Home Stretch


The Happy Ever After series #8

We’re halfway through this wonderful month and it isn’t slowing down one bit. Look! I have a cover for my new novel! And here’s the series, all three books.

Now, if you’ve been following along, you will remember that when I wrote A Jingle Valley Wedding back in 2015, I hadn’t thought a lot about a sequel. But a number of people did remark that when the book ended, they were not ready for the story to be finished. I kept that in the back of my mind, even as I wrote Villa del Sol and even as I wrote April in Galway. At the end of April, our character April Tweed has an idea – to be married at the wedding venue her old friend Julie Tate had created on a farm in western Massachusetts. By this time last year, I knew I’d be combining both A Jingle Valley Wedding and April in Galway into a new novel. And, in a first for this author, there’s a happy ever after. Imagine that!

Cover All's Well in Jingle Valley SERIES Book 3

All’s Well in Jingle Valley won’t be released until December 2, and print copies will be available at the 7th Annual Rhode Island Authors Expo, on Saturday, December 7. But you can pre-order it now! Just click HERE and the ebook will magically drop into your Kindle on December 2. I’ve never done a pre-order before, so I don’t know whether it’s a brilliant marketing tool or not.

Meanwhile, my novel Bits of Broken Glass is just 99 cents to download through the end of this month. In November, I’ll discount the first two books in The Happy Ever After series, so you can catch up before reading All’s Well. 

And if you’re on Facebook, please join me in the Wicked Good Hop starting this Monday, October 21, where you can win books and prizes. And again next month, join in at the Rhode Island Authors Showcase November 18-24, where the Grand Prize is a $250 Amazon gift card! Yes, both of these events are Facebook-only events.

Following this blog is not only smart, it can save you money!

 

What I Read in August


beach reads

As summer winds down (it’s not over! it’s not over!), so does my reading list. I tried to cram in as much beach reading as I could this year, trying to balance reading with writing. But as edits and revisions took over my life for this new novel, I was only able to read five books. Still, they were good ones:

summer 69 Elin Hilderbrand (Queen of the Summer Beach Read) released this one in June, just in time for a summer beach read. As the author herself turned 50 in July, she tells a story about four siblings (sisters Blair, Kirby, and Jessie, brother Tiger) who each experience that memorable summer in different ways. The moon landing, Woodstock, and the Chappaquiddick incident on ‘the other island’ are all featured. Definitely a must-read. I bought my copy at Ink Fish Books

before I stopped by my other favorite local bookstore, Stillwater Books, and found this one. Looked good, so I picked it up. OMG. This book! As soon as I finished it, I told my husband he had to read it. He’s really into it. It’s a novel based on a real-life scandal, involving the kidnapping of poor children and selling them to wealthy families. Heartwrenching but ultimately hopeful.

blessings She’s probably my favorite author, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t read this book. It was part of my library’s big book sale (yes, I filled a giant tote bag!). It took me a little longer to be invested in this one, but Quindlen never disappoints me. This book was first published in 2002, and delves into family secrets and why they’re kept. Beautifully crafted, with rich descriptions and characters you can almost feel sitting next to you.

Winter This one I downloaded through my library’s program (I don’t think Hilderbrand needs the money, so why not spend on local and indie books?). Maybe I missed it, but this is part of a series. The ending left me feeling unsatisfied, but that was because there’s a sequel coming. Apparently the sequel drops in early October. Still a good book, but if you’re a fast reader like me, maybe it’s better to wait until all the books are out.

kitchen yarns I also downloaded this one through my library. It’s a collection of essays, with recipes. Unfortunately, I knew most of these stories already, and they seemed somewhat disjointed (introducing us to her grandmother Mama Rose once was sufficient). The recipes were fine, although a chapter devoted to butchering a pig was, to me, revolting. Still, Hood can write, and many will find this book charming.

 

So, no more “What I  Read” posts for a while. I need to get this book done!

However, if you love reading as much as I do, and if you’re on Facebook, we’ve got a great event coming up November 18. It’s a Rhode Island Authors Showcase featuring a variety of authors. Each one will have something to give away, and the Grand Prize is a $250 Amazon gift card, just in time for some serious shopping. You can find the link HERE and it’s all online. I hope you’ll join us!

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Book-a-Day #Giveaway Featuring Author Martha Reynolds


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 this book.)

April in Galway is a story about second chances. A couple of years ago, I watched the British comedy-drama series “Last Tango in Halifax,” which begins with former childhood sweethearts, now in their seventies. They reunite via social media, and learn that through a terribly misintentioned event, they were separated. This set-up was the inspiration for April in Galway, though my characters are in their late forties. And while my characters aren’t based on real people, I do know of one very happy couple who were classmates of mine in high school (they weren’t sweethearts then), but found each other later in life and are deliriously happy together! Another character was inspired by a young woman I spent only a few hours with, but who had a profound effect.

