Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Teaser Tuesday: Date Like a Woman by Kai Nicole



Women must recognize that sexism and misogyny affect us too, mentally, where it is most damaging. If you think your only value is sex, you will only offer sex as your dating asset.

-- Date Like a Woman by Kai Nicole.

I don't date anymore, but I wanted to read this because I have several friends who are still single and I listen to them complain about dating all the time. I thought I'd read this and have more to say than "have you tried Match again?"



Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by The Purple Booker, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Mailbox Monday

Two different sorts of books came into my house last week. What books came into your house?



Burglars & Blintzes by Morgan C. Talbot. This is the second book in Talbot's Moorehaven Mysteries series featuring Pippa Winterbourne, owner of a bed-and-breakfast/writers' retreat on the Oregon coast.



The Girl Inside Me: Poems by Javelin Hardy. Hardy draws on her training and experience as a therapist to tell her own story of recovery from abuse in this beautiful book of poetry.







Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday, a weekly "show & tell" blog event where participants share the books they acquired the week before. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught our Eye.

Mailbox Monday is graciously hosted by Leslie of Under My Apple Tree, Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, and Martha of Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Book Beginning: The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E. M. Delafield

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



November 7th -- Plant the indoor bulbs. Just as I am in the middle of them, Lady Boxe calls. I say, untruthfully, how nice to see her, and beg her to sit down while I just finish the bulbs.

The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E. M. Delafield. This book is cracking me up. It's like a cross between the Mapp & Lucia books by E. F. Benson and Bridget Jones's Diary. So droll.




Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING







Book Beginning: Date Like a Woman by Kai Nicole

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



To be honest, Twitter. Twitter made me want to write this book.

-- from the Introduction, "Why I Decided to Write This Book," in Date Like a Woman by Kai Nicole.

I don't date anymore, but I have several friends to pass this one on to, including a sister. I like it -- the tone is a bit like The Rules, a book I admit I read and somewhat heeded back before I got hitched.





Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING




Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Teaser Tuesday: Till Death Do Us Tart by Ellie Alexander



They had been introduced when Lance had been wrongfully accused of murder. The two of them hadn't exactly hit it off.
--  Till Death Do Us Tart by Ellie Alexander. Alexander continues to turn out cozy and clever mysteries in her Bakeshop Mystery series featuring Jules Capshaw, amateur sleuth and owner of Ashland, Oregon's favorite cafe.


Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by The Purple Booker, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Mailbox Monday: Date Like a Woman by Kai Nicole

What books came into your house last week? I got one on a hot topic:



Date Like a Woman by Kai Nicole.

I don't date anyone but my husband, but I accepted a review copy of this book because I have a lot of single friends and I want to see if this author has some new advice on an old topic.




Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday, a weekly "show & tell" blog event where participants share the books they acquired the week before. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught our Eye.

Mailbox Monday is graciously hosted by Leslie of Under My Apple Tree, Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, and Martha of Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf.




Saturday, August 4, 2018

Author Interview: Helga Gruendler-Schierloh


Helga Gruendler-Schierloh is a bilingual author who grew up in Germany and now lives in America, like the heroine of her new book, Burying Leo. Her book tells a timely #metoo story of an aspiring singer who leaves Europe for a new life in America after an audition ends in sexual assault.



Helga recently talked with Rose City Reader about Burying Leo, her background, and how her own reading influences her as a writer.

How did you come to write Burying Leo?

I abhor any kind of violence. To me, there are few reasons for hurting other living creatures. Based to some degree on my own experience, I am especially concerned with the continuing mistreatment of women and children in our so-called “civilized” society. No matter how this wrongdoing is being minimized by blaming the victim—for dressing or behaving a certain way—abuse by any other name is still abuse.

I also believe that rape is one of the worst things to happen to a female. It not only harms her physically, it also cuts deeply into the very essence of her being, messing with her psyche, tarnishing her self-image, making her feel worthless. Her perpetrator, on the other hand, might walk away unscathed or, even if found guilty of the crime, any punishment he receives will never remedy the viciousness of his deed.

Based on these convictions, sexual assault became a topic I felt compelled to tackle. In my novel, Burying Leo, I not only tried to show how her brutal rape haunted my heroine for years to come, I also made an effort to point out that confronting her worst fears finally allowed her to reclaim her life’s dream.

What is your background? How did it lead you to writing fiction?

I have always been a dreamer. Growing up in the Southern German countryside, I had a lot of freedom to explore my little world, let my imagination run wild, and write poetry (in proper German as well as the regional dialect). During that time, my favorite aunt, a veracious reader, introduced me to the magic of books. She also encouraged my early attempts at writing. Then, on my thirteenth birthday, that dear lady presented me with my first diary—and I was hooked. Those blank pages just begged to be filled with my deepest thoughts and feelings throughout my teen years and beyond.

