Small victories and Annie Bloom’s

Annie Bloom's bookstore.Do you shop at your local bookstore? If you want to support local businesses, it’s the way to go. I’m pleased to say that my novel is now in Annie Bloom’s, a beautiful, independent bookstore in Portland’s Multnomah Village.

It’s a wonderful place to shop for books and cards and everything in between–now add to that signed copies of The God of Sno Cone Blue. (Psst–Don’t tell anyone, but the price is lower than what you’ll pay online.)

It’s a small victory for self-published authors like myself to get their books on bookstore shelves. The publishing world has been turned on its ear by the digital age of online shopping, not to mention self and indie publishing–all of which makes it more challenging for ‘brick and mortar’ bookstores to thrive. So, if you haven’t been to Annie Bloom’s or your local bookstore in a while, pay them a visit. You’ll find something you love and gain the satisfaction of supporting commerce in your own neighborhood.

Small victories keep us going

Writing, like many endeavors, always takes longer than you anticipate. You know that dinner recipe that promised a preparation time of 20 minutes, then really took 40–or 60? That’s what writing feels like. I’m in love with the story of my second novel, and the chapters are falling into place–If only I could get them to fall faster! Alas, one of these days I will finish that final scene.

The God of Sno Cone Blue.In the meantime, small victories with Sno Cone Blue keep me inspired. More than a hundred reviews on Amazon so far give it an overall rating of 5 stars. And the novel continues to be a favorite with book clubs. Hard to believe, but I’ve had the pleasure of making more than 50 author visits to book clubs to date, and I continue scheduling them. Somehow we always manage to have a blast. Wine, women and great conversation–what’s not to like? If you’re interested in scheduling an author visit (or Skype for long distance), drop me a line on my Contact page. I’d love to hear from you!

Back to bookstores for a moment and one more small victory. For my readers who are local, I’m the featured author at Jan’s Paperbacks in the Aloha/Beaverton area this month. On Saturday, February 27th, I’ll be signing copies and chatting with readers from 11am to 2pm. I’d love it if you could stop by. Come get a signed copy for less than the online price. Bring a friend–or a whole book club!

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Looking for some good summer reading?

Here are a few books I’ve got my eye on. They come recommended by friends, book clubs I’ve visited with or from Amazon reader reviews, and they’re all pulling four and five star ratings. I’ve grouped them by genre (in no particular order) and also included links (the blue book titles) where you can purchase copies or read more about each selection.

If you have a recommendation you’d like to add to this list, either something you’ve read or are dying to read, please reply in the space below, and happy reading!

Crime/Thriller

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins.

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins is a 4 star psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator, which tends to add a few goose bumps for an extra chill. My book club friends call it a page turner. The story begins after a passenger, looking out from a busy London train, sees something shocking that she reports to police. From there on out, she’s entwined in the suspense.

 

Every Man Dies Alone.

Every Man Dies Alone: A Novel, by Hans Fallada. This one truly breaks the mold: a novel written in 24 days by a German who had just been released (in 1947) from a Nazi insane asylum. Both the author’s life history and the novel are harrowing. In real life, Fallada refused to join the Nazi party, was arrested and suffered later from alcohol and drug addiction. The novel he wrote is based on the true story of a couple who chose the simple act of writing postcards to stir rebellion, and the terrifying consequences that followed.

The Devil in the White City.The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, by Erik Larson. Not the stuff of pleasant dreams, this is the true story of a serial killer who used Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair to lure his victims. It just so happens that my husband read it and has been talking it up for months. He’s in good company among Amazon readers whose ratings average 4 & 1/2 stars.

Literary

All the Light We Cannot See.

All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. Another post WW II story, this one is both a best-seller and a Pulitzer Prize winner. The novel follows a blind French girl whose life converges with a member of the Hitler Youth. The story and writing are described as beautiful and stunning.

 

 

Go Set a Watchman.Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee. While I’ve fallen in love with many books, my all-time favorite and the one I’ve read most (without tiring of the story) is To Kill a Mockingbird. Now comes the surprise prequel-sequel with the publishing of Lee’s long-misplaced manuscript. Is there any chance it could be as good as the classic? Very soon we’ll find out. The book is in preorder until its publishing date July 14.