As I write, I try to envision who might play the role of a character (so that when the Lifetime Channel comes calling, I’ll be ready – haha). Here are April Tweed, Bill Flanagan, and Connor Whelan as I pictured them:

Rachel Weisz as April John C. Reilly Marcus Wareing as Connor

Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, and Chef Marcus Wareing

April in Galway ends with a definite feel for a sequel, and I’ve already begun mapping it out. My self-imposed goal of releasing a book a year is on track, and the sequel to this one, which will tie in to one of my previous books (surprise!), will be ready by next December.

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I’m the author of eight novels, including the Amazon bestsellers Chocolate for Breakfast and Bits of Broken Glass. My seventh novel, Villa del Sol, received the 2018 Book Award in Literary Fiction by the Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE). I’ve written for Magnificat magazine and my very short poem was read by journalist Connie Schultz during National Public Radio’s “Tell Me More” poetry challenge. Find my books online and locally at Stillwater Books.

I’m giving away a print copy of April in Galway to one person selected at random. Just leave a comment on this post and the winner will be chosen in a week.

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

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 ‘Post’ Mark


Leave a comment on today’s blog 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 drawing 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.)

For those of you who intently follow Martha Reynolds Writes, you’ve probably read my posts in the past and know that working as one of Santa’s elves is rewarding, but not always easy.  This year is no exception, but not because I spent months slaving over another storybook, or have a bunch of kids’ tales to tell.
Now I finally have activity books to go with each of my storybooks, ‘Post’ Mark—Santa’s Misfit Postman, and ‘Post’ Mark—The North Pole Postman Visits Rhode Island.  While very exciting, it was much more of a feat than I had ever imagined.  “How hard can it really be to have my illustrator draw a bunch of pictures for a couple of coloring books,” I thought.
That was until I had to come up with 32 different creative ideas for the activities, and give the illustrator instructions on what I was trying to achieve with each one.  It was a part of my brain I hadn’t used before, or certainly not for a while.  As a writer, I’m used to conveying messages with words, and this had to be done strictly with black and white drawings.
I also wanted to tie the activities in with the common core, so teachers could use these books in their classroom.  Not only should the activities be fun, but they need to have an educational purpose.
I am very lucky to have an illustrator, and a graphic designer who were both patient, and helpful throughout the editing process.  With their tremendous help, we were able to produce coloring and activity books that hit the mark.  Now, we should be all set when book number three is written, and hopefully can produce the activity book simultaneously with the storybook.
My book giveaway for 2018 will be a copy of both activity books.  Please visit my website, www.northpolepostman.com if you are interested in purchasing ‘Post’ Mark—The North Pole Postman Visits Rhode Island, or ‘Post’ Mark—Santa’s Misfit Postman.
PostMark
Hope to see you on Saturday, December 1 at the Rhode Island Author Expo!

Book-a-Day #Giveaway Featuring Author Pat Hinkley


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.)

Chasing Sleep

Like millions of Americans, do you suffer from sleeplessness? Do you struggle to understand why you can’t sleep? What if everything you know about sleep is wrong?
Chasing Sleep is an exploration of the issues and challenges surrounding sleep deprivation and how to overcome them by changing attitudes and behaviors. Written in an inviting, conversational style, the book focuses on how to find peace of mind, the real
secret to overcoming sleeplessness. Through research on the history and science of sleep, interviews with ordinary people on their struggles with lack of sleep, and the author’s training as a holistic psychotherapist, Chasing Sleep aims to change the
conversation from the ‘pop a pill’ mentality to finding balance and clarity, key elements for living the best life possible.

Waking up one night for the eight hundred billionth time inspired my writing about sleep. I learned a lot. Perhaps you will benefit from my unique look, where sleeplessness becomes not a disease to be fixed by traditional pharmaceutical methods, but something to identify, manage and work to resolve the stressors that take us out of balance. My first book, Claiming Space, delves further into how to do so.

Pat Hinkley

Pat Hinkley holds a B.S. in Nursing from the University of Massachusetts and a Master’s degree in Holistic Studies and Psychology from Lesley University. She lives near the ocean in southern Rhode Island with her doodle dog and fluffy gray cat.
Visit https://www.PatriciaHinkley.com to learn more.

Pat is giving away a print copy of Chasing Sleep – just leave a comment!

Hope to see you on Saturday, December 1 at 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!