As a student, I had a rather antagonistic relationship with math, but I garnered plenty of praise for my written assignments. I also loved to interact with people and express myself verbally. Ironically, my mother, who happened to be a phenomenal storyteller, would often interrupt my lengthy gushing with, “Helga, that’s enough. I’m getting a headache.”

So, it is not too surprising that I wanted to become a journalist, a reporter to be exact. But, due to family circumstances, that goal quickly dissolved into a pipe dream. Instead, I worked for a while in bookkeeping (dealing with numbers, no less) before taking off for Great Britain to improve my second language skills. A bilingual work assignment eventually brought me to the United States, where I met my husband and settled into domesticity.

Well, not quite.

After my job went back to Europe, I turned entrepreneur—first buying and selling art, then getting into real estate. In addition, I attended college to obtain a degree in journalism and graduate credits in linguistics. As my English became increasingly proficient, I also put stories on paper again.
While writing Burying Leo, my experience as a property manager came in rather handy in helping me construct the business dealings that dominated as well as harmed the marriage of Joe and Ingrid Bassen, two of the novel’s protagonists.

Your book’s #metoo storyline comes straight from today’s headlines. Was it difficult to tackle such a sensitive subject?

My book’s publication occurring in sync with the #metoo movement was merely a quirky coincidence. The first pages of the novel came into being over a decade ago. I finally retrieved the manuscript, revised it, and sent it out again—and, voila, Laurel Highlands Publishing offered to publish it. The release date was set for the 7th September 2017. Around that time all hell broke loose in regard to the very subject matter Burying Leo explores. And it was long overdue for women to shake off the shackles of silence that have protected sexual predators far too long. Finally, someone was listening.

I felt apprehensive about taking on such a sensitive subject, but I was also eager to get the story out. The most difficult part for me to write was definitely the assault scene. I literally suffered with my heroine, and the brutality of her attack stayed with me for quite some time. But to get across the terror experienced by a rape victim, it had to be faced head on.

Who is your intended audience and what do you hope your readers will gain from your book?

Although Burying Leo has received very favorable comments from male reviewers, I still think it is mostly a women’s story. I sincerely hope that the novel will encourage readers to open their hearts to the victims of sexual assault. I also wish that women would become more supportive of each other in general. The “good old boys network” has yet to be matched with a “good old girls network.”

What did you learn from writing your book – either about the subject of the book or the writing process – that most surprised you?

Over the years, I have received most accolades for my human interest stories—clean-cut, uplifting, sometimes funny, but mostly heart-warming memoirs. With delving into Burying Leo (and another novel I am currently revising), I definitely took a turn toward humanity’s dark side, and at first I was not at all sure if I would be up to the challenge.

As it turned out, both novels incorporate plenty of human interest, albeit of a more depressing nature. Besides, if someone as kind, gentle, polite, and soft-spoken as Michigan’s Elmore Leonard could establish himself as a highly successful author of gritty crime stories, there was no reason I could not tackle something unpleasant with a redeeming twist.

Did you know right away, or have an idea, how you were going to end the story? Or did it come to you as you were in the process of writing?

Burying Leo developed gradually as I went along. I usually have an idea of what I want to come through in my work. However, the way I am going to express it depends a great deal on the characters that appear along the storyline. Their interactions and dialog have a lot of bearing on where the story will go and how it will end.

Who are your three (or four or five) favorite authors? Is your own writing influenced by the authors you read?

In addition to more modern authors, such as Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison, and James Patterson, I like Mark Twain and Pearl S. Buck (whose German translations I enjoyed in my younger years), John Steinbeck, Margaret Mitchell, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Dickens, and Heinrich Böll.

But the one writer I absolutely adore is William Faulkner. At first, I found his books hard to read because of his tendency to incorporate the speech patterns of the American South. Once I became familiar with his dialog I found them fascinating because they put you right into the midst of the social settings he portrays.

What kind of books do you like to read? What are you reading now?

My reading tastes vary a great deal. I go from non-fiction to poetry to fiction, and I really don’t have a favorite genre.

I just read the novel, The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, and I still have to finish the non-fiction book, The Lion in the Living Room, a fascinating history of house cats, by Abigail Tucker. In addition, I recently completed Rick Riordan’s series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Although I am not much of a science fiction fan, I yielded to one of my young family member’s enthusiasm, and I thoroughly enjoyed all five books.

What is the most valuable advice you’ve been given as an author?

It was Elmore Leonard who bolstered my resolve to pursue my writing. Not only did I have the pleasure to get to know this prolific writer personally, he also allowed me to interview him for a journalism class assignment. At the time, Mr. Leonard was already an established author, but he was still hoping for a bestseller. That he eventually far exceeded that goal serves as my constant reminder to “keep on doing what I like to do best.”

