It’s OSCAR Night! #GIVEAWAY

It’s OSCAR Night! #GIVEAWAY


The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

It’s Oscar night and I can’t wait! I’ve seen some, not all of the nominated films and performances. Will you watch?

So, I’m doing a giveaway. All you have to do is comment with ONE movie that you loved this year. It doesn’t have to be an Academy award-nominated film, or your favorite. It can be a movie you hated, but in your comment, say whether you liked it or not and why.

All comments must be up by 7:00pm EST. I’m giving away an Amazon gift card for you to purchase a book or a movie (or whatever).

Enjoy!

Thoughts for the 13th

Thoughts for the 13th


Waiting for Spring - photo by M. Reynolds

Waiting for Spring – photo by M. Reynolds

It’s been too long since I last posted anything here, especially with such good material (Super Bowl, snow fatigue, movies [no, not that one]). Here are some random musings for Friday the 13th:

  • I read the 50 Shades trilogy a couple of years ago. Yeah, I admit it. Poorly written, but I wanted to know what made it such a runaway bestseller. Still not sure. And I have no interest in seeing the movie. Some see this whole thing as harmless fun, some see it as a degradation of women. I just think life is too short to spend time doing something that doesn’t move or inspire you – and this movie would do neither.
  • We’ve got snow – and more on the way this weekend. Those of you who know me are well aware that I love winter. Cold is good! Fleece is fun! I have not complained about this winter, and I won’t, because it won’t change anything!
  • I’m writing a new book, and it’s taking a lot longer than my previous books. Why? Well, I work part-time now. Usually just a day or two per week, but I’m still trying to figure out how to best utilize my time. That’s one of the reasons I haven’t blogged.
  • Speaking of books, I just finished reading one by a well-known author. Traditionally published, meaning she had a team of editors and proofreaders, and still I found typos and obvious misspellings (‘phased’ instead of ‘fazed’). When did mediocre become acceptable?
  • Does Friday the 13th scare you? Do you believe it’s unlucky? My writer pal Kathleen Paterka says it’s lucky, not unlucky (she and I were both born in the 13th, so I have to agree). What other superstitions have a hold on you?
  • I’ve been fascinated by the idea of chicken and waffles. There are basically two versions – the Penn Dutch kind and the ‘soul food’ kind from Baltimore and points south. Not the healthiest choice, but give me a break – we have four feet of snow on the ground, I should be able to eat waffles. If you’re local (Rhode Island) and want to try this dish, head over to Dante’s Kitchen on Main Street in East Greenwich. Love this place!

  • I’m preparing for the annual A to Z Blogging Challenge, which starts in April. My posts will appear right here, every day (Sundays off), and my theme this year is Listen Up! This’ll be my fourth year participating (previous themes included Writers, Poets, Lyricists, Places I’ve Been, and A Whole Lotta Cheese). I hope you’ll follow along in April! And I promise to post a few more blogs before then.
37 Years Between Historic Blizzards

37 Years Between Historic Blizzards


We’re supposed to get a blizzard of “historic proportions” starting tomorrow. I was a sophomore at Providence College when, not even two months after a tragic dorm fire that eventually claimed the lives of ten young women, the Blizzard of ’78 hit us hard. Two and a half feet of snow stopped traffic, stranded hundreds, and made for an extra, unexpected vacation for us.

But I’m not 20 years old anymore, and now I think about what we have on hand for an emergency: batteries, candles, food that doesn’t need to be cooked. An elderly father-in-law, a sister living alone. Weather like this can be treacherous! So be safe and stay home if possible. Read a book. Drink wine and tea. Eat chocolate. Play a game with your kids (or, as I’m learning is more the case with my peers, grandkids). Make love. Then eat again!

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Where Hope Walks

Where Hope Walks


Martha Reynolds:

My neighbor and friend Pauline was the inspiration for this blog post. She passed away peacefully, surrounded by her loving family, early Saturday morning.

Originally posted on Martha Reynolds Writes:

I have a few options for getting home. I can drive over the Natick bridge, the one that was closed after the big flood in 2010. Once you’ve crossed the bridge, though, you’re forced to look at the big empty house, boarded up, gaping holes where windows once were, pieces of glass clinging to the frames. The house is ugly and should be razed. Everyone has moved out. But the house still stands, decrepit, faded, and gray.

