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.







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