What’s next? What project are you working on now?

I am in the process of revising my second “dark” novel, this one dealing with the consequences of child abuse. Then I am ready to return to something lighter, more uplifting. I have a romance novel to edit, and taking into account my stacks of personal journal entries, I am toying with the idea of writing my memoir. Even if it never gets published, maybe some of my descendants will one day be tempted to learn more about that German relative from way back.


THANK YOU, HELGA!

BURYING LEO IS AVAILABLE ONLINE, OR ASK YOUR LOCAL BOOK SELLER TO ORDER IT. 




Friday, August 3, 2018

Book Beginning: Dead If You Don't by Peter James

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



The small white ball skittered over the numbers on the spinning roulette wheel, passing 36, 11, 30.

-- Dead If You Don't by Peter James. This latest in the Roy Grace series set in Brighton starts with the kidnapping of the teenage son of a gambler and business tycoon.

I've been reading some pretty dense books lately, so a fast-paced thriller is exactly what I need right now.





Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening (usually) for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING





Thursday, August 2, 2018

Book Review: Life Expectancy by Kirsten Rian



Kirsten Rian’s new book of poetry, Life Expectancy, explores family history, motherhood, and life taken in unexpected directions.

The poems take many forms, some couplets, some dense “prose poems,” some looser and free-flowing. She uses the line breaks and white spaces as content, to provide emotional breathing room or add meaning to the stories being told.

Both Kirsten and her son have lived with difficult medical issues, and her children’s father died young and suddenly. Her poems address these events, but the overall theme that emerges as she maneuvers through these physical and emotional complexities is the idea of mothering through trauma. Her instinctive understanding of how to be a fierce mother for her children when they needed her comes through in this powerful collection.


NOTES

Life Expectancy: Poetry is published by Redbat Books. Learn more about Kirsten Rian and her work as a writer, artist, singer, photography curator, professor, editor, and general Renaissance woman at her website, kirstenrian.com.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Author Interview: Malcolm Terence


In the 1960s, journalist Malcolm Terence helped found the Black Bear Ranch, a commune near the California-Oregon border that still exists. His new memoir, Beginner's Luck: Dispatches from the Klamath Mountains, is an exuberant record of this piece of America's 1960s history.


Malcolm recently talked with Rose City Reader about his new book and his thoughts on the 1960s.

How did you come to write Beginner’s Luck?

When I was 15 years old, that’s six decades ago, I started writing for daily newspapers in Arizona. Eventually I ended up as a reporter on the Los Angeles Times. But when I was 25 I felt that being a reporter was too constraining so I headed out looking for adventure. Some friends in LA, very talented musicians, had started a band that played a hybrid of rock and avant-garde, and they needed a manager. They recruited me and we recorded and toured the country for over a year. In San Francisco I met the Diggers, a radical theater group that was starting a commune in the northern mountains so I bailed on the music biz and I moved there.

For many reasons, I stopped writing then, but by the late 1990’s I started again, mostly for regional newspapers in the same rural area where we’d started the commune. I used to tell my daughter stories of the commune and she’d pump me for more and for repetitions of her favorites. That was the start of the book—embedded in the oral tradition.

Also, remember, in the late 1960s our country was as politically divided as it is today. Some of the people at the commune were avoiding the military draft. People had adopted names and there were outlaws of many types. There were many secrets, and I could not have written Beginner’s Luck then.

One of the highlights of your memoir is how you helped found the Black Bear Ranch commune in the Klamath Mountains of northern California. Can you give us an example or two of advice you wished you had before you embraced communal living?

It would be hard to overstate how ignorant we, a crowd of urban refugees, were of living in the woods. I’d lived in Tucson and Los Angeles; I’d never seen snow fall. I remember somehow cutting enough firewood for maybe two weeks for when winter eventually came, and thinking I’d cut way too much wood. “Well, I won’t have to cut any next year,” I told myself.

What were you least prepared for when you moved to the Black Bear Ranch?

The snow, of course, but more than anything, I had always had roommates in my adult life, but within a year there were 60 people living at Black Bear. It was never dull. I watched the advent of the first wave of feminism, and not just of women claiming their rights, but also us men learning to do our share of the domestic labor. If women could cut firewood, and many did, how could we men shirk cooking and taking care of the kids. I attended many home births and was even the only person present when the midwives were late for one birth. We left the world we’d been raised in and set out to reinvent our lives. There were few limits on what we tried. (I confess. Not every path was rewarding.)

How long did the commune last and what path did your life follow after leaving the commune?

