2015 Book of The Year Finalist!

FINAL COVER MOOSE TRACKS

Feeling the #indielove! Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven has been chosen as a Foreword Reviews’ prestigious #INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards finalist in #General Fiction! In a competition with over 1500 other entrants, it’s pretty great to have made it this far. Stay tuned for the winner announcements at the end of June, at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference, in Orlando, FL.

Click HERE to go to the list of General Fiction Finalists, and HERE if you want to go directly to the finalist page for Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven.

Woohoo! 🙂

Foreword Review!

Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven

Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann
April 29, 2015

A woman discovers her rich relationships in this exquisite exploration into themes of time and connections, love and loss.

Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven tells the story of protagonist Elena Elizabeth Wright Maguire, who reexamines her life and relationships after she is involved in a minor car accident.

M. Reed McCall skillfully transitions between different periods with segues that invite further exploration into memories triggered by a comment made in the present. For example, when Pa says he can hardly wait to put Christmas decorations around the house, the narrative flashes back thirty-two years to the Christmas Eve when Elena was almost seven years old. This movement in the narrative not only serves to keep the story flowing but also creates an intriguing and natural flow in the stream of connections that Elena makes as she unravels the journey she has made in her life.

McCall captures the unique voices of different personalities and their relationships with one another with evocative and heartfelt precision. This creates a vivid image, not only about Elena, but also about the people around her and the place she lives. This is clear in Pa’s letters to Elena, which offer wisdom, and in radio disc jockey Willard T. Bogg’s announcements on WGRR FM 103.9 about the events in Moose Junction. Elena’s transformation to a mature woman is contrasted with her past idealistic and youthful eighteen-year-old voice in a diary entry about her love, Jesse: “I can’t wait to give Jesse the card and giant Hershey’s chocolate bar I bought for him. I’m SO in love!!!”

While the narrative itself is deeply moving, the black-and-white photographs scattered throughout further contribute to the story’s heartrending quality by lending a unique sense of reality to the story and giving it the feel of a personal history unfolding, adding to the book’s allure and effectiveness.

Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven forges a path straight to the heart.

**For a limited time, Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven is still on sale for $2.99 for Kindle and Nook!

May Flowers

No, not THE Mayflower.

May Flowers.

imageThese grow in my little garden behind the kitchen door. They have tiny little bulbs and I have no idea what they are or where they came from. They just started growing the year after my father died, next to a few of the beautiful iris he transplanted to this same garden at his last visit to my house before he became ill. The almost glow in the early Springtime, wide open purple and white blossoms atop slender but strong stems.  I consider them a little “gift from heaven”. ❤

imageAnd here to the right is a picture of what my father and I called the “little blue flowers”. I don’t know what they’re really called. I looked it up once, but then promptly forgot. 🙂

Anyway, this little patch was transplanted from my parent’s yard into my yard about six or seven years ago. They grow prolifically all along the side of the old Homestead and have always been the first harbingers of Spring to me. He cut out a 12×12 square of sod with the flowers in it and we placed it next to my house. Every year they come up and I look forward to seeing them (though they haven’t spread much, even though my father had thought they would considering how much they spread at the Homestead…not enough direct sunlight at my house, I think).

These little signs of spring and the thaw of winter’s ice and snow fill me with joy. They are signs of new beginnings, while being at the same time lovely connections to treasured memories long past.

Happy Spring to all of you! I’d be glad to hear some of your stories connected to plants or spring renewal (and if anyone knows what either of these flowers is really called, please let me know!)

Going Out On a Limb

heartI’ve had a few limbs break off behind me. I’m still pumping my wings like mad to keep from hitting the ground, though every now and again, an updraft helps lift me up.

Sometimes it’s an unexpected, nice comment or even a review of one of my books. Sometimes it’s a hug, or seeing something beautiful out in nature or the world. Sometimes it’s a piece of music that seems to pierce in a wonderful way to my inner soul. Sometimes it’s a cup of tea and a quiet night in, with the wind howling around the house while I’m snug inside.

What are your little updrafts, when you’re pumping your wings to stay afloat? 🙂

Goodbye/Hello

PauloThis thought is courtesy of today’s “Good Earth” tea bag. 🙂

It really struck me, because I’ve had quite a few goodbyes in the past four years…some willing and some very unwilling. I can’t say I’ve always been brave about it. But sometimes I have been.

Nuber family gathering 1967 enhanced cropped 2Pa and Mary before Mary's prom 1984 editedPa and Mary editedWhen my father died almost four years ago and I had to say goodbye to him, I was brave. He had been cheering me on to write Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven for about two years leading up to his death, and afterward, I faced my fears, a new door opened, and I managed to finish it in a way that made me – and I hope would have made him – proud.

mother's heartWhen my then high school-aged daughter was hospitalized with an unexpected and incurable (albeit treatable) illness and I had to say goodbye to the safe and secure understanding of the world that I’d known up until then, I went through a period of shock, disruption and fear. But I ended up being brave. A new door opened over time – one of insight, knowledge, and the discovery of even deeper reserves of love – and it allowed me to be even more the kind of mother and wife I strive to be.

MooseTracks_CoverMost recently, when Moose Tracks ran into some road blocks and things didn’t go exactly as I’d planned, I was forced to say goodbye to the publication path I’d intended for it. And for the briefest of moments, I considered throwing in the towel. It had been a LONG haul…literally years of work and obstacles, tears and laughter, and digging deeper than I’d ever dug before. I was tired. But in the end I found reserves of bravery, and for every door that closed in front of me, I forced myself to face my discomfort, turn a corner, and find a new one to open. The last of these doors led to the publication of this novel that has meant so much to me…and according to early readers and two recent reviews, has been useful and enjoyable to others as well, striking the kind of chord and providing some of the thoughts, insights, and hopefulness that I was aiming to share with the rest of the world all along. I have high hopes that over time, this book will find the readers it’s meant to find, and all will unfold the way it is supposed to.

Life is good.

When we are brave enough to say goodbye…sometimes we are rewarded with a new hello. 🙂