Book Review Tuesday – Love Winning – #BRT


Love Winning

Play Ball! Author Mike Squatrito describes himself as “the greatest knuckleball pitcher never to pitch in the Major Leagues.” Cheeky! But he backs up this self-assured claim with stats. Playing for the Rhode Island Brewers, a team of men who all share a love of America’s pastime, Squatrito details the wins (and occasional heartbreaking losses) of the team from 2005 to 2018.

But this isn’t just a baseball memoir. Squatrito recounts the innumerable exploits of grown men who work hard and play harder. Each of the men has a nickname, and Squatrito includes a handy reference guide at the beginning of the book to keep the reader apprised of just who is who.

“The consumption of beer is almost as dear to most Brewers players’ hearts as the game of baseball itself.” That truth is portrayed throughout the book, as cases of Bud Light are consumed with a frequency that is sometimes mind-boggling. There is even a “constitution,” written by a couple of the team members, where those who commit infractions are fined not with monetary reimbursement but in the form of “cold calorie-reduced alcoholic beverages,” usually a 12- or 30-pack, bags of Doritos, or boxes of pizza. Describing his teammates as “well-lubricated animals” seems appropriate after reading about the boys’ escapades in strip clubs, getting thrown off an airplane, or even being stopped by law enforcement for questionable driving.

Squatrito delights in telling stories, and is good at it. He recalls details of games played years ago (or perhaps he kept notes), and brings the reader along for one championship playoff game after another. The book is a comfortable, well-paced read. Men – who love baseball – would enjoy this book the most, I believe. At times the stories seem somewhat redundant (there’s beer, and pizza, and chicken wings, and going to Hooters), but Squatrito tells it all with a true fondness for his fellow teammates.

You can pick up a copy of Love Winning from Amazon (https://tinyurl.com/22zsfcww) or from your favorite independent bookstore. Learn more about the author by visiting his website https://www.mikesquatrito.com/

The Summer of Princess Diana – Editorial Review


Sharing this editorial review for my newest novel! Get your copy here https://tinyurl.com/2w982w2v

Title: The Summer of Princess Diana

Author: Martha Reynolds           

Genre: Women’s Fiction / Coming of Age Fiction

Young American Diana Driscoll is looking forward to attending the London wedding of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer, courtesy of her wealthy Father. However, while on a stopover in Switzerland, she receives a phone-call that dramatically changes her plans, and not just for the Summer.

The Summer of Princess Diana opens with a short prologue set in 1976 before moving to 1981. This brief mid-Seventies opener sets the tone of the novel. It’s light, charming, and incredibly readable, while giving a sense of something a little deeper beneath the surface.

Diana is understandably spoiled and indulged, but Ms. Reynolds manages to make her likeable and interesting. Diana is aware of her lucky position in life, and the superficiality she exhibits during the early stages of the book never becomes too irritating.

Following the life-changing conversation with her mother, Ms. Reynolds is careful to realistically develop Diana’s awareness of her impecunious situation without the prose losing its frothy, slightly fun edge and jaunty pace. This skillfully maintains the narrative’s engaging style while subtly drawing out Diana’s hidden depths.

Indeed, Ms. Reynolds has an intrinsic knack for knowing when to leave well alone to let the reader exercise their imagination, or simply sail through with the story. Unpleasant issues are not exactly glossed over, but dealt with in a manner that does not ask too many questions, either of the perpetrators or the reader.

This approach might be viewed as slightly one-dimensional and it could possibly be argued that elements of The Summer of Princess Diana could have been explored with more insight. Nonetheless, this simplistic approach is refreshingly easy to read, cleverly thought-out, and deceptively well-structured.

There is an abundance of fine, descriptive detail throughout the novel which brings the characters and settings vividly to life. In particular, the Swiss countryside is beautifully captured and the seamless blending of the French language with its English counterpart adds complete ease and authenticity to the story.

Once Diana begins to live and work as an au pair with the Brusadin Family, the novel really flies while still keeping the airy, feminine touch to the writing and the sporadic brushstrokes of gently whimsical humor.

The dynamic between the Brusadins and Diana is delicately examined, yet the reader can keenly feel the vulnerabilities, tensions, and subtle power struggles that exist between them all in the Swiss farmhouse. Intrigue, apprehension, and poignancy simmer through this area of the narrative, which combined with the brisk pace, make the majority of The Summer of Princess Diana hard to put down.