The Black Bear Commune still exists. I stayed there for four years. Many people cycled through over the decades and stayed a few years or a few days until they knew what they wanted to learn. Over the years hundreds of people have come through. It was a kind of feral graduate school. I eventually settled down in the small Salmon River towns near the commune, although most of the “graduates” returned to urban life. I worked in gold mining, logging, firefighting and tree planting. As I grew older I started teaching school. Also, the handful of commune vets who moved stayed on the river joined in the political organizing in the river communities on issues like the use of toxic sprays in the forest.

Other than former (or current) hippies, who do you think would enjoy your book?

The answer to that question has two parts:

First, when we were young many of us imagined that we had invented progressive political thought in America. The great attacks on the Left beginning in the 1920s and growing vicious by the 1950s had scrubbed our country of that part of its history. There were exceptions, but it was a mistake that many of us made—the error of discounting or just plain not knowing what went before us. My book Beginner’s Luck treats only one segment of the tectonic political shifts in America in the 1960s, but I wanted to enter it into the record so that part of the national experience would not be lost.

Second, one of the things I learned as a newspaper writer was that a story better hold the reader until the end, or at least pretty near the end. Why write beyond where the reader is going to read? The feedback I’ve gotten from readers since the book was released tell me that I accomplished that goal.

Did you think of turning your own experience into fiction and writing the book as a novel?

I’ve written thousands of articles in my life, all of them as true as I could make them. I don’t know if I could write fiction if I tried. When I left the Times in Los Angeles, I thought I’d left the world of news. News happened in court houses and city halls. It took me years, decades even, to realize that there were stories worth writing everywhere. Some people have called the book a memoir, but I thought of it as reportage.

Do you have recommendations for other books about the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s? Are any of them personal account like yours?

There are a few other books I love. The first is Sleeping Where I Fall by Peter Coyote. It’s about his life with the San Francisco Diggers, the theatrical and revolutionary gang that started the Black Bear Commune. The second is Fugitive Days by Bill Ayers about his years with the anti-war Weather Underground. The third is Simple Dreams, a memoir by Linda Ronstadt, the singer. All three have been good friends for decades and given me valuable support as the book evolved. All three turn out to be brilliant writers and great witnesses to the epoch.

What did you learn from writing your book – either about the subject of the book or the writing process – that most surprised you?

All the years of newspaper writing made me think book writing would be a snap. Ha! I’m lucky that the editors and the reviewers at Oregon State University Press stuck with me through revision after revision, as the manuscript got more and more readable. They didn’t just say, “It needs to get better.” They’d attach long lists of page-specific suggestions. It was the best series of courses of How-To-Write-A-Book ever offered at any university.

Who are you favorite authors and what kind of books do you like to read?

I mostly read political histories and how-to-fix-it books. My wife and I taught school in Haiti for a year about 20 years ago. I loved the author Madison Smartt Bell. I find myself reading old New Yorkers because they have the best writers. I even read about subjects that wouldn’t ordinarily interest me because I want to see how their writers handle things—they’re the best in the world. Sometimes I think, “I could steal that trick.”

What are you reading now?

I arrived early for my own book reading at Tsunami Books in Eugene, Oregon, and picked up Michael Pollan’s new book on LSD. Then I forgot to buy a copy. I’ll get one at the next reading. There’s one in Seattle in a week.

What is the most valuable advice you’ve been given as an author?

Lots of people have advice, not all useful. I remember when I was getting weary from the revisions, so different than the world of newspaper writing. Linda Ronstadt had just published her book, she did it without a ghost writer, and it’s very good. She told me, “You need to work on it every day.”

What’s next? What are you working on now?

The newspaper I’ve written the most for in the last several years has been the Two Rivers Tribune, a weekly published by the Hoopa Tribe. They call me their Upriver Bureau Chief, which is kind of cute, but also true. My favorite articles have been profiles about elders. I think, if I do a bunch more of those, it might be the core of a book. Here’s a sample.

That said, suggestions are welcome.


THANKS, MALCOLM!

BEGINNER'S LUCK IS AVAILABLE ONLINE FROM OSU PRESS, POWELL'S, AND AMAZON, OR ASK YOUR LOCAL BOOK SELLER TO ORDER IT.







Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Teaser Tuesday: Dead If You Don't by Peter James



He saw the blue flashing lights of an emergency vehicle heading up the street, and heard the wail of a siren. For a moment, he wondered if he was dreaming this conversation.

-- Dead If You Don't by Peter James. This latest in James' Roy Grace series starts with the kidnapping of a teenage boy, but spirals into a dark exploration of Brighton's criminal underbelly. It has all the elements of a terrific summer read!

I can't believe I've missed this series for so long, since I'm a fan of Ian Rankin, Denise Mina, and the like. I'm going to dive in with this one and, assuming I like it, start the series from the beginning.



Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by The Purple Booker, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

Teaser Tuesday: Burying Leo by Helga Gruendler-Schierloh




Every muscle in her body tensed, she tried the door.
It was not locked.  

