In Bloom

imageOver the weekend, my backdoor garden has come into bloom.

Except for a bit of weeding (which I, sadly, rarely get to), this garden is self-sustaining, filled with perennials, many of them gifted to me by my dear father before he died. The tea roses are from cuttings he brought from the Homestead (originally brought there from his mother’s tea roses in Massachusetts). My Grandma Reed died the summer before I was born, but I feel like I “know” her a little through the stories my father told me about her quiet, intelligent nature, her inventive and hearty cooking, and her beautiful flower gardens.

The iris are quintessentially my father: he loved this kind of large, colorful – and some scented – iris. These are all gifts from him, with his favorite being what he called the “blue and whites” that are in the foreground. I feature one, even, in my family-life-love-loss-hope-filled novel Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven.

We spoke many times about the mysteries of life, the Universe, energies, and what the afterlife might hold. I detail some of those conversations and thoughts in the novel as well – but I like to think that the tangible  beauty of this garden speaks to that in a different way. It blooms every year, all on its own, bringing joy, a feast for the senses, and happy memories that keep uplifting emotions and treasured people in the forefront of my thoughts.

And it reminds me yet again that love might change form, but it never truly dies.

Print Advertising – Yes or No?

Moose Tracks SUM.16 Third Vertical V05I suppose that’s not really a fair question in that I’m committed to this first stab at print advertising…I’ve already paid the fee to have a print ad produced and for it to appear in in the Summer and Autumn quarterly issues of Foreword Reviews, in an effort to maximize on the news that Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven (which is on sale now!) has been named a finalist in their prestigious Book of the Year Awards.

As I’m sure you’ve already deduced, this is the ad. What do you think? It was created (with some back and forth input from me) by talented graphic designer Barbara Hodge, who works freelance but also works in a design capacity for Foreword Reviews as well. It will be 1/3 of a page in the glossy print magazine (which is also available to subscribers in a digital reader online).

I guess I’m tossing the question from the post’s title out there to see what any of your thoughts on the matter are. I don’t have a background in marketing, nor am I a large-scale book-buyer (though I do buy a LOT of books! 🙂 ).

Basically, I’m wondering whether or not you as a consumer believe that print ads have any effect on your purchasing choices…or if you are an author, if print ads have been successful or not for you or other authors you know? I’m trying a few different things, and though I realize there are many “free” ways to market (like a web presence etc), my efforts at that are often sporadic, as many of you who follow me here know, due to life/day job circumstances outside my control; that’s why I’m looking to widen the process where I can.

So…please chime in! Do print ads work for you as a reader, buyer, or author? What makes you “notice” and try the work of a new author? I’m open to any and all suggestions (though depending on the cost of them in time or money, I may not be able to actually put them into practice, LOL) 🙂

Fire away with your thoughts (and/or feedback on this particular ad…I’m all ears!)!

 

Award-Winning Novel SALE!

MooseTracks_CoverFor a limited time…my award-winning, full-length general fiction/women’s fiction novel Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven is available in e-book from Amazon for just $3.99! That’s $10 off the print price!

Described as “Fried Green Tomatoes meets Prairie Home Companion”, this novel is set in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains and is over 100,000 words/300+ trade size print pages. If you’ve been waiting to give something new a try, now is your chance.

For those who are new to this site, you can click on the title to be taken to the book page, where you can read an excerpt and learn more about the book. Click on the word “Amazon” above to be taken to the sale page for your e-book copy. In the meantime, from the back cover blurb:

“…Humorous, poignant, and endearing (Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven)…is a tender foray into the emotional landscape of family, friendship, and the kind of love that transcends boundaries, weaving an inspiring tale about what it means to hang on before learning to let go . . . and remembering how to keep living when you lose someone you love.”

I hope you’ll give it a try, and enjoy a new read at a bargain!

 

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

I always enjoy my Irish heritage…but what I enjoy almost as much is the way anyone can be “Irish for a day” on Saint Patrick’s Day!

When considering the mix of all the cultures that make up many second or third generation Americans – and especially when focusing on those that compose my biological inheritance – I’ve always viewed the Irish part of me as one of the more happy-go-lucky, warm and welcoming parts. ❤

This video is a happy memory for me from childhood…not just of Bing but also of my sweet, 3/4 Irish mother singing this song in her lilting and pretty voice in the kitchen (often while making her famous Irish soda bread, the recipe of which she’d learned from her own Ireland-born Grandma Katherine O’Halleran who hailed from County Tipperary).

Perhaps it’s also my penchant for lush imagery in poetry or lyrics, particularly nature-based imagery, that makes me love this and so many Celtic songs.

And now, I’ll leave you with a little Irish Blessing. 🙂

“May your day be touched
by a bit of Irish luck,
brightened by a song in your heart,
and warmed by the smiles
of the people you love.”

Foreword Reviews “Reviewer’s Choice” Award!

FINAL COVER MOOSE TRACKSJust in time for Christmas…

I’m delighted to share that Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven has received a “Reviewer’s Choice” Award from Foreword Reviews, the preeminent Indie Book Review Quarterly.

Considering that the quarterly publishes more than 600 book reviews annually, this nod for Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven – one of only 15 chosen for the year – is a real honor, and I am thrilled.

Just click on FOREWORD REVIEWS right here and it will take you to the blog posting and the list of books named. Mine is the sixth one down, with the original review by Maya Fleischmann, along with some lovely commentary just before it, explaining why she chose my book as her favorite of 2015. 🙂

 

 

Cozy Nights

cozyI love this illustration. It’s from the children’s book The Snatchabook, by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty, published in 2013.

It captures those magical possibilities that always delighted me as a child, when I’d imagine little homes in the woods where all the animals lived, snug and secure. In my mind’s eye there were tiny, warm beds covered in puffy patchwork quilts, and Mama animals of all sorts reading their babies bedtime stories in their cozy little rooms.

I’m ordering the book for my granddaughter, for when she’s older. Maybe her imagination will be sparked, too.

SnitzelAnother favorite – Mr. Snitzel’s Cookies by Jane Flory, for its magical elements of a never-ending supply of baking ingredients for cookies, cakes, and other delights, all earned from the simple act of being kind and offering a meal and a warm bed to a stranger in need.

November days like today – a little raw, gray, and rainy – bring out these nostalgic memories. I happen to enjoy this kind of day…much easier for me to get cozy in it, than in the blazing (though still beautiful) sun of summer. 🙂

How about you? Any favorite books from your childhood that sparked your imagination?

Halloween Memories

Halloween in the 1984

This was done my first year at college, when I came home on break…

Reminiscing Halloweens past, and the decorating we used to do at the Homestead with all homemade materials.  All the pictures in this post are from the 80’s (as the clothing and hairstyles will attest, LOL)!

Ma with pumpkinCutting jack-o-lanterns with Pa and Ma. Ma is having a bit of fun with her pumpkin. 🙂

Pa and Mary with pumpkin

Admiring the finished products with Pa

pumpkin and mary

And finally, sitting atop the little shelter Pa built for us to stand in while we waited for the school bus at the end of our long driveway…sharing the space with a giant pumpkin Pa grew, and a little orange cat he and Ma took in.

Happy Halloween!