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 Julien Ayotte


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.)

Code Name Lily Julien Ayotte

World War II certainly had its share of deserving heroes and heroines, many of whom have received their due recognition.  But how many civilian women can say they saved the lives of at least 250 downed airmen in just over two years?

Code Name Lily takes you on an unforgettable journey from Belgium, into France, and over the Pyrenees Mountains into Spain.  An extremely clever and persuasive young Belgian nurse outsmarts the Nazis time and again, risking her life if she is caught, but protecting every airman she successfully aids to evade the Germans.

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Code Name Lily is based on the true story of Micheline “Michou” Dumon-Ugeux, a legend in the Comet Line escape network from 1940-1944 who went only by the name of Lily.  You too will fall in love with Lily.  She may have stood only five feet tall, but she was a giant of a woman.

 

Julien Ayotte

Julien Ayotte is the author of five novels, including the award-winning Flower of Heaven and Dangerous Bloodlines.  Code Name Lily is his first historical fiction based on a true story.  His mother emigrated as a child to the United States from Belgium just after World War I, so the themes and places in this book hold special meaning for the author.

Julien’s other novels include A Life Before and  Disappearance, all Amazon best-sellers and award-winners with hundreds of 5-star reviews.  To learn more about Julien and his books, visit his website, www.julienayotte.com.

Julien is giving away a print copy of his new novel Code Name Lily. Just leave a comment on this post and a winner will be chosen at random next week.

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

Book-a-Day #Giveaway Featuring Author Karen Petit


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.)

Holidays Amaze

Holidays Amaze

Do holidays amaze, or are holidays a maze? They are both, as the book Holidays Amaze illustrates with its maze poems, prayer poems, shaped poems, sonnets, and narratives. The poems that look like mazes, in addition to the ones that use maze symbolism, make Holidays Amaze an amazing collection of poems to enjoy.

Dr. Karen Petit‘s inspiration for this book was two items: a chapter about Thanksgiving in Mayflower Dreams and a poem that she wrote in 2014:

A May Flower in November 1620

The flowers of May were blooming away

in summer’s great warmth and fall’s wintry air.

A petal broke off, went sailing astray,

into the wind, with a Separatist’s prayer.

It paused in the sky with the blue turning gray;

then continued its trip ’til wooden beams were near.

When one of them cracked, the petal did say:

“I fear for my life! This storm’s so unfair!”

“But I know, in this world, many are things unfixed.”

“’cause I trust in my Lord, to Him I’ll pray.”

With prayers and repairs, the beam was soon fixed.

“I thank thee, Lord, for strengthening my ‘May.’”

The voyage moved on; many problems eclipsed.

In November within a New World’s bay,

the flower became Mayflower in-mixed.

This poem first was posted on Petit’s Mayflower Dreams blog and is now one of the poems in Holidays AmazeThinking a lot about Thanksgiving as an amazing holiday helped the author to also think about other holidays as amazing. These connections resulted in her creation of Holidays Amaze and maze poems.

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Dr. Karen Petit is the author of four novels: Banking on DreamsMayflower DreamsRoger Williams in an Elevator, and Unhidden Pilgrims. She loves to write and loves helping others to write.at the Community College of Rhode Island.

Karen is giving away a softcover print copy of Holidays Amaze, her just-published book of poetry. Just leave a comment on this post!

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

Book-a-Day #Giveaway Featuring Author Dana Gambardella


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 to US residents only, please. If you live outside the US and win, you’ll receive a digital copy of this book.)

Grandma's House Dana Gambardella

Pause for a moment.

Listen.

Take a breadth.

Extend your hand.

Imagine if what you hear, smell, and touch in this very moment stayed with you forever. As children, we live each experience in the moment, tapping into each of our senses without even realizing how our senses will shape our cherished memories well into adulthood.

Welcome to Grandma’s House.

My children’s book takes a nostalgic look at my favorite childhood place. The home that built me. I spent a lot of time with my paternal Italian grandmother, Angela Gambardella, before she passed in April of 1988. She unselfishly gave me her time, love, infectious laughter, conversation, and passion for creating authentic Italian cuisine simmered with love.

Still standing tall in Providence, RI today, my grandma’s house was lovingly built brick by brick by my father and grandfather in 1956.

The book cover and illustrations throughout the story are exact replicas of the house and items in the home. My series of vivid memories come alive through the light, impressionistic watercolor techniques on each page that lend itself to the story’s feeling of nostalgia for readers of all ages and cultures.

The story comes full circle, capturing how I process my childhood experiences in order to discover, as an adult, that my senses, thankfully, keep my cherished memories alive forever.

Sharing Grandma’s House with children at home or school, with families or teachers, provides a unique opportunity to encourage them to reflect on their own process and how their own experiences shape their choices and interactions with others. As a mentor text, it can support educators with cross-curricular connections, i.e. the five senses, sensory imagery, memoir and descriptive writing, and social emotional learning discussions. Truly a Read Aloud for all ages. Let’s help children connect through story!

Dana Gambardella

An avid young reader, raised in North Providence, RI, I became a reflective writer in my teens, processing and savoring memories, feelings, and experiences. As a reading specialist for nearly 20 years, I value using story as the one constant innovative practice that remains powerfully instrumental for learners of all ages.

I coined the social media handle @LiteracyChef in 2015 when I realized my passion to read, write and nurture children’s love of story and appreciation for the impact their own story has on their learning process, just had to evolve.

