November Wrap Up

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was very quiet this year.  Mom took a bad fall in early September and broke her hip so we dispensed with the traditional celebration and stayed home. I made all our favorite dishes, with Jake “helping” as only a golden retriever can–and we rested and watched football and caught up on our reading. Which brings me to

Books Read: The End of the Point by Elizabeth Graver is an absorbing WW2 era novel set in Massachusetts. I’ve always wanted a cottage on some rocky, windswept seacoast and I got to go there in the pages of this family drama.

Family Pictures by Jane Green is a tale of two families who discover their husband and father has been leading a double life. I read mostly historical fiction but I very much enjoyed this tale by the author of Dune Road and The Beach House among others.

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant is a wonderful historical novel about a determined daughter of immigrants, set in turn of the century Boston. Addie Baum is a fully-realized character and the historical details add to the believability  of this lovely novel. My favorite of the three.

Meals consumed:Isn’t it  funny how our childhood preferences and prejudices about food follow us into adulthood? I remember when then-President Bush said he hated broccoli,  he was President of the Untied States and he was not going to eat broccoli. I feel the same way about beets—or I did until I tried them at a local eatery called Cured. The beets I remembered from my childhood were soggy purple things that tasted like dirt. But the ones at Cured were small and firm and just a bit briny. I loved them. Emboldened by my beet experience I tried kale. I’m still not a fan but the kale at Napa Flats, one of our favorite local hangouts was better than I expected.

Which goes to show we should always embrace the new even when it seems unpalatable.

Book News:  This month I finished the line edits for MRS LEE AND MRS GRAY, my new biographical novel to be published next May. I’m very excited to bring readers a never-before told story of a remarkable friendship between Mrs Robert E Lee and her servant, Selina Gray. I’ve seen the cover and can’t wait to share it.

I’m taking December to finish some other writing projects and of course to celebrate the Christmas season so my next post will be in 2016! This year has flown by.  I’m  deeply grateful that I get to do the work I love and grateful for so many readers who have become cherished friends.To all of you near and far, thank you for supporting my books, and may you have a lovely December, wherever you go and whichever holidays you celebrate.

See you next year.

October Round Up

Maybe you can guess what kind of a month it’s been by the fact that I am two days late posting this roundup. I lost my internet service for a time due to severe storms down here, and then several requests from my publisher kept me hopping. In a nutshell here is what October looked like:

Meals consumed: I first tasted fish tacos when I lived in Southern California. Rubio’s are so good that I despaired of finding their equal  here in Texas but  I’ve found two places that come close :  Napa Flats and Fish City Grill. One taste and I’m back on the beach in Coronado. I tried a new dish at Sushihana, our favorite Japanese restaurant–chicken sobayaki. It’s made with noodles, chicken and all sorts of stir fried veggies. My only complaint is that the portion is too big and this is one dish that does not reheat all that well.

Movies watched: Only one this whole month ( see below for why!) but it was a sweet little film that I missed when it came out a few years back. The Magic of Belle Isle stars Morgan Freeman as a disabled writer and Virginia Madsen as his divorced neighbor and friend. Some of the plot points were a little too neat, but this is a rare movie appropriate for all ages. I’m getting it for Mom, who you may remember is recovering from a broken hip.

actressWriting Stuff: A Respectable Actress was published October 13 to very good reviews, including a 4.5 review from Romantic Times which named it a TOP PICK. The reviewer called it “a book readers will treasure forever” and I hope they will! I had a wonderful readers circle who helped with this launch–22 readers from around the country who posted reviews, tweeted and posted on FB,  and generally made some noise for this book. Thank you ladies!! You are the best.

Meantime I turned in  my revisions for next year’s biographical novel, MRS LEE AND MRS GRAY and this week I’m working on the line edits. My publisher just sent the cover which I will be posting very soon. I love it, and I hope you will, too. This is a very special story and I can’t wait for next spring when it will be out.

In my spare time I’ve been working on a new story idea, blogging (occasionally) and chatting with readers on Social Media. Come on over and say hello.

In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with friends, food, and fun.

September Wrap Up

This month life threw me a few curve balls, just to keep me on my toes. The day before Labor Day, Mom fell and cracked her hip and had to have surgery. She’s making a slow recovery at home in East Texas. A long-planned trip to the beach to celebrate Ron’s birthday was canceled by the arrival of the Red Tide….and my revision notes arrived from my editor with requests for a few new scenes. Still, I had time for a few of my usual pursuits,  to wit:

Movies watched: I’m on a biographical kick at present and this month I had time for two bio  movies—Wild, the story of Cheryl Strayed’s hike along the Pacific Coast Trail, and Unbroken, the story of Olympian Louis Zamperini’s survival of a Japanese prison camp. Both movies depict the extraordinary strength of a single person pushed to the limits of human endurance. I could have done without the graphic scenes in Wild, and I wished for more of Zamperini’s story after the war. The ending felt abrupt and unsatisfying. But both of these movies reminded me that real life is more fascinating than anything Hollywood can dream up.

I-love-deadlines-I-likeBooks Read: I finally had time to read Paula McLain’s Circling the Sun, a bio novel of the horse trainer and aviatrix Beryl Markham. If you have read Out of Africa ( or seen the movie) you will recognize many of the characters in this novel. Beryl Markham was Karen Blixen’s rival for the heart of Denys Finch Hatton, portrayed in Out of Africa by Robert Redford. McLain’s descriptions of Africa in the 1920’s are lush and evocative. I loved this story of a brave and independent woman abandoned by her mother and disappointed by lovers and husbands, whose heart never quite found its true home.

Writing Stuff:  The aforementioned revisions on next year’s biographical novel, MRS LEE AND MRS GRAY  are keeping me very busy as I hurtle toward an October 21st deadline. I’ve seen the preliminary ideas for the cover and I’m excited to share the final result with you–I hope next time. Meantime,A RESPECTABLE ACTRESS which officially releases Oct 13, received a glowing 4.5 star review and was named a TOP PICK at Romantic Times Reviews.I’m thrilled with the early reception for this book, which combines suspense, a murder mystery and romance set against the backdrop of postbellum Savannah and St Simons Island.

Wishing you all a lovely autumn.

Readers Circle Is Full

Wow, I am amazed at the overwhelming response to my Readers Circle for A Respectable Actress. The circle is now full. The books are going out to members this week, along with info on the fun challenges for this book launch. THANK YOU to all who joined here and through social media. I’m delighted to share this book with you and I hope you love it!

imagesMeantime, here is a Happy First Day of Fall picture for you. I love this season of crisp apples and crisp weather, jeans, boots, hot cocoa and crunching leaves. Enjoy!!