Thanksgiving Memories When You’re Small

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and then here come the holidays! There are always new memories to make during this season and throughout the year, but the old ones are golden. Here’s one of my small memories of a bracelet my mother always wore when she dressed up for holidays.


Gold Cuff bracelet pic

Gold Cuff Bracelet

Mom had a golf cuff bracelet and when she wore this bracelet I knew she was dressed to go out. Something between everyday and fancy, it was a bracelet she’d wear to Thanksgiving dinner, or to a luncheon, or to her bridge club, with a straight skirt and sweater, or with a sleeveless wool dress.  It was the only bracelet I ever remember Mom wearing. And wearing that bracelet was special to me because even though Mom was dressed up for an occasion, she was still accessible during these times. Not so fancy that I couldn’t touch her, or sit on her lap and play with the bracelet as it circled her wrist.

Mom always took it off if I asked, which meant turning her wrist and pulling at the bracelet’s sides so she could squeeze her wrist through an opening which looked impossible to me and maybe even painful to her and then handing it to me. I would slide it on my small arm and sometimes change the size which I did by squeezing the sides together and Mom would let me even if it changed the shape of the bracelet a little bit. And I’d let it slip up and down my arm and imagine how a grown-up bracelet like that would look on me when I was just like Mom.

I have a cuff bracelet now. It’s silver and it doesn’t look much like Mom’s. But I have taken it off in the same way as she did, twisting my arm, feeling the straight edge push into the soft inside of my wrist, just as she must have felt. And I have handed that bracelet to my own children who have asked to look at it and feel it in their hands and try it on even though they are boys, feel the warmth of the silver from my wearing it, just as I felt the warmth of my own mother’s bracelet as it circled my arm. And I think there must be some kind of meaning behind this small, ordinary moment, a connection that tells me, yes, you are doing the things that your mother did because they are part of those comfortable, safe and familiar moments that link mother to child, generation to generation.

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2017 by Book Club Mom

All rights reserved.  All material on this blog is the property of Book Club Mom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Image: Pixabay

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Who’s That Indie Author? Cage Dunn

Author name:  Cage Dunn

Genre:  Adult, contemporary, suspense, scary, thrilling, urban fantasy, and even allegory – but don’t tell anyone.

Books:  

Herja, Devastation, Poetry & Prose, co-authored
Diaballein, Suspense, Horror
Seeking, Short stories
The Old Woman & the Mad Horse Thriller, espionage
Not On The Cards Urban Fantasy, Arcane
Purpose – a Journey of Short Stories
Who Will Rule Magic? Kraken, Dragon, Cat vs. Kangaroo, Cockatoo, Crocodile Fantasy Allegory

What’s your story and how did you become a writer?

I knew I was a storyteller …

When I was a very young child,
my siblings were afraid of the dark, or liked to listen to the dreams of far away
All wanted to make the darkness into light, or the monsters be friendly
To give them dreams for tomorrow
Where they’d be wise, or wealthy, or famous
I told the stories, made them up
Took the stories of others,
Made them our own
Whispered quietly, spoken loudly, sung badly
I didn’t write these stories down, but they will tell you the story
Of their own word-weaver.

How do you balance your work with other demands?  I’m a full-time unemployed writer and leave the demands of real-life to the dog.

Name one of the happiest moments in your life:  Seeing the parrots get drunk on flowering guava.

What’s your approach to writing? Are you a “pantser” or a planner?  I always think of myself as a planner until the whole world turns upside down and then I just run with the bulls. Maybe a planner with a fear of taking time away from the momentum of what’s happening?

Could you write in a café with people around?  I can read at a concert. If the book’s good enough to make that fade into the background, it’s a keeper; if I can write under the same circumstances and get lost in the story, it stands the chance of being good.

Have you ever written dialogue in a second language? If so, how did you do it?  Yes; it’s easier to create new math solutions to overcome gravity on a Hydrogen-based planet.

What’s your favorite book and what are you reading now?  It’s different every year, but I have a few I return to regularly, depending on how I want to feel.

What’s your favorite way to read a book: hardcover, paperback, eReader?  eReader; I can take hundreds of books wherever I go, use it to edit my drafts, and make notes without scribbling in the margins (*grimace* – I am speaking to a librarian, so need to watch for that whip hidden under the desk).

Do you think print books will always be around?  Yes.

Would you ever read a book on your phone?  If desperate enough, if it’s good enough, I’d do anything.

What’s your go-to device? iPhone, Android or something else?  Words. As long as they’re good enough to create the picture, make my heart pound, my legs tremble.

How long could you go without checking your phone?  I’d have to find it first.

