I’m Here, Not There



This morning I’m here, not yet there. By tomorrow morning, I’ll be there, not here. For a time that seems not long enough, yet is the only length of time I dare be away. And I’ll be by myself, not with the man who’s been my travel partner for nearly 23 years.

There were a lot of trips abroad, mostly to Switzerland, so I do know my way around. This time, on my own, I have a purpose – to continue with a new novel I’ve only scratched out so far, but have written in my head. And I’ll be meeting up with two women – one I haven’t seen since that first year spent at the university in Fribourg, the other someone I’ve never met in person but who found me through my books. How great is that?!

And on Friday, I’ll be there, not here. Yeah, I’m okay with that, as I had no intention of watching the inauguration. It’s going to happen with or without me. And I’m not going to say anything else about it. Instead, here’s ‘there.’

Favorite Books I Read Last Year


I usually write this post before the end of the year, but I had so many issues with my computer last month (thanks a lot, Windows 10!) that I had to set it aside. No worries, because when I looked back at my reading list, it wasn’t very impressive.

What did I spend all that time doing, anyway? Well, I worked on a new novel for the first half of 2016, and no, it’s nowhere near ready. Around June, I realized it wouldn’t be complete in time for the annual ARIA  Book Expo. And I do like to have something available every December for my local authors event. So I set to turning my grandfather’s journal into a little book. And it sold well!

Anyway, back to what I read. I didn’t want to title this “My Five Favorite 2016 Books,” because I’m usually late to reading bestsellers.

all-the-light

All the Light We Cannot See  by Anthony Doerr was published in 2014. Best book I read in 2016, hands down. If you haven’t picked it up yet, make it a resolution for 2017!

carly

Boys in the Trees, a memoir by Carly Simon, was a favorite as well. She holds little back here, which made it difficult at times (her marriage to James Taylor).

sparrow

The Sparrow Sisters by Ellen Herrick. Her debut novel, and it was just lovely! A little bit of magic, a little more mystery.

oceans

The Light Between Oceans was published back in 2012. Honestly, I couldn’t remember if I read this book in 2015 or 2016, so I looked back at my end-of-2015 post, and the fact that I hadn’t included it in my favorite books list told me I must have read it this year. Because I definitely would have listed it in 2015. The book became a movie, but, unlike many books-turned-movies, the movie didn’t disappoint me. Still, read the book if you haven’t.

 

Now. There are many, many books on my to-be-read list. Here are the ones I resolve to read in 2017:

The Family Plot by one of my absolute favorite indie authors, Brea Brown. She never lets you down!

Fifty Ways to Make a Family by K.C. Wilder. The long-anticipated sequel to her brilliant Fifty Ways to Leave your Husband.

Mixing It Up by Tracie Banister. I’ve enjoyed all of Tracie’s previous books, so I downloaded this one as soon as it was released. Looking forward to getting mixed up in this one!

The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close. Actually, I started reading this one back in the late summer, but had to set it aside. I so enjoyed her Girls in White Dresses, and I’m happy to have this book to finish.

Moonglow by Michael Chabon. I won this book and it’s on a side table, waiting for me to open it.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I’m about four chapters in and loving it.

And finally, another book I’ve started and am really enjoying is The Pie Sisters by the writing team of Leigh Brown and Victoria Corliss. A sweet book about three sisters and their memories of long-ago summers.

So…I’ve got my work cut out for me! Writing, reading, editing. I hope that by December of this year, I’ll have a good list to present.

What book did you read in 2016 that was your absolute favorite? 

Their Old, Familiar Carols Play


I’m going to write a short Christmas post on my tablet as my computer is ill. Quite ill. Hoping for a full recovery.




By the time December 25 rolls around, many of us have grown weary of the music. That’s too bad, because there are beautiful carols and hymns that belong at Christmas. I think I first heard “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” in late October this year. And even though I choose my music at home, the grocery store, the pharmacy, the optometrist…..everyone’s got holiday music playing. “Winter Wonderland” in early December is fine. “Silent Night” on that day is not – in my opinion!!!

