WOW Blog Tour for Waterbury Winter – Guest Post by Author Linda Stewart Henley

I am honoured to be part of the WOW! Women of Writing Blog Tour for Linda Stewart Henley’s book Waterbury Winter.

Today Linda is visiting my blog to share her wonderful guest post “Inspiration in Art”

Welcome Linda!

Inspiration in Art

Everyone knows about writers’ block, but painters sometimes experience a similar obstruction to their creativity. It’s a flat feeling of no inspiration, that the muse has rudely and often inexplicably disappeared. To bring her back, artists have different solutions: some take walks, others listen to music, and a few resort to drinking large amounts of coffee or liquor. Others despair, shelve their book for ten years, or tear up a canvas.

In both my novels the artists are stuck. In Estelle, thirty-eight-year old Degas, not yet famous, doubts his ability to succeed and ponders giving up painting. In Waterbury Winter, Barnaby Brown hasn’t painted for eighteen years. In Degas’s case (true story), he’s concerned that paintings he completes of his New Orleans relatives are of little value; in Barnaby’s case, his drinking causes him to lose ambition. Both feel frustrated, and perhaps depressed, by their failure to paint anything they consider worthy of their efforts.

Then things change. For Degas, it’s his family’s bankruptcy and desire to capture (or perhaps immortalize) his relatives at work in their failing cotton business. His painting, A Cotton Office in New Orleans—a masterpiece—ensures his reputation. For Barnaby, recovery from his drinking habit and a rude awakening about his lost life as an artist propel him to try again. He completes a painting, Sean’s Place. It portrays his local hangout, the place of his demise, but also the source of new artistic inspiration.  

It’s hard to know what inspires artists, but strong interest is essential. Artists have to be fascinated enough to explore the subject matter. Writers want to feel passion for what they write about. Painters working on a landscape must find some aspect that draws their attention. There needs to be a “star.” It could be a barn, or a cloud formation, or a cow. No matter what the focus is, it should draw a viewer’s eye, in the same way that a reader becomes engaged by a book’s “hook”.

Waterbury Winter (final)

Be sure to check all the stops on Linda’s blog tour:

— Blog Tour Calendar

May 2nd @ The Muffin

Join us as we celebrate the launch of Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley. We interview the author about her book and also give away a copy to one lucky reader.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

May 3rd @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews Blog

Stop by Lisa’s blog today and read an interview with author Linda Stewart Henley.

https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

May 3rd @ Fiona Ingram’s Blog

Visit Fiona’s blog and read Linda Stewart Henley’s guest post about writing historical fiction.

https://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

May 5th @ Amanda Diaries

Visit Amanda’s blog and read her interview with author Linda Stewart Henley.

https://amandadiaries.com/

May 7th @ Boots, Shoes and Fashion

Join Linda as she interviews Linda Stewart Henley about her book Waterbury Winter.

https://bootsshoesandfashion.com/

May 8th @ What is That Book About?

Michelle spotlights Linda Stewart Henley’s book Waterbury Winter.

https://www.whatisthatbookabout.com/

May 9th @ Mindy McGinnis

Join Mindy as she features Linda Stewart Henley’s guest post about mixed genres in writing.

https://www.mindymcginnis.com/blog

May 12th @ Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog today and read her review of Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.

https://knottyneedle.blogspot.com/

May 13th @ CK Sorens’ Blog

Visit Carrie’s blog and read Linda Stewart Henley’s guest post about the importance of setting.

https://www.cksorens.com/blog

May 15th @ Choices

Visit Madeline’s blog and read Linda Stewart Henley’s guest post about what a difference an editor makes.

http://madelinesharples.com/

May 19th @ Reading Is My Remedy

Join Chelsie over at her Instagram page today where she shares her review of Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.

https://www.instagram.com/reading_is_my_remedy/

May 21st @ Bring on Lemons

Crystal shares her thoughts about the charming Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

May 24th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Make sure to visit Anthony’s blog and read his review of Linda Stewart Henley’s book Waterbury Winter.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

May 25th @ Beverley A. Baird

Join Beverley again as she features Linda Stewart Henley’s post about inspiration in art.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