-- Burying Leo by Helga Gruendler-Schierloh. This timely #metoo story follows an aspiring singer when she flees from Germany after an audition ends in sexual assault.



Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by The Purple Booker, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Book Beginning: Till Death Do Us Tart by Ellie Alexander

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



They say that love makes the world go round. Given the contagious feeling of love in the air in my warmhearted town of Ashland, Oregon, I suspected that the saying might be true.
--  Till Death Do Us Tart by Ellie Alexander. This latest book in Alexander's Bakeshop Mystery series finds Jules Capshaw planning a wedding for her mom and soon-to-be-stepdad -- a wedding that ends in poisoned death!




SORRY FOR THE LATE POST! I WAS IN COURT YESTERDAY AND THOUGHT I HAD A POST SCHEDULED, BUT DIDN'T. OPERATOR ERROR!

(I'M PLEASE TO REPORT THAT I WON MY COURT HEARING.)

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING




Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Author Interview: Kirsten Rian


Kirsten Rian is a writer, artist, singer, photography curator, professor, editor, and general Renaissance woman. Her new book of poetry, Life Expectancy, explores family history, motherhood, and life taken in unexpected directions.


Kirsten recently talked with Rose City Reader about her new book, writing, poetry, and motherhood. 

You’ve done so many creative things in your life – painting, singing, writing, curating, editing, among others – what led you to write this book of poetry, Life Expectancy, at this point in your life?

To be honest, it sort of wrote itself over the span of many years. Writing has always been a form of processing for me, and a way to get perspective on a situation. When the thoughts or wonderings or facts get out of one's own head and onto paper, just enough distance is created to allow for a bit of perspective, a slightly different angle of light. Maneuvering through the physical and emotional complexities of all the medical and death issues pushed on the limits of what my brain and body could manage. Having the ability to write was an intensely necessary tool, and I'm ever-grateful I had it to fall back on and to be there alongside.

Some of the poems in your book read more like essays, all are intensely personal, dealing as you do with the death of your children’s father, medical scares, grief, motherhood, and so much more. Did you have any qualms about sharing so much?

I have never cared what people think, so that never entered my mind. I live by the creed, the truth is the truth. And some of my truth the past 20 years has been hard and scary and uncomfortable. And it's made some people around me uncomfortable. I don't care. I'm living it. I didn't ask for it, it all just happened. It's the truth, and it's life, and sooner or later we will all experience hard, scary, uncomfortable truth. I do love the prose poem format because some of what the kids and I experienced felt like this unrelenting wall, this dense block of experience we couldn't get around. So the form of the prose poem fit well for some of the content. For others, it needed couplets or some other format. The gift of poetry is that the line breaks and white space are content, as well. So we writers use all that, as well, to convey story and emotion.

Did you think of turning your own experiences into fiction and writing the book as a novel?

No. Honestly, this book was a very, very long process and I'm ready to focus on other content. I think as artists our own lives factor in to everything we make on some level, whether intentional or not. So, there's that. But for whatever reason, these particular stories needed to be told in poem form. The thing I love most about fiction is creating characters with their own experiences and impulses and hopes and dreams. I like to get lost in a character and it's time to do that for awhile.

What did you learn from writing Life Expectancy – either about the subject of the book or the writing process – that most surprised you?

I was crazy shocked to learn the book was about mothering through trauma. I thought it was about my son's and my medical issues and Dave dying, which obviously it was on some level, but it wasn't until it was completed that I realized this.

How did you think of the book’s title and what meaning do you want to convey with it?

What struck me the most moving through the events of the past 20 years was that life does not go the way one expects. Literally nothing about my adult life I could have planned. And the hard events...there's no way to prepare for how to maneuver through life and death situations with your child, your husband, yourself. The fact that we looked at death so closely at ages that defied the national 'life expectancy' also came into the meaning.

What is your process for writing a poem? Do you write at a particular time or place? Do you rewrite?

None, nope, and rarely. It's the single mom method. I write when there's time. And I do edit my pieces but large rewrites really never. If it isn't working, then it isn't working. I'm an intuitive writer and I work quickly and in spurts, so it's either there or it's not.

Who are a few of your favorite poets? Can you recommend any who deal with major life issues with the kind of heart and empathy you put into your own work?

Tess Gallagher has always been one of my favorites. Her book Moon Crossing Bridge, written after her husband Raymond Carver died, has me in tears every single time I read it. In many ways, that book was a wonderful teacher for me in how to write about grief honestly and directly and still beautifully and in a well-crafted way. Wislawa Szymborska, Jack Gilbert, Michael Ondaatje, and Dean Young I go back to over and over. TS Eliot's Four Quartets I keep in the car. When I was teaching my kids to drive, once they learned how and just needed more practice logging in hours, I'd read it aloud to calm myself down. Teaching them to drive was quite honestly one of the most stressful things I've ever done. Somebody needs to do a better job preparing parents for what this will be like!

