Who’s That Blogger? Giselle Roeder

whos-that-blogger

Blogmaster:  Giselle Roeder

Blog name:  giselleroeder.com

Type of blog:  History of WWII, Travel, Life in general, Adoption, interesting people, Health & Lifestyle, Books including my own, Love, Seniors and more.

Where in the world?  Canada

Blogging since when?  2014

What’s your story?  My book We Don’t Talk About That made a splash after publishing, was front page news in 2014 and I was advised to be present on social media. I have a webmaster who set up a website. After I learned a bit more I enjoyed posting my stories. I also belong to a Writer’s Group and the stories I write there have to do with my life experiences and I wanted to share! It is actually my main drive, to SHARE! I am told that my blogs are not just entertaining but always somehow educational. That’s my aim.  And, to make people THINK!

What types of blogs do you follow?  About new books of every genre, lifestyle, book writing & marketing blogs since there is so much to learn, travel, photography, animals, relationships. I enjoy reading about personal experiences of other bloggers.

Early bird or night owl?  My best time are quiet evenings. Often I get up in the middle of the night to write. Not just blogs, also working on my next book.

Coffee or tea?  Midmorning I have what I call “the second cup” – it’s the water run-through a second time on a used Keurig cup. It looks like tea but still has some coffee taste and is strong enough for me. Black tea rarely, but herb and green tea. My main hydration comes from water mixed with juice, cranberry, grape or apple juice.

Most recent binge watch or other obsession:  Chocolate! Oh yahh, I have to watch that! At least I look for the dark one. But I also watch the scale and know when to stop.

Check out these recent blog posts by Giselle Roeder:

Pigs, piglets, sows, hogs, and boars are all swine!
Trees – their Beauty, their Purpose, their Importance
Vimy Ridge: The Battle defining Canada as a Nation


Hey bloggers!  Are you interested in expanding your blogging world?  Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com to be featured on Who’s That Blogger!

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Who’s That Blogger? Jennifer Kelland Perry

whos-that-blogger

Blogmaster:  Jennifer Kelland Perry

Blog name: Jennifer’s Journal – jenniferkellandperry.com/blog/

Type of blog:  Jenniferkellandperry.com is my author website. The blog attached to that is about writing, photography, and all things Newfoundland. I also feature my cats, Maisie and Vivian, under guest posts entitled Vivian’s View from Here.

Where in the world?  The province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada.

Blogging since when? I started on New Year’s Eve, 2011.

What’s your story? (why did you start a blog?):

The idea of an online journal came to me as a way to create consistently, in the form of a poem or musing, or in small galleries of my personal, travel and local nature photography. Usually the subject of these posts focuses on something or someone I love, a topic I feel strongly about, or a place I have visited and wanted to share through pictures.

I have also reported from time to time on my first work, a coming of age novel, Calmer Girls. My hope was, by mentioning my writing project in my blog and simply putting it out there, I would become more accountable and motivated to see it through to its completion. I can say, without a doubt, the plan has been effective, as I’ve also recently completed Calmer Secrets, the sequel to Calmer Girls. It will be published on Amazon on March 21.

What types of blogs do you follow?  I follow many different types of blogs, with topics that include food, travel, cats, and lifestyle advice, but I particularly gravitate towards writing advice and book blogs.

Early bird or night owl? (how do you make time for blogging?)

I suppose you’d consider me a night owl most of the time, usually blogging late in the day, in the evening or at night. The exception to this is when I’m creating a first draft in novel writing. I find I’m more inspired to write fiction in the early hours.

Coffee or tea? Both! Coffee (black) in the morning, and green tea after that.

Most recent binge watch:   Ah yes, what everyone seems to be doing these days! My husband and I last binged on two Netflix series simultaneously: Broadchurch and The Fall. How about you, Barbara? 🙂


Check out these recent posts on Jennifer’s Journal:

Unsettled: a Calmer Girls Excerpt
Blogger Bouquet #43 featuring George from The Off Key of Life
Video: Out and About with Vivian



Want to know more about Calmer Girls? Check out my review here.


Hey bloggers!  Are you interested in expanding your blogging world?  Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com to be featured on Who’s That Blogger!

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Summer Reading Challenge – Calmer Girls by Jennifer Kelland Perry

Calmer Girls

Calmer Girls  by Jennifer Kelland Perry

A Book Set Somewhere You’ve Always Wanted to Visit

Rating:

Samantha Cross has always been in her older sister Veronica’s shadow, but this could be a summer of big changes.  When the Cross girls move with their mother from Calmer Cove to the city of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Samantha’s first friend is a handsome eighteen-year-old boy, Ben Swift.  Samantha watches the inevitable sparks fly between Ben and Veronica and she knows she can’t compete with her sister’s beauty and flirtatious charms.  Maybe, she dreams, Ben will tire of Ronnie and appreciate Sam’s love of books and artistic talents.  And maybe he will notice those pretty green eyes behind her glasses.