May 26th @ The Frugalista Mom

Visit Roselyn’s blog as she reviews Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

May 27th @ A Storybook World

Deirdra’s blog features Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.

https://www.astorybookworld.com/

May 30th @ Liberate and Lather

Stop by Angela’s blog today and read her thoughts about Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.

http://liberateandlather.com/

May 31st @ The Faerie Review

Lily spotlights Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.

https://www.thefaeriereview.com/

June 2nd @ Pages & Paws

Join Pages and Paws for their review of Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.

https://pagesandpaws.com/

June 4th @ World of My Imagination

Nicole reviews Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.

https://worldofmyimagination.com/

June 5th @ Jill Sheets Blog

Visit Jill as she interviews author Linda Stewart Henley.

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

Guest Post by Audrey Fryer – As Part of the WOW Blog Tour for “Until Next Sunday”

wow-logo

I am honoured to be part of the WOW! Women of Writing Blog Tour for  Audry Fryer’s book Until Next Sunday

Today Audry is visiting my blog to share her inspiration for writing her book

Welcome Audry!

Until next sunday unnamed

How 100 Love Letters Became a Novel

In the summer of 2016,  I agreed to take a stack of photocopies, 109 translated letters to be exact, and portray the story they told in a novel format.

It would be no easy feat. On that day, as I shifted the bulky weight of all those papers in my hands, I felt exhilaration to read what secrets these letters from nearly a hundred years ago held.

Little did I know that it would take five years and countless drafts until those letters became a novel suitable for publishing. Or that I would fill an entire notebook with my thoughts and ideas during that time. But in the end, all the hard work and perseverance paid off!

The Backstory 

On a warm summer day in June 1921, a young man named Gianni wrote a brief love letter to his new love interest, Rosina. Since Rosina and Gianni had immigrated from Italy, he wrote this letter in Italian. 

In the letter, Gianni had invited Rosina to meet him on a Philadelphia street corner for a date. However, Rosina had fallen ill, an event that would lead to a prolonged separation. From that point forward, their romance relied only on their love letters and brief visitations. 

During their many months of separation, Rosina would keep nearly every letter she and Gianni had exchanged. She eventually carefully archived them in a photograph album, sliding each letter behind a plastic sleeve. Then, she placed that album into a cardboard box with other sentimental heirlooms from Italy and stored them in her attic.

When Rosina died many decades later, different family members took ownership of this box containing the letters placing it in their attics for safekeeping. When the family member passed away, the box would move to the next family member’s attic. 

On and on, it moved over the years, person to person, attic to attic. Until one day, a family member became curious about the box’s contents. She became particularly intrigued by the album containing the letters and shared her find with three of Rosina’s granddaughters, sisters, Linda, Susan, and Laurie.

The Translator

These three sisters, Rosina’s granddaughters, were desperate to read the letters. However, Rosina and Gianni wrote in a regional dialect that could not be easily translated. 

The contents of the letters would remain a mystery until an unlikely opportunity for their translation transpired many decades later. Call it divine intervention or good luck; the letters found their way to a translator traveling to the same region of Italy that speaks the same dialect.

The translator, Biago, a professor at the University of Delaware at the time, worked with his family living in Italy to translate the letters. He told the sisters that he and his wife would read the letters aloud with him reading Gianni’s and his wife reading Rosina’s. 

Biago was so impressed by the story the letters portrayed, he wrote a beautiful letter about his feelings. His letter is displayed on the beginning pages of the novel.

The Choice to Write a Novel

When the sisters, Linda, Susan, and Laurie, read the translation and what their grandmother had lovingly stored, they were astonished. They felt compelled to share this unique and beautiful love story with the world.

First, Linda, Susan, and Laurie pursued transforming the letters into a movie screenplay. They met with executives with ties to Hollywood. However, after the success of The Notebook, based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks, the market wasn’t welcoming to another story about letters. 

Instead, the sisters received the advice to first create a novel based on the letters. After a brief search for a ghostwriter, Laurie suggested my name. Since she’s married to my husband’s uncle, we were basically family. And she knew that I had previously self-published two women’s fiction ebooks.