What kind of books do you like to read? What are you reading now?

I love short fiction and really well written novels. I just finished Bette Husted's new book, All Coyote's Children, and am about to launch into Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing. I love basketball so a good NBA biography makes me happy. And comedy. David Sedaris.

What is the most valuable advice you’ve been given as an author?

Write about your own life. Much of my earlier work was more witnessing, which is fine and valuable, but not if one hasn't told their own stories yet.

You dedicate the book to your mother and grandmother, “who mothered through their own trauma the best they could.” What is the most valuable advice you’ve been given as a mother?

I lingered on this question for awhile. You know, I don't know if I've ever been given mothering advice. I've given myself lots of advice, though! And I instinctively, and it felt like primally, knew how to be a fierce mother when it was needed, especially when it was standing up for my kids.

Do you have any events coming up to promote your book?

I had a few readings when the book first came out, and I just was on Judith Arcana's fabulous KBOO radio show, Poetry and Everything. I'll gear up again to promote in the fall!

What is your next project?

I'll return to Iceland for another residency and produce both an installation and work on writing. I'm in the middle of a fiction project and I really want to write a poetry collection on joy.


THANK YOU, KIRSTEN!

LIFE EXPECTANCY IS AVAILABLE ONLINE OR ASK YOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER TO ORDER IT!




Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Teaser Tuesday The Girl from Oto by Amy Maroney



The moment the castle gates slammed shut behind the horsemen, Marguerite hurried up the stairs to the baroness's chamber. The door was locked.

-- The Girl from Oto by Amy Maroney. This art history mystery is the first in Maroney's Miramonde series featuring a Renaissance-era female artist and the modern-day art scholar who tracks down her secret.

The second book, Mira's Way, came out this month.



Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by The Purple Booker, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Mailbox Monday: Assigned to Adventure by Irene Corbally Kuhn

What books came into your house last week? I got a new edition of a memoir originally published in 1938.



Assigned to Adventure by Irene Corbally Kuhn. Irene Kuhn was an American writer who worked as a journalist in Paris, Shanghai, and Hawaii; a Hollywood script writer; an executive and broadcaster for NBC; a New York columnist; and a contributor to Gourmet magazine. She published her memoirs in 1938.

This new edition includes a forward by Kuhn's granddaughter, Dr. Heather Corbally Bryant, who has written a companion novel based on her grandmother called You Can't Wrap Fire in Paper.






Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday, a weekly "show & tell" blog event where participants share the books they acquired the week before. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught our Eye.

Mailbox Monday is graciously hosted by Leslie of Under My Apple Tree, Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, and Martha of Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Book Beginning: Burying Leo by Helga Gruendler-Schierloh

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



Her right hand resting on the heavy brass handle, Ingrid Bassen shook her head and sighed.

-- Burying Leo by Helga Gruendler-Schierloh. After a sexual assault, Ingrid flees Germany, hoping to bury the trauma of her past and start a new life in America.




Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING




Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Teaser Tuesday: Beginner's Luck by Malcolm Terence



It all started when Eldon Cott disrespected the district ranger in public. I guess the "in pubic" part was his real crime. 

-- Beginner's Luck: Dispatches from the Klamath Mountains by Malcolm Terence. Terence's new memoir is like having beers with your hippie uncle and hearing stories about the glory days of communes, environmental protests, living off the land, and pot brownies.



Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by The Purple Booker, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Book Beginning: The Girl fro Oto by Amy Maroney

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



Silver threads of rain twisted down from the dark sky. A chaotic wind swirled around Zari, shifting and billowing from all directions, tugging at her backpack with invisible fingers.

-- The Girl from Oto by Amy Maroney. This mystery tracks the story of a 16th-century female artist from Scotland to Spain, from the Renaissance to modern times.

The second book in Maroney's Miramonde Series, Mira's Way, just came out this month.




Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING




Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Teaser Tuesday: All Coyote's Children by Bette Lynch Husted



There had been no secrets between them. But last summer was the first time Jack had not come downstairs eager not only to rejoin her and the boys for supper and a swim, but also to share some small bit of his research.

-- All Coyote's Children by Bette Lynch Husted, from OSU Press. So what changed?

This exciting new novel is set in eastern Oregon and explores the conflicts between the Native American and ranching cultures of the American West.




Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by The Purple Booker, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Mailbox Monday

Three new books by exciting women authors came into my house last week. What about you?



The Girl from Oto by Amy Maroney. This art history mystery goes back and forth between present day and the 16th Century. It is the first in a series and the second book, Mira's Way, just came out.