Kenny, the Brusadin’s son, evolves from a prototypical, tantrum-throwing toddler to a somewhat pitiful little figure surrounded by foreboding elements. The motif of Diana’s brothers running in front of a car during the prologue, and Kenny doing similar, lends a continuity and possibly premonitory link between his life and hers.

From Diana’s first meeting with Monsieur Brusadin, he exudes mildly predatory behavior. However, it is with his friend, Luigi, that a particularly nasty incident with Diana occurs. This is given more emotional depth than other troubling moments in the novel, highlighting its impact and Diana’s subsequent maturity and growth.

Madame Brusadin’s portrayal is a masterclass in understated poignancy. Through the smallest of expressions and merest of mannerisms, she conveys a wealth of unspoken regret and disillusionment while still clinging to an ill-fated optimism.

The Summer of Princess Diana is a captivating read that navigates some dark issues with sensitivity and a lightness of touch. Reynolds has written an original and absorbing story with a sweetly satisfying ending and a protagonist who, despite her faults, never fails to appeal.

This Editorial Review was written by the Book Review Directory staff. To receive a similarly honest, professional review for one of your own books, click here.

Book Review Tuesday – Bonebelly #BRT


Bonebelly

The theme of good vs. evil is a tried-and-true theme for novels of virtually any genre. With an opening line of “Here follows a true account of my first thirty days in hell,” the reader has an idea that this book will not be a light and airy read.

In the tradition of authors such as H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe, author Christine Lajewski (pronounce it “Lah-JESS-ski,” please) takes the reader on an unusual ride (a hayride, even) through the dark world of the damned.

Bonebelly is the name given to the creature who pens that ominous opening line, and the name is bestowed on him by a young couple who discover him at a farm turned haunted playground for paying visitors somewhere in South County, Rhode Island.

“I know what mercy is, but I am certain I have no right to any,” Bonebelly asserts. We know he has been condemned to hell, but we don’t know why (until much later in the book). What we do know is that he is a gruesome, ghastly, gross being with a ravenous appetite that cannot be satiated. But he has human emotions, and understands that “it is left to [him] to chart [his] path, if there is one, toward redemption.”

Other characters appear, some on the side of good, like Sean and Amy, the young couple who are aspiring graphic novelists and take a keen and compassionate interest in Bonebelly. “Exploring the great darkness of the world of horror allowed them to set aside the lesser shadows in their lives.”

There is Demon, kind of a caseworker who oversees Bonebelly’s journey. And there is evil in the form of a shapeless mass that preys on innocent victims, eventually transforming himself into a handsome and charming human being. These main characters, along with a host of others at the farm, play parts as the battle between good and evil escalates, culminating in a faceoff between Bonebelly and his nemesis, Martin.

As a rule, I don’t read horror. But I must say that Lajewski writes beautifully and nails the language of someone who lived three hundred-plus years ago. While the pacing is at times slower than I would like, the story does progress and builds as it should. She includes dates ahead of most chapters so the reader will have a sense of date and place. At times it seems as though a chapter is being repeated, when Lajewski tells the same tale but from a different point of view.

If you’re a fan of the horror genre, or thinking of trying it out, Bonebelly is a good place to start. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

You can purchase a copy of Bonebelly from Amazon (https://tinyurl.com/ycxk9dc8) or through her publisher, Divertir Publishing (https://www.divertirpublishing.com/books/bb.html), where you can read the first 60 pages for free.

Next book review coming Tuesday, January 25!

Book Review Tuesday #BRT Darkness at Dachau


Darkness at Dachau

Darkness at Dachau is the most recent book from Paul F. Caranci, published this past October by Stillwater River Publications. It chronicles the story of Fr. Jean Bernard, a Catholic priest from Luxembourg who headed the international Catholic film bureau in Brussels, and was imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau from May 1941 until his release in August 1942.

Caranci is a meticulous researcher who provides supplemental information on the beginnings of Hitler’s rise, including the end of World War I and how Germany, and Germans, in humiliating defeat would seek revenge. He details Hitler’s poverty in childhood to his rejection from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna to his affiliating himself with anti-Semitism.