I was thrilled to be entrusted with telling the story of the letters. Aside from my already established connection with this family, my background made me well-suited to write this story. My grandparents had also lived in Philadelphia. And I, too, had an Italian grandmother. Plus, like Rosina and Gianni, I was raised Roman Catholic. 

The Writing

As I mentioned, writing this novel took many drafts and multiple versions. I began by reading through all the letters dozens of times. When Linda typed the letters from the translations, she numbered each letter. As I took copious notes, the numbers helped tremendously with the organization.

Next, along with Linda’s, Susan’s, and Laurie’s input, I selected which letters to feature in the novel. Some of the letters repeated the same message. In some instances, I combined two letters that seemed to go together.

Determining what happened between the letters became the biggest challenge. I conferred with the sisters on their theories of what must have happened. I structured and restructured the story. I considered adding different elements, such as more than one narrator. 

Also, I spent long hours researching places such as 1920s Philadelphia, Willow Grove Amusement Park (which no longer exists), and Atlantic City. Also, I studied the transportation system and railways, common illnesses such as tuberculosis, and what it was like to live in a sanatorium. 

The Editing

All of that hard work resulted in what I initially called “a hot mess.” Although we all could see this draft’s potential, it needed an objective opinion. After conferring with Linda, Susan, and Laurie, we concluded we desperately needed an editor. 

Fortunately, the editor they hired, Anya Kagan of Touchstone Editing, was more than up to the task. She took on the challenge of the developmental edit. 

When she finished her assessment, I discovered that I would be nearly starting over with writing the novel. However, now I had the advantage of her editorial direction. And I knew the letters inside, outside, and upside down. 

After working on the revisions for several months, I returned the manuscript to our editor for her assessment. To my relief, I received welcome news. The novel format now worked. The details in the story aligned and made sense.

Plus, thanks to a suggestion from Laurie’s friend early in the process, we had the perfect title for the novel – “Until Next Sunday.”

The Publishing

Since the story belongs to Linda, Susan, and Laurie’s family, they wisely did not want to give up the rights to a conventional publisher. Instead, they found an independent publisher, Lindsey Evans Teske, who owned the publishing service, Of Ink and Pearls. 

With Lindsey’s help, we began the work of turning a completed manuscript into several formats, ebook, paperback, and hardback. This process mainly went smoothly aside from creating the cover.

The cover for Until Next Sunday is a compilation of real-life photographs. Laurie arranged the images, and Lindsey sent them to a professional cover artist. Unfortunately, the cover creation encountered multiple delays. It was a stressful time because our established release date was quickly approaching.

After much anxiety, a cover artist came through for us, adding a red rose for a pop of color, a nod to both Rosina’s name, and the many moments roses appear in the story. 

Finally, Until Next Sunday was published on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2022! It was a long time coming considering it had been over a hundred years since the letters were originally written.

The Future

As I’ve been told, writing the book is only half the journey. The second half becomes dedicated to marketing the book. And we’ve only just begun! We’re thrilled to be part of this blog tour through WOW! Women on Writing. 

Writing the emotional love story between Rosina and Gianni has been one of the most rewarding experiences for both the sisters and me. I was awestruck to witness their courage to leave home for a better life in America and how their love overcame separation and illness.

Until Next Sunday is a portrait of the times, an authentic immigrant experience, and at its heart, a moving and beautiful love story; We are all so grateful to be able to share this story with you!

Learn more about Until Next Sunday at https://www.audryfryer.com/until-next-sunday/

Author Bio

Audry Fryer is an author and professional freelance writer from Pennsylvania. Formerly a teacher, Audry wrote her first novel while her toddler son and twin babies napped. As her children have grown into teenagers, she has expanded her writing career. Audry lives with her family and two pugs in a quiet corner of Southeastern PA. To learn more about Audry, please visit her website at www.audryfryer.com.

