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!


blog-hop-51

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!

Shop Small (and a GIVEAWAY)

Shop Small (and a GIVEAWAY)


99cents

To honor small and independent businesses everywhere, I’m encouraging you to shop (if you shop this frenetic holiday season) at small and independently-owned businesses.

And to that end, all of my books (all five of them) are on sale from now until the end of November. The sale ends around midnight on Sunday the 30th. I’m talking about ebooks, because I can’t change the price of the paperbacks on Amazon’s site. CLICK HERE to go to my Amazon website.

Now, many of you who read this blog regularly are some of my most loyal readers (THANK YOU for that!). Ebooks make great gifts. So do paperbacks, and if you’re local and want to buy any of my printed books, just let me know and I’ll make a special delivery for you.

Finally, I’m asking you to do some of my advertising (with a chance to win). You can share on your Facebook page, tweet it out on Twitter, post on LinkedIn, your website, your blog, etc. If you share this post on FB, you’re entered. If you tweet and tag me (@AuthorMReynolds), you’re entered. As long as I know you posted something (and you can post every day up to Sunday), you’re entered. One lucky contestant will win $50 in PayPal money to (hopefully) spend at a small business. My way of letting you know how grateful I am to be doing what I love.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Slurp Up this Snack

Slurp Up this Snack


IMG_0251.JPG

See this big jar? Well, I bought it for snacks. As we move into the season of fleece and carbs, I’d always have my big jar filled with salty, crunchy snacks – nuts and pretzel sticks and Chex mix and the occasional cheez ball. Crunch, crunch. Salty, good-for-nothing snacks. All winter long.

salty-snacks

Only now that jar is filled with vegetable broth. Ha! Big difference, and I made it myself, based on Dr. Mark Hyman‘s recipe (with just one or two substitutions). Today I loaded my stockpot with kale, Swiss chard, radishes (and the greens), turnip, carrot, celery, onion, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, and ginger. Whew! Add plenty of filtered water, bring to a boil, and simmer for at least an hour. Then strain.

So here’s the plan. A cup of this crap elixir a couple of times a day instead of the usual fun stuff junk. I tried some already and it’s not bad. Not as bad as I expected. I could drink a cup of this broth two or three times a day.

Little changes, right?

healthy

20 Years and Counting

20 Years and Counting


Get it?

Get it?

Yes, it was 20 years ago today. Some days it’s hard to believe how the years have flown, and at other times I think only of the time we’ve been together.

Sturbridge, MA October 1994

Sturbridge, MA
October 1994

We bought a house, and wondered how we’d ever pay back that huge loan (month by month, it turned out).

Heartbreaking infertility taught me a lesson I still remember: to be grateful for what I have, and not despair over what I lack.

We got a puppy! Oh, the love and companionship of a dog. Jessie may be gone, but Bonnie is sunshine every day.

Jessie 1997-2009

Jessie
1997-2009

Bonnie

Bonnie

We traveled – each of us had vacationed extensively before we met, but together we explored England and pretty much all of New England. And Europe.

On Lake Lucerne

On Lake Lucerne

Williamstown, MA

Williamstown, MA

Yes, I wish we’d met each other earlier in life. But we live without regret. We find humor in everyday absurdities, and enjoy the journey, hand in hand.

What was, still is.

Lose the Salt!

Lose the Salt!


Nu-Salt

Nu-Salt

I’ve written in the past about the excess sodium and sugar in the American diet. And I’ve been just as guilty as anyone with over-consuming both. But since last spring, I’ve made a concerted effort to cut back on sugar, and, with the exception of some dark chocolate every now and then, I haven’t missed it. Haven’t missed the crappy sugar-filled junk that’s on our grocery shelves. Have missed the peppermint stick ice cream at Newport Creamery.

So let’s talk about salt. It makes food taste good, and I use it, sparingly, in cooking. Mostly kosher or sea salt. The salt shaker on the table is Nu-Salt, and no one can tell the difference.

Yesterday, my husband and I went out to dinner. It was Monday, a holiday for some (Columbus Day), and I worked, so sure, I deserved it. And I had a message on my phone that Carrabba’s Italian Grill offered a special deal on Mondays – three courses for as little as $12. What a deal! Let’s go, I said.

So, you get an appetizer or a dessert, soup or a salad, and an entrée. We each ordered an appetizer (and shared), each had a side Caesar salad, and each ordered the lasagna. (Hey, it’s just the two of us, and I never make lasagna). I picked up on the “saltiness” right away, and later in the evening, checked the food’s nutrition information online. If only I’d checked it first….

Granted, we ate a lot. I only made it halfway through the lasagna, and didn’t bring it home, because I really didn’t want it. The calories? Too many. The fat grams? Way over the top.

And the sodium? This made me mad. I’d say it raised my blood pressure, but those numbers must have been sky-high after this meal.

4,201 mg of sodium. In that meal. The lasagna alone had 2,484 mg in it – more than the recommended daily allotment for a healthy adult! Look, Carrabba’s isn’t the only restaurant that does this. And the lasagna wasn’t the worst for sodium – it was something called Fettuccine Weesie with Whole-Grain Spaghetti. Of course, you think you’re choosing healthy with the whole-grain spaghetti, right?

