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Showing posts from November, 2018

#FridayReads - Two Books from Heidi M. Thomas

Recently, I had the pleasure of reading two books by Heidi M. Thomas, and I enjoyed them both. They are part of the American Dream Series, and if you like history delivered in story-form, you should consider these books, as well as her Cowgirl Dreams Series. Seeking the American Dream : Book One in the American Dream Series BOOK BLURB:   As a nurse, Anna Schmidt deals with the aftermath of a war-torn Germany on a daily basis. The destruction and suffering of WWII frame her existence until she meets American GI, Neil Moser. His stories of ranch life in Montana, his quiet kindness and compassion, and the attraction that blossoms give her hope for a different life. Before their relationship develops, Neil is suddenly shipped out of Germany, and Anna is left with nothing but a yearning for what might have been. Anna’s dreams are renewed when Neil writes to declare his love and propose that she join him in America as his wife. After two years of endless paperwork, she is finally o

And Then There Were None - #GreatAmericanRead

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE by Agatha Christie Agatha Christie is a grand master of mystery. She specialized in the locked house mystery and "who will die next" formula. My mother was a huge mystery and horror genre fan. And Then There Were None was both . I began reading Christie's books at age eleven and reread them occasionally today. *** SPOILER ALERT*** To begin, a group of seemingly random people arrive at a remote manor home on a deserted Island for a party. “Best of an island is once you get there - you can't go any've come to the end of things...” As the bodies pile up, backstories and the reason for their attendance is revealed. Each has been found guilty of a crime decided by a judge of one and have been invited to their own execution. There was a silence—a comfortable replete silence. Into that silence came The Voice. Without warning, inhuman, penetrating . . . “Ladies and gentlemen! Silence, please! . . . Yo

Writers Gotta Read, Right? Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.A.

Home to Thanksgiving. George Henry Durrie [Public domain] Published by Currier and Ives. Thanksgiving is upon us—the season for gratitude and overeating in the good old U.S. of A. So, while you are digesting pumpkin pie and partaking of spiced cider (or perhaps something stronger), why not curl up with a good book and nourish your mind and imagination? Here are some lists where you can find Thanksgiving-themed stories, from mysteries to children's books to romances and more…  Let's start with Murder & Mayhem , because, well, why not? They have a delicious list of seven mysteries to start off our feast .  Where would we be without a plethora of offerings from the Cozy Mystery List ? Probably starving!  Here is Mystery Fanfare with some additional tasty entrees in the mystery genre. Moving beyond mysteries, Goodreads will definitely provide you with plenty to chew on. Let's start with their " Listopia list of Listopia lists " for Thanksgiving-

Anne of Green Gables #GreatAmericanRead

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by Lucy Maud Montgomery It is the late 1800s at Green Gables  in the fictional town of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island. Geriatric Matthew and Matilda Cuthbert reached a point where they needed help on the farm. So they applied to an orphanage to take on a boy old enough for the job. Instead they get Anne Shirley, a loquacious, dreamy, eleven-year-old girl. “Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there? But am I talking too much? People are always telling me I do. Would you rather I didn't talk? If you say so I'll stop. I can STOP when I make up my mind to it, although it's difficult.” She charms them in to letting her stay. As she struggles to adjust to life on the farm and school, she proves a ch

Memoirs of a Geisha - #GreatAmericanRead

The results of the Great American Read are based on a survey in which 7,200 “demographically and statistically representative” people participated by naming their favorite novel. Number one is To Kill a Mockingbird . One of the 100 novels I read at the time of its original publication (1997), Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, made the list at #45. Especially worthy of discussion today because of the ongoing controversy about cultural appropriation, Golden wrote from a female’s point of view, a Japanese woman’s life before and during her experience as a renowned geisha in Kyoto circa World War II. The story begins: Suppose that you and I were sitting in a quiet room overlooking a garden, chatting and sipping at our cups of green tea while we talked about something that had happened a long while ago, and I said to you, “That afternoon when I met so-and-so…was the very best afternoon of my life, and also the very worst afternoon.” Arthur Golden was born in 1956 in Tenn

Little Women—a Timeless Tale of Womanhood - #GreatAmericanRead

Little Women appears at #8 on the Great American Read list of favorite novels. My take on Little Women may not coincide with that of the critics who speculate on its representation of the time in which the story is set. Nor do they necessarily address the author's feelings and perspectives, which  may not have been accurately reflected in the story. Dubbed as formulaic by some and criticized for various shortcomings by others, the tale nonetheless brings a variety of gifts to any reader who chooses to ignore outside opinions and allows it to speak to her (or him) based solely on that reader's own feelings and history. The March sisters provide a thought-provoking study in contrasts. The oldest and most motherly of the girls, Meg, dreams of marrying money to escape the poverty into which her family has fallen. Typically—but with occasional lapses—she behaves appropriately for the time in which she lives. Her dreams of wealth dissipate when she marries a bookkeeper, and

Writers Gotta Read, Right? Veterans Day #WeekendReads

Veterans Day is celebrated on November 12 (the actual date being November 11), but why limit thinking about and honoring our veterans on just a single day? And how about reading a book (or two) that would help us learn more about and appreciate the men and women who have served and are serving their country? The following lists offer some possibilities for you to consider. I'll start with mystery-related reads, since mysteries are "my thing": Mystery Fanfare by Janet Rudolph salutes Veterans Day mysteries in this post , mentioning Jacqueline Winspear's series with protagonist Maise Dobbs (a World War I nurse veteran), as well as Charles Todd's two series featuring Inspector Ian Rutledge (post-World War I) and battlefield nurse Bess Crawford (World War I). You can read more of her suggestions here .  A 2007 In Reference to Murder post by BV Lawson highlighting mystery series for Veterans Day includes the series by John D. MacDonald featuring Travis McGee, a

The One-Plot Wonder

Image by Peggy and Marco Lachmann-Anke, via Pixabay Back in the mid to late 1980s I was a security guard. The pay was lousy, but it gave me many hours in seclusion to write short stories and novels. However, I usually worked over 80 hours a week. No one can write that much. Well, at least not me. Thus I discovered the joys of my local libraries. Recently, I decided to look up an author who gave me great pleasure in those days. Most of his books are now out of print, I've learned, even the one that became a movie. I found that two of his were books available, so I ordered them. One I'd enjoyed before. The other was a straight thriller from the days before he created the "Appleton Porter" spy spoofs, re-released in 2001 in POD. I didn't know this before it arrived at my home in China. Since I'm giving away THE plot spoiler, I won't identify the author or title. A man who deeply loves his wife buys her a hotel outside London. She is very happy th

2019 Writing Conferences Requiring Early Registration

Whether a one day session, one week conference, or a month-long writing workshop writing related events are a good way to commune with other writers. They offer opportunities to network and get your name out there. In some instances, you can meet and mingle with editors and agents. Some offer critiques or pitching sessions. Nowhere will you find a higher concentration of introverts enjoying each other's company. Local conferences are a good place to meet potential critique groups or recruit members. Some are free. Some require a fee. Some are more social than others. Many are for new writers, but a few dig deep into craft. You should choose an event that speaks to your needs and desires. The following is a list of conferences that require early registration or application. Realm Makers Conference is Thursday afternoon through Saturday, July 18-20, 2019, at the Sheraton Westport Chalet, St. Louis Missouri. Registration begins February 2019.