Or I can go home the back way and drive up the hill from the fire station, past the golf course that straddles the road, mindful of golfers crossing the street to get to the next hole, careful to keep my speed down because there’s usually a police car hidden behind the trees near the elementary school. Yesterday there was a bad accident on the road, farther down. People drive too fast.

And now that part of…

View original 167 more words

Twin Piques is Here!

Twin Piques is Here!


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Tracie Banister is one of my favorite independent authors, and I’m thrilled to announce the release of her third novel, Twin Piques. Love the title! Here’s what the book is about:

Forensic accountant Sloane Tobin and kooky pet psychic Willa may have the same face, but that’s the only thing these identical twins have in common.

How she can read the hearts and minds of animals has always been a mystery to Willa, and her rotten luck with men is equally baffling. Although she’s been looking for “The One” for what feels like forever (a teenage marriage to a French mime and dating a guy named Spider seemed like good ideas at the time!), optimistic Willa refuses to give up on love. When she meets Brody, the handsome rose expert hired to save her grandmother’s garden, she’s instantly smitten, but why does he keep sending her mixed signals? Does he return her feelings, or is their attraction all in her fanciful head?

Unlike her twin, Sloane has zero interest in romance. Her passion is her job, where she uses her gift for numbers to take down slimy embezzlers and asset-hiding spouses. When she’s assigned two high profile cases, Sloane feels confident the promotion she’s been angling for is within her grasp. But will her plan to climb the corporate ladder be thwarted by difficult clients, her co-worker-with-benefits, or – most surprisingly of all – her own sister? And how’s she supposed to stay focused on the drama at work when her childhood friend, Gav, moves in next door and the spark between them becomes impossible to ignore?

To get what they both want, can Willa and Sloane band together and rely on each other’s strengths? Or will their differences drive them apart once and for all?

Author Tracie Banister

Author Tracie Banister

An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O’Hara. Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her 4th grade class performed an original holiday play that she penned. (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she also starred in and tried to direct the production.)
Tracie’s dreams of authorial success were put on the back burner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a “real” job in order to pay her bills. Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years. When it ended, she decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. Twin Piques is her third Chick Lit release. The pet psychic character in this novel was inspired by Tracie’s rascally rescue dogs. She’d love to know what goes on in their heads!

You can grab a copy of Twin Piques here:

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Twin-Piques-Tracie-Banister-ebook/dp/B00RSEP056

Amazon Global: myBook.to/TwinPiques

Twin Piques on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24302229-twin-piques

A Cup o’ Kindness


My husband won’t listen to “Auld Lang Syne.” He says it makes him too sad. I get that. The song, usually only played or sung on New Year’s Eve, evokes memories – of the year past, of many years passed. Memories can evoke regret, remind us of what is lost.

Last year’s post featured a regret, but also revealed my acceptance and reconciliation, and wishes for “a cup o’ kindness.” This year there’s some regret as well, but my heart is full of hope. A few fences were mended. Some colleagues and contemporaries passed, too young, but those somber events offered opportunities to reconnect, if only for a short time. I’m grateful for that, and for the many people I’ve met (in person and online) in 2014. People pass through our lives for a reason, I’m convinced of that.

For each of those moments, I raise a cup of kindness. And give you the best version of “Auld Lang Syne.”

 

 

What I Read in 2014

What I Read in 2014


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Not as much as I’d hoped! But I’m a writer, and I did publish a book this year. When I’m not writing, I’m usually reading, and here’s a recap of what great books I tackled this year:

Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen. One of my favorite authors, and she doesn’t disappoint. My colleague passed this book on to me after reading it, and I savored every paragraph. She’s an inspiration to me as a writer.

Ginger Krinkles by Dee DeTarsio. A delightful short holiday read with smart, edgy writing. I’ll be reading more by this author in 2015!

The Secret Keeper series, Books 3-6. Brea Brown, one of the best independent authors I know, wrote this series, which ended with her publication of Book 6 this year. I’d read the first two in the series last year, and gobbled up the rest of them because the story is just so good. Real, painful, joyous – she delivers.

