Saturday, March 31, 2018

Books to movies

This is most definitely not a blog about YA books. My focus is broadly on romance books, libraries and the writing process. Still, I saw 2 movies based on YA books that were really impressive- Everything Everything and Ready Player One

Find book on Amazon
Find book & movie on Amazon

What I was attracted to was their character development and the love stories they told. Ready Player One's Wade and Samantha's romance is forged both under fire in reality and in the heady realm of high-stakes virtual reality racing. Maddy and Olly, of Everything Everything, romance developed quietly, in secret and stillness.

As a somewhat novice writer, I appreciate how the development of romantic relationships of teen media can be a pivotal catalyst for growth for the characters. In both adaptations the female protagonists have everything to lose and perceive romance as a liability to their perceived livelihood. The same is true in the romance genre.

Having not read either book yet (and I mean YET, they are on my ever-expanding TBR list) I'd be interested in the opinions of those who read and watched these. Did they live up to your expectations? How granular did each film follow the source material?

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Woman Crush Wednesday

Wrapping up Women's History Month with a short 'n sweet post about my fave women authors starting with Tayari Jones. I loved Silver Sparrow and am waiting for my library copy of An American Marriage to finally become available. Pearl Cleage, always a classic. Start with this title and work your way down here catalog. Celeste Ng and Jesmyn Ward are contemporary, young, award winners. These women are my heroes.

Amazon Link
Amazon Link
Amazon Link
Amazon Link

Amazon Link

Saturday, March 24, 2018

For the love of the theater

Knoxville is teaming with visitors this weekend. We've got a marathon, conferences, and most importantly the Big Ears music festival all at the same time. Musicians of classical, avant garde, bluegrass, rock, jazz and more come from all over the world to our little city. Big Ears spans a full weekend and includes music, film, and poetry across the city's downtown venues. The Tennessee Theatre is a leading venue and it is magical. Imagine an elegant, spacious theater decorated in 'Spanish-Moorish style' and built in 1928 (according to their site).


I stopped in the library between sets to charge my phone and write this little post complete with a short tale.

On the dusty, rainy streets, Anna Lynn, crossed onto Gay Street. Keeping her head low to keep the rain from wetting her hair and ruining her makeup, she bumped into a tall man. When she looked up to apologize, their eyes met for a brief moment but just enough to exchange some kind of mutual affability. On the other side of Gay, she paused for a moment to look at the blazing sign for the theatre in the distance. Excited to get inside for the 9pm showing of the newest Charlie Chaplin flick, she hastened her step trying to get there faster. Once inside she doffed her heavy coat and looked up and around admiring the theater's beauty. It was everything she had heard and her heart swelled with excitement. She got swept up in the Italian marble floor, French-style crystal chandeliers, colorful designs on the walls and ceiling. Just as she was coming back to reality, the movie was just about to start and an usher asked for her ticket. Quickly, she found a seat in the back of the theater. As she sat down, she could hear the Wurlitzer start and the lights began to dim. Looking to her right, who should she spot but the kindly gentleman from the crosswalk sitting just one seat away. He noticed her too. This was going to be a very good evening.       

Cultivating a community of readers

Do writers across the U.S. actively try to bolster literacy and cultivate readership? Yea, you betcha!


Famous writers like James Patterson and Stephen King famously support literacy efforts and libraries across the country. And it makes sense doesn't it? More readers = more customers. But sometimes it just feels good to give back.

In that spirit, I choose actively to give back through my day job and by volunteering with Centro Hispano de East Tennessee. And Wednesday was a red letter day for literacy in Knoxville's immigrant community. Centro Hispano de East Tennessee held their first breakfast fundraiser. It was an honor to attend and support this wonderful organization. Centro Hispano helps children and adults become not only literate, but able to appreciate the written word both in English and Spanish. Again, cultivating a community of readers.

It doesn't hurt that this morning's breakfast included delicious Mexican fare- molletes, escabeche, pico de gallo, coffee, and hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows. Yum yum yum.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

A Woman's Hour in Knoxville

Southern storytellers are, I'm convinced, some of the best. This weekend I had the immense pleasure hearing preeminent historians speak about women's suffrage in Knoxville. Their presentations made me proud to be a Tennessean and a beneficiary of suffragists' hard work. They also confirmed the importance of storytelling, and that everyone living in the USA has something of value to add to the story of America.


