The Year of Living Minimally – Week Twenty-one


How are you holding up? ‘Tis the season for stressing out. Well, not me. I’m not going to do it.

Not this year.

Here’s our ‘tree.’ My Christmas cactus didn’t bloom this year (it’s fickle that way), but I adorned it with little fairy lights and nestled one ornament in it – a sweet ceramic dove inscribed with Jim’s dad’s name. Jim received it from the funeral home that held a lovely memorial service for all the family members who’d lost loved ones this year. It seems fitting to keep things simple this year. We’d scaled way back on our decorations before this year, but the little tree and the strands of lights will sleep in their bins for a bit longer.

I’ve minimized my shopping, too. Give experiences, time, things that can be consumed. How about taking a friend to the movies? Lunch? Coffee? If you’re a couple, decide on a getaway, or home improvement. I know some parents work with their children to donate gently used toys and games before Santa brings more – what a great idea!

Jim did mention a couple of books, and he’ll get them. Remember I donated a few boxes of books earlier this year? That was to make room for more books (haha). My sisters and brother-in-law will be able to eat and/or drink their gifts.

Honestly, we have everything we need. Do you?

For more insights about gift-giving, check out The Minimalists’ post on gift-giving

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My Seventh Novel is Here!


Villa-del-Sol (1) “…an emotional tapestry of rare depth…” (Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author)

“…a thoughtful tale of love, loss, and hope reborn…” (Book Review Directory)

My seventh novel (and eighth book) is here and I’m thrilled to share it with you! Last January, I traveled back to Switzerland, alone. I finally met an online pal and reconnected with a dear friend from years ago. I ventured by train to a region I’d never seen and revisited familiar towns.

Villa del Sol is set in and around Lugano, the largest city in the Italian-speaking area of southern Switzerland. Milano is only about an hour away by train. My character, Jennifer Logan, travels to Lugano and rents a villa in the neighboring village of Gandria. Her husband, the beloved senator from Rhode Island, is dead, and Jennifer can’t wait to escape the people who never liked her anyway. By unplugging, she hopes to find peace.

If you know me, you know about my love of Switzerland. My award-winning “Swiss Chocolate” trilogy is set primarily in Switzerland. Villa del Sol takes you back to this magical place. It is available now, and I’ll be signing copies tomorrow at the RI Authors Expo. 

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Martha Reynolds is a Rhode Island resident who loves the beach in winter, chocolate, and books. After ending an accomplished career as a fraud investigator, she started writing novels – fiction with an element of truth. “Real True Fiction.” You can read her reflections and guest author posts on her blog

GIVEAWAY!

This is a big one! I am giving away a $100 Amazon gift card on December 8. To be eligible, LIKE this post and POST A COMMENT. Please include your email address so I can contact you if you win. Additional entries are available by FOLLOWING me on  Amazon (click the yellow ‘Follow’ button under my picture), and by LIKING and SHARING the Facebook post (I’m here on Facebook). Open to everyone (except my immediate family). Good luck!

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

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The Year of Living Minimally – Week Twenty


I cannot post a photo of the garage. It looks pretty much the same as it did two weeks ago, only with a few more items (yes, I’m screaming inside my head). But on the plus side, it looks like we have a buyer for Jim’s father’s house, which is good (and a relief as we head towards winter). Jim brought home the ladder, step stool, wet/dry vac, and hand truck that were in his dad’s garage. So, I’ll get to the garage at a later date.

This week, in the midst of holiday parties and social events, I got to thinking about how this minimalist endeavor should pertain to eating. Yes, if you know me, you know about my lifetime struggle.

Joshua Fields Millburn writes all about the minimalist’s approach to food here. Now, some of his practices might work for you, and some may not, but I like the idea of food as fuel rather than food as entertainment. I like the idea of ridding myself of as much junky food as possible (yes, even the beloved Swiss chocolate).

Given all the stress of the past two months, I’m surprised my weight isn’t higher, because I am a stress eater. And thankfully, my lab results were good – cholesterol, sugar, blood pressure all normal. But I can do better with what goes into my body.

And we all know that portion sizes in the US are outrageous. Giant cups of soda and coffee, a slice of cake served on a dinner plate and enough for the table to share. Even our plates have changed. Check it out:

The plate on top is from my husband’s mother’s good china (what do we do with this service for eight???) The plate measures 10 1/2″ across, but the actual food part measures only 7″ across. The plate on the bottom is from our everyday dishes (Crate and Barrel, 1994). The plate still measures 10 1/2″ across, but the food part is practically the entire plate.