Waking the Merrow by Heather Rigney. Oh, Ms. Rigney, I do hope you’re writing as fast as you can, because I cannot wait to read the next novel you produce. I was out of my genre with this one and so glad I read it. A flawed heroine you’ll root for throughout the book, this one was clearly one of my favorites of 2014.

Fish Perfume by Sammie Grace. A local author with a local setting and a sweet romance. It mostly worked, and I’d definitely give this author a second chance at keeping my interest.

The Expats by Chris Pavone. An international thriller, page-turner, and a book I hope is made into a movie. Loved the setting (Luxembourg) and Pavone is a brilliant writer.

The Street or Me by Judith Glynn. A real-life story about an ordinary woman in Manhattan who befriends and saves a homeless woman. Riveting in its grittiness, Glynn tells her tale with no apologies or frills.

Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen. A story of two sisters, told from the viewpoint of the younger, lesser-known sister, about the famous older sister, whose charmed life ends after an inadvertent on-air epithet. Oops!

Confessions of a City Girl: Los Angeles by Juliette Sobanet. This is a very fast read, partly owing to the author’s style of writing (plus it’s a novella). Sobanet, author of the “Paris” romances, offers up a sweet, easy read.

When Alice Met Danny by T.A. Williams. A novel with a Danny here, a Danny there. And a chick lit novel written by a guy! It works, though. Liked this one a lot.

A Kind of Mad Courage: Short Stories about Mothers, (S)mothers, and Others by various authors. A wonderfully diverse selection of short stories, and all proceeds from this book’s sales benefit the Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation.

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen. Was 2014 the year of Anna Quindlen? I guess I just needed to catch up. This collection of essays, written by the 60-year-old Quindlen, are full of gratitude – for her career, her marriage, her children, and her friends.

A Week in Summer by Maeve Binchy. A short story from the late author. Binchy’s talent shines in her ability to say so much in such a short story. The magic of Ireland, the quirks of the townspeople, the challenges of a marriage.

Unbreakable Bonds by Carolyn Ridder Aspenson. This is Book 2 in the author’s Angela Panther series. Paranormal chick lit? Yep. She pulls it off, believe me – snappy dialogue, snarky ghosts, and a serious mother-daughter bond.

Mission Impastable (Dinner is Served Book 1) by Sharon Arthur Moore. A good storyline, memorable characters from an author with lots more to write!

Wrecks: Three Stories of Imperfect Love by K.C. Wilder. Wilder is one of the best short story authors around, in my opinion. She nails it in these three.

The Right Design by Isabella Louise Anderson. Debut author Anderson hits all the marks with this chick lit novel.

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson. Beautiful writing in this lyrical, thought-provoking novel.

Tear Stained Beaches by Courtney Giardina. Debut novel from a promising author but with too much weeping from the main character. Optimistic that her second novel will be much improved.

Blame it on the Fame by Tracie Banister. Tight prose and snappy dialogue made for a really fun read. Love the Oscars? Then pick this one up!

Once More from the Top by Nan Reinhardt. Well-developed and realistic characters, romance, and a happy ending – this author knows how to write romance!

Depression Cookies by Tia Silverthorne Bach and Angela Beach Silverthorne. Distinctly different viewpoints into one family’s life, written by a mother and daughter. Wonderful!

Seattle Postmark by K.C. Wilder. Unpredictable and touching novella about love and letting go.

Rita Hayworth’s Shoes by Francine LaSala. One of the more original voices in contemporary women’s fiction, this funny romantic tale will satisfy

Very Valentine and Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani. These two books are the first and second in the Valentine trilogy. I’m about to begin the third book and cannot wait to reunite with these characters!

Rescue Me, Maybe by Jackie Bouchard. A pooch-friendly novel of hope and good humor. An excellent writer.

Hard Hats and Doormats by Laura Chapman. Good storyline from a debut author. Easy read, some editing problems, but looking forward to more from this writer.

Zoey and the Moment of Zen by Cat Lavoie. Good, fun chick lit book that is simply a sweet escape.

There were about a dozen books I started but did not finish. I won’t mention them here, but I do try to give a book every chance. Sometimes I force myself to finish a mediocre book, but after three or four chapters, if the writing is so bad it’s a distraction, I’m done. Editing is crucial, and life’s too short to read a bad book.

