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Excerpts

Sometimes, you read a wonderful book and regardless of how great a review you write about it, you cannot really tell anyone how worthy the  book is. That happens to me often. You? Has that happened to you?

Here are some excerpts of a book I read recently. Maybe they can give you an idea of how good this one is.

“And he was tired. In the end, that’s what everything came down to, the reason for every problem that tangled his life — the simple weariness of trying to fix things that were broken.”

“Barney Moore called out for the God of Blessing, and the God of Cruelty answered.”

“(She put something in me, he thought, and then he thought, No, she took something out)”

“…people don’t weep because they’re weak, but because they’ve been strong for too long.”

“Only its eyes remained steady and unchanged–deep pools of blue that penetrated Reggie’s heart into even his darkest places and yet loved him still.”

“They came, if for no other reason than to remind themselves that they had stood up when they wanted to like down and believed when all that was scattered before them called for doubt. They came to sing and dance and break bread not in spite of their bent hearts.”

“Sometimes you think a story’s ended, but really it hasn’t, and all you have to do is turn the page.”

From When Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey.

 

 

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Friday 56
Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in Linky here. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

No art work for this book today but I hope you like the quote from Arturo Islas: The Uncollected Works Edited by Frederick Luis Aldama. Arturo Islas was my favorite professor in college and a lot of my love of writing and even my writing voice I owe to him so I hope you enjoy this.

“In the first weeks of that first year you were gone, I awakened to unbearable feelings of loss, self-recrimination, emptiness, nothingness. There was no sense of time moving in that house where you and I had lived together for three years. In the darkness and intolerable silence of that empty space (empty? I was there, wasn’t I? I didn’t think so, I felt annihilated) I was even afraid of the light slowly creeping into my bedroom.”

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I don’t think I am prudish but some might see me as such. I don’t know, maybe it’s old age. But then again, I’m “one of those” that has never used certain four letter words in my entire life and don’t see myself ever using them. My parents always said that using “foul” language was a lack of education. They said only those who could not otherwise express themselves would use such language. And I’ve always been “the good girl”, the “obedient daughter”. It doesn’t necessarily bother me when I hear a “well placed” expletive because sometimes that’s the only way the strength of an emotion can be conveyed. For me though, it doesn’t feel right and so I choose not to use such language.

I also find these days that I am bothered by explicit sex scenes in books as I read. Not all sex scenes but there are those that just appear in a book for the sake of it, not because they belong. There are such scenes that go way too far in describing what is going on in a book that is otherwise not at all gratuitous. The scenes just don’t fit in with the storyline or the characters. Those bother me. And then there is also the fact that in books, as in movies, sometimes less is more. Sometimes an inference is much better than explicit details. I’m actually thinking there should be some kind of rating on books to let the reader know what they are getting themselves into. I’m not saying that such books should not be written, published, or read. I’m just saying that I would like to know if such scenes are in the book before I decide to spend money and time reading them. Maybe I would just rather use my own imagination in those scenes instead of having someone else tell me who did what to whom and how many times.

So maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s old age. Maybe it’s a sign that I don’t fit in with “modern” times. And yeah, maybe I’m just a prude!

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Please help me welcome Joanne Huspek, author of two published novels, and a personal friend. I hope you enjoy this post and that you share it with your friends, followers, fellow tweeters, etc.

introducingBLUE

Joanne Huspek

Joanne Huspek

Joanne Huspek is an author who lives in the frozen tundra called Michigan, where she helps her husband run a business while attempting to keep warm.

During the summer months, she can be seen puttering around the garden, trying to save her tender veggies from marauding squirrels.

Joanne self-published Virtually Yours as an eBook in 2012 and Finding Cadence as both eBook and physical copy in 2014.

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself. What do you do for fun?
There’s not much time for fun around my house! Besides writing, which I do for fun and escape, I like making wire wrap jewelry. I’m especially interested in using fiber and basket weaving techniques in my designs, which is difficult because wire can get very brittle. I like rocks and stones, too. Otherwise, my other “fun” is inventive cooking, eating well, and enjoying fine wine.

Q: What do you like most about the genre you write in?
I do not stick to one “formula” genre. I write about women and their problems. I’ve written serious literary (Finding Cadence) as well as romance mixed with mystery (Virtually Yours) and have tried my hand at YA a couple of times. I love writing from a woman’s point of view. I lovingly call my work “mom-lit” – chick lit for those of us who used to be chicks. Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

Q: Where is your favorite place to write?
I have a favorite comfy chair in my bedroom, and if that seat is taken by my cat, there’s another downstairs in the family room. I find it intimidating to write in public spaces like in cafes or libraries. To write fiction, I need absolute silence and a minimum of distractions – hard to do in my life, but I manage to carve out some quiet time.