Be sure to visit all the stops along the blog tour:

Blog Tour CalendarMay 9th @ The MuffinJoin us as we celebrate the launch of Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. We interview the author about her book and also give away a copy to one lucky reader.https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com
May 10th @ Create Write Now Today’s guest post at Create Write Now comes from Audry Fryer as she pens an article titled: “The Importance of a Talented Editor”. Hear from Audry on this important topic and find out more about her latest work: Until Next Sunday.

https://www.createwritenow.com/journal-writing-blog

May 11th @ Pages & Paws Kristine from Pages and Paws reviews Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. This historical romance is delighting readers – find out what Kristine thinks!https://pagesandpaws.com/May 13th @ Rebecca J. WhitmanAudry Fryer pens today’s travel inspired guest post on Rebecca J. Whitman’s blog. Find out more about Fryer’s book Until Next Sunday and the region of Italy featured in the book.https://rebeccajwhitman.com/May 16th @ What is that Book AboutToday’s book spotlight at What is that Book About is none other than Audry Fryer’s latest Until Next Sunday. Readers will want to add this gem to their TBR pile right away!https://www.whatisthatbookabout.com/May 16th @ Rebecca J. WhitmanDon’t miss today’s podcast with Rebecca J. Whitman as she features Audry Fryer and Audry’s latest book Until Next Sunday.https://rebeccajwhitman.com/
May 17th @ Beverley A. BairdBeverley A. Baird welcomes Audry Fryer to her blog today. Stop by and learn more about Fryer’s latest book Until Next Sunday and find out the inside story about “How 100 Love Letters Became a Novel”https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/May 18th @ Linda Appleman ShapiroBehavioral Psychotherapist, Linda Appleman Shapiro, reviews and shares her thoughts after reading Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. Don’t miss Shapiro’s insight on this beautiful historical romance.http://applemanshapiro.com/category/book-reviews/May 19th @ A Storybook WorldA StoryBook World welcomes Audry Fryer and Until Next Sunday to the spotlight today! Stop by and find out more about the historical romance everyone is talking about! http://www.astorybookworld.com/May 20th @ Rebecca J. WhitmanRebecca J. Whitman reviews Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday and shares her thoughts with readers on her blog; don’t miss a chance to learn more about this historical romance that is delighting readers young and old!https://rebeccajwhitman.com/
May 20th @ Word MagicReaders at Fiona Ingram’s blog will hear from Audry Fryer today as she writes about the difference between historical romance and historical fiction. Is there a difference? Find out today and learn more about Fryer’s latest work Until Next Sunday.https://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/May 24th @ Mindy McGinnisReaders at Mindy McGinnis’ blog will hear from Audry Fryer today as she writes about how to create a book club kit for your readers. Sop by and learn more about Fryer’s latest work Until Next Sunday.https://www.mindymcginnis.com/blog
May 24th @ Author Anthony AvinaReaders at Anthony Avina’s blog will hear from Audry Fryer today as she writes about Roses and what they symbolize in books. Stop by today and learn more about Fryer’s latest work Until Next Sunday.https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/
May 25th @ Choices with Madeline SharplesFellow author Madeline Sharples has Audry Fryer and Until Next Sunday in the spotlight at her blog today! Stop by and see what all the fuss is about!http://madelinesharples.com/
May 30th @ Bring on Lemons with High School Student, Carmen OttoTeenager Carmen Otto offers her 5 star review of Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday. Otto can’t wait for her school library to add this gem to their collection! Read more from Carmen about this historical romance today!http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/
May 31st @ Reading is My RemedyChelsie Stanford of Reading is My Remedy offers her review of Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday – find out what Chelsie has to say about this historical romance and it’s talented author!https://readingismyremedy.wordpress.com/
June 1st @ Lisa’s ReadingLisa from Lisa’s Reading has Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday in the spotlight today! Stop by and see the historical romance everyone is talking about!https://lisasreading.com/
June 2nd @ KnottyNeedle CreativeJudy from the Knotty Needle offers her review of Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday for readers of her blog. This is a delightful historical romance and readers will want to hear what Judy has to say!http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com/
June 2nd @ Beverley A. BairdBeverley A. Baird reviews Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. This historical romance is getting lots of attention – find out what Beverley thinks!https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/
June 3rd @ Author Anthony AvinaAuthor Anthony Avina reviews fellow author Audry Fryer’s latest historical romance, Until Next Sunday. Find out from one author to another what Anthony thinks of this book!https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/
June 4th @ Boots, Shoes and FashionLinda of Boots Shoes & Fashion interviews Audry Fryer about her latest historical fiction, Until Next Sunday; don’t miss this insightful interview!
https://bootsshoesandfashion.com/
June 5th @ Choices with Madeline SharplesMadeline Sharples welcomes a guest author to her blog – today, readers will hear from Audry Fryer about Until Next Sunday as well as learning what Audry has to say about Top Strong Female Characters in Literature.http://madelinesharples.com/
June 9th @ The Frugalista MomThe Fruglista Mom, Rozelyn, shares her review of Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer! This is a book and review you won’t want to miss!https://thefrugalistamom.com/
June 10th @ World of My ImaginationWOW! Blog Tour Manager Nicole Pyles shares her review of Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. Nicole’s review wraps up the book blog tour for this historical romance – find out what Nicole has to say about this beautiful story!https://worldofmyimagination.com/ 