Like I said they were great storytellers. If I didn't care about women's voting history before you bet I do now. So let's tell our stories and write new ones.

Plus, there were wonderful artifacts on display. Buttons, sashes, letters, Valentine's day cards, and newspapers were all there. I think I've got everything I need to start researching a progressive era love story.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Win a copy of The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

That's right. Glad you made it to the Lucky Leprechaun #Giveaway Hop where a lucky winner will receive an eBook copy of the breakaway bestselling story:

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers!

417 Customer Reviews for the #1 Best Seller on Amazon
Check it out by clicking this Amazon link.

New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers returns to her romance roots with this unexpected and redemptive love story, a probing tale that reminds us that mercy can shape even the most broken among us into an imperfect yet stunning masterpiece.

A successful LA artist, Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want—money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist—an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison.

Welcome to the
Giveaway Hop and here's the details:
This hop starts at 9 am Pacific on March 15th and ends on March 28th
Please check the blogs that have ~ mark in front of their name first since those have been verified.

Note: a new comment prompt featured each day on the Rafflecopter below, so return again to collect more points!
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A Big THANK YOU to all of the bloggers that participate in these hops! There are many blogs participating in this hop, so be sure to stop by each and enter to win! Each has their own entry rules and geographic limits, so be sure to read the rules for each one. Check out Book Hounds' YA blog HERE for another chance to win!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Falling in love at the ticket booth

New projects, community classes, exercise and beautiful weather to top it all off. Took a stroll around the park in my neighborhood and bothered to notice just how picturesque it really is.

Feeling inspired by the baseball fields with its quaint ticket booth (and the unseasonably brisk weather), I came home in search of hot tea and a sweet sports themed romance. I didn't have to search for long before coming upon author Jen Doyle's Calling It

Find it on Amazon

Find it on Amazon

Someday, I might like to write a sweet romance based on that ticket booth in Caswell Park. It might go something like this...
Rae Lynn Kitts moves from Music City to Marble City looking for a change of career and a fresh start. In a twist of fate she winds up in charge of the baseball park during the on-season. Spending a great deal of time in the ticket booth, she finds that this job ends up being more than just a quick diversion. Rae Lynn gets wrapped up in the community and its colorful cast of characters including feisty seniors, coaches, and little league players. In the midst of everything she meets Cruz Vanegas, a widower and little league coach. Cruz helps Rae Lynn overcome her emotional barriers and she realizes that love is just behind home plate.          

Thursday, March 8, 2018

We ♥ Small Town Romance Blog Tour

Marrying the Wedding Crasher by Melinda Curtis

This bachelor’s pretend girlfriend just made a shocking discovery—

She’s pregnant!

Although they dated for only a month, Harley O’Hannigan just agreed to be Vince Messina’s plus-one at a Harmony Valley wedding. Big mistake, given her deepening feelings for the tall, dark, unavailable bachelor. And what about Vince’s long-buried family history? Then there’s the growing secret that could transform this pretend relationship into the real thing…

Praise for Melinda Curtis:

"Wonderfully entertaining!" Jayne Ann Krentz, NYT Bestseller (referring to Playing for Love)

"Reading Slade and Christine's story reminded me of why I enjoy romance. SEASON OF CHANGE has found a place on my keeper shelf!" Brenda Novak, NYT Bestseller

