Wednesday, April 29, 2015

To Catch a Falling Star


To Catch a Falling Star is the eighth book in Anna Belfrage’s series featuring time traveler Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.
Some gifts are double-edged swords …
For Matthew Graham, being given the gift of his former Scottish manor is a dream come true. For his wife, Alex, this gift will force her to undertake a perilous sea journey, leaving most of their extensive family in the Colony of Maryland. Alex is torn apart by this, but staying behind while her husband travels to Scotland is no option.
Scotland in 1688 is a divided country, torn between the papist Stuart king and the foreign but Protestant William of Orange. In the Lowlands, popular opinion is with Dutch William, and Matthew’s reluctance to openly support him does not endear him to his former friends and neighbors.
While Matthew struggles to come to terms with the fact that Scotland of 1688 bears little resemblance to his lovingly conserved memories, Alex is forced to confront unresolved issues from her past, including her overly curious brother-in-law, Luke Graham. And then there’s the further complication of the dashing, flamboyant Viscount Dundee, a man who knocks Alex completely off her feet.
All the turmoil that accompanies their return to Scotland pales into insignificance when a letter arrives, detailing the calamities threatening their youngest daughter in Maryland – at the hand of that most obnoxious minister, Richard Campbell. Matthew and Alex have no choice but to hasten back, no matter the heartache this causes.
Will they make it back in time? And what will Richard Campbell do?



EXCERPT:
By the time they reached Grassmarket, the cloud cover was beginning to thin, and weak rays of sunlight filtered through to sparkle on the odd stand of wet grass, puddles and cobbles. The boys perked up at the sight of so much livestock, and after ensuring Alex was sitting safe and sound with a warm pasty in her hand, Matthew took his sons and dived into the market proper to find them horses. Alex leaned back against the worn granite of the water post and regarded the scene before her.
In one corner, poultry was being sold, just in front of her were the sheep, and for some minutes she exchanged belligerent stares with a heavy ram before someone bought him and led him away. She strolled across the open space, meandering around warm piles of dung, small children, huge muddy patches, and the odd gyps selling lucky charms. Voices rose and fell around her, people laughed and haggled, and it was all quite agreeable. Until the damned horse tore itself loose from the temporary smithy and set off like an enraged bear through the crowds, with a man hanging on to its reins.
“Bloody hell!” Alex wheezed, trying to get off the ground. Her cap had been knocked off, she had sat in something suspiciously soft and warm, and her back was soaked through.
“Uuuuuhhh,” the man on top of her said, and heaved himself up on his knees. He looked a sight. His right side was caked in mud, and blood flowed freely from his nose, dripping down on Alex who shoved at him.
“Help me up!” she said, and the man somehow got back on his feet and extended his hand to her. Shit, how it hurt! Her ribs ached, she seemed to have cracked the back of her head against something, and her hip...
“My sincerest apologies,” the man said in a deep, cultured voice.
“As if that will go very far in covering the costs for new clothes.” Alex twisted round to confirm that, yes, she had landed in a cowpat. She glared at him as she adjusted her bum roll: quite the gentleman, with his dark wig knocked askew to reveal long dark hair beneath it, substantially less curly than the impressive, if somewhat bedraggled, hairpiece.
He righted his wig, looked about for his hat, and swept her an elaborate bow, incongruous given the state of his fine embroidered coat and matching velvet breeches.
“You saved my life, ma’am.”
“Let’s not exaggerate,” Alex replied edgily. “All I did was cushion your landing.” He pointed, she swiveled, wincing at the accompanying twinge that flew up her back. “Oh.” She had, in fact, saved his life. If he hadn’t crashed into her, he would have ploughed head first into the water post.
The man looked her up and down with interest. “Not only my savior but a most handsome one at that,” he said gallantly, using a muddy handkerchief to staunch the blood welling from his long, narrow nose.
“Not only a moron, but blind as a bat,” Alex riposted, and the stranger laughed.
“I can assure you, mistress, that there’s nothing wrong with my eyesight.”
“So you live a life of delusions – poor you.” Alex had by now assured herself that all of her was in working order, even if she suspected she might have sprained her wrist. “What happened to the horse?” she asked, gingerly moving her hand back and forth.
“Treacherous creature!” the man spat, but it was obvious he didn't agree with his own assessment, his face shining up when a boy came leading the horse.
“And who’s the lucky one?” Alex muttered. “Not a bruise or a scratch or even a dab of mud on you!”
It was an impressive horse, seventeen hands or so, and with a hide that shifted in all shades of grey from a pearly almost white to the nearly black of graphite. The horse scraped with its hoof and jerked at the reins, making Alex back away.
The man said something in a low voice to the horse before turning back to Alex. “John Graham of Claverhouse, at your service.”
“Alex Graham, but, as far as I know, we’re not related.”
“Now we are,” he laughed. “After all, I owe you my life.” He was a few inches taller than she was, with a longish face in which the nose and two dark brows were the main features. The mouth was a bit too small and prim, but the eyes…She was flustered by his open and admiring look, even more so when Matthew grabbed her from behind.
“Alex? Are you alright?” He frowned at John Graham, his free hand dropping to the hilt of his sword.
“What? Oh, yes, yes, I’m alright. A bit dirty, but quite alright.” Alex nodded in the direction of John. “This is potentially a relative of yours. Mr John Graham, no less.”
“I know who he is, and I can assure you he’s no relative,” Matthew said, his voice dripping ice.
John seemed to find it all slightly amusing, raised his brows, swept Alex yet another bow, and, after promising to compensate her for her ruined clothes, walked away, leading his horse.
“That was rude,” Alex said.
“He was rude, to barge into you like that.” Matthew wiped at her clothes.
“It was an accident. It was the horse that took off.” She could still see the unknown Graham, now back at the smithy, and when he smiled at her she smiled back. “I quite liked him, despite that ridiculous wig.”
“That’s the man responsible for much of the despoilment of south-west Scotland. Bluidy Clavers, they call him, and for good reason.”
“Despoilment?”
“Aye, he has chased Covenanters across the moors for years.” Matthew spat, tightened his hold on her arm, and led her away.