It’s Monday! What are You Reading?

It’s time once again for Kathryn’s weekly meme, It’s Monday! What are You Reading? , hosted at Book Date, where we share what we’re reading and have read over the past week.

I am having my knee replacement surgery now this Tuesday. There was a cancellation and I was offered a new date, 2 weeks early. It has meant a lot of rushing around, but hopefully will mean less pain in the long run.

I probably won’t be posting (or even visiting blogs) for a few weeks. Not sure what the recovery will be like so am preparing to be laying low for awhile. I’ve got a bag of books ready to be read!

What I Read Last Week

I read 6 books – 2 romances, a paranormal romance, a mystery, an historical romance and a non-fiction.

Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee. I read this as a book read with my writing partner and enjoyed it. It was a deep dive into joy and how to become more joyful.

The Coppersmith Farmhouse by Devney Perry. I enjoy all of Perry’s novels and this was no exception. It is the first book in a series and am looking forward to reading more.

Hot Enough to Burn by Cynthia Eden. I really enjoyed this paranormal romance, by a new author to me.

Christmas at Holiday House by RaeAnne Thayne.  I do enjoy holiday reads and really enjoyed this one – as well as this author.

Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James. A good historical romance, part of a series I will be tracking down.

Secret, Book and Scone Society by  . This was a cozy mystery by another new author and it was a favourite of the week.             

What I’m Reading Now 

House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas (800 pages! Great book so far)

What I am Reading Next

 The Diary of Anne Frank (expanded version – for a book study)

The Clover Chapel by Devney Perry

Connect 5 Friday – Books about Books

It’s time once again for Connect Five Friday, hosted at Book Date by Kathryn – the meme where we share five book/reading things that connect in some way.

I wasn’t sure what to focus on this week, but then I visited Kathryn’s blog and read her post about suggested books for Emilie Richard’s June topic for June. I have not yet read the book for the May category for this challenge.

Here are 5 books that are about books or a bookstore or library. (summaries from Goodreads)

The first 3 are books I borrowed from the library:

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan

“A grand baronial house on Loch Ness, a quirky small-town bookseller, and a single mom looking for a fresh start all come together in this witty and warm-hearted novel by New York Times bestselling author Jenny Colgan.”

The Transatlantic Book Club by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

“an enchanting new novel … about residents of Ireland’s Finfarran Peninsula who set up a Skype book club with the little US town of Resolve, where generations of Finfarran’s emigrants have settled.”

The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

“A warm, feel-good novel about the importance of finding a place where you belong – perfect for fans of Maeve Binchy.”

Two other books I’m considering::

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

“On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto “No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World.” A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.”

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

“The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, but after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. “

It’s Monday! What are You Reading?

its mondayit2527s2bmonday25212bwhat2bare2byou2breading

It’s time once again for Kathryn’s weekly meme, “It’s Monday! What are You Reading?“, hosted at Book Date, where we share what we’re reading and have read over the past week.

 

Hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day. I received 2 beautiful hanging plants from my sons. And then we had Swiss Chalet chicken! Lovely treat – especially when I don’t have to cook!

What I Read Last Week

I read 5 books – a romance, 1 paranormal, 2 fantasies and a non-fiction/memoir.

lion witch wardrobe 100915

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Finally! I read this this weekend, after so many starts and stops over the years and enjoyed it.