Anyway, you know this already, right? I do, too. I just forget sometimes. I’m going to try and be more mindful – and minimal – about my eating.

It’s #RIAuthor Month – Meet Leigh Brown and Victoria Corliss!


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Victoria Corliss and Leigh Brown

Everything happens for a reason…at least that’s what we wholeheartedly believe. Give us just a minute of your time, and we’ll bend your ear with tales of coincidental happenings, nondescript and monumental events, even people who have affected our lives, sometimes in obvious ways, sometimes for reasons not as clear or immediate. But always, believing that everything happens for a reason is what helps us to manage and navigate our way through the constant twists, turns, and changes that is life’s journey.

Our novels also inherently share this philosophy. Second Chances and The Pie Sisters are both steeped with themes and stories that empathetically draw and invite readers to turn their pages. Filled with characters, situations, and circumstances universally familiar to most women, Brown Corliss Books are engaging engrossing, and entertaining reading.

The Pendulum’s Truth is the newest tale in our lineup of ‘real life’ fiction. Slated for publication in early 2018, we invite you to meet Ava Dell, a woman who, like us, believes everything happens for a reason until a blindsiding event shakes her to the core. Overwhelmed by self-doubt and guilt, she begins to question everything she’s ever trusted, including the pendulum’s truth.

second chances  pie sisters

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. 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 or follow them on Facebook

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

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It’s #RIAuthor Month – Meet Rick Marchetti


Marchetti cabin in the woodsMarchetti Dark glassesMarchetti IrisMarchetti murder in the valleyMarchetti the riverMarchetti the station

Memphis Blues pitcher Del Fontenot is nearing the end of a brilliant career and this, his 20th Major League season, is shaping up to be a fitting finale for the tall righty; he’s in the Top 5 among National League pitchers in several categories, including wins, strikeouts, and earned run average.  He’s also enjoying the largesse of Memphis’ opponents; each team is giving him a hero’s sendoff during the Blues’ final visit of the season.  Everything is proceeding according to plan.  And while Fontenot enjoys a much-deserved sendoff, veteran detective Dan McNulty is trying to discover who murdered a young woman named Precious Blake in Ohio.  Because she was a drug user and part-time prostitute, her grieving mother feels as if the Harding, Ohio police have taken a hands-off approach to the case.  But, once McNulty begins to look into the murder, he discovers that the reason for the department’s alleged lack of interest may point to something different altogether.  Is it possible the killer is someone famous and the police are acting under orders to keep everything under wraps?

McNulty, who has proven popular with readers since he first appeared in the novel The River, sets his sights on discovering the truth behind Precious Blake’s murder.  Along the way, he’ll discover that the reason the case hasn’t been solved just might be due to a cover-up rather than a lack of interest regarding the victim.  Once McNulty realizes the case may be linked to a number of unsolved murders all across the country, all bets are off.  Who murdered Precious Blake?

Rick Marchetti

Rick Marchetti is a lifelong Rhode Islander who began writing in high school.  After a few unfinished short stories, he turned to songwriting and to date has penned over 500 songs.  His CD, Matters of the Heart, contains 16 of his tunes.  Several years ago, he came across an unfinished story in a trunk in his attic.  Reading it, he decided to try and complete it.  That story, Dark Glasses, became the cornerstone of his first book release, the short story collection Dark Glasses and Other Tales. His next project was a novel, The River. One of the minor characters, Detective Dan McNulty, caught the attention of readers, many of whom urged Rick to feature him in another story. In Rick’s next novel, Iris, McNulty was one of 4 major characters and, once again, readers clamored for more.  This led to the first “Dan McNulty Mystery,” titled Murder in the Valley.

To date, Rick has released 9 books: 4 novels, 3 short story collections, and 2 “just-for-fun” titles attributed to alter-ego Uncle Ricky and his pet peeves.  Currently, besides Superstar, which is slated to be released in conjunction with Opening Day of the 2018 baseball season, Rick is also working on several new short stories for an as-yet-untitled collection.  Visit him at his website  and find him on Facebook  and on Twitter.

“Finish each day and be done with it.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
GIVEAWAY! Rick is offering one lucky winner the choice of any one of his novels or short story collections in print. Just leave a comment on this blog post. The winner will be chosen at random one week after publication and Rick will coordinate delivery with you. US residents only, please.

