I actually started this blog, MarthaReynoldsWrites, on my birthday in 2012. Now, here I am, nine years later and nine years older. Yikes – how the years pass so quickly. Is it that way for you, too? If you’re young, pay attention! Next time you think about it, you’ll be my age, wondering what the heck happened.
Ah, well. Nothing to do about that except enjoy the days, and for me, the writing. I do still enjoy it, even if editing sometimes makes me want to pull my hair out. But my new novel is now with my publisher, so I will relax…and read. And work a little bit on the next book. And think about the one after that. And next year’s A to Z theme. Yeah, it never ends. And that’s a good thing. As long as I can keep writing, I will.
Meanwhile, I wanted to make this book free for five days (Saturday, July 10 through Wednesday, July 14). If you haven’t yet read Villa del Sol, here’s a chance to download a digital copy for free! It’s a good book (if I do say so myself), and it won the 2018 Book Prize in Literary Fiction from the Independent Publishers of New England. That was a big honor, and I’m proud and humbled that the judges liked it enough to award it the prize. And how about that cover? I think it’s the favorite cover of all of my books, and it was hand-drawn by my dear friend Lottie Nevin, who lives in Galicia, Spain with her equally-talented husband Pete. Jim and I dream about visiting them one day.
So, I hope you’re enjoying summer. Some of us have had to endure miserable heat (in the US) and much-lower-than-normal temperatures – that’s because climate change is real, y’all. The world can be a scary place these days – don’t I know it – but that’s why books are necessary. The right book can take you away from your worries and anxieties and transport you to another place. That’s what I try to do. If you like this book (or any of my others), please consider leaving a brief review on Amazon or Goodreads. I don’t like to ask, but it does help me gain some visibility. You know, it’s all about algorithms, apparently. Either way, I’ll have a new novel for you by the end of this year! It’s called The Summer of Princess Diana and I hope you’ll like it.
And if you celebrate a birthday this month, Happy Birthday!
Each day this month, meet a Rhode Island author! Comment on the blog post for a chance to win our Grand Prize (a $200 Amazon gift card) or our Bonus Prize (a $100 Amazon gift card). Some authors are giving away books, too – your comment enters you into their drawing as well. (See details at bottom of this page)
The title might seem a bit odd for a memoir, but not if that is how one came to the United States. At 93 years of age, Theresa Landry, a local Rhode Island dance teacher, decided to lace her dance shoes and retire. I had known Theresa since the age of 5 when her daughter, Susan, and I entered the first grade together and remained lifelong friends.
Theresa had been saying for years that she wanted her life’s story written in a book. Being an English teacher and one of the many people who never said “no” to our beloved Theresa, she and I began my first published memoir.
I would go to Theresa’s house two or three times a week, where she would talk about her past experiences, and we would look at, literally, hundreds of pictures that proved each of her stories. She even had two small journals, one brown and one black, which she had written in over the years. The brown one contained dates, times, places, and the amounts of money she was paid for her performances. She included how her “agent” got her to “gigs” in Boston and other parts of Massachusetts, usually by bus. Also in this book were the names of dance teachers from whom she had taken lessons. She traveled by train as far as New York because a teacher was so well known for what she wanted to learn. The slightly bigger black book contained the names and addresses of businesses where Theresa rented space for her studios, until she finally got to the last one, from which she retired after being in the building for 60 years.
Theresa’s studio was wallpapered with life-sized pictures of her posing with famous people – actors, dancers, and politicians. She had met so many, but it is how she met them that was the “hook.” The stories became an obsession for me. HEARING, LISTENING, WRITING – the whole process was a labor of love. This woman was not just a dance teacher. She was a businesswoman, a people person, a lover of children, a wife, a mother, a lover, a humanitarian, a world traveler – an institution!
The three parts of this book begin with the tale of Theresa’s parents’ trek moving with their children from Canada to the United States. The second part is broken into vignettes: Theresa’s stories, happy and sad, but always ending with her own positive spin. And, finally, a gallery of pictures, allowing the reader to view her embellished life.
The conclusion shows how one person can be so many things to so many people. Mostly, it shows how many people Theresa Landry loved and how many people loved her. Sadly, Theresa passed at the young age of 96.
Lynda has generously offered to gift a copy of Truck of Potatoes to one lucky winner! By commenting on this post, you’re entered to win Lynda’s book, and you have an entry to win either our Grand Prize or our Bonus Prize!
Lynda (Simoneau) Nagle was born and lived in Central Falls, Rhode Island, until the age of 19, when she married and moved to Pawtucket. She is a graduate of Rhode Island College, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education – English, as well as Master’s degrees in English, Educational Administration, and Psychology. Currently, Lynda is a retired high school and college English teacher.