Age of Creativity 49358270

The Age of Creativity by Emily Urquhart, I have been reading this for a book study ad finished it today. What a fascinating look at creativity and old age, through the lens of her artist father.

Loves Billionaires dogs53408521

Loves Billionaires and Dogs by Gina Robinson. A free ebook that was a fun romance read.

2 paranormal books by Mandy M. Roth, which I really enjoyed. At least 3 more in the series I hope to read.

Cloudy Witchcraft 51380826                Hexing tornadoes 49999708

Cloudy With a Chance of Witchcraft     Hexing With a Chance of Tornadoes

What I’m Reading Now 

House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas (800 pages! Great book so far)

 

What I am Reading Next

 The Diary of Anne Frank (expanded version – for a book study)

 

Connect 5 Friday – 5 Goodwill Finds

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It’s time once again for Connect Five Friday, hosted at Book Date by Kathryn – the meme where we share five book/reading things that connect in some way.

I wasn’t sure what to focus on this week, but then I started reading one of the books I just got from Goodwill yesterday and knew that would be the topic.

Here are the last 5 books I bought at Goodwill – $10 for 5 books and a donation to Goodwill.

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Christmas at Holiday House by RaeAnne Thayne. This is the first of the 5 I have started and I’m enjoying it. Always have enjoyed reading Christmas stories anytime of the year!

“This New Year will bring widowed nurse Abigail Powell a fresh start in a different city. Excited about the chance to create an unforgettable Christmas for her young son in picturesque Silver Bells, Colorado, Abby has been hired to take care of her dear friend’s recuperating grandmother. But sprightly senior Winnie insists she doesn’t need looking after. What she does need is help decorating her historic mansion, Holiday House, for a seasonal town fundraiser. Abby warms to the festive task, but she’ll have to contend with her own personal Grinch: Winnie’s prickly grandson, Ethan Lancaster.”

waking the witch 6725785

Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong. An urban fantasy, by a local author, I’ve wanted to read a book by her for a while.

“At twenty-one, Savannah Levine-orphaned daughter of a notorious dark witch and an equally notorious cutthroat sorcerer-considers herself a full-fledged member of the otherworld. The once rebellious teen has grown into a six-foot-tall, motorcycle-riding jaw-dropper, with an impressive knowledge of and ability to perform spells. The only problem is, she’s having a hard time convincing her adoptive parents, Paige and Lucas, to take her seriously as an adult. ”

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The Forgotten Guide to Happiness by Sophie Jenkins. Reading the book blurb intrigued me enough to buy it.

“Twenty-eight-year-old Lana Green has never been good at making friends. She’s perfectly happy to be left alone with her books. Or at least, that’s what she tells herself.
Nancy Ellis Hall was once a celebrated writer. Now eighty, she lives alone in her North London house, and thinks she’s doing just fine. But dementia is loosening Nancy’s grip on the world.
When Lana and Nancy become unconventional house mates, their lives will change in ways they never expected. But can an unusual friendship rescue two women who don’t realize they need to be saved?”

Dreamong of Christmas 40984065

Dreaming of Christmas by T.A. Williams. Another Christmas book!

“Dumped on Christmas Eve by her long-term boyfriend, it’s been a rough year for Zoe Lumsley. But then she gets an invitation she can’t refuse: an all expenses paid skiing holiday with old university friends.

The bad news: her ex, Grant, will be there with his new girlfriend. But so will her former flatmate Billy, the organiser, and in the meantime he’s done rather well for himself. As Christmas in the Alps approaches, it’ll be great to see the old gang. Some more than others…”

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The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave. THis is one I’ve read so many reviews for, so glad to get it and see what the fuss is about.

“The instant #1 New York Times bestselling mystery and Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick that’s captivated more than a million readers about a woman searching for the truth about her husband’s disappearance…at any cost.
Before Owen Michaels disappears, he manages to smuggle a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers: Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.”

Which one would you read next??

It’s Monday! What are You Reading?

its mondayit2527s2bmonday25212bwhat2bare2byou2breading

It’s time once again for Kathryn’s weekly meme, “It’s Monday! What are You Reading?“, hosted at Book Date, where we share what we’re reading and have read over the past week.

