WOW! Blog Tour – “Sugarland”

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Once again, I am joining the WOW! Women on Writing blog tour – this time for Martha Conway’s Sugarland.


Martha Conway has crafted an intriguing historical mystery, based on the jazz scene during the Roaring Twenties.
The lives of three women, Eva, Lena and Chickie, intersect because of the death of Lena’s brother Rudy. As Eva and Lena seek to discover who killed Rudy, we get a glimpse of what life was like in the 1920’s, especially in the jazz clubs.
We learn about musicians and mobsters, and Prohibition and bribery. We also get a close look at how Eva, a jazz pianist, captured the feel of jazz and how she created her music.

Martha has done much research to give an authentic look at this troubling era in America’s past. It was a fascinating read, one I thoroughly enjoyed.


*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


 In 1921, two women, a black jazz pianist named Eve and a white nurse named Lena, join forces after a drive-by shooting nearly kills them. Eve is looking for her missing stepsister, and Lena wants to find out who murdered her brother, a petty bootlegger killed in the shooting.

Sugarland  recently received a Reader’s Favorite Book  Award.


Genre: Historical Fiction

Hardcover: 314 pages (also available in paperback and e-book)

Noontime Books: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0991618552


Meet the Author:     Martha Conway


Martha Conway’s debut novel 12 Bliss Street (St. Martin’s Minotaur) was nominated for an Edgar Award while Thieving Forest won an Independent Publishers Book Award, the Laramie Award, a Reader’s Choice Award and the 2014 North American Book Award in Historical Fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in The Iowa Review, The Mississippi Review, The Quarterly, Folio, Puerto del Sol, Carolina Quarterly, and other publications.

She graduated from Vassar College and received her master’s degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She has reviewed fiction for the San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Review of Books, and The Iowa Review. The recipient of a California Arts Council fellowship in Creative Writing, she has taught at UC Berkeley Extension and Stanford University’s Online Writers’ Studio.


Other Books by Martha Conway

  • 12 Bliss Street
  • Thieving Forest

Find out more about Sugarland by visiting online:





This book is available at Amazon /?tag=wowwomenonwri-20

as well as at your local independent bookstore.



WWW Wednesday


Each Wednesday at”Taking on a World of Words”, we are asked to answer the 3 Ws about our reading.

Here’s a glimpse of my current reading life:

What are you currently reading?
I am still reading:
The Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Sixty: A Diary of my Sixty-First Year by Ian Brown

The trouble is, I see a new book and I have to start that first – so my ongoing list grows.

I am also reading:

GMC  (Goal, Motivation and Conflict) by Debra Dixon

Sugarland by Martha Conway (for a review, due Friday for WOW!)


What have I read this past week?
A Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber

A couple of ebooks (love the free ones from groups by Freebooksy – have found some amazing authors there)

The Gift by Lisa Mondello

A Heavenly Christmas by Patrice Wilton


What do you plan to read next?
Creative Visualization for Writers by Nina Amir (for a review for WOW! due next week)

The Art of Arranging Flowers by Lynne Branard

WOW! review of “Journaling Power”

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Once again, I am joining the WOW! Women on Writing blog tour – this time for Mari L. McCarthy’s Journaling Power.


As I read Mari L. McCarthy’s book Journaling Power, I was reminded over and over again of the power of journaling.
Several years ago I read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and on and off over the next few years I attempted Morning Papers. It felt good to unload negative thoughts but I was never consistent with the writing.
Mari makes a very strong case to journal daily and to bring our thoughts, feelings and ideas to the page. She offers scientific studies that prove the positive benefit of regular journaling.
Chapters 1 to 6 look at personal journaling – “seeing it very much as an individual journey towards health and wholeness.”
Each chapter begins with a personal story by Mari, detailing how she used therapeutic journaling to tackle her MS, help her with goals and move forward.
Then she offers “Journaling Power Tips” and several prompts and exercises.
Having read the book once, I have started to reread slowly and work through the exercise. I hope they will help with my own health issues, my weight and my writing. Using Journaling Power as my guide, I plan to set new goals and tame the Inner Critic once and for all and creating the “happy, healthy life that I want”.
I highly recommend Mari’s book.


Journaling Power: How to Create the Happy, Healthy Life You Want to Live


Mari L. McCarthy mari

About the Book:

Journaling Power teaches you how to put the ultimate self-healing tool right at your fingertips–journaling. Through Mari L. McCarthy’s moving personal story, you’ll discover how pen-to-paper journaling leads to self-growth and life-changing transformation. You’ll also learn that numerous medical studies prove journaling literally unleashes a healing agent that empowers your life in ways you’ve never imagined.

About the Author:

Mari L. McCarthy is The Journaling Power Guide and founder of Her blog ( provides journaling for personal transformation and healthy living ideas, information and inspiration for keeping a daily pen-to-page Journaling for the Health of It™ Practice. You can also download the FREE e-book, How to use Your Journal to Cure Writer’s Block Now( More life-changing e-books ( can be found in Mari’s Personal Transformation Journaling Library and in CreateWriteNow’s store(

Book Trailer:

Purchase Link:

Day 16: LITTLE – 31 Days of Writing


Today is Day 16 of the 31 Days of Writing Challenge. The theme for 31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes is LITTLE.


