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May 6, 2014

Brenda Bevan Remmes: Skip-It

Posted by Meghan
THE QUAKER CAFÉ, Brenda Bevan Remmes's debut novel, is brimming with Southern charm. With charm to spare, Brenda shares here the story of her family's tradition of replacing hard-to-pronounce words with a simpler, handier phrase: "Skip-it." The unconventional practice was started by a nanny who would not be cowed by words she'd never learned, and evolved into a lesson about reading between the lines --- which still proves useful today.
In her latest book, THE SAME SWEET GIRLS' GUIDE TO LIFE: Advice from a Failed Southern Belle, Cassandra King offers her signature humor and practical wisdom to new graduates in order to sustain them through life’s inevitable ups and downs. And if you’re anything like her, you won’t be able to help but read it again and again. Here, she admits to being a repeat reader when it comes to books she loves, and how she’s found --- much to her delight --- that it’s a quirk she’s passed down to her grandchildren.
Eva Marie Everson is a multiple award-winning, bestselling novelist whose latest work, THE ROAD TO TESTAMENT, was born out of her many getaways to North Carolina and the writer’s favorite question, “What if…?” It wasn’t until she turned 40 that the writing bug bit, but the seeds had been planted at a young age, when her mother would allow a restless Eva Marie to read instead of nap. Through the years, both her parents enthusiastically encouraged her writing; her mother’s faith in her was so firm that she offered to “hold her extra pen at book signings” even before Eva Marie had sold her first manuscript. When Eva Marie needed details for a story about a 1950s housewife, she knew exactly who to ask: her mother. That book, THIS FINE LIFE, remains to this day Eva Marie’s favorite, because it reminds her of her mother and this fine life she willed for her.
Unlike Leslie Carter, the underappreciated mother in her latest novel, THE LAST ORIGINAL WIFE (now available in paperback), Dorothea Benton Frank enjoys a healthy and open relationship with her grown children. Despite their heritage as “natural born liars” --- or maybe because of it --- Dottie’s children know the importance of choosing words wisely. Of course, it may have a lot to do with the family’s shared love of stories and storytelling. Dottie may have forbidden her children candy and TV, but to this day, she’s happy to foot the bill on any and all kinds of books --- an investment with immeasurable returns!
This year, we’re kicking off our Mother’s Day Blog series with a piece from bestselling author Francine Rivers, whose latest book is BRIDGE TO HAVEN. Here, she considers a parent’s role in instilling a love of reading in his or her child. Although Francine’s parents encouraged her to read, they were more practical-minded about their literature, and it wasn’t until she married into the eclectic Rivers family that she discovered the joy of genres. She and her husband made sure to pass along that joy to their children and grandchildren --- one of whom has even taken to writing fan fiction!
For the third year, Kathy Jund, a reader from Southern California, has graciously covered the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books for us. A 10-year veteran of what she has previously called “The Disneyland of Books,” Kathy certainly knows her way around the event! Some unexpected changes made for a bumpy arrival, but Kathy and her “usual crew” persevered. They attended panels featuring established and emerging authors, chatted with fellow fans about the Festival’s evolution, and made sure to sample plenty of coffee and cookies along the way.
Luanne Rice is the author of thirty-one novels including twenty-two consecutive New York Times bestsellers. Over the weekend she attended the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) Festival. Here, she shares how she was introduced to graphic novels and how the medium has given her insight into “new story-telling possibilities.”   
Wendy Webb is an award-winning author, whose latest book, THE VANISHING, was published in January 2014. This past weekend, she went to the Virginia Festival of the Book, a five-day festival in Charlottesville, VA, that features hundreds of author attendees, readings, panel discussions and book signings. Wendy was kind enough to share her experience with Here, she talks about event highlights, bonding with fellow panelists and the pleasure of meeting readers.
Paul D. Parsons, the author of the Baden-Powell's Beads series, talks about why he thinks it's important for writers to read, not only the classics but contemporary works as well. He also shares some of the authors who have inspired his own writing --- including Vince Flynn, Wilbur Smith, James Michener and Stephen King.
January 9, 2014

What I Read on My Holiday Vacation

Posted by carol
While on my two-week Christmas/New Year’s vacation I posted commentary on the Facebook about many of the books that I read. Here I have compiled that copy, as well as some notes about books that I never had time to post about there. I had dozens of books with me and as I unpacked when we arrived in North Carolina I placed them on shelves in a small office area in the house. Each time I finished one I would peruse the shelves of my personal library looking for the next; I love weeks like this. So here is my vacation reading recap....