The reader will learn that Dachau was the first Nazi concentration camp, opened in 1933, and that it was “home” to several thousand members of the Catholic clergy. In the case of Fr. Bernard, he was arrested and imprisoned for speaking out against the Nazis.

Fr. Bernard was unexpectedly released from the camp for nine days in February 1942. Released because his mother had passed away, Fr. Bernard was offered a ‘deal’ – that other priests might also be released if they would all publicly support the Nazis. Bernard refused and was returned to Dachau. Eventually, his brother’s intervention helped secure his permanent release in August 1942. Fr. Bernard eventually held senior-level positions in the Catholic Church in Luxembourg, and died in 1994 at the age of 87.

It’s important for me to note that there are many instances of extremely graphic abuse and torture detailed in the book. Some readers will find these descriptions too difficult to read and should be aware. Most of us know about the atrocities committed against innocent people in the Nazi camps. There are also very graphic and gruesome photos that Caranci includes, most of which come from the Holocaust Museum archives.

While this book is about Fr. Jean Bernard and his incarceration at Dachau, the last part of the book focuses more on other aspects of Catholicism (historical and modern-day), including “anti-Christian SCOTUS [Supreme Court of the United States] rulings,” church closures by church hierarchy in the time of Covid-19, the debate over offering communion to pro-choice elected officials, Roman crucifixions and stonings in the year 62 A.D., the torture of St. Luke in graphic detail, and Christians celebrating Mass in the catacombs. Caranci is a wealth of knowledge, that is obvious, and I believe he wanted to tie in various aspects of history, including the way priests at Dachau were restricted from saying Mass (“risking hunger, torture, medical experimentation and mass executions”) to the early Christians celebrating Mass in the catacombs in secret, but these instances pinball all over the place and seem not to belong within the scope of a book about a priest imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. Still, there is much to be learned from Darkness at Dachau, especially for anyone interested in the history of World War II.

You can purchase a copy of Darkness at Dachau at Amazon (https://tinyurl.com/2p9y6x56) or locally at Stillwater Books (https://tinyurl.com/2y4e3v5j).

Paul F. Caranci is the author of twelve books. He has been a student of history for many years. He is an incorporating member of the Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA) and a member of the board of the RI Publication Society.

Next book review will be Tuesday, January 25!

Coming Soon! Book Review Tuesdays #BRT


Image by LubosHouska/Pixabay

One of the things I want to do, starting in 2022, is feature more local books. Some of you know that we have a treasure of talented writers here in Rhode Island. Many of these authors are either self-published or published through small presses, which can limit one’s exposure. It doesn’t mean the books are any less. Maybe I should repeat that. It still infuriates me when I think back on the one traditionally-published author who told a friend (self-published) that she couldn’t be that good if she was self-published. Grrrr.

Anyway……beginning Tuesday, January 4, 2022, and going forward on Tuesdays throughout the year, this blog will feature a book from a local author. Yes, I still need to carve out enough time to write my next novel (it’s still mostly in my head at this point, but I know the beginning, middle, and end, so that’s something….right?!), and write and schedule my annual Blogging from A to Z posts in April, but I’m retired, and it’s winter, so bring it, I say.

Writers love reviews! Even the not-so-great reviews. I’m okay with them now, although the first time I read a one-star review for my first novel (“I couldn’t finish this drivel”), I cried. No more! Bad reviews, if accompanied by constructive criticism, can actually help one become better. Most of the time, however, bad reviews don’t say much other than “I couldn’t finish this drivel.” So move on. Keep writing, keep learning. If I truly hate a book (rare), or if it was obviously not edited or proofed (not as rare), I’ll keep my negative thoughts to myself. You will not see less than a three-star rating here, because I know what it takes to put a book out there. And it’s important to be kind.

And, I still believe each of us has a story to tell. So in between writing my 11th novel and chairing the next anthology for the Association of Rhode Island Authors and getting my April A to Z posts prepared, I will be reading and writing about what might very well be your next great discovery to read. Stay tuned and follow this blog!

It’s the holidays – joyous and celebratory for many, difficult for others. I will quote a lyric by the magnificent Stephen Sondheim, who passed last month:

Sometimes people leave you
halfway through the wood.
Others may deceive you.
You decide what’s good.
You decide alone.
But no one is alone.