“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” is a Christmas carol based on the 1863 poem “Christmas Bells” by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The song tells of the narrator’s despair, upon hearing Christmas bells, that “hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men.” The carol concludes with the bells carrying renewed hope for peace among men. (Source: Wikipedia)

The lyrics seem especially timely now. And thank you to my friend Connie Ciampanelli for the prompt! 

Wishing you peace, love of family and friends, quiet joy, true blessings, hearty food, thoughtful gifts, warmth.
The following are the original words of Longfellow’s poem:
I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Their old, familiar carols play,

and wild and sweet

The words repeat

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along

The unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Till ringing, singing on its way,

The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime,

A chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth

The cannon thundered in the South,

And with the sound

The carols drowned

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent

The hearth-stones of a continent,

And made forlorn

The households born

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;

“There is no peace on earth,” I said;

“For hate is strong,

And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

A Viennese Christmas


Reposting this blog from 2011 …

Martha Reynolds Writes

“We are NOT paying to attend Mass.”  He stormed away from the cathedral.  I hurried after him, my boots crunching on snow in the square.  People were lined up in front of a sign that read “KARTEN/TICKETS,” but we walked in the opposite direction.

“It’s because the Vienna Boys’ Choir is performing,” I offered by way of explanation.  He whirled around so fast I thought his scarf might strangle him.

“Fine! Let them buy their tickets.  We don’t pay for Mass.”  He slowed his pace a little and I caught up.  We were tired.  We’d purposely stayed up for this event.  But he was right.  Boys’ choir or not, we don’t pay for Mass.  So we walked back through quiet streets, our feet cold and numb, back to the little hotel we’d found the day before when we arrived in Vienna for Christmas.

Subdued, we offered each other a sincere ‘Merry Christmas,’ and…

View original post 408 more words

Our Day of Remembrance


grotto-300x286

I wasn’t sure what to title this annual tribute. My previous posts about December 13 are listed here, if you want to revisit them:

https://marthareynoldswrites.com/2012/12/12/ten-young-women/

https://marthareynoldswrites.com/2013/12/13/bring-all-the-priests/

https://marthareynoldswrites.com/2014/12/12/what-december-13th-means-to-us/

https://marthareynoldswrites.com/2015/12/12/the-memory-of-sense/

We were all affected by the Aquinas fire in 1977, whether we slept through the event (as I did) or witnessed it first-hand and survived. 39 years later, that memory is as sharp as it was then.

My classmate Michelle Dumont Vezina ’80 writes, “I experienced December 13th somewhat as an outsider looking in. We stayed up late that night studying for finals. We must have been in a deep sleep when everything was happening.

“I remember calling my parents to tell them. They had heard that morning that the largest dorm at Providence College was on fire. They assumed McVinney was the largest because of its height and thought I had been in the fire. They were relieved when I called.

“My mother picked me up that morning for what became the beginning of Christmas break. The campus was quiet, eerily so. I remember looking at Aquinas Chapel from my dorm room window, thinking about the girls who died.

“At that time, I had never experienced death of anyone close to me.  I didn’t really understand the feeling. No one really understands until they lose someone close to them.”

*****

A survivor, Kim Fasolo Martin ’80 writes, “December 13, 1977 changed every part of me down to my soul. For many years, I tried to figure out a specific event in my life that I was saved for, such as my marriage or the birth of my child. It took me decades to realize that I was saved for many reasons. I try to give the lessons that I learned from that terrible night to anyone who will listen. These are some of these lessons that I live by:

“Be kind to people. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you and how much you love them every chance you get. Never go to bed mad at anyone. Cherish your friends. Do not judge people for how they act until you know what has happened in their life.

“There are so many more lessons that I learned and am still learning.

“All the women who suffered this tragedy on December 13, 1977 share a bond that cannot be broken even if we have not spoken to each other.

“Sometimes, out of tragedies, there is good and when this happens,  we have to share this good to anyone who will listen.”
*****

The Aquinas fire claimed the lives of ten women living on the north end of Aquinas Hall’s fourth floor on Dec. 13, 1977. Katie Andresakes ’80, Jackie Botelho ’79, Barbara Feeney ’81, Donna Galligan ’81, Sallyann Garvey ’81, Gretchen Ludwig ’81, Cathy Repucci ’81, Laura Ryan ’81, Debbie Smith ’78, and Dotty Widman ’81.