Little things add up. A little kindness every day can do as much for you as for the recipient. Buying someone a coffee, giving up a seat on the bus, letting someone in front of you in line – these are all little things yet really morph into bigger things.
The whole pay-it-forward movement started with a small act but look where it has grown now.
Yes, little things add up. As a writer I know that when I write every day the total adds up over time. That’s why NaNoWriMo is so effective. Writing just over 1600 words a day for 30 days adds up to a 50,000 word novel at the end of November.
Yet, we also need to take care of the little details. Little things have a way of piling up – for both good and bad.
When we join together, our little efforts can become huge. Look what Canadians did last year to oust Conservatives in the 2015 election. Sunny ways, kindness and respect won out. (Can we only hope it will happen in the U.S. election??)

I found several quotes and could only use a few for my journal page. Here is the list:

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. Helen Keller

Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.    Desmond Tutu

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.

Marcus Aurelius

It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen. John Wooden

A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.

John Ruskin

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Day 15: MOVE – 31 Days of Writing

Today is Day 15 of the 31 Days of writing challenge. The theme for 31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes is MOVE.


That is a word I heard often as a child and came to hate. But as an adult, I continued to move – from province to province, from city to city.
One day, after I had settled in one place, I actually made a list of all the moves I had made in my life. The number was well over 30.The longest place I lived in as a child was 5 years – most times we moved after two.
I have lived in many provinces and in many different towns and cities. I have moved from Manitoba (age 1) to Quebec to Ontario to the NWT, back to Toronto, to Alberta, back to Ontario.
As a child, I hated moving. A hated having to make new friends, only to move again.
When I left home for university, my moves became necessary as I went to school and then sought teaching jobs.
When I separated from my ex, I decided not to move my children to the city where I taught but to move into the village near where we lived so my children wouldn’t have to change schools or lose friends. I knew what that was like. But my daughter still hated the move a she had to change buses.
I am now living in a city that is the same name as the street I lived on when I was born. Full circle – eerie!


Day 14: MAIL – 31 Days of Writing


Today is Day 14 of the 31 Days of Writing Challenge. For Five Minutes Free Writing Friday the theme is MAIL.


I just picked up my mail and found two cheques (small – rats) and two magazines. No letters, but then, no bills either. So a bit of a balance.
I love getting mail and always have. Sometimes I will check our mailbox three or four times to be sure I didn’t miss it.
I send cards at birthdays and Christmas and newsletters with those cards. I also take part in ATC swaps so art cards are sent out, and received, regularly. Email and texts just seem so impersonal. What will happen in a hundred years when historians look for treasured letters and there are none to be found?
There is something to be said for putting pen to paper, sharing our thoughts, and sending it to a friend. It is so much more personal. We recognize a loved one’s handwriting easily and can often tell how they are feeling by the way letters are formed.
I treasure letters and cards – in fact I save most that I receive. I especially treasure my mother’s – she has been gone now eight years. Seeing her writing, reading her cards soothes me. Special memories indeed.



Day 13: AWARE – 31 Days of Writing


Today is Day 13 of the 31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes – with the theme AWARE.


We are always being warned to be aware of our surroundings, especially at night or if we are alone – to always look out for dangers.
Yet this warning should also apply to our everyday surroundings. To be aware of what is around us – to actually “stop and smell the roses”.

Too often we rush by and miss the beauty that is around us, as well as the unusual and even the ugly. There’s beauty in even those ugly spots, if only we had eyes to see.

How often do you stop and notice a small flower growing from a crack in the sidewalk or a nest in a tree or a spider web sparkling with dew?


Day 12 : SKY – 31 Days of Writing


Today is Day 12 of 31 days of Free Writing – and the theme is SKY.


Where ever I go, one of my favourite subjects to photograph is the sky. Other than perpetual blue in the south, clouds can so change the sky.


Sunsets and sunrises can be so varied as well. Red to orange to yellow.


Storm clouds add so much drama. I love to watch the clouds roll across the sky as a storm comes in.  Dark, angry clouds, rain, and bright lightning bolts. So much power on display.



To lie on the grass and look up, to find shapes in the clouds was a favourite activity as a child. I still catch myself looking for something in the clouds.


A fish looking for food?? What do you see?


WWW Wednesday


Today is WWW Wednesday at A World of Words – where we are asked to answer 3 questions about our reading.

What are you currently reading?

I started reading The Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery

And,   Kindred by Octavia Butler

I am still reading:

Journaling Power by Mari McCarthy

Sixty: A Diary of my Sixty-First Year by Ian Brown


What have I read this past week?

Family Tree by Susan Wiggs – loved it!

Big Sky Summer and Big Sky Secrets by Linda Lael Miller enjoyed the last books in this series

Forever in My Heart by Mona Ingram – enjoyed this free ebook

As well, I read several picture books:

Carmine, A Little More Red by Melissa Sweet

The Red Thread and Robert’s Snow by Grace Lin


What do you plan to read next?

A book on writing – just not sure which one of several I have

Story Thieves by James Riley

Day 11: THANKS – 31 Days of Writing


Today for 31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes , the theme is THANKS.


This word is appropriate as Canadians just celebrated Thanksgiving this past weekend. I certainly had lots to celebrate :

~time with family

~a big turkey dinner, with all the trimmings

~and especially pumpkin pie with whipped cream

~lovely weather

~and of course, leftovers!

Giving thanks is something we all need to do every day. When I spent time every morning writing out what I was thankful for, I felt more positive and accepting.

An attitude of gratitude certainly changes our lives – for the better.

When we count our blessings, we see an abundance in our lives, rather than a lack.

Gratitude really does change everything.

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