A Bond Forever


Reprinted from an article in the Providence College alumni magazine, May 18, 2021.

The family tradition that is Providence College has been manifested over the decades in many and various ways. Generations of Friars have attended PC. (In my case: my dad John M. Reynolds ‘40, my cousin Kathy ’73, my sisters Ann ’78 and Mary Beth ’84, and me ’80. My husband James ‘79even though we didn’t know each other then, and his father Ray, also ‘79.) it’s a family tradition! Many of my classmates have sent their children to PC. For those of us who were students in the late 1970s, there is one event that has, and always will, define us.

To write about the Aquinas Hall dormitory fire of December 13, 1977, a tragedy that ultimately claimed the lives of 10 young women, prompts sharp and difficult memories. Memories of youth and innocence, of traveling back through time to golden days full of promise and hope. And in one night, much of our innocence and sense of invincibility was lost.

In 1977, there were no cell phones, no internet, no texts or Skype or Zoom. There was no Netflix or Hulu, no TSA at the airports, no ATMs, no AIDS. The Berlin Wall still stood, and Jimmy Carter was the president. There was great (and not-so-great) music, and if you were dining in Raymond Cafeteria, you might have heard Donna Summer singing about leaving a cake out in the rain at “MacArthur Park” over the intercom system. We wore clogs and Fair Isle sweaters, and we sported Dorothy Hamill haircuts.

Family and friends of the Aquinas Hall fire victims receive Holy Communion during a memorial Mass at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence on Dec. 18, 1977. (Photo from Providence College magazine)

For many young women in the mid-1970s, going away to college was an important part of the rite-of-passage experience. A different state perhaps, a new dormitory adventure, and roommates! For some of us, the entire experience was unfamiliar. And daunting. But that’s how bonds begin. Everyone is starting out and going through the same unfamiliar rituals, to varying degrees. Few of us had cars, so our entertainment consisted of basketball or hockey games at Alumni Hall or Schneider Arena, tipping a few pitchers at the Rat, the occasional concert or lecture at ’64 Hall, or just hanging out in each other’s dorm rooms or in Mural Lounge, where the hot ham and cheese grinder was $1 and an ice cream cone was just a quarter.

There were three dorms for girls (which is what we were in those days): Meagher, McVinney, and Aquinas. Each dorm had its own personality, and all three buildings faced what is known as the Quad — a quadrangle of green space flanked by the three women’s dorms, plus McDermott Hall for boys. There were girls who met each other as roommates freshman year and stayed friends forever. And there were attachments forged through tragedy.

I’ve written about that December day, listing all 10 of the young women, even though I only knew two of them well enough to greet by name. But because we’re so connected, because we’re family, all of us, our Friar community is linked by the tragic Aquinas fire.

On Dec. 13, 2002, the 25th anniversary of the Aquinas Hall fire, Providence College dedicated an alcove in the new St. Dominic Chapel to the 10 women who died. They are remembered at a memorial Mass in the chapel each December. The Mass was livestreamed for the first time in 2020. (Photo from Providence College magazine)

When people die young, at the very beginning of their adult lives, one can’t help but imagine what they would have become, how their lives might have turned out. The 10 girls who died in the fire that snowy night will remain youthful in our memories.

Every year in December we stop to remember, because we can’t ever forget. When I return to the Providence College campus, I pause to look up at the fourth-floor windows of Aquinas and offer a prayer for the girls who perished, and for their family members. But I also pray for the girls who survived. One of those survivors told me that for many years, she tried to figure out why she was saved, what was her purpose. Was it her marriage? The birth of her child? She said it took decades to realize she was saved for many reasons, and she tries, even now, to understand. It’s a question that is beyond comprehension, she said. So she focuses on what matters in her life: kindness, expressing to loved ones how much they mean, letting go of anger, cherishing friends.

All these years later and the memories can be as sharp as yesterday. That’s the thing about memory, even as we grow older. Now in our 60s, we often joke about forgetting the most meaningless things, yet none of us can forget the fire. I can remember a conversation with Katie, or the last time I saw Debbie.

