We’ll Muddle Through Somehow


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For many, this truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Some folks find joy in the frenzy of the season. But for others, there’s the exhaustion, the feeling of overwhelm at trying to do it all, in a limited amount of time. Clean, decorate, shop, wrap, bake, toast, mail, smile…. No wonder you’re stressed out.

And for many people, this is a sad time of year. Maybe it’s due to loss – of loved ones, pets, friends. Financial worries. Not enough sunlight (yes, it’s a thing). The loss of meaning in an ever-increasing material world. Or perhaps it’s something harder to pinpoint but can only be described as an all-encompassing feeling of melancholy. We’re living through harsh times, let’s face it. All of this can make you wish you had a river you could skate away on.

Social media is peppered with photos of smiling faces and sparkling trees. Of course it is, no one ever wants to share a photo of themselves feeling blue. And there’s nothing wrong with feeling festive! Celebrate! But if you have a friend or co-worker who opts out of the festivities, just accept it. Let it pass. Because for those who struggle through this time of year, all they wish for is to muddle through, somehow.

What I Read this Year


Not enough! So many books, not enough time. But perhaps there are a couple of books on my list that didn’t make it onto yours, and maybe you’ll want to add them to your TBR pile:

fire and fury Fire and Fury – Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff lived up to its hype. I don’t know that there was anything startling in it, because this administration has been reported on every day. And by now, there’s just so much more…

Galway Stories Galway Stories by Kevin Barry and Mary Costello really helped me understand more about Galway, the setting for my most recent novel. Sometimes gritty, sometimes delightful.

No Excuses No Excuses by Yolanda Alvarez. Let yourself be uncomfortable as you read this stark memoir. My bet is that your upbringing was very different from the author’s. Still, in spite of all the negatives that can be associated with Alvarez’s childhood, she survived. And thrived. And succeeded. Her story will fill your heart.

The Paris Wife The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. This book is about Ernest Hemingway’s wife Hadley Richardson. Written mostly from her perspective, this is a must-read.

This Unfamiliar Road This Unfamiliar Road by Jill Fague. Fague’s first-person account of her battle with breast cancer will move you. With clear and honest writing, she details not only the procedures but all of her emotions.

Thirteenth Star Under the Thirteenth Star – an anthology of writing by Rhode Island authors is the Association of Rhode Island Authors’ second annual anthology. Inside you’ll find a variety of selections from some of Rhode Island’s best.

corey I’m Still Here by Corey Calligano. Another young woman who battled breast cancer. Calligano writes in an honest voice, holding nothing back. A brave and compelling journey.

Damiani Il Bel Centro by Michelle Damiani details her family’s year abroad in the small town of Spello, Italy. Written with humor and introspection, you’ll follow the Damiani family from their home in Virginia to their new home in Italy.

Whitman Have Mercy by Barbara Ann Whitman. Using her extensive knowledge as a family support counselor, Whitman created a novel based on a young girl in the foster system. You’ll feel as if you know Mercy as she navigates the complex road to adulthood.

Matilda Messing with Matilda by Cat Lavoie. Lavoie is one of my favorite romantic comedy authors, and for a sweet escape, pick up this one. Actually, read everything Cat has written!

How to Walk Away How to Walk Away by Katherine Center. Give me a book about hope and despair and I’m hooked. This one ticks all the boxes, with wit, raw emotion, pain, heartache, and ultimately, love and acceptance. Probably the best book I read this year.

North Haven North Haven by Sarah Moriarty. I’ll admit, I picked up this book because I lived in North Haven (Connecticut) for a short time as a small child. This story, however, has nothing to do with Connecticut and everything to do with an island in Maine and a family vacation home. It’s a great summer read.

Hood The Book that Matters Most by Ann Hood. Hood’s early works are magnificent, but like The Obituary Writer and An Italian Wife, this one left me less than thrilled. It’s somewhat autobiographical, and the ending was so far-fetched I was left disappointed.

Stranger Stranger or Friend by Silvia Villalobos. This thriller will grip you from the beginning. The writer uses tension skillfully in her scenes, and if you’re a murder-mystery reader, grab this one.

Mai Crossing the Bamboo Bridge – Memoirs of a Bad Luck Girl by Mai Donohue. You’ll find it difficult to pause your reading of this riveting memoir. From her forced marriage in a Vietnamese village to her escape and survival, against extreme adversity, you’ll come to admire this remarkable woman.

truth The Pendulum’s Truth by Leigh Brown and Victoria Corliss. The writing team of Brown and Corliss make team-writing work so well, you’d think they were just one person. They convey emotion with excellence and tell a great story that you’ll truly enjoy.

How Hard How Hard Can it Be? by Allison Pearson is a laugh out loud funny, brutally honest account of how women of ‘a certain age’ find themselves being pulled from both directions. So relatable to women dealing with work, kids, aging parents, and marriage.

Fear Fear by Bob Woodward. I probably didn’t need to read another book about the chaos in the White House, by the chief chaos creator, but it’s Bob Woodward. This account of the Trump presidency is spot-on, but it’s not like you’re going to feel any better after reading it.

print A Printer’s Choice by W.L. Patenaude. I’m not typically a reader of science fiction, but I was thoroughly engrossed in this well-written novel about the classic battle between good and evil.

A Place of Springs A Place of Springs by Hannah Colby. Colby’s big book was years in the making, and her dedication to scene and detail is evident. An epic tale of love and loss, despair and hope, against a backdrop of the horrific Bosnian War.

Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen. How I missed this one is beyond me. No wonder she’s one of my favorite authors.

Well, that’s it! How about you? What was the best book you read in 2018? What book are you looking forward to?

Welcome to the Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop!


The holidays are just around the corner, which means it’s time for Chick Lit Chat HQ’s annual Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop and this year it’s bigger and better than ever! 63 bestselling and award-winning authors in the Chick Lit and Romantic Comedy genres are participating in this fun-filled event and each one is doing a fantastic giveaway. Books, author swag, gift cards, and other assorted holiday treats are all up for grabs.

But wait! There’s much, much more. On the hop’s Facebook group page, you can enter to win our Grand Prize—a large holiday gift box filled to the brim with a fabulous variety of holiday and winter-themed goodies (the darling, KitschNStyle gingerbread house apron, Snoozies! sherpa socks, Calvin Klein cashmere pom-pom beanie in petal pink, Too Faced sugar cookie eye shadow purse palette, Sally Snowflakes mug by Bella Pilar, Well Read Women: A Reader’s Journal, and handmade chocolate soaps shown in the graphic below are just a few of the items included in the box!).

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We’ll also be handing out four Runner-Up Prizes. Each one is a pair of Fitz & Floyd holiday mugs that will be accompanied by a canister of Williams-Sonoma classic hot chocolate as well as a tin of The Republic of Tea’s Hallmark Channel Countdown to Christmas Tea. So, you’ll have delicious, warm beverages to keep you cozy all winter long!

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The celebration runs from Monday, Dec. 3rd through Sunday, Dec. 9th, so head on over to the Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop Facebook group for some lively conversation with both authors and readers, incredible prizes, and lots of holiday fun! You’ll find each day’s featured authors, along with the links to their pages/giveaways, in the pinned post at the top of the group. We look forward to seeing you there!

3rd Annual Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop Schedule

Monday, Dec. 3rd

Rich Amooi https://www.facebook.com/author.richamooi

Tracie Banister https://www.facebook.com/tracie.banister

Beth Carter https://www.facebook.com/authorbethcarter/

Susan Hatler https://www.facebook.com/authorsusanhatler

Holly Kerr https://www.facebook.com/HollyKerrAuthor/

Jennie Marts https://www.facebook.com/JennieMartsBooks/

Robyn Neeley https://www.facebook.com/RobynNeeleyAuthor/

Melanie Summers https://www.facebook.com/MJSummersAuthorPage

Avril Tremayne https://www.facebook.com/avril.tremayne/

 

Tuesday, Dec. 4th

Glynis Astie https://www.facebook.com/glynisastieauthor/

Christina Boyd, plus Yuletide anthology authors

https://www.facebook.com/TheDarcyMonologues/

Whitney Dineen https://www.facebook.com/Whitney-Dineen-Author-11687019412/

Jenny Gardiner https://www.facebook.com/jennygardinerbooks

Amy Gettinger https://www.facebook.com/Amy-Gettinger-Author-1412625005719904/

Virginia Gray https://www.facebook.com/Virginia.Gray.Author

Cassandra O’Leary https://www.facebook.com/cassandraolearyauthor

Jean Oram https://www.facebook.com/JeanOramAuthor/

Janice Williams https://www.facebook.com/booksbyjanicewilliams

 

Wednesday, Dec. 5th

Maggie Aldrich https://www.facebook.com/maggiealdrichwrites

Shanna Hatfield https://www.facebook.com/AuthorShannaHatfield/

Erin Huss https://www.facebook.com/authorerinhuss/

Julie Evelyn Joyce https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJEJ

Maida Malby

https://www.facebook.com/carpediemchroniclesbymaidamalby/

Kirsty McManus https://www.facebook.com/kirstymcmanusauthor/

Diane Michaels https://www.facebook.com/dianemichaelsauthor/

Becky Monson https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBeckyMonson/

Joslyn Westbrook https://www.facebook.com/JoslynWestbrookOfficial

 

Thursday, Dec. 6th

Traci Andrighetti https://www.facebook.com/traciandrighettiauthor/

Alex Bailey https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlexBailey/

Kristina Beck https://www.facebook.com/krissybeck73/

Angie Ellington https://www.facebook.com/angienellingtonbooks

Hilary Grossman https://www.facebook.com/HilaryGrossmanAuthor/

Daisy James https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009889775019

Kate Kisset https://www.facebook.com/authorKateKisset/

Tracy Krimmer https://www.facebook.com/krimmerauthor/

Joy Norstrom https://www.facebook.com/joynorstromwrites/

 

Friday, Dec. 7th

Melissa Baldwin https://www.facebook.com/authormelissabaldwin

Aimee Brown https://www.facebook.com/authoraimeebrown

Annabelle Costa https://www.facebook.com/annabellecostaauthor/

Lindsay Detwiler https://www.facebook.com/lindsayanndetwiler

Patricia Fischer https://www.facebook.com/patriciawfwriter

Laura Heffernan https://www.facebook.com/lauraheffernanbooks

Beth Labonte https://www.facebook.com/bethlabontebooks

Monique McDonell https://www.facebook.com/MoniqueMcDonellAuthor/

Meredith Schorr https://www.facebook.com/MeredithSchorrAuthor/

 

Saturday, Dec. 8th

Laurie Baxter https://www.facebook.com/LaurieBaxterAuthor/

Laura Kenyon https://www.facebook.com/laurakenyonwrites

Cat Lavoie https://www.facebook.com/CatLavoieBooks

Nikki LeClair https://www.facebook.com/NikkiLeClairBooks/

Just Call Me “M” https://www.facebook.com/BooksbyJustCallMeM

Natalina Reis https://www.facebook.com/authornatalinareis/

D.L. Stewart https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDLStewart

Holly Tierney-Bedord https://www.facebook.com/HollyRecommends/

Maggie Wells https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMaggieWells/

 

Sunday, Dec. 9th 

Roseanne Beck https://www.facebook.com/RoseanneBeckWrites/

Laura Chapman https://www.facebook.com/laurachapmanbooks/

Karen M. Cox https://www.facebook.com/karenmcox1932/

Rachel Cullen https://www.facebook.com/RachelCullenAuthor/

Hannah Ellis https://www.facebook.com/novelisthannahellis/

Ciara Knight https://www.facebook.com/ciaratknight

June Moonbridge https://www.facebook.com/JMoonbridge/

Kate O’Keeffe https://www.facebook.com/kateokeeffeauthor/

Stacey Wiedower https://www.facebook.com/StaceyWiedower.author

 

*The Grand Prize giveaway is open to US residents only. However, all of the individual author giveaways and the Runner-Up Prize giveaway are open internationally.

Book-a-Day #Giveaway Featuring Authors Leigh Brown and Victoria Corliss


Leave a comment on today’s post and you’re eligible to win this author’s giveaway. Each day in November that you comment gives you an entry into the Grand Prize giveaway at the end of the month! (Print copies for US residents only, please. If you live outside the US and win, you’ll receive a digital copy of the book.)

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Everything happens for a reason. At least that’s what co-authors Leigh Brown and Victoria Corliss believe; so much so that they have made it the basis of their recently released novel, The Pendulum’s Truth.

The Pendulum’s Truth is the story of Ava Dell, a protagonist with a twist. Like many people, Ava firmly believes that everything happens for a reason; but unlike her friends and family, she also believes she knows why they happen. She happily shares her intuitive insights with the people she loves providing them guidance and affirmations until the day her awareness fails her. When tragedy results, Ava suddenly finds herself in a moral and emotional dilemma.

The Pendulum’s Truth is the third addition to the growing Brown Corliss Books library of Women’s Fiction. Each book is a story about women, written by women, primarily for women. Studies show that people who read fiction are more empathetic than their non-fiction counterparts, often imagining themselves into the stories and the lives of the characters they read about. Brown and Corliss create “real life” fiction that entertains and engages by touching on topics that resonate with female readers.

Second Chances, their first novel explores the wisdom and consequences of the choices we make in life. All that is good and trying about sisterhood and family comes to life in The Pie Sisters. And now, the popular premise of The Pendulum’s Truth is also striking an emotional chord with women everywhere.

All three Brown Corliss Books titles are available on Amazon, barnesandnoble.com, Smashwords, and select stores in Rhode Island, New York, and Connecticut.

Brown Corliss

Writers Leigh Brown and Victoria (Vikki) Corliss are friends who became co-authors in 2009. Soon after, they published their first novel, Second Chances, followed by The Pie Sisters in 2015, and The Pendulum’s Truth in 2018. Creators of women’s fiction, they are often asked: 1) Are they sisters, and 2) How do they write novels together? In fact, they are sisters in spirit only. To learn more about how their collaboration works, visit their website at www.Browncorlissbooks.com, or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/browncorlissbooks.

Vikki and Leigh are giving away a copy of The Pendulum’s Truth. The winner can choose either an ebook or a print copy. To enter, just leave a comment on this blog post.

Hope to see you on Saturday, December 1 at the Rhode Island Author Expo!Rhode Island Author Expo!

 

 

 

 

Book-a-Day #Giveaway Featuring Author Martha Reynolds


Leave a comment on today’s post and you’re eligible to win this author’s giveaway. Each day in November that you comment gives you an entry into the Grand Prize giveaway at the end of the month! (Print copies for US residents only, please. If you live outside the US and win, you’ll receive a digital copy of this book.)

April in Galway is a story about second chances. A couple of years ago, I watched the British comedy-drama series “Last Tango in Halifax,” which begins with former childhood sweethearts, now in their seventies. They reunite via social media, and learn that through a terribly misintentioned event, they were separated. This set-up was the inspiration for April in Galway, though my characters are in their late forties. And while my characters aren’t based on real people, I do know of one very happy couple who were classmates of mine in high school (they weren’t sweethearts then), but found each other later in life and are deliriously happy together! Another character was inspired by a young woman I spent only a few hours with, but who had a profound effect.

As I write, I try to envision who might play the role of a character (so that when the Lifetime Channel comes calling, I’ll be ready – haha). Here are April Tweed, Bill Flanagan, and Connor Whelan as I pictured them:

Rachel Weisz as April John C. Reilly Marcus Wareing as Connor

Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, and Chef Marcus Wareing

April in Galway ends with a definite feel for a sequel, and I’ve already begun mapping it out. My self-imposed goal of releasing a book a year is on track, and the sequel to this one, which will tie in to one of my previous books (surprise!), will be ready by next December.