Do you listen to audiobooks? If you do, what do you do while you’re listening?  No. I can create a story while I’m doing other things, but listening to a story should distract me, compel me to take notice.

Do you like using social media to promote yourself and your book? If so, what’s your favorite platform?  No, I don’t like it, and often feel like an intruder. But some of the readers said, ‘let people decide,’ so I occasionally put a mention on the pages. A newbie on Twitter, learning what funny # thingies do.

Website and social media links:
Blog: cagedunn.wordpress.com
Twitter: @cage_dunn
BookBub Author Page: @CageDunn


Are you an indie or self-published author?  Do you want to build your author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.

Blog views and other obsessions – followers, views, likes and comments

Source: brainsonfire.com

We all say we don’t care about followers, views, likes and comments, but let’s be honest, it’s nice when people show an interest in what we’re doing. For me, it keeps me on my toes and helps me figure out the best way to say things on my blog. I want to post interesting content, so I’d rather know if I post a clunker.

Recently, Facebook, owner of Instagram, announced that they will begin an experimental “hiding” of likes on posts. Account owners will still be able to see the stat, but total number of likes will disappear from Instagram’s main feed, profile pages and permalink pages. I don’t have an Instagram account, and I’m not going to get too into the details, so if you want to read more, check out this article on CNN Business. What I’m interested in is the concept of removing a public view of likes and other interaction on social media.

You can already remove likes and comments from WordPress posts and some of the blogs I follow do that, for all their posts, or just some. It’s easy to do: to remove likes, go on your Dashboard and select Settings, Sharing and turn off your likes. To remove comments, from the Dashboard, go to the Discussion settings and turn them off. If you want to turn off total views and followers on your page, from the Dashboard, go to Widgets and remove those options.

As an active blog reader, I like seeing all the faces of people who have liked posts I’ve read. Is that weird? It makes me feel like I’m part of a group! And I also like to leave comments, though I understand why some posts have the “no comment” status. It’s fun to scroll down and see what other people have said and more and more, I’ve noticed that commenters jump on to other people’s comments, making it a big conversation. That’s really fun!

Now I totally get the negative side of obsessing over your popularity. I think that’s really the case on other social media platforms. I don’t get too worked up if a friend posts a picture of her painted toenails sipping a piña colada on a chaise lounge, and gets hundreds of likes and comments, because that stuff isn’t important to me. I’ve never tried to do that, though, so I might feel differently if I took that risk and got minimal likes. I recognize the trap, especially for teenagers and young adults, so hiding likes on Instagram and maybe Facebook sounds like a good idea to me. I don’t know how brand influencers feel about that, but that seems like a silly career to me anyway (just an opinion!).

As for WordPress followers, I like seeing that number grow, although I’m resigned to a slow, gradual climb. On Twitter, it’s great to look at other people’s followers because it helps me find new accounts to follow.

I think it’s different on WordPress because we’re not trying to showcase our popularity or look beautiful. This seems to be a much more grounded group. I think bloggers are mostly interested in getting their words out, with a side of likes and comments.

What do you think? Do you ever turn off your likes and comments on WordPress? Tell me what you think – comments are turned on 😉!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

Less
by
Andrew Sean Greer

Rating:

Arthur Less is turning 50 and he’s at the edge of a crisis: his writing career has stalled and his former younger lover, Freddy Pelu, is getting married. To guarantee he’ll be out of the country on the day of the wedding, Less accepts a string of unusual writerly engagements that take him around the world. His goal? Forget Freddy and rework the novel his publisher has taken a pass on.

In a comedic series of travel mishaps, misunderstandings, and logistical miracles, Less bumbles through his itinerary and third-tier engagements, mixing it up with authors, appearing on panels, teaching a college class, riding camels and attending obscure awards ceremonies. He’s both running and searching, trying to understand the two big long-term romantic relationships in his life, one with famous poet Robert Brownburn, 25 years his senior, and of course with Freddy. Like Less, many of the characters in the book wonder whether to wait for love or settle for companionship and security. And like Less, some have left or been dropped when something else comes along.

Less is also plagued by an early review of his first book, which describes him as “a magniloquent spoony.” “It’s like a code,” he says to Robert. “Is he sending messages to the enemy?” Robert responds, “Arthur, he’s just calling you a faggot.” Greer questions the subtle rules about being a gay writer. Less isn’t self-conscious about being gay, but he doesn’t like when people call his writing foolish and tenderhearted. “It’s not that you’re a bad writer. It’s that you’re a bad gay,” comments a friend. “It is our duty to show something beautiful from our world. The gay world. But in your books, you make the characters suffer without reward.” Less isn’t sure the two are related.