Life is filled with moments — some so happy you’ll swear you must be dreaming, and some so tragic you wonder, for years, why they occurred. But if I can learn a lesson from my friend Kim, it is to find joy in small moments, to express kindness, and forgiveness, whenever possible, and to give thanks to the tightly knit community that is Providence College.

Martha Reynolds McVeigh ’80 ended an accomplished career as a fraud investigator and in the past 10 years has written ten novels. Her novel, Villa del Sol, was awarded the 2018 Book Prize in Literary Fiction by the Independent Publishers of New England.

RI Authors Showcase – Meet Debra Westgate-Silva


Welcome to the Rhode Island Authors Showcase! Each day in November, this blog will feature a different Rhode Island author. Read the post and leave a comment and you are eligible to win this day’s giveaway!

Leave a comment every day this month for over 30 chances to win either our Grand Prize (a $250 Amazon gift card), our Bonus Prize (a $100 Amazon gift card), or a Cheer-Up Prize (amount to be determined), just in time for holiday shopping!

A winner will be randomly selected one week after the publication of the blog post, and the Grand Prize and Bonus Prize winners will be randomly selected on December 7, 2021. For the daily giveaways, the author will contact you directly to coordinate delivery. Print books for delivery within the US only, please.

Debra Westgate-Silva

Debra Westgate-Silva has worked in public education for many years and in child advocacy and welfare.  Her work has been published in Highlights children’s magazine and Teaching Tolerance.  Bethlehem Barn is her first children’s picture book.  Deb lives in Bristol, Rhode Island, with her husband and two sons and loves reading, writing, cooking (and eating!), traveling and, above all else, spending time with her family. 

Learn more about Deb at her website: http://www.debrawestgatesilva.com

Follow Deb on her Facebook page: https://tinyurl.com/45c38d5f

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/deb_westgate_silva/

And you can follow her on Amazon (and find her book there, too!) https://www.amazon.com/Bethlehem-Barn-Debra-Westgate-Silva/dp/195512356X

Ancient legends tell us that for one hour on Christmas Eve, animals are given the gift of speech. If we could have heard the animals on that very first Christmas Eve, what do you think they would have said?

From the discovery of something in Cow’s hay, to the realization of what–or who– it is, Bethlehem Barn is a light-hearted, fun retelling of that very first Christmas from the animals’ point of view.  

Deb is giving away a copy of Bethlehem Barn to one lucky winner. Just comment on this blog post and you’re entered!

Join us on SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11, from 9:00am to 3:00pm at the CROWNE PLAZA in Warwick for the 9th Annual Rhode Island Authors Expo!

RI Authors Showcase – Meet Elizabeth Splaine


Welcome to the Rhode Island Authors Showcase! Each day in November, this blog will feature a different Rhode Island author. Read the post and leave a comment and you are eligible to win this day’s giveaway!

Leave a comment every day this month for over 30 chances to win either our Grand Prize (a $250 Amazon gift card), our Bonus Prize (a $100 Amazon gift card), or a Cheer-Up Prize (amount to be determined), just in time for holiday shopping!

A winner will be randomly selected one week after the publication of the blog post, and the Grand Prize and Bonus Prize winners will be randomly selected on December 7, 2021. For the daily giveaways, the author will contact you directly to coordinate delivery. Print books for delivery within the US only, please.

Elizabeth Splaine

Elizabeth B. Splaine lives in Rhode Island with her husband, sons, and dogs. When not writing she teaches voice at the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School. Swan Song is her fourth novel. She can be reached via her website www.elizabethsplaineauthor.com.

You can also follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethsplaineauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/elizabethsplai2

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elizbsplaine/

and on Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ezs3uxf6

Few people know the following facts about Adolf Hitler. He had a nephew who fought for the Allies, and he had an affair with his niece, Geli Raubal. On the night of September 18, 1931, following a screaming match with Hitler, Geli shot herself in the heart with one of his Walther revolvers. She was one of seven women who attempted suicide following an affair with the megalomaniacal leader. Hitler was devastated and ordered the suicide covered up. As his memory reinvented Geli and her suicide, her death became regal, an honorable, heroic choice to which he would refer again and again over the ensuing years.