 

Good news – never got covid and I now have a date for my knee replacement – May 31st. Hurrah!

Spring is here – our nest of robins now has 4 lovely blue eggs and flowers are blooming in the garden.

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What I Read Last Week

I read 7 books – a romance, 1 pix book, a book of poetry and 4 paranormals.

Happily this Xmas 49668487

Happily This Christmas by Susan Mallery. Another great romance read from her Happily, Inc. series.

4 books in a paranormal series by Gray Holborn, which I really enjoyed

Academy of Protectors 57885735    Forging the Guild 58114527

Academy of Protectors                                 Forging the Guild

Dreams of hell 58424382    Hell and Back 58990807

Dreams of Hell                                      Hell and Back

Dearly 50706476

Dearly by Margaret Atwood. A book of incredible poetry.

I read another enjoyable pix book by Patricia MacLachlan:

My Friend Earth (illus. by Francesca Sania

What I’m Reading Now 

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

What I am Reading Next

House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas

“Our Own Backyard” Challenge – Part 2 (Spring)

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Welcome to the “Our Own Backyard” challenge, in which my friend Linda and I will share pictures of our yards during the seasons.

Same City
2 Friends
2 Yards
2 Views

The idea is to document a part of our backyards every season for a year. Linda chose to document her beautiful linden tree.

Even though I have a huge evergreen in my yard, I am choosing to highlight the gardens in my front yard and now, with my back gardens as well. 

In the front yard gardens, the perennials have started to grow. The weather has been milder and rainy off and on. Perfect for growing.

 

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The garden to the right of the front door is narrow and over half of it is planted in lilies – which have started to overtake the garden!

 

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To the left of the door is a garden we have been adding to the past few years. But it still seems unfinished. There is still more to plant, but the bleeding heart started to grow, as have some tulips.

Unfortunately, squirrels which love our huge evergreen, raid the garden, even through the mulch.

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The garden in the middle of the yard was added after we cut a birch down. Instead of a stump, we chose to create a garden. The peonies have started to grow. Out little lanterns are now out as well.

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My oldest son just finished creating this raised bed at the back of the yard last weekend. We have done container gardening for years but it is getting to be a challenge for us, so we trying this new garden this year. It will be for vegetables.

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Beside this garden, there are purple flowers already in bloom. Soon the asparagus will be up as well.

 

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Even though this nest isn’t in the yard, I had to share this amazing sign of spring. We’ve had robins nest on our porch for years, but none the past 3 years. Now there is a nest on top of our hanging ladder, with 4 beautiful blue robin eggs. I look forward to catching sight of the new life.

 

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And a sign of spring we already have blooming, are bright and pretty even if they are weeds.

 

Head on over to Linda’s blog to see what’s she’s documented this season.

I’m already excited to share what my gardens will look like in the summer.

I’d love to see something from your yard.

April Reading Round-Up

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We are already at the end of April – with all the showers, that will bring May flowers. April has been a healthier month for my husband and I and it has ended with good news – my knee replacement takes place May 31st.

It’s time to share what I have been reading this past month.  I will summarize how I did with each challenge as well.

The total read for April was 33 books.   Here is the breakdown:

Fantasy -7

Urban fantasy – 3

Paranormal – 6

Time travel – 1

Romance – 6

Historical romance – 2

Mystery – 1

PB – 7

I continue to record in more detail where the books originated – from the library, on my TBR shelves (bought/gifted or won) or an e-book. Here’s the breakdown:

Library reads – 20

TBR/owned books –5

E-books –8 

  

10 Favourite Reads

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The overall favourite read was Indigo Ridge by Devney Perry, (although I reread books by my favourite author, Anne Bishop,  of my favourite series)

Other favourite reads this month (more than 10, but I counted by single books and series):

How to Be a Wallflower by Eloisa James

Hard series by Nalini Singh: Rock Hard, Love Hard, Cherish Hard

Last Guard by Nalini Singh

The Rogue to Ruin by Vivienne Lorret

City of Time and Magic by Paula Brackston

Others Series by Anne Bishop: Marked in Flesh, Etched in Bone, Wild Country

Protector series by Gray Holborn; Academy of Protectors, Forging the Guild, Dreams of Hell, Hell and Back

Dearly by Margaret Atwood

Urban Fantasy series by Ilona Andrews: White Hot, Wild Fire, Burn for Me

 

POPSUGAR Ultimate Reading Challenge (Through Goodreads)

I read only 1 book for this challenge.