Burying Leo by Helga Gruendler-Schierloh. A young woman flees Germany to a new life in America, hoping to leave her demons behind.



Till Death Do Us Tart by Ellie Alexander. The latest in Alexander's irresistible Bakeshop Mystery series featuring Jules Capshaw.




Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday, a weekly "show & tell" blog event where participants share the books they acquired the week before. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught our Eye.

Mailbox Monday is graciously hosted by Leslie of Under My Apple Tree, Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, and Martha of Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf.



Saturday, July 7, 2018

Author Interview: Morgan Talbot


Mystery writer Morgan Talbot just launched a new series featuring Pippa Winterbourne, amateur sleuth and owner of a bed-and-breakfast/writers' retreat on the Oregon coast.

You can find Morgan online at her website, facebook, and twitter.


Morgan talked with Rose City Reader about her new series, mystery writing, and her love of the Oregon Coast that inspired the setting of her Moorehaven Mysteries. 


You recently released the first book in your Moorehaven Mysteries Series, Smugglers & Scones. How did you get the idea for such a fun series?

Moorehaven Mysteries is a collection of several different ideas and notions. I grew up visiting the Oregon Coast as a child, so the location holds a natural and enduring appeal for me. I’ve always been intensely curious, so mysteries in general are something I see as challenges to be overcome, puzzles to be solved. I’ve always enjoyed baking more than cooking, because that’s where all the desserts come from. And a passing comment I made in a elevator full of mystery writers at a Left Coast Crime convention left me wondering: what would happen if a group of mystery authors found themselves solving an actual crime together? All that, combined with my love of history and my desire to be as practical a person as Pippa Winterbourne, has coalesced into the Moorehaven Mysteries series.

What is your family background? How did it lead you to writing novels?

My grandparents were all teachers and educators, from music to foreign languages, with some medical skills, carpentry wizardry, and jack-of-all-trades practicality thrown in. I was raised by parents who low-key stood in awe of their own parents and encouraged my brother and me to learn everything we could about everything we discovered. My most prized possession as a child was my library card, and I was an English Literature major in college. Language is a fascinating construct to me—there’s a practicality in clarity but an art to communication. What we say conveys as much about us as it says about our subject matter. Language isn’t a puzzle, it’s an endless game that I will never tire of amusing myself with.

I started off writing poetry. My mother keeps a crayon poem I scrawled at the age of four. My teenage years saw a shift to longer works, and by college, I was writing a terribly planned behemoth of a fantasy story that topped out at just shy of half a million words. It will never see the light of day—you’re welcome. A couple of long, rambling novels later, I realized I needed to outline for the sake of my sanity, and I’ve done pretty well with that plan ever since. A little organization goes a long way when corralling my art into recognizable form.

How did you ever come up with the idea of an amateur sleuth who runs a bed and breakfast for writers of crime novels? I get the innkeeper part, but the theme of the inn is very quirky.

I like the concept behind the B&B-themed cozy mystery setting, but I needed to make my own mark with it. I’d just been back east and seen a few historical sites—Benjamin Franklin sat in this pew for church, here stands Betsy Ross’s house, that sort of thing—and I thought a historic destination might be a good idea. If I combined that with the elevator idea I had at Left Coast Crime and aimed the destination at mystery writers, then every character who stayed there would be willing and able to contribute to my crime-solving escapades. And, let’s be honest, I’d sign up to stay at Moorehaven in a heartbeat, so there is a tiny piece of this plan that’s pure wish fulfillment.

What do you admire most about your heroine, Pippa Winterbourne? What is her least endearing trait?

I wrote Pippa specifically to be more practical than I am. I figured that if I spent hundreds of hours thinking about her and how she would handle things, it might rub off. And it’s working, though slowly. My super slow master plan, haha!

As for her least endearing trait, I might say it’s her neutrality, which she has cultivated so she never overtly favors one guest’s books or writing style over another’s. I’m very neutral myself, and it helps me see all sides more objectively, but sometimes it’s necessary in real life to take a side, and quickly. Pippa could miss some clues by dismissing them as unimportant if she’s trying to see the big picture instead of paying attention to all the little pictures.

Why did you decide to set your series in the small town of Seacrest and is it based on a real town?

I love the feel of a tiny seaside town. When I was young, my family would trundle up and down the Oregon Coast on summer weekends, and I feel very at home in their beach-oriented streets, breathing that thick salt air and feeling that gray-gold sand rub between my toes. Seacrest’s layout and location is loosely based on that of Yachats, Oregon, though I have taken so many liberties that Yachats locals might not recognize it. There are aspects of several small towns in Seacrest, because I wanted to give it a more accessible feel.

Do you know right away, or have an idea, how you are going to end your books? Or does the ending come to you as you are in the process of writing?

I know whodunit, and I know how they’re going to get caught. But most of the time, the tying up of all the loose ends is a surprise, and I just go with whatever idea feels most natural once I reach the final climax of the plot.

What did you learn from writing Smugglers & Scones – either about the subject of the book or the writing process – that most surprised you?

Well, it was a bit of an unpleasant surprise when someone reached through my photographer’s car window and stole my brand new left-handed notebook on day one of my research trip! Luckily, as I said, it was brand new and didn’t contain any notes yet. Handy tip, guys: don’t steal stuff from murder mystery writers. We might happily add you to our next book!

Were books an important part of your household when you were growing up?

Absolutely. I regularly had stacks of library books to read—mostly mysteries—and my parents had endless bookshelves of their own.

Who are your three (or four or five) favorite authors? Is your own writing influenced by the books you read?

I always have a hard time with this question. All writing teaches me something, whether about the work or about the author and the world they inhabit. I do have one favorite book, written by Lois McMaster Bujold, and I admire Agatha Christie no end. In the spirit of Anne Shirley, I feel that Dame Christie is a kindred spirit, in that we have both surrounded ourselves with multiple notebooks for those inevitable moments when inspiration deigns to drop us a clue.

Do you have favorite mystery series you love to read? Which ones?

I will read or reread anything Agatha Christie has written. I feel like there’s some mystery to her writing style—or the mentality behind it—that I have yet to uncover. I still need more research.

What are you reading now?

A time travel novel my husband picked up at the library. I love time travel stories most out of all the science fiction genre, because they often lead straight to historical fiction.

What is the most valuable advice you’ve been given as an author?

The practical little things that aren’t about writing but about getting one’s work noticed by readers. No one knows these secrets except other writers, which is why a network of colleagues and friends is so essential to success. I’ve learned so much from my fellow writers. I wouldn’t even be published if not for friendly conversations with them.

What is the best thing about being a writer?

I'm working on book three in the Moorehaven series right now, and two of my beta readers told me just last night that they stayed up way too late to finish the manuscript I sent them because they were so enthralled with the story. In that moment, everything I’d done to create this book—research trips, endless hours of writing alone, scribbling ideas down at three in the morning, struggling with the endless puzzle pieces of my plot—all felt entirely worth the effort. My creative project had given people happiness and entertainment. I can’t ask for more than that—to touch the world and make it just a little bit better.

Writers work in isolation for 90% of their process, but that last 10% is like stepping out of a cave into the brilliant sunlight, after having spent ages doing backbreaking cave art, and having the whole village cheer and throw you a feast. The love and regard of others is a boon to our souls, but it is not why we create. We create because we must. The feasts are really, really nice, though.

What does a typical writing day look like for you?

Unfortunately, I don’t have a typical day. My kids are out of school for the summer, and my household is a lumbering creature who cannot decide if it is nocturnal or not. Some days I get my hours in early in the morning, sometimes just after lunch, and sometimes not until the kids have gone to bed. Some days I get several hours in, and others, nada. It’s times like these when I fondly wish for an isolated cabin in the hills with no internet or reception.

Do you have any events coming up to promote Smugglers & Scones?

My publisher is having a big $0.99 sale on the Kindle edition from July 9 – 13 to celebrate the release of the sequel, Burglars & Blintzes, which comes out on July 10th.

What’s next? Are you working on your next book?

I am! I’m giving the third book some polishing before I submit it, and I’m beginning the first plot sketches for the fourth book. I’ll need another research trip to the Oregon Coast for that one—and I’ll make sure we roll up all the car windows this time.


THANKS MORGAN!

SMUGGLERS & SCONES AND BURGLARS & BLINTZES ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE OR ASK YOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER TO ORDER THEM!



Thursday, July 5, 2018

Book Beginning: Suicide of the West by Jonah Goldberg

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



Human nature is real. Few statements are less controversial among the people who study the subject and more controversial among people who don't.

-- Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy by Jonah Goldberg. Such a tantalizing beginning!

Despite it's grim title, this is essentially an optimistic book, only because Goldberg makes a good case for saving American Democracy. And he does it with equal amounts of philosophy, political argument, and humor. It's a great read.





Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING





Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Teaser Tuesday: The Copper Beech by Maeve Binchy



Father Gunn knew that their housekeeper Mrs. Kennedy could have done it all much better than he would do it. Mrs. Kennedy would have done everything better in fact, heard Confessions, forgiven sins, sung the Tantum Ergo at Benediction, buried the dead.

-- The Copper Beech by Maeve Binchy. I always love Maeve Binchy's books but it's been a few years since I read one. There is something so satisfying about the way the characters always get in a mess and then some strong, but kind, female comes in and sorts it all out.




Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by The Purple Booker, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

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