Harley carried her tea and cookie, and joined Vince outside. She tried to make light of his reception with his ex-girlfriend. “You must have broken Sarah’s heart in high school. She latched onto you like a bride at a wedding dress clearance sale.”
“That woman is scary.” Vince took Harley’s arm and led her down the sidewalk, adding in a lowered voice, “She pinched my butt.”
“You lie.” Harley stopped, completely taken aback. “She wouldn’t do that in front of a roomful of people.”
“Oh, yes, she did.” With a furtive glance over his shoulder—possibly to see if Sarah was following them—Vince tugged Harley back into motion. “Didn’t you see me jump?”
Harley chuckled. She had.
“Don’t laugh. You’re supposed to protect me from her.”
“You should have bargained for a kiss in front of Sarah.” She knew the words were a mistake as soon as they left her mouth.
“I still could.” Vince’s gaze fell to her lips, his steps downshifted to slow-mo and his expression turned serious.
Harley’s breath caught in her throat. Against her better judgment. Against all experience to the contrary. Harley wanted to be held by Vince. Not for show. Not to fulfill her end of a bargain. But because she liked him and because, when he kissed her, when his arms came around her, she felt that all her mistakes didn’t matter.
All her mistakes...
Pride had led her to accept a job with Dan. Pride had made her show her sketches to him. Pride had made her quit. “You were wrong the other day about men needing pride,” Harley said. “Pride steals your footing. It makes you doubt. It brings you down.” To a place where you needed someone to lift you up. She wanted that someone to be Vince. But that would go against the pep talks she gave herself about being resilient, not to mention, Vince didn’t want to be her rock. “You don’t need another kiss.” Her voice was a thready whisper.
He cocked a brow. “I don’t?”
She hadn’t been talking to him. She’d been talking to herself, talking herself down from the kissing ledge. “No. You need this.”
She didn’t kiss him. She hugged him. She hugged him tight. And, for just a moment, she didn’t worry about balconies in the clouds, dreams lost or hearts that might be broken.

Author Melinda Curtis

Melinda Curtis is an award-winning, USA Today Bestseller of over 40 romances. She writes sweet romance for Harlequin Heartwarming, sweet romantic comedies and sexy sports contemporary romances. When not working on DIY projects around their home, Melinda and her college sweetheart enjoy watching Duke mens basketball and visiting their three kids and one grandchild. Sign up for her mailing list to receive two free reads.

Always the Hero by Anna J. Stewart

He never relied on anyone but himself...but he needs her now!

Butterfly Harbor deputy Matt Knight wants two things: to date Lori Bradley and the chance to adopt Kyle, a troubled teen. Wounded in Afghanistan, Matt knows he can't move forward anchored to the past. But once he regains the guarded hotel manager's trust, will his need to protect those he loves cost him a future with this extraordinary woman?

Praise for Anna J Stewart

“The talented Anna J Stewart delivers every time.” ~NYTimes Bestselling Author Brenda Novak

“Anna J. Stewart will tug at your heartstrings more than once while leaving you utterly besotted with her characters.” ~The Romance Reviews

“What’s wrong?” Matt rested his arms on the table and leaned in. She could feel the warmth of his breath, feel the heat of his concerned gaze.

“Nothing.” She shifted in her seat. “It’s...nothing.”

“Now who’s lying?”

Her chin shot up at his accusation but it was then she saw he was teasing her.

“Come on, Lori. Tell me what’s bothering you. You’ve been acting weird since before we came in here. Are you embarrassed to be seen with me?”

“Why on earth would I—” She took a deep breath. “You’re making fun of me.”

“How else am I going to disarm you enough to tell me what’s going on in here.” He reached up and tapped a finger against the side of her head.

“It’s not important.” Darn it, why did she always let this get to her? Why hadn’t she just been honest and told him she didn’t want to go to breakfast?

“Given we’ve spent the last couple of minutes debating that fact, I’ll say you’re wrong. What is it?”

“I just...” Could her face feel any hotter? “I don’t like eating out, okay? There. You got me to confess, copper. Take me to jail.” She held out her wrists, palms up.

“Why don’t you like to eat out?”

“Oh, for...” She tucked her hair behind her ears and sighed. “It’s silly.
Stupid even.”

“Clearly, it’s not. Tell me.”

Tell him? Tell him one of her most embarrassing secrets? Tell him about how even her own parents were disgusted by her? Yeah, that should kill off any residual feelings he might have for her. “When I was a little girl and we went out to eat, my mother would constantly criticize me. I shouldn’t have that or what will people think, a chubby girl like you eating that. I embarrassed her. And she made sure everyone knew it.” All these years later and it still messed with her head. “I told you it was stupid.”

“It’s not stupid. I’m sorry you had to deal with that.” He reached over and held out a hand. She stared at his open palm, heart pounding as she realized how much she wanted to take it. Instead, she pulled her hands into her lap and locked her fingers together. “No child should ever be made to feel less than. For any reason.”

“I totally agree. Which is why I haven’t talked to her in about a gazillion years.” That neither of her parents seemed interested in reaching out to her—or Fletcher—didn’t help the situation. It was one thing to be a child and suspect your parents didn’t like you; it was another to be an adult and know it to be true. “So, there you go. I don’t like to eat out because my mother used to make fun of me for being fat. Bring on the chocolate pudding.”

