Rhode Island Authors Showcase – Featuring Debbie Tillinghast!

The Rhode Island Authors Showcase is back! Each day in November, I’ll be featuring a different RI author. Each post features a giveaway – a book, an anthology, or something else! All you have to do to be eligible for the daily drawing is leave a comment on the blog post. I’ll use a random number generator to pick a winner one week after the blog post (to give you time to catch up).

By commenting on each post, you’re also entered to win our bigger prizes: GRAND PRIZE is a $250 Amazon gift card, BONUS PRIZE is a $100 Amazon gift card, and the CHEER UP YOU WON SOMETHING PRIZE is a $50 Amazon gift card. The big prizes will be chosen, again using a random number generator, on December 7.

Debbie Kaiman Tillinghast

My friend Debbie Tillinghast is here today, and I couldn’t be happier. Naturally, I’ve got questions:

What name do you use as an author? Debbie Kaiman Tillinghast

And where is your hometown? Prudence Island, Rhode Island during my childhood, Now Chepachet, Rhode Island

What genre(s) do you write? Fiction, Memoir, Poetry

What have you written? The Ferry Home (memoir), 2015; A Dream Worth Keeping (novel), 2020; A Gift of Cookies, A Gift of Love (cookbook and memoir), 2022. My poetry also has been featured in all seven of the ARIA anthologies (https://tinyurl.com/nhexeku6)

Who are some of your favorite authors? Jenny Colgan, Elin Hilderbrand, Debbie Macomber

What were your favorite books growing up? All the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder; The Nancy Drew Mystery series by Carolyn Keene; Mr. Poppers Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

What do you like best about writing? I lose myself in words and stories, and I can write myself to peace. I can live everything twice. I see the daffodils in the spring, but I can write about them any time and experience again their dancing yellow dresses swirling in the air. Details in life matter, and moments that might have vanished unnoticed, I save on the page.

What do you find most challenging about writing? Sometimes my mind disappears when I want it to be present. It wanders through bills to be paid, laundry to be washed, or the lawn that needs mowing. I want to call it back, to sit and tell my pen what to write, but it can’t be bothered. It gets lost in a world of concrete blocks, and I want to stroll through a field of tulips.

Where do you draw your inspiration? When I walk, my brain takes flight in unexpected directions. My mind moves with my body, it spins a story in time to my steps, and I write dialogue to the rhythm of my feet. I wrote The Ferry Home and A Dream Worth Keeping as I walked, with a recorder in my hand.

Youve just been given the chance to collaborate on a book with Erin Hilderbrand. Whats the title going to be? Island Girls

You can find out more about Debbie and her books by visiting her website http://www.debbiekaimantillinghast.com

And find her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/debbiekaimantillinghast

Debbie is offering a CHOICE of books to the winner – her memoir The Ferry Home, her novel A Dream Worth Keeping, or her soon-to-be-published cookie cookbook A Gift of Cookies, A Gift of Love. For a chance to win, just mention below in the comments your favorite family holiday tradition!

You can pick up your own copy here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/195821762X

Book Review Tuesday – A Dream Worth Keeping – #BRT

Look at this pretty book cover! It does make one want to tear into it, and tear into it I did this past week. A Dream Worth Keeping is the first novel by author Debbie Kaiman Tillinghast, whose first release was a memoir, The Ferry Home. In this novel, she explores the quintessential themes of love, loss, and forgiveness – of others and of oneself.

Martha Coutu is a pastry chef and chocolatier on the heels of a divorce that has left her with overwhelming self-doubt and skepticism toward men. When George Henderson enters her life unexpectedly, she battles the strong attraction she feels for him with her own memories of the abusive husband she has just recently jettisoned. Their initial meeting goes so well, however, that George asks for more time with Martha, but Martha (great name, by the way!) flees. I mean, she really flees – she packs up her car and drives from Baltimore to Florida, a drive that would run about 15 hours. Once in Florida, she stays with her culinary school chum Annie, who runs a B&B, and befriends Darcy, a local chocolatier with whom she forms a deep bond.

Martha has some major self-acceptance work ahead of her. While she clings to the past as if it’s a buoy, it actually serves to drag her down and keep her from a chance at real happiness. At times, she has a hard time recognizing the man who is actually a snake and a harder time acknowledging the good guy. But I don’t want to give away too much of the story. Martha’s journey is such a major part of the plot that you root for her throughout her roller-coaster ride of emotions. Set in Pensacola, Baltimore, and the coast of Maine, this book is propelled by realistic dialogue that moves the plot (as good dialogue should), gorgeous scenery descriptions, appropriate backstory, and mouth-watering depictions of pastries and chocolates.

There are minor punctuation errors (“Let me drive Maggie” is not the same as “Let me drive, Maggie”), but they don’t detract from the overall story, which is well-constructed, with one odd pop-up of a nearly-forgotten character at the end of the story, but the author quickly dispenses with him and moves forward. A Dream Worth Keeping is well worth reading, and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys baking, traveling, and a well-written romance.

You can purchase A Dream Worth Keeping at Amazon (https://tinyurl.com/56dxrps4) or locally in Rhode Island from the publisher, Stillwater River Publications, at their bookstore, Stillwater Books (https://www.stillwaterbooksri.com/dream-worth-keeping).

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!

It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Debbie Tillinghast




            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?


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





Purchase at: