Welcome to my new blog! My blog posts lately are just random musings, so I thought I’d give them a fresh new home! I also interview fellow authors & other interesting people. Plus, each month I list book recommendations from my Red Hat Society sisters!
Willie’s Women met this month with a lot of good books to recommend!
BERTHA-ROSE started us off with Astra by Cedar Bowers, a Canadian author from British Columbia whose husband Michael Christie is also an award-winning author. A review of this book reads; “Cedar Bowers’s debut took my breath away. In Astra, Bowers dares to contend with the many selves we all contain—those we conceal, those we perform, those we try to outrun in our search for love, belonging, and home. She holds the human heart like a diamond to the light, exposing its every fault, its every dream, its every pain that both damns and anoints. Bowers writes with the unsentimental clarity and aching wisdom of a young Alice Munro. A fiercely beautiful novel. I could not put it down.” —Claudia Dey, author of Heartbreaker and Stunt
LINDA LEE joined us for the first time. She is currently reading Diana Galbaldon’s Book 3 in the Outlander series, Voyager. Linda Lee thoroughly enjoys that series.
JENNY is currently reading Anthony Horowitz’s The Word is Murder. She likes how the author works himself into his own books a character, something I as a writer would never think to do!
KARI and CC both mentioned S.R. Zalesny’s The Red and Purple Mustery, and Kari even has a copy signed by the author! Perfect for Red Hatters, the book’s blurb reads; Come join this Sisterhood of fabulous ladies, fifty years and older, that are out to rock the New Orleans Hotel and Casino with fun and friendship. They compete to win the drawing for the Ruby Tiara. For Mary Jane Watson, a former Detective with the Las Vegas Metro Police, it was supposed to be a retirement celebration with her group, The Dames in Old Hats.
CC continued with S.R. Zales’s Jenny and the Hummingbird Faeries. She followed that suggestion with J.D. Rob’s Forgotten in Death and mentioned 2 favorite period authors of hers, Philippa Gregory and Elizabeth Peters, both of whom she’s mentioned in past discussions.
PENI JO; The Yellow Bird Sings by Jennifer Rosner is about a Polish Jewish mother and daughter hiding from the Nazis. The mother chooses to leave her daughter in the safety of an orphanage, promising they’ll reunite. I enjoyed this book pretty much.
Willie’s Women Book Discussion meets the 2nd Monday of each month on Zoom at 3pm central. Non- Red Hat Society members may attend once and share their love of books!
Thorsten Nesch is a German/ Canadian YA author whose works are uniquely written with humor and verve! Learn more about this author below.
1. Where did you get your inspiration for I Am You Am I ?
I got the idea while writing another novel, where a woman dresses in men clothes in order to dive under after a robbery. The longer that lasted the more funny implications occured, but I could not use them, because it just wasn’t that type pf story. When I finished that novel, I was like, there is so much more it I did extensive research in the body switch genre, and with all the stories told, the novels written and the movies made, I still thought, this can be way more outrageous. And I wrote it. Way more outragious.
2. How would you describe your writing style?
Always check the first page of my novels, if that suits you! My style differs from narrator to narrator of the story, I am merely the medium. The only thing, all my novels have in common, according to my readers, is: I am not getting lost in unnecessary details. They are not boring.
3. What do you find most rewarding about writing for young people? The most challenging?
Oh the most rewarding is clearly showing up in schools for readings and getting approached afterwards, and my personal fave is “Your novel was the first book I finished in my life” – that is my personal literary award. Amazing.
Nothing, I love it.
Life is challenging if I can’t write. Very challenging.
4. What can we expect next from Thorsten Nesch?
A dystopian novel taking place in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. I received a literary project grant from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and I document the entire writing process on my homepage www.thorstennesch.com in weekly blog post. And you can ask question, too!
Jocie McKade is the author of the Mayson-Dickson Mysteries series. Read below to learn more about this author and her fun series!
1.What drives your characters Emme Mayson and Jackie Dickson? Do you relate to one more than the other?
Emme and Jackie are both driven women with impressive backgrounds. What drives them, and drives them crazy is the need to find the truth about their parents. There is a long backstory going on, and it’s going to take some digging, some dodging bullets, and some less than legal acts to get to the truth!
