Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: family-dynamics
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
review 2017-03-14 15:10
Jake's Orphan by Peggy Brook

I read this book when I was in elementary school and loved it! This book is tolled through the view point of a boy named Tree. The story goes into depth about the struggles of Tree and his love for his younger brother, Acorn. Because they are orphans, their goals and dreams are centered on finding a new home for them. However, their plans get interrupted when only Tree is taken in with a farmer as extra help around the farm.  Before Tree is fostered with this new family, he promises Accorn that he will send for him when possible.The farmer's brother, Jake, gives Tree hope that one day the farm will become his home. However, too much time goes by and Acorn gets impatient. One day Acorn shows up at the farm without warning, which almost ruins everything that Tree has worked so hard for. Read the book for yourself for the ending! But I absolutely loved it! This book would be great to use as recreational reading or for a glimpse in another time for Social Studies. It could also be used to show sibling love and what it is like to grow up as a a child with nontraditional family dynamics. The lexile level is 790L so this book would be appropriate for the 6th grade and above.

Like Reblog Comment
text 2016-10-05 08:57
On self publishing The Big Picture - and becoming an indie author

 The Big Picture - A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic, was the first novel I knew I would publish independently.


I wanted to explore a number issues and without the constrains of genre I had no idea where they would take me. I was excited.


I wanted to examine the creative process - and how the art and the artist are influenced by the marketplace.


I wanted to delve into the intensity of family dynamics - how wonderful it is when it works and how damaging it can be when it doesn't.


I wanted complex characters and authentic relationships.


As a journalist, I'd covered stories that couldn't be reported. I knew what was going on but I couldn't get someone to go on (or off) the record to admit it. It's frustrating, but what could you do?


Well, you can use it in fiction. The plot of The Big Picture is comprised of some of those unsubstantiated stories and also my investigation into the influence on our lives of drug money.


To get at my protagonist's inner journey I went deep inside myself, rooted around, and came forth with not so much the truth about a life I've experienced, but one I'd hoped (still hope) to live.


Nigerian writer, Chinua Achebe said, "One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised." I wanted Freyja, my heroine, to be that person. I wanted to see where her blunt refusal to compromise and her intolerant attitude toward those who do would lead her.


Here's what I came up with:


Young, talented, ambitious, Freyja Brynjarrson’s a photographer struggling to crash the art establishment, the challenges presented by her family, and still keep true to her uncompromising ethic.

Fate places her on the front line of a political demonstration where soldiers open fire on civilians. She photographs death for the first time and likes it.

Because of the sensitive nature of her pictures the current government, facing an imminent election, tries to suppress them. But someone far more unscrupulous than government spin-doctors also wants those images destroyed.

Gunnar Brynjarrson, Freyja’s eldest brother is the head of an illegal narcotics empire. He’s concerned about the opposition party’s platform to decriminalize drugs. His sister’s photographs could influence the outcome of a close election and put his business in jeopardy.

As events unfold, Freyja slowly becomes aware of the far-reaching impact the billions of narco dollars have on the government, the economy, friends, family and even herself. Something insidious has infected society and like a super bug it’s resilient, opportunistic and appears as a mutation in the most unexpected places.

Freyja refuses to compromise and is intolerant and unforgiving of those who succumb to this evil or are complicit in their acceptance of it. If she stays at home she’s afraid she’ll be infected and never attain success on her own terms.

She takes an assignment with an international agency photographing the chaos and casualties of Mexico’s drug war. Freyja soon discovers she’s shot only one frame of ‘the big picture’.

The Big Picture focuses on dramatic action, zooms in on political intrigue, and takes a candid snap shot of modern romance. The plot also reveals how narco dollars, overtly and covertly, influence every level of our lives; the wars we fight, the governments we elect, the impact on healthcare, and most importantly and tragically, our personal relationships.


When The Big Picture was finished I set about self-publishing. I used Kindle Direct for the e-book and Createspace for the paperback, both Amazon platforms.


I know a little about publishing having been (and still am) a community newspaper publisher for nearly four decades. Mind you, with the speed technology is evolving past experience doesn't count for much, if anything. In any case, I didn't find the process that difficult. The most difficult part was, and still is, making sure my original manuscript is error free.


I loved this book. I did everything I could to promote it - used social media, sent out advance copies, ran giveaways, sent forth positive thoughts.


I allowed myself to hope. It was a mistake. The Big Picture was self-published without acclaim, reviews or sales. I was disappointed. I felt bad, not so much for myself as for the book. I felt I had let everyone down - meaning my characters.


