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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....
Philip Shenon, the bestselling author of THE COMMISSION: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, was a reporter for the New York Times for more than 20 years. His most recent book, A CRUEL AND SHOCKING ACT: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination, seeks to answer the questions that have haunted our nation for half a century: Was President John F. Kennedy killed by a single gunman? Was Lee Harvey Oswald part of a conspiracy? Did the Warren Commission discover the whole truth of what happened on November 22, 1963? Here, too, in our last Holiday Author Blog of 2013, Philip writes about a topic that is every bit as pervasive --- although slightly less conspiracy-oriented: the luxury of reading for pleasure and the joy it brings.
Belinda Alexandra is an internationally bestselling author whose love of other cultures and languages is matched by her passion for her home country, Australia. Her latest novel, TUSCAN ROSE, is a richly woven tale of passion, longing, witchcraft and magic set in Italy during World War II. In her Holiday Author Blog, Belinda writes about the power of a good book to change its reader and transport him or her to new and exciting places, as well as the first book that really moved her.
In 14 years as a SEAL officer, Rorke Denver tangled with drug lords in Latin America, stood up to violent mobs in Liberia, and battled terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has spent the past four years as executive officer of the Navy Special Warfare Center’s Advanced Training Command in Coronado, California, directing all phases of the basic and advanced training that prepare men for war in SEAL teams. His memoir, DAMN FEW: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior (available in paperback on January 14th), takes the reader inside his own personal story and the fascinating, demanding SEAL training program he now oversees. In his Holiday Author Blog, Rorke talks about the one book that sparked his “flame” and inspired him to become a SEAL.
In Jason Mott's debut novel, THE RETURNED, readers are introduced to Harold and Lucille, whose son died tragically at his eighth birthday party. When Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep years later, they must navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human. In his Holiday Author Blog, Jason talks about one soggy Christmas when he received THE ODYSSEY --- after going on a real-life cow-chasing odyssey --- and how he found a new world, and himself, in the Homer classic long before he was creating worlds of his own.