Equally passionate for the culinary arts thanks to Grandma Gambardella, I understand that to be an expert in both areas, I must combine the right ingredients and practices to create a successful recipe—one that reaches many individual palettes and learners. As a result, I am embracing a lifetime of literacy, living to learn, and loving my process.

Find out more about Dana by visiting her website. Dana has a print copy of Grandma’s House for one winner. Just leave a comment on this post to be eligible.

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

It is the heat. And it is the humidity.


Nearly September. 95 degrees today. Heat index 104. Just like yesterday.

So who else is cranky? I know (at least) three people who live without air conditioning. I don’t know how they live, though. Our thermostat is set at 74 and I’m hot. But I’m grateful for A/C, especially at night.

I’ve never liked summer best. Fall is my favorite. How about you? Depending on where you live, you might not experience four distinct seasons. But by September, the sun rises later and it’s dark by 8:00 now, so I want that cool air to follow.

Meanwhile, I’ve finished the second round of edits for my new novel, so now it’s off to my trusted readers, who give me honest feedback. I sometimes can’t see a plot hole or a character who uses repetitive language, but they can! I’m still on track to have this book ready by December 1 – the day I’ll be at the Rhode Island Authors Expo!

Until then, I’m reading a lot (what are you reading?). I loved How to Walk Away by Katherine Center and Crossing the Bamboo Bridge by Mai Donohue (her memoir of growing up in Vietnam – you won’t be the same after reading it). I’m almost done with How Hard Can It Be? by the hilarious Allison Pearson, just started Alternate Side by the wonderful Anna Quindlen, and The Pendulum’s Truth by the very talented writing team of Leigh Brown and Vikki Corliss. Vacation next week means lots of reading!

Autumn will get here, eventually. You won’t hear me complain about the cold. Not me.

It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Leah DeCesare


 

For the past few years, I’ve had intermittent intentions of getting a “real” job, but writing keeps winning out and dabbling in applying for corporate jobs fizzles away. Writing is all I ever really wanted to do and I’m finally living that dream. As I was updating my Linked-In profile and my resume a couple of years ago, I discovered a thread that links my divergent and seemingly unrelated career and volunteer paths: Empowerment. Before recognizing this life theme, I’d written my debut novel which is all about encouraging women to believe in themselves.

 I’ve carried the central idea of this book with me since 1988 when my own father sent me off to college with the advice that my character, Amy York’s, dad sends her off to Syracuse University with: There are three types of guys: forks, knives, and spoons. That tidbit was true and when I shared this silly system with my college friends it took off, with everyone adding descriptions for new utensils and talking as if it were an understood concept, for example, “I met this complete fork last night.” 


That idea sat with me for decades, but there was no story around it, so when I finally sat to write this book, I had to build the characters and their arcs and let the Utensil Classification System (the UCS) become a backdrop and an organizing idea serving the characters and their growth. In the end, I had a story about friendship and learning to believe in oneself.

I feel strongly about bolstering and helping people to have true self-love and confidence, especially girls/women who often don’t get the same messages as boys/men from society, family, and media. How can we step out into the world and grab hold of what we want in life without believing in ourselves? It’s critical.
I’ve been a Big Sister to a young woman, now twenty-three, since she was seven years old and it’s something we’ve worked on consistently. I facilitate leadership experiences for collegiate women, middle school girls, and older women in various life stages and the time we share is often described as “life-changing,” and I know that’s because we all need to hear messages of empowerment and strength. Messages that tell us it’s not only okay to prioritize ourselves and our desires, but that it’s essential to our health and happiness. By going after our own dreams, we in turn model the way and empower our daughters, our friends, our peers.
As I’ve met with and heard from readers of Forks, Knives, and Spoons, I’m proud that I continue to hear sentiments such as: “This should be required reading for all young women,” “Every high school and college graduate should be reading this book,” “I will be getting this book for the young women in my life.” To me, that means the message I hold dear is coming through and being shared and that’s a joy to any writer.

Leah DeCesare is the award-winning author of FORKS, KNIVES, AND SPOONS and the nonfiction parenting series NAKED PARENTING, based on her work as a doula, early parenting educator, and mom of three. 

Leah’s articles have been featured in The Huffington Post, the International Doula and The Key, among others. In 2008, Leah co-founded the nonprofit Doulas of Rhode Island, and in 2013 she spearheaded the Campaign for Hope to build the Kampala Children’s Centre for Hope and Wellness in Uganda. In a past life, Leah worked in public relations and event planning. She now writes, teaches and volunteers in Rhode Island where she lives with her family and their talking cockatiel. 
Visit Leah’s website, find her on FacebookTwitterGoodreadsPinterestInstagramBookbub, and Amazon

GIVEAWAY! The author is offering one signed copy of Forks, Knives, and Spoons  plus one of the T-shirts pictured above (Men’s sizes M, L, or XL). Just comment below to be entered. Winner will be chosen at random and the author will contac you directly. Contest ends one week after publication. US residents only, please.

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

November is RI Authors Month! (well, at least on my blog)


Again this year, as a lead-up to the Fifth Annual Rhode Island Authors Expo, I’ll be featuring a different RI author on this blog. (The Year of Living Minimally posts will continue on Fridays, too.)

Here’s an opportunity to learn more about an author you may or may not know. Many of the authors are also giving away a book, and all you need to do to enter is comment on the post! Here in tiny Rhode Island we have hundreds of authors – some with one book written, some with many. Genres include romance, history, horror, literary, memoir. There’s something for everyone.

So I hope you enjoy the coming month’s posts and get to know some fabulous authors!