“Have I mentioned how much I loathe self-deprecating humor?” He sat back and pinned her with a stare that made her shiver. “We’re being honest with each other now, yeah? Stop making fun of yourself. I don’t find the jokes funny and I don’t agree with them. What on earth does your dress size have to do with the type of person you are? I like who you are, Lori. I have from the first time I saw you, so suck it up and deal with it. And while you’re at it, stop making light of things that cause you pain. It’s irritating.”

“Yes, it is.” She didn’t want to take what he said to heart. She didn’t want to believe he meant what she’d always wanted someone to say to her; someone who might actually care for her, love her. “It’s also the one defense mechanism that’s worked for me, so forgive me if I don’t bow to your lack of expertise in this matter.” She meant for the comment to tick him off, drive him away. Offend him to the point he’d settle her firmly in the friends column. Instead, she watched the anger lines around his eyes ease and the
corners of his mouth flicker.

“You’d be surprised what I know about parental disapproval, but that’s a conversation for another time. Look at us, getting to know each other. Being honest with one another. It’s almost like we’re starting a new relationship or something.”

Lori shook her head, wanting nothing more than to walk away and forget that whenever she was with him she didn’t want to be without him. He had a way of making her forget everything that shouldn’t be important. “What’s wrong with you? Everything that should make you angry makes you laugh.”

“And sometimes vice versa,” he confirmed with a shrug. “You have your coping mechanisms, I have mine. And for the record, I’ll give you time to work on that bad habit of yours. Not a lot, but some.”

Author Anna J. Stewart

USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J. Stewart writes sweet to sexy romance for Harlequin's Heartwarming and Romantic Suspense lines. Early obsessions with Star Wars, Star Trek, and Wonder Woman set her on the path to creating fun, funny, and family-centric romances with happily ever afters for her independent heroines. Anna lives in Northern California where she deals with a serious Supernatural & Sherlock addiction, surrounds herself with friends and family and tolerates an overly affectionate cat named Snickers (or perhaps it's Snickers who tolerates her). When she's not writing books or her monthly blog for USA Today’s Happy Ever After, you can find her at fan conventions or at her local movie theater, or building her client list for her content editing services.

Blog Tour Schedule

March 6th
Bargnhtress - Spotlight
Bonnie Phelps, Author - Spotlight
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers - Spotlight
The Avid Reader - Spotlight
T's Stuff - Spotlight
My Devotional Thoughts - Spotlight
Susan Heim on Writing - Spotlight
Remembrancy - Review
Wishful Endings - Review
March 7th
Rainy Days and Pajamas - Spotlight
Bookworm Lisa - Spotlight
The Eco Lifestyle - Spotlight
Diana's Book Reviews - Spotlight
Stacking My Book Shelves! - Spotlight
Reading Is My SuperPower - Review
Always Books - Review
March 8th
Room With Books - Spotlight
Hearts & Scribbles - Spotlight
Queen of All She Reads - Spotlight
BookHounds - Spotlight
StoreyBook Reviews - Spotlight
Thoughts of a Blonde - Spotlight
Alina Snow Book Adventures - Spotlight
Among the Reads - Review
Rockin' Book Reviews - Spotlight
Kindle and Me - Review
March 9th
Heidi Reads... - Spotlight
Paulette's Papers - Spotlight
Tianna Holley, Author - Spotlight
Bunny's Review - Review
books are love - Spotlight
Kerrific Online - Review

Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 3/18/18

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Jane Austen: the original clean romance writer

While browsing the library stacks today, I only just realized that Jane Austen is not shelved with the romance books even though she is considered by most to be a foundational author of the romance genre. No doubt this separation is due to her novels' status as classical literature across multiple genres. 

Still, her books have the hallmarks of traditional romance- the main character's love life occupies the central story line and, while there may be some conflict, the ending is always happy or optimistic. 
Who could possibly forget Pride and Prejudice's Ms. Bennett and Mr. Darcy? 
Amazon Link

Thanks to widespread sensibilities of 18th century English gentry, her novels are most definitely clean. John Mullan, writing for the British Library, explains the chaste nature of Austen courtship was due to familial expectations, marriage as a transaction, and the young age of the characters. Think Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, or Sense and Sensibility.   
Amazon Link
Amazon Link
Amazon Link