn close to forgettable.
(May 2006, pp 432)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

First blog stop for Xujun Eberlein's Apologies Forthcoming!

Jerry Waxler, at Memory Writers Network, has posted the first half of a fantastic interview with Xujun Eberlein - author of Apologies Forthcoming.

For more information about Xujun's blog book tour, please visit Blog Stop Book Tours.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Unplugged - off the grid... well, for the most part

We had an absolutely amazing Memorial Day weekend. The weather was beautiful and warm. We relaxed, and played and ate way too much summertime food (burgers and brats, steaks, watermelon, lemonade, strawberry rhubarb pie and probably a gallon of orange juice). I will be taking a few bike rides and watching what I eat this week. I swear, my belly hasn't stuck out this much since I was pregnant with my youngest child.

I barely touched my computer. I did check emails with my cell phone, but other than that, for the first time in a very long time, I was unplugged. It was so nice, almost like a mini-vacation, except that we didn't leave town. The strangest thing about it is that I feel like we took a two week vacation.

Today, later on, I will be posting a review of Candles Burning by Tabitha King and Michael McDowell. And, if you get a chance, check out Jerry Waxler's blog post today at Memory Writers Network. It's well worth the read.