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

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It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Debbie Tillinghast


 

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            Everyone has a story. Mine began on a tiny island in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island called Prudence. My mother’s death, twelve years ago November 28, initiated my return to the island. I didn’t want to lose touch with all the childhood memories I knew were lurking in my mind. Over the next ten years, I unearthed happy and painful memories, all woven together into the tapestry of my life. Each one of us shelters memories that have made us who we are. The Ferry Home emerged from mine.

It is the story of a simpler time, encompassing the rhythm of life on Prudence Island, the ebb and flow of changing tides and seasons, and the relationships that emerge – like that of my parents. Who could imagine in the 1930s that a Baptist girl from a small New England island would go to college and marry a Jewish boy from Brooklyn, New York?  It is a timeless and remarkable love story, and you can read about it in the chapter, “Sol and Mrs. Kaiman,” in The Ferry Home.

I wrote this memoir for my children and grandchildren but the unexpected reward has been hearing from readers who have told me The Ferry Home connected them to their own memories, enriching their lives.

“I bought your book for my father. We read chapter after chapter, stopping to hear him tell me a story about a similar…experience. Thank you for sharing your life with us and opening the door to many more family stories that I will treasure.”

“Your book reminded me of the small town where I grew up. Although I have never been to Prudence Island, in my mind I returned to my hometown when I read The Ferry Home.”

“I’ve just finished your memoir, my heart has been smiling the whole while, envious of your memories.  What a gift of love this tiny blue book was; most especially the last chapter. Thank you.”

We think our stories don’t matter, but they do. When you travel on The Ferry Home I hope you enjoy the journey and find it unlocks your own memory door, because everyone has a story. What is yours?

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Debbie  Kaiman Tillinghast has been published in Country Extra magazine, and two anthologies published by the Association of Rhode Island Authors, Shoreline and Under the 13th Star.

GIVEAWAY! The author is offering to one lucky winner a print copy of her book. All you have to do is leave a comment below to enter. One winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication. US residents only, please.

Meet over 100 local authors in Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

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Purchase at:

https://www.amazon.com/Ferry-Home-Debbie-Kaiman-Tillinghast/dp/0996233016/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476053616&sr=8-1&keywords=the+ferry+home

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-ferry-home-debbie-kaiman-tillinghast/1122766998?ean=9780996233019

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/debbiekaimantillinghast/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Mark Perry


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As a former journalist whose life has taken many turns, and changes in career paths, I never thought in a million years (or even as little as a decade ago) that I would be writing for children. Like many aspirations, this venture started out with a small idea that grew bigger, and eventually evolved into becoming one of Santa’s elves.

Having worked for Santa since 2010, and visiting schools across the country, particularly in my now home state of Rhode Island, it was pointed out to me that many elementary teachers across the state like teaching their students about Rhode Island, but the number of books for this age group is extremely limited. After doing some research, I discovered there was a hole in this market. That, along with the encouragement from librarians and school teachers across the Ocean State, inspired me to write ‘Post Mark—The North Pole Postman Visits Rhode Island to follow up my original title ‘Post Mark—Santa’s Misfit Postman.

In researching for this book, which involves the North Pole Postman learning about the state’s history, while traveling the entire state from Woonsocket to Westerly to collect letters, and deliver them to the North Pole, I discovered that for a small state, there are many unique gems, and many notable things Rhode Island can take pride in being first to achieve.

Rhode Island has both the first Baptist church and the first Jewish synagogue in America. We can also claim the first and oldest tavern in America, the White Horse Tavern in Newport. The town of Bristol gave us the first and longest-running Fourth of July parade. Pawtucket boasts the first operating mill in the United States, Slater Mill, as well as having the first diner on the National Register of Historic Places, Modern Diner. In addition to the first Baptist church, Providence also has the first and oldest indoor shopping mall in America, the Arcade, and the first automated post office in the world.

Lastly, the oldest carousel in the United States is in Watch Hill. So, as you can see, Rhode Island is a rather impressive place for being so small. But as the old cliche goes, especially around the holidays, “Good things come in small packages.”

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Please visit my website if you are interested in purchasing ‘Post Mark—The North Pole Postman Visits Rhode Island, or ‘Post Mark—Santa’s Misfit Postman.

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Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

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