April Book Discussion

Willie’s Women had a lively book discussion this month with three new attendees, including a special guest of mine from across the pond, as they say!

WYNELLE , first-timer to the group, is quite a history buff and is re-reading books about Tudor England and Henry VIII. No particular titles were given.

ANDREA, our 2nd first-timer, is currently taking a Grief Following Trauma course and mentioned The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity: Your Practical Guide to Responding to Burdens You Feel from God’s Heart by Carol A. Brown.

JENNY , our guest, recently finished The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows (which she suggested to me but I couldn’t get into). She’s currently reading The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd and also mentioned Life after Life by Kate Atkinson.

BERTHA -ROSE ‘s first recommendation was Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader, a novella about Queen Elizabeth II. Her second recommendation was The Age of Creativity: Art, Memory, My Father, and Me by Emily Urquhart.

KARI rather than a book, Kari mentioned Atlantic Crossing, a PBS Masterpiece program about Norwegian Crown Princess Martha and her husband Prince Olav fleeing a Nazi invasion of their country.

VICTORIA unfortunately had to leave before recommending Bunco: A Comedy About The Drama Of Friendship by Robin Delnoce.

CHRISTINE Prolific Bookworm Christine is still reading Laurie R. King’s Russell and Holmes series. She also listened to the audio version of Tamai Kobayashi’s Prairie Ostrich. She also suggested Sky Lee’s Disappearing Moon Cafe, Kristin Hannah’s Fly Away: A Novel (Firefly Lane Book 2) from when Christine quoted, “Where there is life there is hope.” Lastly, Christine recommended The Museum of Us by Tara Wilson Redd and the Presidential Libraries Bucket Journal.

PENI JO Recently finished Clock Dance and Vinegar Girl. Anne Tyler was recommended to me by a dear friend in England. Just finished A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes.

Willie’s Book Discussion meets the 2nd Monday of each month on ZOOM at 3pm Eastern. if you’re not a Red Hatter, you may attend one book discussion if you wish. Next meeting is May 10.

Meet Authors Mary Elizabeth Jackson and Thornton Cline!

Mary Elizabeth Jackson and Thornton Cline, along with illustrator Alice Antimie, have created a lovable cherub in the Poohlicious series.

1. Did a particular child in your personal life(ves) inspire the creation of Precious Poohlicious?
1. Yes the first book and the series were inspired by my surprise son I had very late in my life. He stopped growing near the end of my pregnancy and the doctors did not think he would survive the birth. After the birth I had a post surgical infection the doctors were not sure I would survive. In a space of complete gratitude for both of us surviving came the first book. He continues to inspire me everyday.

2. How did the 2 of you decide to collaborate in the production of this series?
2. I wrote the first book in 2013 and did not do anything initially with it because I was not sure where to find a publisher and how to go about the process. Thornton Cline and I were introduced from a mutual friend. Thornton read my manuscript, fell in love with it and asked if he could write 10 original songs for it. My daughters recorded the sweet songs in Thornton’s studio. We connected creatively so well and decided to write the next two books together. We have a middle grade reader coming out in the next several months. During the pandemic we wrote an adult motivational book that will come out later this year.

3. Do you have a preference for writing for children or adults?
3. I love writing empowering books for kids. I could write children’s books everyday. I am so inspired by children and the way they see the world so I write from the child’s point of view. I am an advocate for special needs and disabilities and am working on an eight-book-series that will include children of varying challenges and needs. These books will feature The 8 Keys of Excellence, mindfulness, emotional self-regulation, and social skills. Having said this I am moving to include adult books in my library. I am writing a book about being an empath in this world today. After that is done I will write a YA book based on true life events.

4. The other books in the Poohlicious Series are Poohlicious Look At Me and Poohlicious Oh The Wonder Of Me. Can we expect many more Poohlicious books in the future? 4. My intention was to write this book series along the life of my son as he grew. He has grown faster than the books have come out but I will include a few more in the series. I have other children’s books written that are not in the series waiting to be illustrated that will publish in the near future. These were inspired by him as well. As long as the inspiration is there I will write.

Meet author Melinda Curtis!