It’s December!


lamott

Isn’t that the truth? For those of us who have been connected way too much to every tweet, snipe, or carp, perhaps it’s time to pick up a book. A real book, with pages you turn.

I just finished my Book-a-Day #Giveaway here on the blog (although each post stays ‘live’ for a week, so you can go back to November 25 and still comment on any of the last six posts for a chance to win) – this November series has led us up to what we in the Association of Rhode Island Authors call our BIG EVENT – the Fourth Annual RI Authors Expo. It’s this Saturday, from 11:00am to 5:00pm, at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet http://www.rhodesonthepawtuxet.com/directions/

Come join me and about 125 other talented writers – we’ll have plenty of books, discussions, raffle baskets, and I hear there’s even a bar. 😉

 

Book-a-Day #Giveaway! The Pie Sisters by Leigh Brown and Victoria Corliss


the-pie-sisters

Bonded by blood, sisters Shelby, Yeardley, and Lily Lane are three uniquely different young women. Shelby, the eldest, is a born leader and self-appointed caretaker of the people in her life. Smart and decisive, she thinks she can do it all. Middle child Yeardley is a ship without an anchor, unsure of where she’s going or where she belongs. Lily, as the pampered baby of the family, has never had to do anything for herself. But that’s about to change. At their Aunt Nola’s lake cottage where they spent their childhood summers, the girls return to a special place and time filled with familiar faces and favorite traditions. It’s a walk down memory lane that may help define their uncertain futures, as well. Set in the heart of New York’s Finger Lakes region, The Pie Sisters is a timeless tale of love, family, and the true meaning of home.

vikki-leigh

Writers Victoria (Vikki) Corliss (on the left) and Leigh Brown 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, Brown /Corliss novels feature universal themes and literary elements that resonate and connect with most female readers. 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.

The Pie Sisters is available from Amazon, and select bookstores and gift shops in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York. Both women live with their families in Rhode Island where they are currently working on their third novel, due out next year.

Sorry, there is NO book giveaway but……….you can still WIN a $5 Amazon gift card (use it to purchase the book!) by commenting below. One winner will be chosen at random and notified by me. Contest ends one week after publication.

 

 

 

 

Book-a-Day #Giveaway! The Overlords: Legend of the Treasure by Mike Squatrito


overlords_book_1_final2

Your name is Harrison Cross. You’re a righteous warrior with an undying will to avenge your parents’ death and the power to reunite humanity. However, every step along your journey is met with obstacles – people stealing your prized possessions, the Scynthians (a marauding species of ogre-like beings that want to eradicate your race), the ruthless Lord Hammer of Concur and his menacing army, and a land filled with creatures that hinder your progress – but you persevere. Along the way you’re beaten, punished, and mocked for your beliefs, you witness friends dying, you’re hungry and tired, yet you persevere. Your will is your asset, both a blessing and a curse. People you meet admire you and want to help with your cause; they become friends for life. Others want to tear you down. You possess God-given physical skills that are tested each and every day. You must not only fight to stay alive, but think as well. And think you do. Your friends are your rock and you will never betray them. It’s not in your nature. You meet the love of your life and you will protect her forever. You gladly place the burden of the world on your shoulders and carry everyone with you. You persevere, the word quit not in your vocabulary. In the end, the result of your life is a simple outcome. Either you win or you die.  Intrigued?

mike-squatrito

The Overlords: Legend of the Treasure is the first book in Mike Squatrito’s Overlords fantasy series.  The Overlords: The Talisman of Unification and The Overlords: Journey to Salvation, the second and third books in the series respectively, are also available, and he is working on the fourth installment currently. If you liked the intro then please visit his webpage, for more information about Mike and his projects.

Find Mike’s books on Amazon or to purchase an autographed copy of any of Mike’s books, click here

You can WIN a copy of the book featured here! Just leave a comment below. One winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication.