Q: What’s your next project?
I’m editing the sequel to Virtually Yours, called Virtually Yours Forever. I hope to release it by the end of this year, fingers crossed. I’m working with a developmental editor and he wants to weave in a parallel story line having to do with the Internet (again!), so this is no small undertaking. After that, I need to edit a YA I completed years ago, and finish the accompanying romance (same story, told in the mother’s point of view).

The Books:
Finding Cadence
The Reeds (Cadence and Carter) seem to have it all: an enduring marriage, wealth and social standing, a thriving business, and talented pianist son attending a West Coast conservatory. But an accident on an icy Michigan highway leaves Cadence Reed an unexpected widow. After the funeral, Cadie learns her loss is not limited to Carter’s passing. Layer after layer of secrets are revealed, exposing Carter as a philandering sociopath who has left his family in a precarious financial state. Her heart broken, her world in shambles, Cadie and her son embark on a journey, across the country and into Cadie’s past. Cadence must look deep inside herself to find the will and a means to survive.

FINDING CADENCE explores deception and depression, the intricate and tentative bond of relationships, and one woman’s determination to overcome pride and adversity to find the strength to carry on.

Finding Cadence

Finding Cadence


E-book contains questions for discussion.

VIRTUALLY YOURS
VIRTUALLY YOURS is the offbeat and humorous journey of the on-and-offline relationships of six women who met and maintained a lasting friendship on the Internet. The Virtual Moms embrace a newbie – with a secret – and the dynamic is changed, adding an unexpected twist to the lives of the friends.

Virtually Yours
Thanks to the prodding of sassy Manhattanite Janna Abraham, the Virtual Moms allow North Carolina stay-at-home parent and romance novelist Asheley MacDaniel, entree into their club. A recent Iraq War widow and alone with an adorable young son, Ashe proves a sympathetic figure. Although some of the members initially balk, Ashe fits in easily — perhaps too easily — sharing valuable insights on the personal dramas of Missy and Laurel, while gaining strong rapport with Ally and Skye.

Skeptical Celia is not as easily swayed as her friends. Who is this Asheley MacDaniel, and why are the VMs in virtual love with this newbie? Why is Ashe so secretive, and why won’t she email photos of herself and her five-year-old? And who was the stranger who answered the phone when Celia called?

Ashe has a secret, all right, one that the girls do not learn until after the friendships strengthen. Just as Ashe lands a book deal, Celia has enlisted the services of a private investigator and the truth now lies in an envelope in her hands. But before the truth can be told, Ashe decides to make the long drive from North Carolina to New York City to bear all to Janna in person, even as the revelation could cost dearly.
E-Book Includes Questions for Discussion

Coming soon! Stay tuned…Virtually Yours Forever,
It’s a Virtual Moms wedding!

After four years of cyber and long-distance dating, Janna and Ashe are finally taking the Big Step – making their relationship legal. They’ve invited the women in their private online group, the Virtual Moms, to the grand festivities in New York. However, Real Life mama drama threatens to upset the proceedings.

Matronly Ally believes her husband is going off the rails – with the friendly, sex kitten neighbor next door. Can she leave with danger a driveway away? Frazzled Laurel is still single-handedly supporting her family and wondering how to fund her son’s college education, when she is offered an off-beat position she’s not sure she can accept. Ex-beauty queen Missy finds herself stretched thin between two needy teenagers, an established career and a glamorous ‘dream’ job – complete with fast-talking hunk. Super-confident, ultra-organized Celia has taken the reins as matron of honor for Janna, completely ignoring the potential groom who is knocking at her own door. Lost in the preparations, Skye is curiously silent and withdrawn.

Janna quickly heads down the path toward Bridezilla status as she obsesses over the vision of a perfect ceremony. There’s also that slinky designer gown she chose. She’ll need to lose five pounds in order to be wedged into it. Ashe spends most of his time in Bonnie Doone on the pretext of getting the old home ready for sale; instead of packing, he recalls bittersweet memories about his beautiful first wife who died in Iraq.

Added to the chaos is the sudden appearance of Master Perturbation, the new bitchy blog sensation that’s taking the Internet by storm. The posts mirror the lives of the real life Virtual Moms. Could one of the VMs have penned the hurtful blog?

As the clock ticks closer to the nuptials, the group threatens to fall apart. With a record-breaking Nor’easter dumping two and a half feet of snow up and down the Eastern Seaboard, and with Janna and Ashe fussing, will they – and the rest of the VMs – make it to the ceremony?

Where to find Joanne Huspek
Joanne Huspek’s blog
Facebook
Twitter
Medium
Goodreads

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The-House-on-Mango-Street-picture
“Your abuelito is dead, Papa says early one morning in my room. Esta muerto, and then as if he just heard the news himself, crumples like a coat and cries, my brave Papa cries. I have never seen my Papa cry and I don’t know what to do.”

This meme is from Freda’s Voice. Grab a book and give it a go!
Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

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Is there a book that you read as a child that has stayed with you over the years; one that you have recommended to othrs and/or given as a gift to a child?

I can think of a few but one that I had forgotten about until I saw it on my bookshelf last night is a very special one. It’s called The Hundred Dresses and it was written by Eleanor Estes in 1944. I read it in fourth grade when I was about eight or nine. It touched me then and it still does. I’ve had a number of copies of it through the years as I tend to buy it to keep then give it away to a child or to a teacher. The one I have has managed to stay on my shelf for about eight or nine years.

The 1944 Newberry Honor recipient is the story of a little girl named Wanda Petronski who is different fromm all the other kids in her school. Not only is her name different, but she lives in the poorest part of town and she has no mother. Every day she wears the same blue dress to school. While it is always clean, it’s also always wrinkled and doesn’t hang right. She’s very quiet and hates to speak in front of the class. Outside of class, she is always alone and even when she tries to joing a group of kids, they never notice her. The only time the others notice her is when they want to tease her. One girl in particular, Peggy, likes to ask her how many dresses she has and Wanda always answers that she has a hundred dresses all lined up in her closet, all colors, all different kinds. They ask her about her shoes and she says she has sixty pair of shoes in her closet, all colors and all kinds, all lined up.

One girl, Maddie, feels bad about teasing her and she doesn’t want to participate in it but she also doesn’t want the others to turn on her because she’s from a poor family, too. So even though she feels wrong about teasing Wanda, she doesn’t speak up. She just goes along with it.

When Wanda doesn’t come to school for several days, her father sends a note to the teacher saying she won’t be coming to school anymore. They are moving to the big city where there are other “funny names” and lots of other Polish people and where they won’t be teased anymore. The letter from Wanda’s father arrives on the same day that the winner of the drawing contest is announced. The girls’ winner (for designing and drawing a dress) has drawn not onlyy one dress but one hundred different dresses, all kinds and all colors. The winner is Wanda. That’s when the girls realize that Wanda wasn’t lying about her hundred dresses. She really did have that many, only they were drawings.

I like it because it shows how Wanda is ignored and teased, making her feel isolated. And it also shows how Maddie knows it’s wrong yet doesn’t speak up. She just goes along with the teasing and bullying. I think it speaks volumes to kids. Although The Hundred Dresses is 71 years old, it still has a very valuable lesson to share with our kids…and with adults, as well. Before writing this post, I read a little about Eleanor Estes. I learned that she wrote the book out of guilt and a desire to somehow apologize to the little girl that Wanda was modeled after. She modeled Peggy, the bully, after herself because once the “Wanda” in her school moved away, Eleanor Estes realized that she had treated her very badly and had been a bully. I think that’s a valuable lesson, too!

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What I really mean is fiction or non-fiction reading. Which do you prefer? When I was in grade school and first learned the terms fiction and non-fiction, the way I remembered which was which was by substituting “fake” for “fiction” because I didn’t readily remember what fiction meant but I knew what fake meant! I think I was in third grade!

I’m definitely a fiction kind of person but I find that when I read fiction, I am looking for the non-fiction in it, that is to say that I look things up that interest me in the fiction to learn more about those things as well as to make sure the author didn’t screw up on their facts! Recently, I’ve read about four of Daniel Silva’s series with Gabriel Allon. These books are filled with facts and fiction based on fact and they send me straight to search for the facts or to learn more about the subjects. I’ve read about the Holocaust (there’s always so much more to learn about it than what we know or think we know), about conflict in the Middle East, about the works of Caravaggio, just to name a few topics. It’s not just his books that do that to me. It’s almost every book. If an author mentions a type of plane used in WWII, I go look it up. If the name of a museum is mentioned, I’m off to find out more about it. As far as checking “facts” presented in fiction, I’m talking about dates and chronology. For example, if an author writes a scene in which a character stays at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles and presents the date as 1992, I know they are wrong. I know that the hotel closed to guests in the 1980’s and I will go online and look for the dates to make sure I’m right. I am. Closure date was 1989. I then chalk it up to sloppy research and the rest of the book is tainted by it.

I read a lot about WWII and those books inevitably send me to find facts. Novels which make reference to art or music will do the same. Novels that reference specific locations with which I am unfamiliar will send me off to discover more.

I do enjoy reading some non-fiction but it has to be about a subject I am already interested in, or the memoirs or biography of someone I have previously hearing about in the past. One example is the Kennedy family. I am interested in all things Kennedy and have read extensively about them and books by them. In fact, my very first e-book when I got my Kindle in 2009, was True Compass by Ted Kennedy.

I just finished book #68 of an 80 book goal for 2014. I must say that the books next up on my list are all fiction but there are a few memoirs that have made the list so I might just load one of those on my Kindle. In fact, I had better run off and do that now so it will be ready to start up first thing in the morning!

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