Monday, April 30, 2012

Blue Straggler Review

This book took me by surprise in that a lot of things happened that I probably didn't expect, especially the ending. And I can't say that it was the ending that I necessarily wanted but it sort of made sense with the main character being who she was. 
I've never been to Texas or Colorado, but I felt like I got a good glimpse into what these two states could possibly be like be reading the descriptions of the places and people in the book.
I could definitely identify with the characters in the book and the way that many of them felt conflicted, even perhaps confused in life and its choices.

Kudos to Kathy for a book that entertained me AND made me look introspectively at myself!

Kathy grew up in rural South Texas — and comes from people who work hard, love the land and know how to have a good time on a Saturday night. As a writer, Kathy was lucky to have been surrounded by exceptional characters throughout her life, many of whom have lived their lives exactly the way they wanted. The rest of the world could take `em or leave `em! Inspiring, to say the least.

In 2001, Kathy made the move from Texas to the Colorado Rockies to focus on her writing and soak up All Things Mountain. She lives in an authentic log cabin near the southernmost glacier in North America, at 10,500 feet above sea level, with her husband and son, plus two fairly untrainable golden retriever mixes. It is there that she writes.

Read more about Kathy on her blog, You Can Take The Girl Out Of Texas But... 
 Follow Kathy on Twitter Add Blue Straggler to your Goodreads Shelf /Follow Blue Straggler news on Facebook

Blue Straggler is available on Amazon in eBook and paperback format now!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Terri Long Interview

Today I'll be talking to author Terri Long.

Thank you so very much for hosting me, Sabrina-Kate! I’m excited to be here today!
1-             What is the first book that you remember reading?

As a child, I spent many hours in my attic bedroom reading. My mom once told me she’d worried about me when I was a child, because I spent so much time alone in my room. She thought I was depressed. The truth was, I was always lost in a book. The first book I recall reading is King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

2-             Why do you think it remained in your memory?

That’s a good question. I grew up in Pennsylvania. When I was a child, I watched a local TV show called The Gene London Show. One of my favorite – and in a way disappointing – memories was visiting the show with my Brownie troop. On the show, there was a haunted house, called Quigley Mansion; in my imagination, the house was scary and huge. In fact, as is often the case with film, it was only a model.

On the show, Gene told stories and he would illustrate characters and scenes on a drawing pad. His enchanting stories of King Arthur carried me to a magical time and place. Great stories do this for us – transport us to a world outside of ourselves. I’m not sure if King Arthur truly was my first book or if my associations make it stand out.

3-             What is your all time favourite book, if you can pick just one?

This is easy - The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. This powerful novel transports us to a harsh post-apocalyptic world, where humans have been reduced to animal instinct—for the inhabitants, murder and cannibalism are a means of survival.

In this unforgiving environment, McCarthy gives us a tender, elegantly rendered father and son. The man and his son face horrific challenges and hardships, always with dignity and grace. Near death, the man says to his son:"You have my whole heart. You always did.” This stunning work ends unexpectedly, with a promise of rebirth and renewal. McCarthy’s masterful writing and his story, the love of this father and son—the amazing connection they shared—awes and inspires me.

4-             Since I’ve read that you are a foodie, what is your favourite meal memory?

This one is tough. In China, to avoid insulting our hosts, I ate a frog; another day, I ate fish from a lake that was so polluted the water was a phosphorescent aqua. My most memorable meals, though, are from childhood - family dinners at my grandmother’s house, on Sunday. My favorites were gnocchi days. I loved to watch her prepare the pasta. She’d peel and boil potatoes. Onto a huge wooden board, she’d scoop a mound of flour. She’d mix in eggs, the potatoes, cooked and mashed. Then she’d knead the dough until it turned silky, roll long rods, and flick off pieces of dough with her thumb.

I never thought about her arthritis or how painful it must have been to knead the dough or shape the pasta. As kids we thought her thumb gave the gnocchi their amazing texture and taste. Now, of course, I know it was all the love she put into cooking for her family that made those huge family meals so delicious and special.

5-             Anything you want to try but haven’t yet had the chance to?

We’re fortunate in the U.S. to have a vibrant food scene. My husband and I visit New York frequently; in the city, you can find almost any food imaginable. This is true of many great cities, but New York is an ethnic melting pot, so it’s especially true there. Estiatorio Milos, a Greek seafood restaurant, and Pampano, a Mexican seafood, are two of my faves. I also love Helmand, a terrific Afghani restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I’ve heard rave reviews of Ethiopian food. I’d like to try their dishes.

6-             What city do you want to try out because you’ve heard their restaurants are great?

In 2001, our third daughter, Natalie, spent a semester in Florence. She flew over a few days before 9/11. We had planned to visit later that fall, but the tragedy terrified her, so we moved our trip forward to comfort her. Florence is a spectacular old city and Tuscany was gorgeous. Because of tensions and advisories, we couldn’t get to Rome.