#18 – Romance by a BIPOC author – Hard series by Nalini Singh: Rock Hard, Love Hard, Cherish Hard

52 Books in 52

I read 2 books this month for the challenge.

#9 – a book that sparks joy – Capturing Joy: The Story of Maud Lewis by Jo Ellen Bogart; illus. Mark lang

#27 – Includes a map – Others Series by Anne Bishop: Marked in Flesh, Etched in Bone

 

Monthly Key Word Challenge   

I used 2 key words this month:

“Red” – Written in Red by Anne Bishop

“Burn” – Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

 

Beyond the Bookends

The theme was “set in a bookstore”.  I read: Others Series by Anne Bishop: Marked in Flesh, Etched in Bone

 

Diversify Your Reading   

The theme was “mystery” and I read Indigo Ridge by Devney Perry

Biblio Club

The genre was poetry and I read Dearly by Margaret Atwood

 

 Looking Ahead to May

I want to continue reading books from my TBR shelves and read more for the Popsugar and 52 Books challenges.

I am linking with the following:

Monthly Wrap-Up (At  Feed Your Fiction Addiction)

Inspire Me Monday (at Create With Joy)

Best of the Bunch  (A Cocoon of Books) 

One Word April Update – JOY

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Lisa (of LisaNotes) has provided a place to share our experiences with our OLW (One Little Word)– to be accountable, to keep it front and centre in our lives. This is our fourth check-in:

 

My One Word April Up-date:

JOY is my OLW – a word that is needed greatly this year.

I did not do an update in March. It was a challenging month. I didn’t do much art and even reading didn’t help as much as it should have. I started with the Lenten exercises which I did enjoy, but thendid not finish them. I didn’t even turn to my gratitude journal or prayer log.

Although my hubby was finally out of hospital and was getting stronger, I developed shingles and the pain was something else. Six weeks later, it is still uncomfortable on my back.

But this past month, I got good news – my knee surgery has been scheduled for the end of May. I can see an end in sight (finally after over a year of waiting!) to the pain. I also found the warmer weather and the gardens and green grass have helped too.

And Easter arrived – how could I not be joyous, with the Easter message and time with family.

(I have not done exactly what Lisa asked of us, but here is a summary of some of the things I have done this month.)

What I am now doing:

I continue to keep my JOY canvas in a conspicuous spot so that I see it often each day.

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I continue to list 3-5 things I am grateful for every day.

I continue to add to my JOY journal quotes, inspiring stories, and pictures that spark joy.

I am creating l JOY cards using my hubby’s old business cards and some art pieces I painted as backgrounds. They are fun to do.

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I also started two new fun art projects, that are relaxing, easy and can be done anywhere, anytime. They are both found at iHanna’s blog:

Rainbow glue book                   En Masse glue book

I am continuing to study of Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee with a writing friend- a chapter or two a week, to study it in depth. So much interesting stories and ideas about how to find joy.

My favourite chapter has been “Transcendence”.  “Upward movements seem to correlate to joy:

Hot-air balloons

Bubbles

Kites

Even treehouses

I am also trying to find joy in small things – playing wordle every day and sharing results with my hubby (we have now added a Canadian version – Canuckle); reading; listening to music; face-time with family and friends; making apple crisp; looking at the growing flowers in the garden.

The newest joy, has been watching the building of a robin’s nest on our porch, on the top of the hanging ladder. This week we discovered 2 eggs. Such a gorgeous blue!

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Here are several new JOY quotes I found:

Grab JOY!

May JOY take root more and more.

JOY comes to us in the ordinary moments. We risk missing out when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary. Brene Brown

 

 

 I am trying every day, to feel that joy, to be filled with joy. Some days more than others it is a challenge.  I will keep trying – It is well worth the pursuit.