MY THOUGHTS:
A love story...love between a couple and the strong love that they have instilled throughout their large family. Alexandra Graham has reluctantly accompanied her husband from The Colonies to reclaim his family estate, Hillview. Alex and her husband, Matthew, find that Scotland is a much more complex place than when they left....so very divided by the nation deciding whether it wants to be Catholic or Protestant and what monarch should rule. Well-drawn characters who take stands and often make tough, tough choices. In addition to dealing with the immense Revolution, much closure is found regarding the long string of time traveling that has been done by the Lind family.
Character I will remember most: Isaac
Warning: Some frank sexual content.
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Characters come with both flaws and strengths. Like a time traveler, I found myself immersed in  another era.
Plus: Beautiful cover.    
Giveaway: Leave a comment on this post with the tag #GrahamSaga to be entered in a giveaway of a paperback copy! Entries will be excepted until 11:59 PM CST May 8th and I will draw a winner on the 9th.



BUY IT


AUTHOR BIO:

I was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical – both non-fiction and fiction.
I was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favorite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive … Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred.
I was always going to be a writer. Now I am – I have achieved my dream.




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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Spring into Horror Read-a-Thon 2015.....
Wrap-Up Post :-)



Rules said you have to read at least one "horror" book but it can be tamer.

FINISHED. 26 pages.
An alphabet book read with my daughter. The animals interact with each other and there are 98 of them!
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars




I read 129 pages. :-)



"Caesar at the Rubicon: A Play About Politics" by Theodore H. White. 174 pages. There are 23 pages of Prologue before the actual play and I am on page 14. I intend to read the play aloud and try to get some exercise by acting it out versus sitting in my chair. This story concentrates on how Caeser might have felt about things and will try to show how crossing the Rubicon transformed him (Caeser did not always have the personality of the dictator he became). A giveaway from the library.