If I can cook great-tasting meals without using so much salt, why can’t they? Food for thought.

P.S. Tonight we ate roasted vegetables. At home.

Your Book Blog Tour – Is It Worth It?

Your Book Blog Tour – Is It Worth It?


Masquerade Tours banner

Masquerade Tours banner

I’m in the middle of a blog tour for Best Seller, hosted by Masquerade Tours. First time I ever tried this type of marketing. My take so far?

First, Dee at Masquerade Tours is easy to work with, and very efficient. She provided me with plenty of time to answers bloggers’ interview questions, etc. I chose a 7-day tour with 20 stops. Of those 20 stops, 6 of them are review stops, meaning the blogger posts an honest review of my book. And I chose to include a giveaway ($25 Amazon or B&N gift card) through Rafflecopter. Here’s a list of the stops, in case you missed any of them:

October 6
The Mad Reviewer (Review)
The Book Binder’s Daughter (Review)
Yeah Books! (Interview)

October 7
Dauntless Indies (Top Ten List)

October 8
Wining Wife (Review)
Coffee Talk Writers (Top Ten List)
Dab of Darkness (Interview)

October 9
Laurie Here (Review)
The Great Reads (Guest Post)
Book Snatch (Interview)
Bookingly Yours (Guest Post)

October 10
3 Partners in Shopping (Review)
Room with Books (Interview)
Boom Baby Reviews (Top Ten List)

October 11
Hott Books (Guest Post)
Books Direct (Excerpt)

October 12
Girls That Read (Review)
The Quintessential Bibliophile (Guest Post)

October 13
Deal Sharing Aunt (Interview)
To Read or Not To Read (Promotional Post)

 

Now, from what I’ve picked up this week, there are very few comments on the blogs. For the blogs that featured a good review of the book, that’s too bad, although I noticed that those reviewers were great about sharing on Facebook and Twitter (and I made a new friend in Melissa (The Book Binder’s Daughter). There was a mediocre review and one that was simply mean-spirited (in my opinion), but I took comfort in the fact that her blog wasn’t well written at all.

So, how much reach is there in these book blogs? Not sure, but I’d love to hear from other authors who have an opinion.

I decided to include a $25 Amazon (or B&N) gift card as part of this tour, and THAT has garnered me a slew of new followers on Facebook (author page likes), Twitter, and Pinterest. Plenty of folks have tweeted out about the book, and I’m very appreciative of that.

Look, we all want “reach.” Sales of Best Seller have been excellent, even before this week, so it’s hard to tell whether the tour has had an impact on sales. But it was worth doing if only for the experience, most of which was very positive.

Review and Giveaway: Best Seller by Martha Reynolds


Review and Giveaway: Best Seller by Martha Reynolds.

Author Stroll

Author Stroll


photo by Bookrhythm

photo by Bookrhythm

Here’s a chance to meet the authors featured in this month’s Kindle giveaway – yes, that includes me. Having won a Kindle from Bookrhythm back in June, I wanted to offer one of my ebooks for the current Kindle giveaway. CLICK HERE to enter the drawing!

So, I’ve answered a few questions…

Q: Who is your favorite character you’ve written?

A:  Probably Bernadette Maguire, the main character in my ‘chocolate’ trilogy.

Q: What book(s) are they in? 

A:  Readers meet a 20-year-old Bernadette in Chocolate for Breakfast, and by the end of the novel, she’s in her early 40s. The sequel, Chocolate Fondue, continues where the first book ended, and in Bittersweet Chocolate, Bernadette is around 50.

Q:  What is the setting of the book(s)?

A:  Chocolate for Breakfast takes place mostly in Fribourg, Switzerland (with trips to Holland and Austria), but also in Providence, Rhode Island.

Q:  List one fun fact about the book?

A:  The tiny attic room where Bernadette lives as a student (in Switzerland) is exactly the same as the room I lived in, while a student in Switzerland. Most of the rest of the book is all made up – yes, it’s a novel :-)

 

A Time of Transition

A Time of Transition


photo M. Reynolds

photo M. Reynolds

You see the title of this blog, right? Martha Reynolds……writes.
Yeah, only not so much these days.

I was considered prolific after releasing five books in two years. And I agree, it was indeed an accomplishment. I wrote nearly every day, and am proud of the novels I’ve written and published.

A few months ago, I accepted a per diem position at a local agency, and have been working generally two or three days a week. I love it – not only for a little extra income (what? you mean I haven’t hit the bestseller list yet?), but because it gets me out of the house and among people – really nice people. Writing is a solitary experience, sometimes too solitary.

But working outside the house means not writing. Can’t do both, and this work is important. When I arrive back home, I’m usually not able to find the time to write. So, the holiday-themed romantic comedy that I’d hoped to have ready by November may not be ready. And that’s okay. Really. Because if I’ve learned anything over these past two years, it’s that rushing a book to publication always means disaster.

Meanwhile, we pack up summer and welcome autumn. This is my favorite time of year, even with the shorter days. Socks, fleece, the smell of wood fires burning. Soups and stews and nesting. It seems that the days fly past, don’t they? Better make each one count.

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"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need." Cicero

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