Sci-Fi/Action Adventure

The Martian.The Martian, by Andy Weir. Imagine you’re an astronaut in the near future. You and your crew are sent to Mars, but end up getting caught in a horrific dust storm. Your crew escapes, assumes you are dead, and leaves you behind! The story is raw and told first person. Scanning the reviews, I’d say it’s best suited for readers who love science and engineering and don’t mind profane language.

Romance

Written in My Own Heart's Blood.Written in My Own Heart’s Blood: A Novel, by Diana Gabaldon. The story picks up where the Outlander series left off. The golden and gorgeous Jamie Fraser returns from a presumed death to find his beloved wife, Claire, married to his best friend. Of course, if you haven’t read the Outlander series–a time-traveling love story–you may want to start there. Either way, you’ll get a satisfying dose of history along with a passionate–and often raw–love affair.

Nonfiction

The Information-A History, The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood, by James Gleick. If you’re interested in learning the history of communication and information theory, then you may want to dive into this hefty book. Written by a science and technology journalist, it begins with a look at African drums and proceeds to cover everything from the telegraph and telephone to modern computers. It’s also chock-full of biographical information on a multitude of inventors.

Killing Patton.Killing Patton: The Strange Death of WW II’s Most Audacious General, by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. Part of the bestselling “killing” series, this book looks at the final six months of the war, Patton’s crusade against communism, his contentious relationship with General Eisenhower, and the seemingly low impact car accident that killed a tougher-than-nails general, asking the question: Was Patton assassinated?

Young Adult

Paper Towns.Paper Towns, by John Green. I enjoyed this author’s The Fault in Our Stars so much, I’d try anything he writes. Green is smart, witty and so honest in his prose, that his YA books end up with huge cross-over to adult readers. This story centers on a teenage boy and his childhood best friend, Margo, whom he’s been in love with all his life. Margo, who’s been distant for years, suddenly reappears, begging him to go on an all-night spree, after which she disappears again. The question thereafter: What has happened to Margo?

Golden.Golden, by Jessi Kirby. Another young adult choice, this one chalking up a 4 & 1/2 star rating a year out of publishing. This is the story of a high achieving high schooler who’s never been kissed or broken any rules. But her life takes a turn with one final school assignment that has her unravelling her town’s biggest mystery.

And one final category: I’ve read it, of course, but…

The God of Sno Cone Blue.I’m listing my own novel, The God of Sno Cone Blue, to extend the offer for an author visit or Skype with any book clubs interested. A little more than a year after publishing, I’m thrilled to report the book has 84 reviews on Amazon and is pushing a 5 star rating. So far, I’ve visited with nearly 40 book clubs and groups, and we always have great fun. I’m scheduling through the summer and fall, so drop me a line on my contact page if you’d like to get on the calendar. Then again, you don’t have to be in a book club to read it. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by, and, again, if you’d like to recommend a book, simply click on reply below.

Sno Cone Blue highlighted in another newspaper!

Southeast Examiner article on The God of Sno Cone Blue.“The emotional tug makes it an ideal book club read,” says The Southeast Examiner, and the words ring true as I continue visiting with book clubs. (Drop me a line if you’d like to schedule a Skype or personal author visit.) As the article points out, the success of The God of Sno Cone Blue “has been largely through word of mouth.” And what better way?

I talked with reporter Midge Pierce Continue reading

Sno Cone Blue on Portland radio!

Rosemary Reynolds at KXL radio station.Tune in to KXL (FM News 101) this Thanksgiving Day afternoon for a story on The God of Sno Cone Blue. I had a great time talking with veteran radio reporter Rosemary Reynolds about my novel, her voice so familiar, it was like chatting with an old friend. Continue reading

More Than 100 Sold!

The God of Sno Cone Blue broke its first milestone with more than a hundred copies sold–and 12 wonderful reviews on Amazon! 5 retail sites are offering the book and one more is in the works. Perhaps best of all, I’m thrilled to see that several book clubs–based on word of mouth and the reviews (see examples below)–are choosing the novel for their next read.

Cover of the novel The God of Sno Cone Blue.The paperback copy of the book includes a list of Questions and Topics for discussion designed for book clubs. You can get the conversation going with that or, if you live in or around the Portland (OR) area, I’d be happy to meet with your book club and talk about the story’s development–or anything else you’re interested in–just drop me a line. Continue reading