I have read 4 more pages. An engrossing read filled with a lot of philosopher's thoughts on consumerism and real world examples (both of the author and the general consumer). I wonder how I will change after having read this.


39 more pages read.
My preschool son really wanted this from the library...so, I told him we would read it a bit at a time. He had a theory that the hand reaching out is "Frankenstein from the Beetleborgs movie." Now he thinks that "Drew" might have done it.
Our preschooler has been banned from his over-abundant "Poopy Jokes." For one night we relaxed this ban and let every Nancy be Poopy instead. Phrases like "She recognized Poopy by her reputation" kept the entire family amused.



I have finished the 6 pages of Forward and I am on page 4. The forward is talking about how people who were already self-sufficient in rural areas did not suffer as much during the Great Depression.


FINISHED. 27 pages
Preschooler wanted to read Rochelle Larken's retelling of Aladdin because he thought the genie of the lamp and the genie of the ring looked like a man with two heads (that's the illustration that made him eager to buy this above). Preschooler got this book with his piggy bank money for 10-cents at a Salvation Army store.



FINISHED.
24 pages that weren't a part of my original goal. Fun read with toddler. :-)


I have read some of this but I am starting a re-read to make sure I comprehend well for a review, excerpt and giveaway that I am posting tomorrow. The story is of (repeated)time travel and confronting deep emotions. Characters with a long entangled history.
186 pages of 431 thus far.
(I have finished it since the Read-a-thon.)

DOUBLE-FINISHED. 32 pages X 2
I read it twice to daughter. "Pouch" is one of Preschooler's favorite books. A story about overcoming fear of meeting new people(animals). Very cute and this book was a part of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.


FINISHED. 20 pages.
Cute book with a handle and a little lock on the side that Preschooler got from Grandparents. This read was to Toddler. Both of our young children enjoy this book (and Mother Goose in general).


I have also decided to re-read "Julie & Julia" and I am now on page 10. It is a good read...nice pace and Julia Child's recipes sound so yummy. I just don't like a lot of the things Julie Powell does as a person (even more so in the book following this, "Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession").




AND THE HORROR MASTERPIECE OF ABSURDITY


I have read 131 pages of 424.
"Hunting aficionados will devour the shark bear action." -Kirkus Reviews

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon






IT'S TODAY!!!
(My total count was 181 pages. Stay tuned for a Wrap-Up Post!)




Pages so far..63.
I am making sure I have Anna Belfrage's "To Catch a Falling Star" well read for a review, excerpt and giveaway I am posting on the 29th. :-)



I have just finished page 118.
I am learning the different names there were for ingredients during the pioneer days (baking soda was called saleratus). I had forgotten about the presence of Laura's grandmother in the Little House stories. Laura and Almanzo's childhoods were quite different as far as ease of obtaining food.
---Codfish Balls. The author advises to do the simmering of the codfish while the people in your house are sleeping- serve it for breakfast and avoid having the smell that accompanies the cooking.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Toddler comes up to me and wraps her little hand around mine.
Toddler: Mommy, get me.
Me: Mommy, get me. What's Mommy supposed to get you for?
Toddler: Um. Um. (thinking) Ice cream cone.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Read-a-thon progress :-)



Rules say you have to read at least one "horror" book but it can be tamer.

FINISHED. 26 pages.
An alphabet book read with my daughter. The animals interact with each other and there are 98 of them!
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars





6) I have read 4 more pages. An engrossing read filled with a lot of philosopher's thoughts on consumerism and real world examples (both of the author and the general consumer). I wonder how I will change after having read this.


29 more pages read.
My preschool son really wanted this from the library...so, I told him we would read it a bit at a time. He had a theory that the hand reaching out is "Frankenstein from the Beetleborgs movie." Now he thinks that "Drew" might have done it.
Our preschooler has been banned from his over-abundant "Poopy Jokes." For one night we relaxed this ban and let every Nancy be Poopy instead. Phrases like "She recognized Poopy by her reputation" kept the entire family amused.



