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Monday, September 26, 2016

Bargain Book Haul!


I've often seen posts about book hauls. I haven't posted one of my own before. While at a street party this weekend, I was perusing a book stall. "50 cents for one book or 5 books for a Euro" the sign read. That's right! €1! ($1.12 for 5 books!)

After searching through the boxes, I found these...

1. Title: Two Brothers
Author: Ben Elton
Why I picked it up: It's historical fiction, set in Berlin in WWII.

2. Title: The Messenger
Author: Daniel Silva
Why I picked it up: I love art history and I'm intrigued by the idea of an art history spy. Although this is part of a series, I haven't read the others before. I've been curious about this series.
(Also, this book is hardback and still had its €28 sticker on it!)

3. Title: The Secret Keeper
Author: Kate Morton
Why I picked it up: Secrets. Secrets that span generations through history... sounded intriguing!

4. Title: The Paying Guests 
Author: Sarah Waters      
Why I picked it up: I haven't actually read anything by Sarah Waters before, but of course I know of her and I remember reading about The Paying Guests when it was on Publishers Lunch (a literary email for those in the industry...)

5. Title: L is for Lawless
Author: Sue Grafton
Why I picked it up: The key on the cover intrigued me. Sue Grafton is another author on this list that I've not read before. The back of the book described secrets and WWII. That's a combination that I find intriguing in my reading and in my own writing.

Have you read any of these?
What have been your best book hauls?

My best to you all,

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Top Ten Autumn Delights


I love seasons. There's something so exciting about each season having its own celebrations, events, foods and holidays.

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This month's letter features an autumn poem, a writing tip and an exploration of historical harvesting.

On today's Top Ten Tuesday, I'm discussing top ten autumn delights. These are in no particular order.

1. Atmospheric books and movies
The chill in the air lends itself to an air of mystery, a thrill of magic. In the autumn, I like to dive into these types of movies and books, to include Sherlock Holmes, fairy tale retellings and more!

2. Beautiful Leaves
I love the way nature paints the leaves each autumn. I especially am a fan of when several colors are all within the same leaf.

3. Pumpkin Spice
Pumpkins, nutmeg, cinnamon. There's something about their fragrance and taste that automatically signals autumn is here again.

4. Apples
Apples on the trees in the orchards and apples baked into beautiful pies, cakes or breads. Apples, apples, apples everywhere!

5. Chill in the air, fog and mist
I love sunshine. In Ireland, we receive a lot of rain. A lot. The weather can be forgiven though, when it helps to heighten the atmosphere for the books and movies that I mentioned above.

6. Harvest
Bales of hay, harvest vegetables, harvest fairs and celebrations... There are so many wonderful celebrations of harvest leading up to Thanksgiving in November.

7. Night Sky
The night sky is beautiful year-round. In Ireland, being so high north, we have long days of light in the summer. In the autumn, it becomes dark enough to see the stars again in their brilliance. I also especially love seeing the harvest moons.

8. Birthdays
There are several birthdays for my family in September, October and November. Autumn also brings Rosh Hashanah, the birth of the Jewish new year. There is something of a new beginning in the autumn for all of us.

9. On a personal note, my wedding anniversary is in the autumn!

10. Halloween
Bobbing for apples, carving pumpkins, dressing up, reading The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and watching classic Universal movies like Frankenstein, Dracula and The Wolf Man are a few of the ways I celebrate Halloween.

What are your favorite autumn delights?

My best to you all,

Monday, September 12, 2016

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Advice from a Writing Consultant: Using the Senses in Writing


As part of my ongoing series on tips from a writing consultant, I offer advice in the various areas of writing. Today I'm discussing using all the senses in writing. The complete article is here.

My best to you all,

Sunday, September 11, 2016

15 Years Ago and Being a Light in the Darkness

A friend on Facebook asked where we were fifteen years ago. Here's what I said...

I had just come home on the bus from high school in Germany. We were out of school for days and the Air Force base was in the highest threat condition. Germans brought flowers to the gates. We lived near France and had friends in France who said, "we are all New Yorkers". When we went back to school, we sat in class and just talked. A group of students from my school had visited NY and the WTC towers the year before. One of the girls said she kept thinking about the elevator man that they'd met and wondered if he was all right. My uncle was also at the Pentagon at the time, though thankfully he was unharmed. For me, it completely changed day-to-day life. Armed guards started riding the bus with us to school. Tanks guarded the front of our gates.

#Neverforget is trending today. Of course we never forget. It still shocks. Let us stand together in peace. For all of them. For all of us.

I write historical fiction, because my own studies have shown that we must learn from the past and I am committed to peace. I have written previous posts on the topic.

In church this morning, we sang, "Lord the Light of Your Love is shining, in the midst of the darkness shining." It is my prayer, my hope, that we may all be joined in our humanity through love, through peace, through light. All people, of all religions or no religion, ought to have the opportunity of living in the light of peace.

It is my hope that through my writing, and in living, my words and my actions may be a candle adding to the light in a sometimes seemingly very dark world. At night it seems very dark, but the sun never stops shining. Earth simply turns its back on the light for a moment. We must not turn our backs to the light. We must remember that light is stronger than dark. Always. United our light can shine brighter.

Wishing you Light and Peace,
My best to you all,

Saturday, September 10, 2016

National Geographic Photography


Happy September to you!
I've previously mentioned that I enjoy photography. It, like writing, captures a moment in time. Just as writing is a lens through which to see the characters' lives and the plots they enact, photography is a means of viewing life.

I've also used photography for research purposes in my writing. This is particularly useful as a historical fiction author, to view another time, the clothing, the cities and the world in which your characters live. Many historic archives are now available online or can be found in museums and galleries.

National Geographic, as I've previously mentioned, is my favorite magazine. Some of my photography is now on National Geographic's website! If you'd like to take a look, you can do so here.

My best to you all,