I relate to both pretty well. My family are all from the Southern USA. I was born in Ohio — Yankee! LOL I can go from y’all to you guys in the same sentence without a breath! But, I spent most of my childhood in the South with my family, so, I probably have more in common with Emme.
2. What do you find most rewarding about writing mystery novels?
Creating a literary labyrinth! I love treasure hunts, and historical conundrums. Even though I know the ending of the who-dun-it, I love creating the twists and turns to take the reader there. Leaving those ‘red herrings’ and little nuggets throughout the story. My hubby says I would have made a great detective. True, until I actually had to face a bad guy – then my running skills would be sorely tested!
3. How would you describe your writing style?
Snark with heart. I find humor is the most unlikely of places. The world needs more humor and a serious dose of heart, so that’s what I strive to give readers.
4. There are 4 books in the Mayson-Dickson Mysteries series. Can we expect more in the future?
Yes. I am in the outlining stages now, and it should be coming out around the first of 2022.
When you’re in the mood for cozy romance, look no further than to the works of Stephanie Lavigne! Read on to learn more about this adventure-loving author!
1. According to your bio, you’ve led a very interesting life! Where does this sense of adventure come from?
I’m not a hundred percent sure. It seems I was born with a spritely, adventurous spirit. I was always interested in learning about everything and trying out things for myself, as opposed to just taking someone else’s word for it. I’m curious by nature, and I just get really excited to experience new things. I was always a reader as well, and that just added fuel to my already inquisitive mind because books introduce you to so many interesting new subjects.
Even from a young age, I had a strong desire to travel and experience as many things as I could. I remember the day that I realized I would never be able to visit every single place (country, town, neighborhood) on Earth. I had beenreading an atlas when it suddenly hit me that at the rate I was going, there was absolutely no way I’d be able to visit every town. It wasn’t dramatic, but I sat there and cried. Seeing new places and trying new things just always felt important to me. I also remember visiting my aunt and uncle on their houseboat in the Bahamas when I was six years old and I was completely enchanted. So I blame them for unwittingly starting my obsession with unique lodging.
When I am writing characters, I never think of them as reflections of me…however, lately I’ve realized that there is a lot more of me in my characters than I thought. This book probably hit closer to home than anything else I’ve ever written. I think the overstressed mom-vibe that Piper has certainly comes from my own current life experience. There is a lot of me in both Piper and her best friend Boots. Their deep friendship, and the way they talk to one another, reflects my relationship with my best friends. Piper’s mom, Kate, with her fastidious style and love of genealogy is definitely inspired by my mom, Marianne. Plus, Piper has a very sweet father-daughter relationship with her dad, just like I do- though my dad doesn’t enjoy any of her father’s range of hobbies. And of course, there are little glimmers of my kids in hers. So in retrospect, there’s a lot of me in this particular story!
3. How would you describe your writing style?
Upbeat, fun, true to a character’s personality, a little quick-witted and playfully sarcastic, and sometimes winding (which is a plus for keeping people guessing with mysteries.) It’s hard to describe your own writing style, so sometimes I have to look to my readers. I’ve been told I write engaging characters and dialogue, so perhaps that is my strong suit. I also usually add little hints of foreshadowing throughout my books via conversations, random information, or a character’s musings. Though I think they are often so subtle or seemingly random that you would have to go back through for a second read to catch all the times I do it.
4. Can we expect to see more Piper Harrington in the near future?
I originally planned for this book to be a series, but then decided against it because there are other books that I am working on. However, I’ve been asked by a few readers to keep going with it. So I’m playing with the idea of setting one of my new series in the town of Hibiscus Bay, which would mean there would be stories about new people in town, but we’d also be able to check in on Piper, Boots, JP and the gang.
This has been a weird couple of weeks.
Last week, my the driver’s side mirror on my car was broken off when someone threw a watermelon at it.
Later that day, the Ring video doorbell we ordered was delivered (Dave had ordered it WEEKS ago) and we wasted no time getting it up and running.
Nothing unusual was caught on camera until about 9:30 last night (Dave and I were upstairs). I heard the motion detection alarm go off on my phone and Dave peered out the window in time to see a car drive away from our house.