I have finished the 6 pages of Forward and I am on page 1. The forward is talking about how people who were already self-sufficient in rural areas did not suffer as much during the Great Depression.



24 pages that weren't a part of my original goal. Fun read with toddler. :-)


I have read some of this but I am starting a re-read to make sure I comprehend well for a review, excerpt and giveaway that I am posting on the 29th. The story is of (repeated)time travel and confronting deep emotions.
I am on page 16 right now.



AND THE HORROR MASTERPIECE OF ABSURDITY

I have also decided to re-read "Julie & Julia" and I am now on page 10. It is a good read...nice pace and Julia Child's recipes sound so yummy. I just don't like a lot of the things Julie Powell does as a person (even more so in the book following this, "Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession".

I have read 14 pages. The white shark was introduced and we have have just met the bear. The bear seems to have less need to kill than the shark...wondering how this characterization will affect their encounter.
"Hunting aficionados will devour the shark bear action." -Kirkus Reviews

Friday, April 17, 2015

Spring Into Horror Read-A-Thon...
Goal Post



Rules say you have to read at least one "horror" book but it can be tamer. I am not sure what my horror selection(s) will be yet.

1) "Caesar at the Rubicon: A Play About Politics" by Theodore H. White. 174 pages. A giveaway from the library.

2) Starting "The Shadow of Blooming Grove: Warren G. Harding in His Times." 691 pages. A book I inherited from my Mother and I want to use it in our homeschooling. I plan to read it slowly with Google nearby...I know nothing about President Harding.

3) The Horizon Book of Daily Life in Ancient Rome. 127 pages. Published in 1975. I found this among the giveaways at the library today. There are 5 books in this series (5 ancient lands, I think). I want to see if I can find the rest of the series for homeschooling.




4) Notes from a World Music class I took. 83 pages. Yes, for my purposes, I am counting this as a book. I will not officially count it in the final post but it will be a very good accomplishment for me to go through this again.

My moment of silence.....
Brief pause here to reflect on the fact that I found my Mother's medication list at the bottom of a book box I was unpacking. I inherited the vast majority of her books (about 5,000) when she died of breast cancer in 2013. The medication list is extensive...she was battling Stage 4 breast cancer. She also found she had diabetes and was in heart failure from a silent heart attack when she was first diagnosed with the cancer. The medicine list was from 2009 and there was about a dozen things she had/was taking on it.I can only imagine what that list looked like by the time she passed.



5) An alphabet book that I am reading with my daughter.





6) I am on page 51. An engrossing read filled with a lot of philosopher's thoughts on consumerism and real world examples (both of the author and the general consumer). I wonder how I will change after having read this.


7) My preschool son really wanted this from the library...so, I told him we would read it a bit at a time. We are on page 19. He has a theory that the hand reaching out is "Frankenstein from the Beetleborgs movie."



8)
277 pages. The forward is talking about how people who were already self-sufficient in rural areas did not suffer as much during the Great Depression.



AND THE HORROR MASTERPIECE OF ABSURDITY

Friday, April 03, 2015

Redfield Farm



Ann Redfield is destined to follow her brother Jesse through life – two years behind him– all the way. Jesse is a conductor on the Underground Railroad, and Ann follows him there as well.
Quakers filled with a conviction as hard as Pennsylvania limestone that slavery is an abomination to be resisted with any means available, the Redfield brother and sister lie, sneak, masquerade and defy their way past would-be enforcers of the hated Fugitive Slave Law.
Their activities inevitably lead to complicated relationships when Jesse returns from a run with a deadly fever, accompanied by a fugitive, Josiah, who is also sick and close to death. Ann nurses both back to health. But precious time is lost, and Josiah, too weak for winter travel, stays on at Redfield Farm. Ann becomes his teacher, friend and confidant. When grave disappointment disrupts her life, Ann turns to Josiah for comfort, and comfort leads to intimacy. The result, both poignant and inspiring, leads to a life long devotion to one another and their cause.