 

Book-a-Day #Giveaway! Hunting the Merrow by Heather Rigney


hunting-the-merrow

In the author’s debut novel (and first in the series) Waking the Merrow, she explores mermaid-ish beings found in Irish folklore, known as merrow, a Gaelic term. One of these creatures, Nomia, is not pleasant at all, and has made it her mission to turn Evie’s life upside down. As Evie struggles to keep her family safe from Nomia, Evie learns that her husband’s Irish roots might have some aquatic history of their own.

The second novel, Hunting the Merrow, picks up where Waking ends, further exploring the strange history of both Evie, the unlikely hero, and Nomia, the evil mermaid who might have a good reason for being so nasty. Hunting the Merrow presents readers with a variety of mermaid legends found in historic folklore throughout Europe, as both Evie and Nomia race to find their missing siblings.

Nicole Hill of Barnes & Noble Book Blog stated: You know what’s great about Rigney’s horror-ific (that’s horror-filled and terrific), hysterical debut novel? Besides the bloodthirsty merfolk, our antihero protagonist is an overweight, drunk, subpar mother, who also happens to be a funeral director. I can’t even describe the premise of this book without getting giddy, because how many times does a plot involve both vicious mermaids and Rhode Island colonists?” 5 Girl-Powered Sci-Fi and Fantasy Releases You’ll Love

Waking was also featured in Rhode Island’s Motif Magazine’s 2015 Summer Reading Guide to Classics and Local Soon-To-Be-Classics and Hunting appeared in Motif’s 2016 issue Summer Beach Reads.

So while you’re enjoying the silence after the holiday (and are shopping online in your warm jammies!) maybe head on over to Amazon.com. Waking the Merrow would be a great gift for an individual who enjoys fun historic books based in the Ocean State! It’s FREE for today, so go ahead and gift it! (Psst -No one will know that you didn’t pay full price!) Did you know you can gift an ebook? You can! It’s underneath all those purchasing buttons on the right on any Amazon page.

heather-rigney

Heather Rigney is a native Rhode Islander and author of Waking the Merrow and Hunting the Merrow. Both books are based in Rhode Island’s own Pawtuxet Village and adjoining Narragansett Bay, as well as Cape Cod, Ireland, and Europe. These dark historical fantasy novels take readers on a journey through pre-Revolutionary War Rhode Island, then jump to present day, where narrator Evie McFagan, alcoholic funeral director and hot mess mom, fights a centuries-old mermaid posing as a playground mother for her family’s safety.

You can WIN a copy of this book (or Heather’s first in the series – your choice)! Just leave a comment below. One winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication.

Book-a-Day #Giveaway! The Ferry Home by Debbie Tillinghast


ferryhome_v9-2

 

“You can almost smell the salt air and hear the waves lapping along the shore as you stroll through this memoir of childhood innocence, mischief, and excitement. It’s an easy and relaxing read, but not without its poignant moments. You don’t have to be a New Englander or an island dweller to enjoy it; if you were once a kid, it will warm your heart.”

Step back in time to a simpler life, as you read this captivating memoir of growing up in the 1950’s on the small island of Prudence. A story of re-connecting to long forgotten childhood bonds and memories, The Ferry Home embraces joyful moments with humor and more troubling emotions with compassion. Experience the rhythm of life on Prudence Island, the ebb and flow of changing tides and seasons, and the patterns and relationships that emerge.  As the vivid descriptions unfold, you will feel like you too have just stepped off the ferry and been embraced by the tiny Prudence Island community.

The Ferry Home is “…a love story, an answer to the siren’s call, a whisper of long-ago unacknowledged loss, pain, and grief and, ultimately, the healing realization that some things in life endure forever.”

debbie-tillinghast

Debbie Kaiman Tillinghast has been published in County Extra Magazine, and Shoreline, an anthology published by the Association of Rhode Island Authors. Her memoir The Ferry Home was recently nominated for the Dorrys Non- Fiction Book of the Year, an award that honors the best in RI literature for the past year. Debbie, a retired teacher, loves being outdoors, gardening, walking, biking and visiting her grandchildren.

Find the book at Amazon or from Barnes and Noble

You can WIN a copy of this book! Just leave a comment below. One winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication.