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. 

Martha Headshots--7

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


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


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!

November is Book-a-Day #Giveaway Month!


And what better month than November? Days are shorter, nights are colder, and after the first week, no more election news!

Leading up to the Fourth Annual Rhode Island Authors Expo* on Saturday, December 3, I’ll be showcasing, each day in November, a different book written by a Rhode Island author. And you have an opportunity to WIN a copy of that book! These authors have very generously agreed to gift a copy of their book to one person.

All you need to do is comment on the daily post. Adding a comment helps the author achieve more visibility. Sharing on social media helps, too, are there are buttons at the bottom of the page for sharing. Each contest will end one week after the original publication date, and yes, you can win more than once! It’s all random. If you’re the winner, I’ll send the author your email address and they’ll coordinate delivery with you directly. So…thank you for following this blog and I hope you participate in next month’s Book-a-Day Giveaway!

Shop Small (and a GIVEAWAY)


To honor small and independent businesses everywhere, I’m encouraging you to shop (if you shop this frenetic holiday season) at small and independently-owned businesses.

And to that end, all of my books (all five of them) are on sale from now until the end of November. The sale ends around midnight on Sunday the 30th. I’m talking about ebooks, because I can’t change the price of the paperbacks on Amazon’s site. CLICK HERE to go to my Amazon website.

Now, many of you who read this blog regularly are some of my most loyal readers (THANK YOU for that!). Ebooks make great gifts. So do paperbacks, and if you’re local and want to buy any of my printed books, just let me know and I’ll make a special delivery for you.

Finally, I’m asking you to do some of my advertising (with a chance to win). You can share on your Facebook page, tweet it out on Twitter, post on LinkedIn, your website, your blog, etc. If you share this post on FB, you’re entered. If you tweet and tag me (@AuthorMReynolds), you’re entered. As long as I know you posted something (and you can post every day up to Sunday), you’re entered. One lucky contestant will win $50 in PayPal money to (hopefully) spend at a small business. My way of letting you know how grateful I am to be doing what I love.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Meet Author Brea Brown

my mison scarfWelcome to the third installment of (some of) My Favorite Authors! Have you read any of Brea Brown’s books yet?  Yes? Well, then you’ll understand why I love her so much. No? Well, get started – she’s written nine of them. Yep, nine. Read her bio and you’ll see why I’m in awe of this talented, funny writer.

Brea Brown lives in Springfield, Missouri, with her husband and three sons, but her international support network stretches as far as Australia. She’s an administrative assistant at an environmental consulting firm for forty hours a week and  a writer all the other waking hours of the week not taken up by motherhood, wifedom, reading, and watching cheesy TV shows like Sleepy Hollow. (That leaves a surprisingly large number of hours, believe it or not.) Her published novels are Daydreamer, The Secret Keeper, The Secret Keeper Confined, The Secret Keeper Up All Night, The Secret Keeper Holds On, The Secret Keeper Lets Go, Plain Jayne, Quiet, Please! and Let’s Be Frank. Coming soon: The Secret Keeper Fulfilled, the sixth and final book in the series.

Yep, nine books. 🙂

Welcome, Brea! So happy to have you here. So, who designs your fabulous book covers and how much input do you have in creating them?

BB: My best friend, Laura Sellars, designs my book covers. She’s mega-talented, so my input involves, “Hey, I need a cover. Do you think you could make one for me, please?” and…that’s it. I gave her some ideas for my cover for Let’s Be Frank, because she hadn’t read the book, so she needed a jumping-off point, but she ended up coming up with something completely different (and a thousand times better) than what I’d suggested. So, I stick to writing the books, and let her work the magic on the covers. It’s a beautiful thing.

Which authors inspire you?

BB: When I feel like, ‘I don’t know if I can do this anymore,’ and ‘All of my ideas seem to be the same,’ and ‘My writing is so flat,’ I pick up a book by Jennifer Weiner or Rainbow Rowell and I think, ‘YES! This is how you do it.’ They’re very inspirational to me, because their voices are so distinctive, and I admire that. Humble authors also inspire me. One of my favorites is Catherine Ryan Hyde. She’s unassuming and down-to-earth, in spite of being one of the most talented writers currently producing fiction. I don’t respect authors who project an air of entitlement. There’s a lot of that going around nowadays. Folks like Ryan Hyde help me keep the faith.

Authors sometimes are categorized as “plotters” or “pantsers.” How would you describe yourself as what goes into the creation of a new story?

BB: Well, I’m definitely a pantser. For sure. I often don’t know how a story is going to end, and I don’t know what’s going to happen between the beginning and the end, other than a few vague plot points. Sometimes not even that. I like to let the story take me where it’s going to take me. I write stories I’d like to read, so it’s like I’m reading them as I write them. That gets me trouble sometimes, but it’s just how my creative process works. I come up with a concept (usually by observing someone in real life – yeah, kind of creepy), then I build a whole world around that person. Sometimes I write vague character sketches to get a better idea of the backstories involved, but for the most part, I learn about them as I go. I often don’t even know what the main conflict is going to be or what the climax of the story will entail. It’s a lot of fun!


Brea has offered to gift a digital copy of The Secret Keeper to one lucky reader. Smart choice, Brea, because the reader will be hooked on the series from the very first book 🙂

secret keeper cover art

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CHOCOLATE FONDUE giveaway announcement


I’ve listed a giveaway (two copies) of CHOCOLATE FONDUE, the sequel to my début novel, CHOCOLATE FOR BREAKFAST, on Goodreads. If you don’t know about Goodreads, it’s the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations. Their mission is to help people find and share books they love.

Just click here and you’ll be taken to the Goodreads page, where you can sign up to win one of two signed paperbacks!

Yes, if you’re wondering, my days have been filled lately with book marketing and promotion. It’s not my favorite thing, but it’s necessary to get the book noticed outside my circle of friends and family (aka my loyal readers and reviewers!). Last week I sent a copy of the book to the Hotel Walter in Lugano, Switzerland (the hotel is mentioned in the book), and I’ll be sending copies of both books to the Hotel de la Rose in Fribourg. Meanwhile, I’ve had some interest from a couple of book clubs, and will be appearing on three blogs this month.

I’ve begun my third novel – which has absolutely nothing to do with Switzerland or chocolate! – but the challenge I’ve found lately is writing darker passages when my mood is light and optimistic. After all, it’s spring, we’ve had gorgeous weather, everything is blooming all around me – and I’m struggling to write passages that are dismal and ominous. Perhaps a couple of rainy days this week will help.