Rome is definitely at the top of my list of foodie destinations. The food, I’ve heard, is outrageous. If Florence is any indication, outrageous may be an understatement. My grandparents came from a small village outside Naples. I’d also love to go there.

       7– What books are on your TO READ list right now?

Last year, my husband and I divided our time between New England and southern California. With all the traveling, I’d gotten behind on my reading, so I’m trying to catch up on the terrific books written by my indie author friends.

Margot Livesey, one of my grad school professors, just published a new novel, The Flight of Gemma Hardy.Margot is a stunning writer. Her new novel tops my list of traditionally published books.

       8– How much of your writing is based on real life experiences of yours?

To the extent that my work reflects my core beliefs and philosophies, everything I write is based on real life. Often I use parts of an experience or I may change the events, but incorporate the feelings and emotions the experience evoked, turning the experience into something entirely new. None of the events in my novel In Leah’s Wakeactually happened, fortunately, but I remembered, as a parent of teens, feeling anxious, scared, wondering what would happen, how things would turn out. To write honestly, I used those emotional experiences. 

I do steal character traits, usually from people I love. Luckily, they don’t mind. As with emotions, the physical traits and quirky mannerisms or actions I borrow  help me to write realistically. Justine’s invisible arm trick, for instance, comes from my youngest daughter, Kimberly. Two characters, Dorothy, creator of the bracelets, and Bob Sullivan, owner of Sullivan Farms ice cream, are real people.

       9- What one piece of advice do you have for aspiring authors?

As the industry evolves, more opportunities are opening for authors. Today, we can choose to self-publish or go the traditional route. Either way, we need to produce quality books. Critique partners and professional editors can help us spot errors and inconsistencies and bring our writing to the next level. I’m working with an editor on my novel-in-progress, Nowhere to Run. I’ve taught writing at the university level for 16 years; still, I’m blown away by the errors I miss. We get too close to the work; another set of eyes can really help.
Cherish your friendships. A community of supportive writer friends can encourage and sustain you when you’re lonely or your confidence flags. Above all, believe in yourself. Don’t ever give up. It takes work, but youcan make your dreams come true!

     10- What is your one great joy in life?

My family, hands down. My family centers and sustains me. They make me laugh and they bring joy and love to my life. Without them, nothing else would matter.

Thank you again for hosting me, Sabrina-Kate. I’m grateful for your kindness and support. And thank you, readers, for taking time out of your busy life to join me!

Terri Giuliano Long is a frequent blog guest. A contributing writer for IndieReader, she’s written for news and feature articles for numerous publications, including IndieReader, the Boston Globe and the Huffington Post. She lives with her family on the East Coast and teaches at Boston College. In Leah's Wake is her debut novelFor more information, please visit herwebsite:

Author of In Leah's Wake - A Story of Love, Loss, Connection, and Grace

The Tylers have a perfect life—beautiful home, established careers, two sweet and talented daughters. Their eldest, Leah, an exceptional soccer player, is on track for a prestigious scholarship. Their youngest, Justine—more responsible than seems possible for her 12 years—just wants her sister’s approval. With Leah nearing the end of high school and Justine a seemingly “together” kid, the parents are set to enjoy a peaceful life…until Leah meets Todd, a high school dropout and former roadie for a rock band.

As Leah's parents fight to save their daughter from a world of drugs, sex, wild parties, their divided approach drives their daughter out of their home and a wedge into their marriage. Meanwhile, 12-year-old Justine observes her sister's rebellion from the shadows of their fragmented family - leaving her to question whether anyone loves her and if God even knows she exists.

Can this family survive in Leah’s wake? 

Tracy Riva, Midwest Reviews, calls In Leah's Wake "an astounding story of a family in transition.”

When happens when love just isn't enough?

Reviewer-Nominated for Global eBook Award, 2012
Recipient of the CTRR Award for excellence
2011 Book Bundlz Book Pick
Book Bundlz 2011 Favorites, First Place

Thursday, April 12, 2012

All the Difference Book Review

I was first drawn to this book by its cover. Stunning! But I very quickly realized that this book was not just a pretty thing - the story is very compelling. The writing is just incredible and I was drawn in from page one.

The character development and story line also are mastered in such a way that I just did not want to put it down. Unfortunately I had to for those things like life and work, but as soon as I had a free moment, I definitely was right back to reading it!

I'm very excited to have discovered this author as she is now on my favourites and must read list!

Kaira Rouda is an award-winning entrepreneur and author. She lives in Southern California with her husband and four kids and is at work on her next novel. She’s a social media addict and would love to connect with you on:


To buy the book:


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Burt's Bees

I'm a person who has trouble with their skin. ALWAYS. It gets dry, itchy, red, oily, you name it, I've had it and sometimes all at once. So I was pleasantly surprised when I was selected to try out the new Burt's Bees products as they left my skin feeling really soft and lovely!

I'd recommend giving them a try - they go on lightly and feel really great. Smells natural and is smooth.