In her historical fiction novel, Swan Song, Elizabeth Splaine imagines Hitler’s twisted state of mind as he makes the acquaintance of Ursula Becker, an operatic diva who so closely resembles Geli that he cannot help but be drawn to her. Hitler sees Ursula as his second chance; he yearns to possess and control her. But Ursula’s will is strong and her personality rebellious. As she continues to defy him, Hitler’s broken mind conflates the two women and, over time, the truculent Ursula becomes Geli. Hitler is left with two choices: once again cause the death of someone he cherishes, or allow her to live and openly defy him. The personal decisions he makes, as seen through Ursula’s eyes, reflect the turmoil he continues to create throughout the world.

Splaine wrote Swan Song for many reasons, not the least of which is to continue educating future generations about the danger of bigotry. As the greatest generation passes away, we must remember that war is never black and white. Rather, it’s a grotesque spectrum of gray in which morals are traded for food, and dignity for warmth. The ugly side of humanity is paraded before the world to be judged. In recent politics we have been continually reminded of “us” and “them.” Swan Song reminds the reader that, to ensure survival and prosperity, there is only “we” and “us.”

Elizabeth is thrilled to be the featured author in Ink Fish Books’ Rhody Reader Box, an innovative project that supports local businesses while giving back to charity. Check out her website or https://www.inkfishbooks.com for more information.

As her book is about a Jewish opera singer who rises to fame in Nazi Germany and becomes the object of Hitler’s twisted obsession, Elizabeth, a retired opera singer, is giving away a 1/2 hour virtual voice lesson (value approx. $40.) Tap into your inner diva! You can connect with Elizabeth from anywhere.

Join us on SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11, from 9:00am to 3:00pm at the CROWNE PLAZA in Warwick for the 9th Annual Rhode Island Authors Expo!

RI Authors Showcase – Meet Debbie Kaiman Tillinghast


Welcome to the Rhode Island Authors Showcase! Each day in November, this blog will feature a different Rhode Island author. Read the post and leave a comment and you are eligible to win this day’s giveaway!

Leave a comment every day this month for over 30 chances to win either our Grand Prize (a $250 Amazon gift card), our Bonus Prize (a $100 Amazon gift card), or a Cheer-Up Prize (amount to be determined), just in time for holiday shopping!

A winner will be randomly selected one week after the publication of the blog post, and the Grand Prize and Bonus Prize winners will be randomly selected on December 7, 2021. For the daily giveaways, the author will contact you directly to coordinate delivery. Print books for delivery within the US only, please.

Debbie Tillinghast

Debbie Kaiman Tillinghast is the author of The Ferry Home, a memoir about her childhood on Prudence Island, Rhode Island. Her writing has appeared in Country magazine, and her poetry is featured in six anthologies published by the Association of Rhode Island Authors. A Dream Worth Keeping is her first novel. It is available online at Amazon (https://tinyurl.com/7kfv6j7s) or locally at Stillwater Books (https://www.stillwaterbooksri.com/dream-worth-keeping).

The most meaningful journeys encompass more than the distance we travel…

When Martha files for divorce from her controlling and dismissive husband, Tony, she knows she’ll have to begin again. Tony persuaded her to abandon her dreams of chocolate and pastry fame, and to break a promise to her grandmother, to follow him and his dreams.

Martha’s heart pulls her back to her hometown in seaside Maine, to Gram, and to the bakery where Gram is still waiting for her to return. But before she can go home, Martha must learn who she really is, and her journey of discovery leads her south—from Baltimore and Tony’s betrayal, to the Gulf coast of Florida and the friends she’d made in culinary school, when her dreams had felt within her reach.

When she eventually returns to Baltimore, life offers her another chance at love. But Martha can’t believe in love again until she first believes in herself.

A Dream Worth Keeping is a story of friendship and loss, guilt and forgiveness. It takes readers on a journey of love and redemption—and reminds us that we can’t love anyone else until we love ourselves.

Be sure to visit Debbie on her website (https://debbiekaimantillinghast.com/)

or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/debbiekaimantillinghast)

Debbie has generously offered to gift a copy of A Dream Worth Keeping to one lucky winner. Just leave a comment on this post and/or answer this question: What dream would you still like to achieve?

Join us on SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11, from 9:00am to 3:00pm at the CROWNE PLAZA in Warwick for the 9th Annual Rhode Island Authors Expo!

