inspiration

Winter Rules


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As we march toward spring, take a look at these Winter Rules, as published in the Pawtuxet Valley Gleaner, February 5, 1881.

  • Never begin a journey until the breakfast has been eaten.
  • Never take warm drinks and then immediately go out in the cold air.
  • Keep the back – especially between the shoulder blades – well-covered, also the chest well-protected.
  • In sleeping in a cold room, establish the habit of breathing through the nose, and never with the mouth open.
  • Never go to bed with cold or damp feet; always toast them by the fire 10 or 15 minutes before going to bed.
  • Never omit regular bathing, for unless the skin is in an active condition, the cold will close the pores and favor congestion or other diseases.
  • After exercise of any kind, never ride in an open carriage nor near the window of a car for a moment. It is dangerous to health, and even to life.
  • When hoarse, speak as little as possible until it is recovered from, else the voice may be permanently lost, or difficulties of the throat be produced.
  • Merely warm the back by a fire, and never continue keeping the back exposed to heat after it has become comfortably warm. To do otherwise is debilitating.
  • When going from a warm atmosphere into a colder one, keep the mouth closed, so that the air may be warmed by its passage through the nose, ere it reaches the lungs.
  • Never stand still in cold weather, especially after having taken a slight degree of exercise; and always avoid standing upon ice or snow, or where the person is exposed to a cold wind.

So, are you a rule follower?!

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.

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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!

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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).

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

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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? 

Our Day of Remembrance


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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!


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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


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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.

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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! Homecoming by Jake Logan


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What if the US Army had access to magic? And what would happen to those soldiers when they came home?

In Homecoming, First Magus Brent Rogers has been in Afghanistan for two years. His role is to find improvised explosive devices, also known as IEDs, and disarm or explode them. He also tracks and finds Taliban to make it easier for soldiers to find the enemy. Underneath the magic is an ability, limited psychometry that he had used to help his father, and some telekinesis augmented with magical spells.

Informed that he will be captured in two weeks, the Army sends him home on leave. Brent returns home, welcomed by his mother, father, and sister; however, he still has a rough and rocky relationship with his brother.

Brent meets Chrissie, his brother’s neighbor, and the two hit it off immediately. As he begins to relax, he realizes that he still can use his magic and abilities. But if he relaxes his vigilance for even a second, who knows what could happen . . .

Homecoming is available on Amazon, iTunes, Nook, Smashwords, and other ePub sites. It is also available as an audiobook on Audible and iTunes.

About the Author: Jake Logan is the pen name of Lisa Jacob, who has been writing contemporary and military fantasy for over 30 years. This is her first published novel.

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.

Book-a-Day #Giveaway! A Girl from the Hill by Patricia Mitchell


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I remember feeling very proud at age four-and-a-half. Practically ready for kindergarten, I knew my ABC’s, the days of the week, and that on Sunday nights at eight, I could see my TV pals Dan and Dick and those girls who danced with paint all over their bodies. In 1968 my parents allowed me to watch Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In, a show full of sexual innuendo and political satire.

I am the youngest of five, also known as ‘the baby.’ My parents referred to me as ‘the baby’ until middle school, maybe even high school. In my family, being ‘the baby’ held significant meaning: I was not allowed to hear bad news, witness any kind of family strife, or be disappointed. This meant that I played only a minor role in the actual family dynamics. Reality and I would not meet until many years later.

For me, the best part of being ‘the baby’ were those early years where I spent every day with my Mom. While the others schlepped off to school or work, I stayed home with the nicest person I knew, who totally got how babies should be treated. While she drank coffee by the potful and picked up after everyone else’s mess, I plopped myself on the sofa with my coffee milk to watch Captain Kangaroo. While she made the beds, I helped shake out the sheets. When she hung the clothes out to dry, I ran around the backyard jumping off my favorite rock, pretending to fly. In the afternoons, we’d watch our ‘stories,’ like Search for Tomorrow and The Guiding Light. I ignored the mature plots and drifted off to nap while my mom rubbed my back. The perfect life for the perfect baby.

What I didn’t understand until I wrote my mother’s memoir, A Girl from the Hill, was that my mom was a survivor. She also grew up as ‘the baby,’ with siblings and parents who shielded her, too. Like me, she loved being pampered and the center of attention. But before she got a chance to graduate high school, my mother lost her mother forever, forcing her older siblings to inherit an impossible task – shielding ‘the baby’ from death.

On Federal Hill in 1941, wakes were held in homes. Watching her father sit and stroke her dead mother’s hair dealt my mother a harsh blow that changed her forever.

I didn’t appreciate her journey until I stopped being a baby and listened to her story, a story of strength and determination, sprinkled always with a bit of laughter to endure reality.

Sure, I may have resented my over-protective family growing up. But I’m over it. My mother understood how important it was to let me be ‘the baby’ for as long as possible.