A Second Chance For Love A Sea Glass Bay Romance Anthology will be released next month.Interestingly, it was a collaboration between 4 authors; Anna J. Stewart, Kayla Perrin, Melinda Curtis and Cari Lynn Webb. Melinda Curtis responded to our interview questions below;

  1. Whose idea was it to compose this anthology? Lezli Robyn came up with the idea for a Mother’s Day anthology. I suggested we write about four friends and connect the stories. Anna J. Stewart created the location and town name – Sea Glass Bay, located on the northern California coast. Cari Lynn Webb came up with the idea for a market set in the historic district of town. Kayla very good-naturedly went along with the idea.
  1. Can you describe the collaboration process? We each created a hero and heroine and then brainstormed ways to figure out how they might be linked in a small town. We also didn’t want to step on anyone’s timeline toes, so we decided to write in one week increments leading up to Mother’s Day. We emailed each other back and forth with details and questions. Cari created a retirement community and I jumped on the chance to add that community to my hero’s mother’s backstory. I created a bar my hero runs and one of Anna’s characters made a visit. It’s important to connect the stories on as many levels as possible for reader enjoyment.
  1. What are some of the pros and cons of working with other authors? The con is that it’s more work. It’s critical to read each other’s work to ensure places and town atmosphere are represented consistently. That goes for characters, too. Every author has their own voice. I tend to write take-charge heroes that another author might find too bossy (i.e., a jerk). In that example, you need to work together. I’d soften my hero’s edges and have another author tone down his “jerk-ness.” The pro is that each author brings an added dimension of richness that can be exciting to work with.
  1. What can we expect from you in the future? My latest release is Dream a Little Dream from Forever Romance. It’s about a bull-riding champion trying to reunite with his high school sweetheart. My next release is Caught by the Cowboy Dad from Harlequin Heartwarming (June). It’s about a silver fox hero (single dad age 38) who’s long-distance ex-girlfriend winds up pregnant and his coming to terms with being a dad of a college student and a baby.

March Book Recommendations

Wearing her newly-crafted bra hat, Willie presided over a small gathering of bookworms this month. Despite having only 3 participants this month, our little discussion group has some great recommendations for your reading pleasure!

KARI recommended an interesting nonfiction selection; The Lost Piano of Siberia by Sophy Roberts. The blurb reads;


Siberia’s story is traditionally one of exiles, penal colonies and unmarked graves. Yet there is another tale to tell.
Dotted throughout this remote land are pianos—grand instruments created during the boom years of the nineteenth century, as well as humble, Soviet-made uprights that found their way into equally modest homes. They tell the story of how, ever since entering Russian culture under the westernizing influence of Catherine the Great, piano music has run through the country like blood. How these pianos traveled into this snow-bound wilderness in the first place is testament to noble acts of fortitude by governors, adventurers and exiles. Siberian pianos have accomplished extraordinary feats, from the instrument that Maria Volkonsky, wife of an exiled Decembrist revolutionary, used to spread music east of the Urals, to those that brought reprieve to the Soviet Gulag. That these instruments might still exist in such a hostile landscape is remarkable. That they are still capable of making music in far-flung villages is nothing less than a miracle.The Lost Pianos of Siberia is largely a story of music in this fascinating place, fol-lowing Roberts on a three-year adventure as she tracks a number of different instruments to find one whose history is definitively Siberian. Her journey reveals a desolate land inhabited by wild tigers and deeply shaped by its dark history, yet one that is also profoundly beautiful—and peppered with pianos
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CHRISTINE: Our most prolific bookworm more than made up for our small number this month; The Beekeeper’s Apprentice and A Letter of Mary both by Laurie R. King and part of the Russell and Holmes series. Christine’s next selection was Madeline Miller’s Song of Achilles. A nonfiction selection Christine made was Silk Roads; A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan. For the mystery lover, Christine mentioned Diane Mott Davidson’s Goldie Schulz series. Lastly, Christine listed Michael Connelly’s Fair Warning.

PENI JO: Just finished The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue, which Bertha Rose recommended last October and thoroughly enjoying it. Would also like to recommend The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg, which a dear friend recommended to me several months ago.

So I hope you find something in this this month’s selections that perks your interest. Look for next month’s installment after April 12th!