The Gift of Reading

I received an early Christmas gift with the judge’s reviews of my books that were entered in the Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards Contest.

Jimmy and Me, A Sister’s Memoir

The author boldly, vulnerably shares what it is like to have a brother who is intellectually disabled. Her account is a warm, honest, raw, eye opening account of the effects her role as caregiver had on her as a child and as an adult. This duel timeframe gives the book a narrative richness but also a richness of insight for others who have lived through similar experiences. The opening scene showcases just how difficult and complicated this kind of life story can be, but the narrative overall brims with love, hope, and compassion. Alongside the story of her relationship with her brother, the author gives compelling insight into how to build and craft a sense of self when one’s identity is so closely linked with someone else. The pace of the narrative is smooth and swift, transitioning well between different time periods and themes. The narrative arc is strong even as the author embraces the complexity and open ended nature of a true life story. The story balances realistic dialogue along with exposition and summary to keep the story moving and give the narrative texture. For others in similar situations, her voice is a gift and a light. The cover photo aptly conveys the warmth and theme of the book.

Musing Off the Mat – memories and everyday moments

The author shares her life—her family, her hobbies, her positive world view—through a series of essays. The essays are uniquely the author’s, but themes of home, food, and family make it easy to relate to and feel connected with the author. The author’s voice is clear and brimming with personality, humor, and compassion. Not only does the author invite others into her life, but she also invites her audience to look at their own lives differently, with fresh eyes. The stories demonstrate a keen eye for detail and emotion, without being bogged down with description or sentimentality. The varying lengths of the pieces makes it easy to dive in and out of the book and hop around to different topics. The loose thematic organization gives the book just enough structure to hold it together without bogging it down. While the essays are focused on the author and her experiences, they also demonstrate a strong empathy for and attention to other people. The cover image aptly captures the tone and content of the book, and it has a very personal feel without making the book seem unprofessional or like a scrapbook.

Buy the books for your Secret Santa, Yankee Swap, or use as stocking stuffers. Because “every family has a story.”

My TV Interview

Recently, I was interviewed by a local TV station about my books, Musing Off the Mat and Jimmy and Me, A Sister’s Memoir. Take a look!

You can purchase the books on Amazon or BN.com.

I really enjoy book club meetings, so contact me to arrange a date.

Happy Summer! Happy Reading!

 

A Poetic Moment

In recognition of National Poetry Month, I perused my mother’s 7th grade poetry book that she never returned to the nuns in 1943. She clearly loved the tattered brown volume filled with her notes and dog-eared pages.

This poem reminds us how a simple moment can remain in our memory for a lifetime. It’s the premise of my essay collection titled Musing Off the Mat – memories and everyday moments.

Memory

My mind lets go a thousand things,
Like dates of wars and deaths of kings,
And yet recalls the very hour —
‘Twas noon by yonder village tower,
And on the last blue noon in May —
The wind came briskly up this way,
Crisping the brook beside the road;
Then, pausing here, set down its load
Of pine-scents, and shook listlessly
Two petals from that wild-rose tree.

                                              – Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Take time to read poetry. It will comfort you.

Shop Small. Shop Local.

I’ve always been a big fan of small stores. They’re cozy. You can see and reach everything easily. You get personalized service. And you’re happy to support owners who work their tails off.

As a new author, I’ve found small businesses welcoming. Here are a few that sell Jimmy and Me, A Sister’s Memoir and Musing Off the Mat – memories & everyday moments.

Helen Thomas Simply Smashing gift shop on Main Street in Andover, MA. Owner Lisa supports local artisans, especially women entrepreneurs. Books, jewelry, artwork, and home decor are tasteful and personalized.

West Village Provisions is the Cheers bar in the bucolic town of Boxford, MA. Owners Kim and Mike have created a strong sense of community in their store. Go for a snack or lunch, pick up groceries, eclectic gifts, and books.

I AM Books is an Italian American shop in the heart of historic Boston. Owner Nicola offers unique books, gifts, and neighborhood activity including Italian language lessons.

Jabberwocky bookshop, in the quaint coastal town of Newburyport, MA, has been selling books for 44 years. Owner Sue has an extensive collection, a knowledgeable staff, and hosts frequent author talks.

BookEnds in lovely Winchester, MA offers a wide array of well-displayed books as well as gifts, cards, and music.

Things A Drift on beautiful Long Beach Island, NJ is an active member its community. Owner Cheryl offers all things nautical, home decor, jewelry, books, and more, all in a fun little shop that will lift your spirits.

Support your local merchants!

Toes Up Time

A yoga friend told me she reads Musing Off the Mat while waiting for her son at appointments and school functions.

“It’s funny, charming, and calming, three things greatly needed in current times!” she says.

Another friend told me that her boyfriend likes reading the short personal essays in the bathtub because it helps him relax.

I’m humbled and honored by these comments. My goal with this book was to provide readers with a diversion from their hectic days. Read it from beginning to end or simply fan through the pages and select a short essay to free you from worry or routine. You’ll laugh, nod in agreement, and maybe even shed a tear.

Whether you’re waiting in the pick-up line, soaking in the tub after a hard day’s work, or just having toes up time, my stories will take you away for a few moments. Order your copy on Amazon. Buy one for a friend, too!