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Patricia Mitchell’s lifelong love of writing and desire to capture the story of her mother’s life prompted her to embark on her first professional writing project – A Girl from the Hill. She holds degrees in mass media and communication, English literature and creative writing. This work expresses her interest in Italian-American culture as well as the relationship between mothers and daughters.

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.

Book-a-Day #Giveaway! Whispers from the Tree of Life by Fran O’Donnell


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During her early years, Fran O’Donnell often thought of rhymes and phrases, wanting each sentence to form a rhythm and pattern. She enjoyed the association of words as she envisioned the world around her, likened to the vision of an exquisite silhouette from the branch of a beautiful old tree. Words and trees became her friend and companion as she grew hungry to learn more about them. Her book, Whispers from the Tree of Life, is a collection of poems written over many years from her involvement in life, observations, inquiries, experiences, love, and conclusions of and in her life.

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Fran O’Donnell writes about what is natural in human life, particularly in the life of an artist and of someone who connects nature to human existence. The free verse and easy language allow the poems to flow along as if carried naturally by wind or water. The artificial is omitted. Fran’s poems are self propelled, organic. The poems are not couched philosophical rhetoric. Fran is an observer of nature and weaves it into her memory poems as she remembers or thinks of others and as an expression of how one strives to identify herself to herself as changes occur over time and the perception of self is recycled. Fran’s use of apostrophe and her nature metaphors for the workings of the inner self allow the reader to empathize with the poet whose persona remains steady throughout the collection. It would be difficult for anyone who has passed through a good portion of life and who has kept an eye turned toward nature not to both appreciate and enjoy Fran’s expression of living.

~ Marc G. LeVasseur, Associate Professor of English, Community College of Rhode Island

Buy the book here

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.

 

 

Book-a-Day #Giveaway! Daughters of Divorce by Terry Gaspard


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Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Their Parents’ Divorce

Today, more than 40 percent of all Americans between the ages of eighteen and forty are children of divorce. For years, researchers have identified the damage divorce inflicts on the lives of children. In recent decades, many studies have examined the negative impact of parental divorce on children into adulthood.

In fact, daughters of divorce are more than twice as likely to divorce themselves when compared to their counterparts from intact families. However, few books have offered concrete strategies for women who desire happy, long-lasting intimate relationships.

Grounded in research and thirty years of clinical practice, Daughters of Divorce is filled with poignant real-life stories and offers a clear road-map to help women increase their self-awareness and to develop better relationship skills so they can heal the wounds of the past and build the healthy, happy relationships that they deserve.

During over 300 in-depth interviews, I identified seven key emotional challenges faced by daughters of divorce that are nearly universal:

  • Trouble trusting romantic partners
    • Damaged self-esteem
    • Issues with intimacy and commitment
    • Extreme self-reliance
    • Pessimism about the stability of relationships
    • A father-daughter wound

With greater awareness, women can learn to recognize the forces that shape them and build healthier relationships for themselves. It can no longer be about her parents’ attitude or behavior. It’s time for her to create change in her life and move forward. She will discover she can change self-defeating patterns in her relationships and build ones based on love, trust, and intimacy.

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Terry’s new book Daughters of Divorce: Overcoming the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-lasting Relationship offers a powerful look at the impact of parental divorce and provides concrete ways women can improve their relationships. Follow Terry at movingpastdivorce.com, Facebook, and Twitter.  

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book-a-Day #Giveaway! I Was Much Happier When Everything I Owned was in the Back Seat of My Volkswagen by Rick Roberts


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Finalist Legacy Non-Fiction 2016 Eric Hoffer Awards

Here is a review of the book:

Got to Get Ourselves Back to the Garden

This book reads like a roaring fulminating speech. Richard Roberts’ itchy ire is directed at numerous present-day ills—influence peddling and surveillance of our daily lives by the government; politics; the over-medication of old and young; scummy fund-raising scams and insurance that doesn’t always insure; the mall addiction of the young; and more. Remembering the ’60s…Roberts wants Baby Boomers—The “Biggest Generation”— to replant those flowers…He admires, and resembles George Carlin whose half-grouchy irony always bears common sense. “If you want to hear the truth,” he writes, “listen to Blacks. Or comedians. Even better, Black comedians. Or comedian Lewis Black.”

~Mopsy Strange Kennedy

The Improper Bostonian, September 2004

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Rick Roberts was raised in suburban Philadelphia and spent his professional career in Boston. He is an award-winning creative director in advertising and public relations, former adjunct professor, newspaper columnist, and US Army veteran.  He has authored two award-winning books, the non-fiction boomer rant, I was Much Happier When Everything I Owned Was in the Back Seat of my Volkswagen, and the contemporary issues novel, Digital Darling, An American Story.

He was educated at Lehigh University, the University of Iowa and Harvard.  He lives in Bristol, Rhode Island.

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.