MY THOUGHTS:
An excellent (fictional) memoir of the time a Quaker family spent helping conduct passengers along the Underground Railroad. A bold author whose characters are not all good or all bad. Not much is shown of the actual slavery that is being run from...but there is one moment with a slave catcher that really shows what it was like to be owned. The world needs more people like the Redfields to take a stand so intensely...let's be honest, history could have used more people taking a stand like this!
My rating:  5 out of 5. It will go in our homeschool library for the older years.
Smile: My copy is autographed. I see my daughter inheriting a complete set of Judith Redline Coopey books someday. :-)








AUTHOR BIO:
Judith Redline Coopey, born in Altoona, PA holds degrees from the Pennsylvania State University and Arizona State University. A passion for history inherited from her father drives her writing and a love for Pennsylvania sustains it. Her first book, Redfield Farm was the story of the Underground Railroad in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. The second, Waterproof, tells how the 1889 Johnstown Flood nearly destroyed a whole city and one young woman’s life. Looking For Jane is a quest for love and family in the 1890s brought to life through the eyes of Nell, a young girl convinced that Calamity Jane is her mother. Her most recent work, The Furnace: Volume One of the Juniata Iron Trilogy, is set on an iron plantation near where she grew up and tells the story of an ill conceived marriage of convenience as it plays out over a lifetime. As a teacher, writer and student of history, Ms Coopey finds her inspiration in the rich history of her native state and in stories of the lives of those who have gone before.


Interview with Judith Redline Coopey!
Ann and Jesse's family were quite industrious. What homesteading skill do you wish you had?
I’ve always thought spinning and weaving would be interesting. I have a copy of a diary of a young Quaker woman from Bedford County around the time of the Civil War. I was struck by the endless list of tasks, all of them hard work, that women faced every day.

Do you find yourself to be more like Ann or more like Jesse?
Interesting question. I think Ann is much nicer than I am and more dedicated. Jesse is an interesting choice, since he was a self-starter and a mover in the Underground Railroad, I would like to think I was more like him, but I think they’re both unique characters, unlike me, but sharing my values.

I notice a lot of good cooking mentioned through the book (foodies always pick up on these things). What are your favorite comfort foods? Are there any foods that are particularly Quaker that you have liked or would like to try?
I guess there’s nothing like roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy. I don’t know much about Quaker cooking, but I do have a Quaker cookbook. My daughter is the foodie in the family. She makes her living teaching cooking, whether classes offered by various cooking schools, or individual small groups. If I asked her, she would come up with a whole menu based on traditional Quaker foods. Since my family had lost touch with our Quaker roots, I can’t say whether any of our traditional foods had Quaker origins.


Have you visited any of the known sites of the Underground Railroad. What were they like?
Better yet, I’ve visited places in the immediate area where the story takes place and seen hiding places in attics and between two partitions in a room. I’ve also seen an entrance to a church from the river bank and up through from the basement. Every time I see one of these, I marvel at the dedication it took for people to go to such lengths to modify their homes or public buildings so they could help people escape. I plan to visit museums in Marietta, Ohio and Maysville, Kentucky this summer.

What did the Fugitive Slave Act entail? Were there other events in Pennsylvania that contributed to the Civil War?
The Fugitive Slave Law said slaves were property, and as such, they had to be returned to their owners if caught. Anyone found hiding a fugitive slave was liable to incarceration or a heavy fine. It wasn’t enforced as fully in the north where local officials often sided with the fugitives and did what they could to prevent the slave owners or slave catchers from taking them back. But the people who took part in the Underground Railroad did so at the risk of jail, fines, injury or even death.

Tell us some about your research process for "Redfield Farm."
I love research. Once I decided on the topic, I gathered all the books I could find on the Underground Railroad. When I read articles I make a note of sources the author used and looked them up for further reading. I own about thirty books on the Underground Railroad, and I’ve read maybe twenty more. Sometimes a whole book will be valuable and I’ll want to own it so I can refer to it again and again as I write. Some of the best are: Levi Coffin’s memoir which has a very long title, but if you enter his name into your search engine, you’ll come up with his book; The Underground Railroad From Slavery to Freedom by Wilbur Henry Siebert, Let My People Go by Henrietta Buckmaster and Bound For Canaan by Fergus M. Bordewich.