I regrouped and focused on why I write - because I love to, to learn new things, and to pass my view of the world on to others. Two out of three - not too bad.


Upon reflection I realized The Big Picture had done no worse than the first three books I had published with a publisher. I enjoyed the independence of self-publishing - and the responsibility. So when it became time to renew the contracts with my publisher I said I would if they would publish all the books as paperbacks. We compromised - they published Not Wonder More - Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients and I yanked the other two books, Spirit Bear and Eagleridge Bluffs.


I subsequently self-published and released Spirit Bear as

 Saving Spirit Bear - What Price Success, and Eagleridge Bluffs as Loving the Terrorists - Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs. My re-released books have fared no worse than the one remaining on the publisher's list, all have done terrible.


Next month I'll retain the rights of my last book under contract and I plan to re-release it as a self-published book as well.


The next time I'll talk about , Forest - Love, Loss, Legend, how came out of the residuals of the previous book - war, drugs, and murder combined with my love of the wilderness - it's splendor and it's mystery.



Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2015-09-14 12:21
Sweet as Cane, Salty as Tears by Ken Wheaton
Sweet as Cane, Salty as Tears - Ken Wheaton

I received a free kindle copy of Sweet as Cane, Salty as Tears by Ken Wheaton, published by Open Road Integrated Media from NetGalley in Exchange for a fair review.

This is the only book I've read that referenced the city of my birth, Ville Platte, Louisiana. I found that intriguing.

I gave this incredible story five stars. I am so impressed by Ken Wheaton's skill with words. The characters are in depth, the dialogue crisp & spot on & the pace of the story is fast & entertaining.

I highly recommend this book.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2015-03-18 01:53
The Red Tent
The Red Tent - Anita Diamant

A biblical tale and fictional account based on the story of Dinah from Genesis.  The only daughter born to Jacob and Leah (first wife) of the Old Testament is narrated in the voice of Dinah through the stories of her mother and aunts.


Dinah grows up in The Red Tent where the women of Jacob gather for childbirth, healing and their monthly cycles.  Each aunt lovingly tells her story in order pass knowledge and teach Dinah the history and lessons that came before her.  Here she learns the dynamics of how these women get along as well as the obstacles they've faced.  To say these women had it difficult is the supreme understatement. From her beautiful aunt Rachel she learns midwifery and discovers she has a genuine calling so much so that she is sought out from others and thus brings value to her tribe.  We are witness to Dinah's coming of age, falling in love and her life's journey bringing her full circle.


Ultimately a women's read, I found this story dense with emotion and at times intense.  One of the most satisfying stories I've ever read. While this book sat on my shelf for nearly a decade I admit I felt somewhat put off by the subject matter all the while hearing high acclaim for it.  I'm sorry I let it sit so long but it's a relief to have it off the TBR stack  shelf. I give this book the highest recommendation and am happy to have already passed it on to a book club member.


How I acquired this book: Passed to me by my friend Jackie.

Shelf life: 10+ years



Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2015-02-25 01:47
The Vacationers
The Vacationers: A Novel - Emma Straub

This was my book club's most recent selection and book we discussed on Sunday. A "lighter" read was preferred by our group and this won the vote based on that assumption.  It was indeed a lighter read than our previous selections and overall it was thought to be slighter better than your average beach read.


Jim and Franny are trying to work things out in their 25+ years marriage and decide to go on a family vacation to Spain.  This includes their daughter Sylvia who just graduated from high school and is college bound as well as her much older brother Bobby and his much older girlfriend Carmen.  In addition, Franny's longtime best friend Charles and his husband Lawrence join them for their holiday.


Franny is bitter that Jim had an affair. Jim is weak and wimpy.  Sylvia is lost in her own world of angst but livens up a bit for handsome Juan, her Spanish tutor her mother arranged for the trip.  Bobby and Carmen have their own troubles and Carmen feels like the outsider who doesn't fit in with this family.  Charles and Lawrence are desperately trying to adopt a baby. Franny lights up like Christmas whenever Charles is around and once the two of them are together anyone else in the room becomes oblivious.  Once they all arrive in Spain drama, hysterics and folly result.


Despite some good reviews on this book I was surprised I did not enjoy it.  I didn't think any of the characters to be likable but Lawrence who seemed to be the only one of the cast who had any sense and sanity.  If you like beach reads and the lighter side when it comes to books than this is for you.  If like me, you need a bit more substance for a satisfying read then I wouldn't recommend this one.


How I acquired this book: Purchased at Barnes & Noble with giftcard from Christmas.

Shelf Life:  2 months

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?