What sounds like a simple story of first love is much more complex, however, because the Cross family has been upended by crisis.  The girls’ parents have separated, money is tight and their mother Darlene is drinking too much.  Between Darlene working the night shift and her father far away in Alberta, Sam and Ronnie are on their own to navigate the new social terrain.  High school starts in a couple months but for now it’s new friends, parties and Ben.

Ben may seem like the perfect guy, but he is keeping his own family problems shut tight in his head.  As the weeks pass, sibling rivalry, jealousy, misunderstandings and fistfights add tension to romance and friendship and the Cross family spirals towards disaster.

Calmer Girls is a realistic and at times, edgy Young Adult coming of age novel, taking the typical problems of adolescence and placing it in a part of the world many people have not seen.  Perry also includes the important subjects of alcoholism, abuse and economic downturn to make her story both relevant and meaningful.  Set in the 1990s, readers will also enjoy many references to popular music, including Pearl Jam, Green Day, REM and Nirvana.

I very much enjoyed reading Calmer Girls and I chose this book for my summer reading challenge to read about a place I would like to visit.  Newfoundland, Canada sounds like a beautiful place and it’s easy to picture the scenes, thanks to Perry’s descriptive talent.  From a sizzling plate of “chips” and gravy, seasoned with packets of vinegar and salt, to city street scenes and the beauty of the sea, Calmer Girls is both a love story and a visit to a charming place.


Follow along as I work my way through my 16 in 16 Challenge!

Book 1 – A Book You Can Finish in a Day:  The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner
Book 2 – A Book in a Genre You Typically Don’t Read:  The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson
Book 3 – A Book with a Blue Cover:  The Vacationers by Emma Straub
Book 4 – A Book Translated to English:  I Refuse by Per Petterson
Book 5 – A Second Book in a Series:  Brooklyn on Fire by Lawrence H. Levy
Book 6 -A Book To Learn Something New: The Beginner’s Photography Guide by Chris Gatcum
Book 7 – A Book That Was Banned:  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

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Who’s That Indie Author? Jennifer Kelland Perry

Who's That Indie Author pic

Jennifer Kelland Perry

Author name:  Jennifer Kelland Perry

Genre:  Young Adult & New Adult Fiction

Books:  Published this year: Calmer Girls

Calmer GirlsIn Prepublication: Calmer Secrets (sequel)

Bio:  Jennifer Kelland Perry is a native of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. In 2010, she and her husband Paul sold their house and left the city to enjoy rural life in Bonavista Bay. They live beside the ocean there and are loving every moment.

While working for years in the banking industry, Jennifer always dreamed of a time she could devote to her first passion of writing fiction. Calmer Girls is her debut novel, the first in a two-book deal with an independent American publisher. The sequel Calmer Secrets is expected to be released early in 2017.

In between working on her novels, Jennifer updates her blog, Jennifer’s Journal, where she shares her thoughts and observations on life in Newfoundland through prose and nature photography. Recently, she began contributing content for several writer websites.      

Favorite thing about being a writer:  I enjoy creating realistic characters in situations that resonate with readers.

Biggest challenge as an indie author: Marketing and distribution on a small budget makes it challenging to get my book(s) more widely read.

Favorite book: This keeps changing the more I read! At the moment, I’m working through several Thomas Hardy novels and enjoying them immensely.

Contact Information:  You can find Jennifer on many platforms!

Calmer Girls on Amazon & Amazon Author Page
Website/blog Jennifer’s Journal
Facebook: JenniferKellandPerry
Twitter: @JennKellandPerry
LinkedIn: Jennifer Kelland Perry
Goodreads, Pinterest and Instagram


Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Why not get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author?

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details, and follow along on Book Club Mom to join the indie author community!

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Who’s That Author? Margaret Atwood

Who's that author final

Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood (1939-) was born in Ottawa and grew up in northern Quebec and Ontario, and later in Toronto. She is the author of more than forty novels, short stories, poetry, literary criticism, social history, and books for children. She has won many awards, including the Governor General’s Award, the Trillium Book Award, the City of Toronto Book Award, and the Canadian Authors Association Award. Other honors include the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature in the United States and La Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France. In addition to The Handmaid’s Tale, her novels include Cat’s Eye, shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; and Oryx and Crake, shortlisted for the 2003 Booker Prize. Her most recent novel is MaddAddam, Book 3 of the MaddAddam Triology (2013). She lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.