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I’m the author of eight novels, including the Amazon bestsellers Chocolate for Breakfast and Bits of Broken Glass. My seventh novel, Villa del Sol, received the 2018 Book Award in Literary Fiction by the Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE). I’ve written for Magnificat magazine and my very short poem was read by journalist Connie Schultz during National Public Radio’s “Tell Me More” poetry challenge. Find my books online and locally at Stillwater Books.

I’m giving away a print copy of April in Galway to one person selected at random. Just leave a comment on this post and the winner will be chosen in a week.

Hope to see you on Saturday, December 1 at the RI Author Expo!

Book-a-Day #Giveaway Featuring Author Alison O’Donnell


Leave a comment on today’s post and you’re eligible to win this author’s giveaway. Each day in November that you comment gives you an entry into the Grand Prize giveaway at the end of the month! (Print copies for US residents only, please. If you live outside the US and win, you’ll receive a digital copy of the book.)

 

Stupid Cupid Alison O'Donnell

Even experienced daters are often left with questions on the process and the games that are played. Over the span of 30 years I have been on well over 100 horrendous dates– and lived to tell about it!! I’ve learned much and impart that wisdom throughout the hilarious pages of Stupid Cupid as only a SWF comedian can! This is an easy read, written in snippets, each one immediately followed by a moral so others don’t have to suffer as I did! It took two years to complete and I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished, especially since people seem to LOVE it! The book currently has a 4.9-star score on Amazon.com!

Stupid Cupid ~ A Survivor’s Guide to Online Dating is a hilarious self-help relationship book offering practical advice for both men and women. A fun read for any adult, it chronicles 100 really awful dates I’ve been on, 100% true! Each snippet (easy reading!) is immediately followed by practical advice. Married folks tell me it gives them a new appreciation for their spouse (It’s a jungle out here!!). Online dating is the modern way for singles to meet– very topical!– but it can be daunting if you don’t know the ropes!

Alison O'Donnell

Alison O’Donnell was accidentally born in Connecticut, but is a lifelong native Rhode Islander. A self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie, Alison has been skydiving, bungee jumping, hot air ballooning, scuba diving with sharks, zip lining, exceeding the speed limit halfway around the world, and is the mother of one teenage daughter. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Rhode Island College, a Secondary English teacher certification from Providence College, and a Master’s from the School of Hard Knocks. A creature of the stage, she has performed comedy in the Southern New England area for more than half her life, and played with various local bands as a singer/musician. In her spare time, Alison enjoys hiking with her two bichons, Rhett and Scarlett. She has taught high school English for the past 17 years, and doesn’t really know what she wants to be when she grows up. Here is her website

Alison is giving away a print copy of Stupid Cupid – just leave a comment on this post to be eligible!

Hope to see you on Saturday, December 1 for the RI Author Expo!

Book-a-Day #Giveaway Featuring Author Karen Gasperini


Gasperini book

Karen A. Gasperini has been telling stories to children for many years. She just recently started to publish her stories for all to enjoy. Her series Arianna’s Magic Boots are all based on her daughter Arianna and herself from their experiences as a child.

Karen used to wear leg braces (AFOs – Ankle and Foot Orthoses). Arianna, who is now sixteen, still wears them, and shares the same rare genetic disorder called Beals syndrome as her mother Karen. They also have severe scoliosis, anxiety, asthma, and club feet. Karen’s main character Arianna wears leg braces, too. She calls them her ‘Magic Boots,’ and with them and her imagination she goes on adventures. All she has to do is close her eyes, stomp three times, and say “Away we go,” then the adventure begins.

Karen Gasperini

 

Karen has been spreading empowerment to everyone she meets, helping children see and understand we’re all special in some way and you should never let anyone or anything stop you from shining. Her series  Arianna’s Magic Boots won the STORY MONSTER LLC  2018 Purple DragonFly Certificate of Excellence in children’s literature, Honorable Mention award for Special Needs/Disability Awareness award.

Follow Karen’s series on Facebook and Instagram

Karen is giving away a copy of her book to one lucky winner. Just leave a comment on this blog post and you’re entered.

 

Hope to see you on Saturday, December 1 for the Rhode Island Author Expo!