Lynda’s first book, Truck of Potatoes, is a memoir which became a labor of love while she listened to stories and wrote from another person’s perspective. This led to her thinking of writing children’s stories and two books entitled Albert in the Middle and Albert’s Dog Daze. Each is based on Lynda’s father as a young boy. Her hope is that, after reading these books, children will learn how to live, love, and enjoy the good in life, even if, at any time, life is not perfect.
At this time, Lynda is involved in writing more memoirs. She also writes poetry and songs, a favorite pastime as she sings and plays the guitar.
You can leave a comment on each day’s blog post during November, for up to 30 chances to win. Daily giveaways by authors will be drawn one week after publication. The author will contact the winner to coordinate delivery of the book(s). Grand Prize and Bonus Prize winners will be drawn and announced on December 8.
About four years ago, I wrote a book and called it Best Seller. It enjoyed some success and more than a few kind reviews. It was one of the nine novels I’ve written, and one of my favorites.
Last November, I received word from Amazon (where most of my books are sold) that they had a problem with the book’s title. They deemed it ‘misleading,’ and advised me that unless I changed it in a few days, they would remove the book from their selling platform.
Wait, what? What??? The book was up for sale for years, and now Amazon decides it’s got a misleading title? And by the way, it wasn’t misleading at all. The words ‘a novel’ were right beneath the title. And, in one of many telephone calls I had with staff at Amazon, I assured them that the novel had never achieved its optimistically titled status.
Didn’t matter. We emailed back and forth numerous times, and I spoke with as many as six different service agents, but the answer always came back the same. And a week later, poof! Best Seller, and all of its reviews, were gone.
Now, I’ve re-released the book. It’s got a different name – The Way to Remember is the name of the book the main character, Robin, is working on – and a new cover. The book’s contents are the same, with just some minor tweaking to, I hope, make it better.
For many of you who read this blog, you probably already purchased and read the book years ago, so I don’t want to trick you into thinking it’s new. It’s not, and the novel I’m working on these days won’t be ready until the end of this year (if I can finish it).
However, if I can find your old review (I was able to take some screenshots before it disappeared), I will be reaching out to you, asking you to post that review again. Because reviews are so, so important to authors. I’m hoping you’ll be willing.
Anyway, that’s my news for the middle of 2020. What a year, right? I hope you’re doing okay – physically, mentally, emotionally. It has been challenging, certainly for me on all of those fronts. Be well, stay safe, wear your face covering.
It starts this Monday, November 18 and runs all week, through Sunday, November 24. I hope you’ll join me online at Facebook (yes, this is a Facebook event) here
The Rhode Island Authors Showcase will feature 30 authors of varying genres (something for everyone!) – each author is giving away a prize at his or her Facebook page. I have a sweet chocolate sampler up for grabs. The chocolate is local (of course), from The Chocolate Delicacy in Warwick, Rhode Island. Dark, milk, white – it’s all there!
Each day you can visit the pages of the featured authors (four or five per day). Once you’ve visited and answered their questions, come back to the main page and answer the question of the day. Participate all seven days and you could win our Grand Prize, a $250 Amazon gift card, just in time for some serious holiday shopping. We’ve got a Bonus Prize as well for the runner-up, a Rhode Island-themed gift basket valued at $50.
I hope you’ll join in the fun! And don’t forget, locals – the Rhode Island Authors Expo is coming up on Saturday, December 7, 2019 at Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm. Over 125 local authors will have signed books available! There will also be informative panels, author spotlights, the best raffles around, and Santa! Free parking, free admission.
A set of postcards from the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts (Dalton, Massachusetts is practically next door!)
a small box of maple sugar candy from Stockbridge
a Vera Bradley zip ID case in Romantic Paisley
and of course, a signed copy of All’s Well in Jingle Valley with a fabulous BookFlip bookmark
and a few more surprises!
There are many ways to earn entries, loyal readers! This giveaway will conclude on Monday, December 23, 2019 at midnight, and I will randomly select a winner on Tuesday, December 24. (NOTE: If you live outside the U.S., I will send you an ebook and a gift card valued at $75)
Here’s how to earn entries:
Pre-order the book no later than November 15. You can email me the link or screenshot. 3 entries
Pre-order the book by December 1. Again, email the link or screenshot. (if you don’t know how to do this, then you can let me know you pre-ordered the book, and I will trust you!) 2 entries
Post a review of the book on Amazon before December 13. 5 entries
Post a review of the book on Amazon before December 22. 4 entries
Share the book and on Facebook (tag me!) 3 entries
Post a photo of the book on Instagram using hashtag #JingleValley 3 entries
As a bonus, I’ve lowered the price of A Jingle Valley Wedding to just 99 cents (ebook) all month, in case you haven’t read it yet. Get your copy HERE
And thank you for your continued support!
Come see me on Saturday, December 7 at Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet in Cranston, RI, where I’ll have all my books for sale!
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 Weddingback 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 delSoland even as I wrote AprilinGalway. 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!
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 BitsofBrokenGlass 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!
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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, 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.
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.)
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 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!
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.