This information was adapted from Margaret Atwood’s website, The Scribner Anthology, Amazon.com and Wikipedia.

Here are some additional links about Margaret Atwood, including a full bibliography of her work:

Amazon Author page
Google biography
Margaret Atwood website biography
Margaret Atwood website
Margaret Atwood website bibliography

Be sure to visit these reviews and related posts about Atwood:

“Death by Landscape”
Wilderness Tips

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Wilderness Tips by Margaret Atwood

BIGWildernessTips

Wilderness Tips
by
Margaret Atwood

Rating:
4 book marks

Wilderness Tips is a collection of ten short stories by Margaret Atwood and was first published in 1989. I enjoyed reading this somewhat unusual group of stories which are tied together loosely with some common themes.

She writes about summer camps, mental breakdowns, marriage and relationships, death, women’s careers and women’s rights, newspapers and social issues.

Some of the stories have surprise endings, some include graphic medical details, and all of them are reflective about times past.

Here’s a brief description of each story:

  • “True Trash” takes place at Camp Adanaqui and is a coming-of-age story about a group of boys who spy on the older teenage waitresses at the camp. Ronette is the center of the boys’ attention and Donny defends her honor in his own seemingly powerless adolescent way.
  • “Hairball” is a strange story of Kat, an angry young woman who faces mental breakdown and exacts revenge on her married lover. Atwood uses the shock of graphic medical details to make a powerful point about mental illness.
  • In “Isis in Darkness,” Richard is with Mary Jo, a stable librarian, but he obsesses over Selena, a mysterious poet he’s met at a coffee shop. It’s a story about marriage and regrets and of being alone.
  • In “The Bog Man,” Connor is an archaeology professor, dedicated to uncovering the history of an ancient, perfectly preserved human sacrifice. He’s having an affair with one of his students, Julie, and he brings her to Scotland to “help” with his research. It’s here where Julie learns to assert her own power, much to Connor’s dismay.
  • “Death by Landscape” is a great story about the friendship between two girls at Camp Manitou, and an irreversible tragedy. Lois spends a lifetime trying to cope with her loss and at the end of the story, Atwood reveals the mystery behind a collection of landscape paintings.
  • In “Uncles,” Mae is a young girl who has no father, but she’s greatly admired by her three uncles. This story starts out flat and bland, but don’t let that trick you. Mae becomes a successful journalist, but she faces jealousy and resentment and the ending is dark and bitter.
  • “The Age of Lead” is a story about the Franklin Expedition of 1845, a British voyage through the Arctic in search of the Northwest Passage. Jane is fascinated by the modern discovery of a frozen man, John Torrington, who died during the expedition. She compares the frozen man to her close childhood friend, Vincent, whose death has left her empty.
  • “Weight” describes the deep loyalty between female friends. Molly has been beaten to death by her husband and her best friend does what she can to raise money and awareness for battered women, using whatever means she has left.
  • “Wilderness Tips” is one of my favorites from this collection. It’s a terrific look at the dynamics between three sisters, their brother Roland and George, a Hungarian refugee, who made fast money in Canada. He’s married one of the sisters, but there’s deception going on.
  • “Hack Wednesday” takes place in the late 1980s and is a look at the changing times, social issues, and growing older. Marcia is a newspaper columnist, but she’s being squeezed out. Her husband, Eric, fights for all the causes, but his career is slowing down. It’s a story about trudging through middle age.

I liked all these stories, but my favorites were “True Trash,” “Death by Landscape,” “Uncles” and “Wilderness Tips.”   While not always upbeat, all of the endings are either surprising, satisfying, or though-provoking, the things I enjoy most from great fiction!

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What’s up next? Wilderness Tips, by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood

Since I love reading short fiction, I thought I would stay in Canada and go right from Alice Munro to some of Margaret Atwood’s short stories. I’ve read a couple of her books (The Blind Assassin and The Handmaid’s Tale) and thought they were excellent. I got Wilderness Tips from the library and have it on my Kindle for two weeks. It’s a collection of ten stories, including one I’ve already read – “Death by Landscape” – but I think this version might be slightly different.  I read in the front of the book that this story and some others were previously published “in slightly different form.”

This morning I read the first story, “True Trash” and thought it was great so I already know I’ve made a good choice.

There are many different covers for Wilderness Tips and that surprises me, but I haven’t researched it to know why.  Probably just a marketing thing.

My cover on the Kindle looks like this:

amazon.com
amazon.com

But I think I like this cover better:

brokeandbookish.com
brokeandbookish.com

Check back soon for my review. Thanks for visiting!