Naturally he checks the video and we see a stranger leave a paper bag with a receipt taped to it on our recycling bin. So Dave goes out to investigate only to discover that someone with a similar house number on our street had ordered some yummy buffalo wings and fries.
Fortunately the order had a phone number on it, which Dave called and asked, “Were you expecting an order of buffalo wings? Because they were just delivered to our door.” Sure enough, the young woman said yes she’d ordered them so then Dave called the restaurant and told them of their error. They said, “Keep the wings.” Hopefully our young neighbor got a new order delivered and wasn’t charged for the foul-up.
So here’s the funny part while Dave is making these calls;
I decide to chow down on our windfall. He’s chuckling softly as I sit next to him, fork poised over a plump wing glistening with delectable sauce.
“Will you wait a minute?” He chastises me.
“It’s not like they’re gonna want these wings back,” I said, stabbing a wing.
So even before the restaurant said “Keep the wings” (Like what else were we gonna do with them? Walk down the block and deliver them to the neighbor ourselves?) they were devoured within minutes as Dave and I split them.
And they were yummy!
Just makes me wonder why some periods of time are sprinkled with the unusual. Is it to add spice to our boring lives? Keep us on our toes? Dave questioned if “Something is going on” because our lives are normally so uneventful.
But as they say all’s well that ends well and the free wings were an unexpected but much appreciated treat!
Willie’s Women were honored to have 3 guests join them for book discussion this month.
WYNELLE, Guest #1, visited us once before and told us how she enjoys reading about the kings and queens of England. She is considering becoming a member of Willie’s Women and we would be delighted to have her!
ANDREA, Guest #2, has also joined us once before. Andrea enjoys reading about the Amish and says during the summer she enjoys “garbage books” (fiction) and prefers to read books where she’ll learn something during the winter. Her recommendation was Danielle Steele’s A Perfect Life. She gives it 4 stars.
BERNADETTE Guest #3 came in a bit late but was full of good recommendations. She is in charge of my own local book club and this month I will be heading a discussion on Marie Benedict’s The Only Woman in the Room (4.5 stars) Bernadette’s other recommendations were Cassandra Speaks by Elizabeth Lesser about how history has treated women and how would history be told differently if written by women (5 stars). Bernadette’s 3rd recommendation was See No Stranger by Valerie Kaur about uniting people with “radical love” and not focusing on our differences (4 stars).
BERTHA-ROSE wished JENNY had been present to thank her for telling her about Kim Edwards’s books, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter and Lake of Dreams. Bertha-Rose enjoyed them very much, giving them 4 out of 5 stars. Later she shared with us that her college-age grandson recommended she read Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita so she is currently reading that.
KARI dear sweet Kari said Letters to Kezia by yours truly made her cry! She loves books that get her involved with the characters. Did this author’s heart good to hear that someone is enjoying my trilogy so much 🙂
CHRISTINE has been reading a couple of new series. She gives July Mulhern’s The Country Club Murders series 4 stars and is on book 9 of a series of 13. Another series she is enjoying is Sarah Rosett’s On the Run Internationa Mysteries to which she gives 4 stars. Christine granted The Engineer’s Wife by Tracey Emerson Wood 5 stars.
PENI JO: I really enjoyed The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes. about the WPA Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky. 4.5 stars!
Willie’s Women meets on Zoom at 3pm Eastern on the 2nd Monday of each month. Non-RHS members are invited to attend one time so feel free to join us!
The menagerie in Book 4 continues to grow. Joining the German shepherd, Capuchin monkey, Grey parrot & 3 cats are 2 fussy, mouthy toy poodles named Dior and Chanel.
They belong to the Mayor’s spoiled egocentric wife, Helen-Ophelia, who is all about luxury & hedonism.
So this of course means I have to work this annoying little pair into a few scenes, extending previously-written chapters & preventing me from carrying the story on with any new chapters for awhile.
But this addition will only enrich the story. I’m already envisioning poor zoophobic Kaiser being pursued by the 2 poodles and the Capuchin monkey straddling his back!
This month’s featured author is Australian V.K. Tritschler. Read the interview below to learn about this creator of paranormal romance!
1:.What do you enjoy most about writing paranormal romance?
I love that I can be unique, and that there are no limitations to my worlds or my characters. They can be, or do, anything imaginable. What a fanastic thing to be able to work with that blank canvas!
2. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Everywhere – and I am not saying that lightly. Sometimes I will see a picture, a film, hear a story or read a headline and it pull me down a path of a story. A friend of mine has a fabulous game that helps generate plots and stories, and I have used that for several of my books. But its just about enjoying the possibilities.
3. How would you describe your writing style?
I love to play with emotions, and so I hope that when my readers pick up my books that they can recognise that some character development across all my genres regardless of the context that those characters are in. But when I sit to write, I do not plan things out particularly, I like to let my stories reveal themselves as I go and the same with my characters.
4. What can we expect from you in the future?
I have a new book out in October, The Heart of Nowhere, which is the second of a trilogy. I also have an audiobook of my Vital Impetus book coming out which I am very excited about as it is a new concept for me to have audiobooks. And then I have several other fun and quirky tales coming with some strong female leads and some new magical events!
Thanks for having me!
VK Tritschler is a full-time busy body, and part-time imagination
conjurer. She lives on the amazing Eyre Peninsula in South
Australia, having moved there from her hometown of Christchurch,
Her family consists of a very patient husband, two rampant boys
and too many pets to mention. She has a wonderful set of amazing
writers who support her in the form of Eyre Writers, and in return
she offers crowd control services for the Youth section who are the
future best-selling Australian authors.
Her first book “The Secret Life of Sarah Meads” was released in
2018 and since then she has kept herself busy participating in the
Anthology “Magic & Mischief”, publishing “The Risky Business of
Romance”, “Trade Secrets”, participating in the NYC Writing
Challenge, the Clunes Booktown, and helping to organize and run
the Eyre Writers Festival.
Ever available to her readership you can find her at:
Willie’s Women met this month, small in number but lively in conversation!
KARI: Kari simply RAVED about this book, Puritan Witch; The Redemption of Rebecca Eames ! With no prompting from the author who was present in the Zoom meeting, Kari graciously gave Puritan Witch a 5-star rating!
BERTHA-ROSE has an interest in Canada’s indigenous peoples. She was delighted to share that their new governor general, Mary Simon, and National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations RoseAnne Archibald are both First Nations leaders. Bertha-Rose introduced us to Eskimo Stories – Unikkaatuat by Zebedee Nungad and Eugene Arima, a fascinating book about Inuit art. Although it’s hard to rate a book like this one, she gave this book 3.5 stars.
PENI JO; Peace Like a River by Leif Enger is set in 1960’s North Dakota, my old home state! The story is sprinkled with little miracles here and there giving it a kind of fantasy feel. Enger is a real master of metaphor and I love how he describes things in his writings. 4.5 stars!
Willie’s Women Book Discussion meets on ZOOM at 3pm Eastern time on the 2nd Monday of the month. Non-RHS members are invited to attend one meeting, so come check us out!
A handful of Willie’s Women met this month for a fun and lively discussion. The result was a nice variety of recommendations for our readers.
BERTHA-ROSE gives Mary Lawson’s A Town Called Solace (first recommended by our Jenny) four stars and has read the ebook version as well as listened to the audiobook. Bertha-Rose is currently reading Five Little Indians by Canadian author Michelle Good, which won a number of awards including the Giller Prize. Although she’s only about a third of the way through this book, Bertha-Rose gives it four stars.
Later in the discussion, Bertha-Rose shared with us the journal in which she records the books she’s read; Bibliophile Reader’s Journal by Jane Mount.
JENNY gives Graham Norton’s Home Stretch four stars.
BERNADETTE gave Hoda Kotb’s This Just Speaks to Me five stars although she hadn’t finished it yet. She read some quotes from the book such a s”we rise by lifting others.” Later, Bernadette shared a photobook hobby of hers. She gets these printed from Snapfish and really enjoys saving family photos in these bound books.
PENI JO: Kristin Hannah’s The Four Winds is reminiscent of The Grapes of Wrath about Depression Era
suffering. Really well-written. Four stars.
The next book discussion is July 12 at 3pm Eastern on Zoom. Non-RHS members are invited to attend one book discussion, so please consider joining us next month!