What’s interesting about this symbolic journey is that, while the whole trip is Less’s doing, he is a passive traveler, here and throughout his life. Crazy things happen to him along the way, yet he always makes it to the next engagement and sometimes he’s the star of the show. Happy luck – it’s one of his most endearing characteristics, for readers and for all of the people in his life.

Readers hope there will be happiness at the end of Less’s journey. Will the second half of his life mirror the comedy of his youth?

I loved this book and highly recommend it to lovers of fiction. It’s described as a romcom and I’d agree, but only on the surface. There’s a lot to this book and the humor takes you there.

I’d read another book by Greer about five years ago, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells and thought it was excellent, so when I saw that Greer (and Less) won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, I knew I wanted to read it. This book is funny, happy, sad and, I think, universal in appeal. The struggles of Less’s characters apply to everyone, regardless of orientation. Greer is the type of author who can do that. While the majority of Amazon readers liked the book, others were unsure. To round out my review, here are a few WordPress bloggers’ opinions.

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog
MatthewSean Reviews
The Free-Range Book Club

Have you read Less? What did you think? Leave a comment below.

Like to read the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winners? Click here to see how you’re doing!

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BC Mom’s Author Update: Versatile author Roberta Eaton Cheadle announces publication of Through the Nethergate

Welcome to Book Club Mom’s Author Update. Open to all authors who want to share news with readers.


Roberta Eaton Cheadle announces the publication of Through the Nethergate, a Young Adult supernatural novel.

Here’s an author who has her feet in two very different worlds. You may know Robbie Cheadle from her popular blog, Robbie’s Inspiration, home of the Sir Chocolate book series for children. Robbie is an expert baker and her impressive fondant art appears throughout her books and on her blog. Each Sir Chocolate book includes a children’s story written in poetry form about the world of Sir Chocolate, and includes four or five recipes that children can make with adult supervision.

Cheadle runs a second blog called Roberta Writes, which is dedicated to the craft of adult horror and supernatural writing.

I recently caught up with this versatile writer, who told me how she branched into the horror and supernatural genre.

“I have been drawn to the horror and supernatural genres of books all my life,” she explains. “At the age of ten years old I embarked on reading Stephen King’s books including The Shining and Salem’s Lot. These books scared me so much I had to put them aside by 6 pm in order to get a good night’s sleep, but they also fascinated me. I subsequently worked my way through all of Stephen King’s earlier books as well as those of Dean R. Koontz.”

In order to clearly differentiate her children’s books from her young adult and adult writing, this new body of work will be published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Her first young adult supernatural novel, Through the Nethergate, has recently been published.

What’s Through the Nethergate about? Here’s a quick peek:

Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own.

In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise.

With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.

Cheadle also has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre as well as three short stories published in Death Among Us, a collection of murder mystery short stories by 10 different authors and edited by Stephen Bentley. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.

In addition to Cheadle’s blogs, you can find her at these sites:

Website: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/
Twitter:  @RobertaEaton17
Facebook: @robertawrites

Cheadle’s books are available for purchase at TSL Publications and Lulu.com.


For information about Book Club Mom’s Author Update,
email bvitelli2009@gmail.com.

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Book Club Mom’s October recap

Image: Pixabay

I’m a little late in sharing my October recap. Here’s a rundown of some good book talk!


I read three books this month. Of the three, my favorite was Refugee by Alan Gratz. Although it’s a Young Adult book, I put it in the “must read” category for all readers.

We Are All Good People Here by Susan Rebecca White

Refugee by Alan Gratz

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs


Image: Pixabay

My post On the touchy topic of ratings and reviews generated a lot of great discussion. Opinions vary on the merit of star ratings, especially the 3-star ones. I’m sticking with my approach, which reflects the Goodreads ratings. Three stars means I liked the book! If you haven’t already checked in on this post, take a look and leave a comment.


On Who’s That Indie Author, we said hello to indie author Kit Falbo, who writes science fiction and fantasy fiction. In my favorite quote from the interview, Kit talks about his love of reading and how it led to becoming a writer, “Books were my best friends during the entirety of my teenage years. They presented my first mental experiences of many ideas and concepts more than shows or television. How could I not want to write?” Learn more about Kit and his books, The Crafting of Chess and Intelligence Block here.


 The Nobel Prizes in Literature 2018 & 2019 were awarded in October to Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke. I have not read these well-respected international authors, but I enjoyed learning about them and their books. You can check out my post here.

Images of Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke from Wikipedia.