Dear Life by Alice Munro

Dear Life cover

Dear Life: Stories
by Alice Munro
Rating: **** ½

Dear Life is the first collection of Alice Munro’s short fiction I have read. I think I need to read more of her work to fully understand her style and themes and to write an intelligent review. But I very much enjoyed reading this collection of ten short stories and four essays. Since so many people have studied and written about Munro, all I can do here is express my own ideas and opinions and tell you how these stories made me feel.

They made me uncomfortable. Her characters do uncomfortable things. They find themselves in strange relationships and situations. They relate to each other in a kind of disconnected state, and then retreat internally and think uncomfortable thoughts. These stories often end with a surprise or a looming unknown. Sometimes there’s a sliver of hope, shown by a character’s brief turn of the head, expression or word. Munro writes about the hard times of the past in Canada, The Great Depression, World War II, and the 1960s and 70s. These are not upbeat stories, but they aren’t hopeless. For me, I got a sense of people taking whatever happiness or satisfaction was available, but more or less accepting whatever came their way. The characters all seem passive to me and although travel seems to be a common theme, her characters are also aimless in spirit and ambition.

The ten short stories have interesting titles, revealing very little:

“To Reach Japan”
“Amudsen”
“Leaving Maverly”
“Gravel”
“Haven”
“Pride”
“Corrie”
“Train”
“In Sight of the Lake”
“Dolly”

At the end of these stories, Munro writes that the four remaining pieces are somewhat autobiographical.   They read like a description of how things once were for the author and are more loosely structured stories. They are a little bit shocking.

“The Eye”
“Night”
“Voices”
“Dear Life”

I liked “Haven” and “In Sight of the Lake” the best because the plots in these stories make you want to know what the characters will do in their predicaments. In “Haven,” the narrator is a thirteen-year-old girl who is living with her aunt and uncle. Her uncle is controlling and disapproving and it’s satisfying to see him thrust into an uncomfortable situation. Munro writes a touching story about dementia in “In Sight of the Lake.” You feel anxiety watching Nancy try to find her doctor’s office, you feel sad when she takes the wrong turns, but you sympathize with Nancy and hope she will find her way.

One of Munro’s stories, “Dolly” is relevant to this week’s news about right-to-die laws. It opens with the narrator telling us, “That fall there had been some discussion of death. Our deaths. Frank being eighty-three years old and myself seventy-one at the time.” They had discussed ending their lives, “Gone while the going was good,” she says. She’s not totally on board and this is what strikes me as an extremely relevant point, “I said that the only thing that bothered me, a little, was the way there was an assumption that nothing more was going to happen in our lives. Nothing of importance to us, nothing to be managed.” And of course, much more does happen.

Some of Munro’s other common themes are religion, marriage, relationships, being different, hardship and death. What I liked best about these stories is how her characters surprise you with important truths. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

  • In “To Reach Japan,” young Katie reacts to her mother meeting up with Harris at the train station: “(Katie) didn’t try to escape. She just stood waiting for whatever had to come next.”
  • When Ray leaves the hospital after his wife’s death in “Leaving Maverly,” he’s confronted by the idea of moving forward, “And before long he found himself outside pretending that he had as ordinary and good a reason as anybody else to put one foot ahead of the other.”
  • The least likable character in “Gravel” is Neal, yet what he says is the most true to his character and represents a distinct philosophy: “The thing is to be happy…Accept everything and then tragedy disappears. Or tragedy lightens, anyway, and you’re just there, going along easy in the world.”
  • In “Pride,” the narrator has chosen a lonely life, because of his facial deformity. But as an older man who sees the war’s impact on the people around him, he realizes, “And I thought then, just living long enough wipes out the problems…”
  • I also liked the observation at the end of “Corrie,” a great story about adultery and blackmail, when Corrie understands what her relationship with Howard has really been: “There’s always one morning when you realize that the birds have all gone.”

Maybe it’s better to start at the beginning with Alice Munro. I’m just jumping on, but I’m going to keep on reading!

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What’s up next? Dear Life, by Alice Munro

Dear Life cover

It’s about time I read something written by Alice Munro! She has received many, many awards, including the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature. Other awards include the 2009 Man Booker International Prize, the 2001 Rea Award for the Short Story, and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction in 1998. Munro’s fiction was named to the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year three times, in 2004, 2001 and 1998.

Dear Life is Munro’s most recent collection of short stories and was published in 2012.

Alice Munro photo from:  literaryaffairs.net
Alice Munro
photo from: literaryaffairs.net

 

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