RI Authors Showcase – Meet Coral Isabella Aurora


Welcome to the Rhode Island Authors Showcase! Each day in November, this blog will feature a different Rhode Island author. Read the post and leave a comment and you are eligible to win this day’s giveaway!

Leave a comment every day this month for over 30 chances to win either our Grand Prize (a $250 Amazon gift card), our Bonus Prize (a $100 Amazon gift card), or a Cheer-Up Prize (amount to be determined), just in time for holiday shopping!

A winner will be randomly selected one week after the publication of the blog post, and the Grand Prize and Bonus Prize winners will be randomly selected on December 7, 2021. For the daily giveaways, the author will contact you directly to coordinate delivery. Print books for delivery within the US only, please.

Coral Isabella Aurora

Hello fellow readers,

My name is Coral Isabella Aurora, and today is my featured showcase on Martha’s blog. Since early childhood, I have loved writing stories, creating music, and making people laugh. Now, as an adult, my dreams have truly come to life through my young adult comedies. Here’s a little bit more about me:

I like pineapple on pizza (I know, it’s evil to some), riding horses, fighting for wild animal rights (healthy wolf populations should be nourished and not culled through inhumane means), reading, and playing video games (especially indie games). Besides writing novels, I am a musician, singer, and composer. I create the artwork for Peace & Wolf Ethical Apparel, where we donate $5 for every t-shirt sold. Beyond artwork for tees, leggings, and accessories, I make the cover art and illustrations for my own books. Visit the website here: https://www.peaceandwolf.com/

There are many reasons I decided to become an author. First, I had a passion for making stories, not only for myself, but for others too since childhood. My second grade teacher always gave me extra paper during writing assignments. Second, I love creating a gap in my own reading life; if there is a story I want to read that does not exist, what better way to experience it than to write it myself? Third, I enjoy creating worlds. I have a secret love for creating characters with quirks and find that I like to people-watch and adopt things from characters in TV shows, such as the thickness of their eyebrows or curl of their hair.

Writing books is also very personal. When you read a book, you get to experience an entire world, set of views, and dialogue that shows a window into the author’s mind. You get to see a part of them that would remain hidden otherwise. As a writer, I share a secret part of me that can’t be conveyed in any other means. I’m also passionate about writing stories that revolve around ideals of eternal love. My goal is to rekindle society’s idea of romance. I don’t create characters who look at their love interest and think about his abs the first time she sees him. Although my male characters tend to be handsome, that’s not what attracts the female protagonist to them. A big no-no in the young adult writing world, for me at least, is creating characters that struggle to decide between two love interests, especially after making a commitment to the first one.

I prefer to write characters that are sure of themselves and already know what they want in life, who they like, and what romances them. I want to highlight traits of emotional sure-footedness in my books and hope to help others make healthier decisions, such as finding themselves before starting a relationship and not confusing physical attraction as love. 

Although it’s not due to a religious reason, my characters only participate in serious relationships. They accept no less than romance and long-term, committed relationships. I started this because, although I homeschooled, three friends that I talked to over the years claimed half of their female student body was pregnant. I hope that even if it only changes one life, that my book characters can influence others to wait and accept no less than what’s best for them and their future.

My first book, The Teenager’s Guide to Surviving a Horror Film, was a 2020 IPNE young adult awards finalist. Every year, the haunted Mathswell mansion lures eight teenagers into its depths on Halloween night. As a previous victim cursed to wander the estate, Jacqueline uses her expertise on horror films to guide the newest teens. The problem is, no one can hear her sarcastic voice. Keeping eight teens alive shouldn’t be hard. Right??? 

The Teenager’s Guide to Surviving a Fairy Tale is the unconnected sequel. This hilarious journey through quirky fairy tale retellings has multiple diverse characters including a service dog.

Coral has generously offered to give away both books to one lucky winner (that’s a $40 value). You are welcome to subscribe to her newsletter by visiting her website here https://coralisabellaaurora.com/

To be entered to win, just leave a comment on this post. If you want to answer, here’s your question: What’s your favorite fairy tale?

Join us on SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11, from 9:00am to 3:00pm at the CROWNE PLAZA in Warwick for the 9th Annual Rhode Island Authors Expo!