Halloween has come and gone, but spooky reads are great throughout the year. This month, I shared some books and short stories, just right for the Halloween season (and beyond).


I also helped celebrate the publication of Pamela Wight’s new children’s picture book, Molly Finds Her Purr. Pam is one of my loyal blogging and Twitter friends. You can learn all about Pam and her books here.


And some sad news for me. Some of you already know that my mother passed away on October 20. I took a break from the blog and wondered how or if I should talk about it here. In honor of my mother and her 94 years, I made a collection of books about mothers and children. Some I’ve read and others I want to read. You can view this post here.

I hope you all had a good month and have some good things lined up for November and the upcoming holidays.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben

Fool Me Once
by
Harlan Coben

Rating:

Here’s a fast and easy-to-read mystery/thriller about a tough-acting female veteran who is battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from tours in the Middle East and is caught in a twisted story of power, corruption and murder.

As an army helicopter pilot in Iraq, Maya Stern Burkett always made smart, calculated decisions, until one went horribly bad. Now she’s back in New York, trying to keep it together, but she has a lot of problems. Her sister, Claire is dead and she’s just buried her husband, Joe, the victim of a Central Park shooting. On top of that, debilitating nightmares about her final mission wreak havoc on her mental state. Maya’s only comfort is her two-year-old daughter, Lily.

As Joe’s widow in the ultra-wealthy and powerful Burkett family, Maya’s position has changed. She hadn’t questioned their involvement in Burkett family controlling decisions, including hiring Isabella as a nanny. But her suspicions rise when a disturbing image appears on the nanny cam.

Police are also investigating the murders and wonder if they are connected, while Maya digs in rogue style, always packing a concealed weapon. This mystery is full of slowly revealed secrets, some from happenings at Joe’s elite Main Line prep school outside of Philadelphia. It’s not sorted out until a showdown in the final pages, keeping true to the genre.

While Fool Me Once is not a heavy read, Coben explores serious issues, including the jarring difference between serving in the military and returning home to a normal life. He raises questions about how best to treat PTSD and other mental illnesses, noting that these are not things a person can just “shake off.” In addition, through Maya’s character, a serious gun-lover, he explores the hotly-debated subject of Second Amendment rights.

Coben introduces many suspicious side characters to the story, making it hard to guess where the plot will go. I like this technique because it gives the reader a lot to think about. Coben’s books are normally set in the New York and New Jersey and, having grown up in that area, I enjoy the references to towns and places I know. He also throws little nuggets of local knowledge into his stories, like where the good malls are, and I like this humor.

I thought Fool Me Once was entertaining, but in the end, just okay, due to many unbelievable plot developments. The movie is also in the works, starring Julia Roberts. I would recommend it as a good book to read on an airplane or on vacation or as a light read when you’re curled up on a couch. This is my fourth standalone Coben book. He also writes the Myron and Mickey Bolitar series, which I have not read. I still enjoy Coben as an author and will likely read more.

Have you read any books by Harlan Coben? Have you read his series? Leave a comment and check out these Harlan Coben reviews:

Caught
Run Away
Tell No One

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Books about mothers and children

Some of my favorite stories are about mothers, family and children, especially the ones that span generations. Here’s a list of some of the fiction books about mothers I recommend, or want to read:


Recommend

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng


Want to read

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

White Oleander by Janet Fitch


Sentimental Favorites

Are You My Mother? By P.D. Eastman

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

Tommy’s Mommy’s Fish by Nancy Dingman Watson


This post is in memory of my mother, who passed away on October 20.

Taking a temporary break

Image: Pixabay

I’ll be taking a short break from blogging for the next week or so. Looking back to catching up when I return.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Two Fall and Halloweenish short stories – quick reads for the season!

Image: Pixabay

If you’re looking for a couple quick short stories that fit into the Halloween season, here are two excellent choices:

“Gryphon” by Charles Baxter – This fantastic story about an unusual 4th grade teacher takes place in rural Michigan. While not exactly about Halloween, references to fall, mention of the holiday and the passage of time make it worthy of this short list.

“Gryphon” must be a regular on school curricula because it’s the second most viewed post on my blog, especially in the fall, next to “House of Flowers” by Truman Capote. I hope I’m not misleading any high school students with my comments!


“You’re Ugly, Too” by Lorrie Moore – I found this in The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction. It’s a terrific story about a Halloween party, full of shocking sarcasm and over-the-top conversations. It appeared in the July 3, 1989 issue of The New Yorker.

If you like complicated characters and the alarming twists in short fiction, you will enjoy Moore’s writing style.


Do you like reading short fiction? Can you add any fall or Halloween stories?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!