How about you? Can you name the best book you read this year?

 

Let Your Heart be Light

Let Your Heart be Light


Not easy sometimes, that’s for sure. A month filled with sorrow and grief, people divided, senseless acts of violence. How do you lighten a heavy heart during what should be a joyous season?

Stop. No, really. Stop. Still yourself. You have bought enough, baked enough, cleaned enough. Your holiday decorations are beautiful, last year’s sparkly sweater is still pretty and festive. With any luck, you’ve stuck to your budget, but if you overspent, okay. Stop now. It’s all enough.

Last week my friend Karen demonstrated to me the true meaning of Christmas, when she drove a hundred miles to take the ferry from Bridgeport, Connecticut to Long Island, NY. Then she drove to Save-a-Pet Animal Rescue and picked up Tiny Tim, a dog desperately in need of rescuing. Read Karen’s inspirational story.

Karen with Tim and Kimba

Karen with Tim and Kimba

Well, Karen brought Tim home, introduced him to her other rescue pup, Kimba, and helped him get settled in his new home. She kept him clean and comfortable overnight, but Tiny Tim crossed the Rainbow Bridge the next morning. Karen had known his time would be short, yet she put aside the frenzy of mall parking, crap-from-China shopping, over-thinking everything to rescue one of God’s vulnerable creatures. And then she wrote this achingly beautiful piece after he died.

Whether you assist an elderly neighbor, overtip the person who brings you breakfast in your favorite diner, smile at the frazzled department-store employee, dig a little deeper when the collection basket is passed your way, or whatever you can think of to brighten someone else’s day, even for a moment, believe me, your heart will be light.

Wishing you all the comfort and joy of this season, however you celebrate.

 

What December 13th Means to Us

What December 13th Means to Us


War Memorial Grotto - Providence College

War Memorial Grotto – Providence College

For the past few years, I’ve posted here and again last year about a fire. A dormitory fire at Providence College on December 13, 1977 that claimed the lives of ten young women. If, like me, you were a student at PC, or the parent of a student, a sibling, close friend, or alumnus, this event most likely has stayed with you, even 37 years later.

We remember December 13 every year, with memories as fresh and painful as they were decades earlier. December 13 is the date. Not December 12. We don’t commemorate the terrorist attacks on September 10, or remember Pearl Harbor Day on December 6.

Robin Craig Piebes (PC ’80) recalls: “When I talk to people about Providence College and what sets it apart, it’s that community. It was being taken in by girls I didn’t know that night. It was being given their clothes to wear, watching boys move cars and carry girls who had no shoes. It was the comfort a college president gave by living in the dorm with us afterwards and sending flowers every holiday. All of these things are what I have always thought of Providence to be.”

When we were students, there were so many daily Masses, you could attend a quick service between classes at this Catholic college. Today, there are Masses on Sunday and on weekdays, but no scheduled Mass on Saturday. The college chose not to hold a special service on December 13 (Saturday) this year, and that’s too bad. Because December 13 is the day we remember.

 

The comfort of having a friend may be taken away, but not that of having had one.
Seneca

Note: The college decided to hold a memorial Mass on December 13 at 8:00am, after pleas from alumni.

Indie and Small Press Author Blog Hop!

Indie and Small Press Author Blog Hop!


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Welcome to the Indie and Small Press Author Blog Hop! And thanks for stopping by. The purpose of this blog hop is to promote indie authors (like myself) and perhaps introduce you to some new writers. Thanks to Harry Patz and Melissa Considine Beck (The Book Binder’s Daughter) for hosting and starting this hop. Melissa and I met a few months ago, when she read and reviewed my latest novel, Best Seller.

Have you discovered a new author this year? Let the world know! And by leaving a comment below, you’re entered in a giveaway! See, it’s a good thing to follow my blog – I’m always giving stuff away. :-) This contest will award a $15 Amazon gift card to one randomly-chosen winner (I use Random.org, so no Rafflecopter entries on this one).

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Click here to view the other participants and be sure to visit their blogs – there are plenty of giveaways!

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Laura Chapman

Author of Chick Lit, New Adult, and Women's Fiction

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