What are your upcoming projects?
I may very well write another book on the Underground Railroad. It won’t be for a while because I have two more books for the Juniata Iron Trilogy, but after that, I may return to a book I started some time ago about a white Southerner, born and raised in a slave-holding society, whose hatred of slavery led him to oppose it throughout his life, even to the point of stealing his uncle’s slaves and shepherding them to Canada. It’s a great story and it keeps calling to me, so….


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Looking For Jane





MY THOUGHTS:
Nell is an orphaned teenager who feels unaccepted and like she has no place in the world. When Nell is to be adopted into a bad situation, she decides to run away.  Nell travels the rivers and river towns, to the Badland and to Deadwood, South Dakota...all looking for her mother. Nell would really like it if her mother turned out to be Calamity Jane! Predictably, she learns a lot about family. Many adventures and an enjoyable read though certain aspects came together a little too fast/vague at the end.
My rating:  4.85 out of 5 stars


BUY IT:


AUTHOR BIO:
Judith Redline Coopey, born in Altoona, PA holds degrees from the Pennsylvania State University and Arizona State University. A passion for history inherited from her father drives her writing and a love for Pennsylvania sustains it. Her first book, Redfield Farm was the story of the Underground Railroad in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. The second, Waterproof, tells how the 1889 Johnstown Flood nearly destroyed a whole city and one young woman’s life. Looking For Jane is a quest for love and family in the 1890s brought to life through the eyes of Nell, a young girl convinced that Calamity Jane is her mother. Her most recent work, The Furnace: Volume One of the Juniata Iron Trilogy, is set on an iron plantation near where she grew up and tells the story of an ill conceived marriage of convenience as it plays out over a lifetime. As a teacher, writer and student of history, Ms Coopey finds her inspiration in the rich history of her native state and in stories of the lives of those who have gone before.
JudithRedlineCoopey.com
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Interview with Judith Redline Coopey!

What advice would you give young Nell about bullies?
I think Nell knew she was no match for the Tormenters, so she avoided them as much as possible. That’s the first and often the best strategy but if there was no place to hide, then I think she would have had to stand up to them in the only way she could: Point out the error of their ways and hope for either reason on their part or rescue. I was bullied as a child, and avoidance was the only strategy I could turn to. The bullying took place outside of school. So there was no teacher to help. I learned to be pretty adept at avoidance.

Of the places Nell and Jeremy visited, which do you find most interesting?
I think the Badlands and Deadwood were the most interesting places. I went there in the summer before the book came out so that I could be sure I wasn’t saying anything inaccurate or unclear about the area. I even went to Wounded Knee and was touched by the thought of unarmed Native Americans, mostly women and children, being mowed down by Gatling Guns. I visited the Mt Moriah Cemetery where Calamity Jane was buried, and I read a great book about her, "Calamity Jane: The Woman and the Legend" by James D. McLaird. Deadwood is pretty touristy, but if you dig a little deeper than the saloons and souvenir shops downtown, you can get a sense of how it was.

So, if the book were a movie, who would you have play Nell and Jeremy? Who could portray Nell's mental image of Calamity Jane?
Hmmm. I don’t know much about actresses and actors today, but I guess a young Jodie Foster would make a good Nell. As for Jeremy, I can see Michael Weatherly of NCIS in that role. As for Jane, I think Meryl Streep could put a twist on her as a character. You can tell I don’t know a lot about current movies.

How did your father pass on his passion for history to you?
It was what he talked about, what he read and what he loved. When we would take a car trip, he would make it a moving history lesson, stopping to point out the remains of old forts or battlefields from the French and Indian War or the Revolutionary War along the way. He’d slow down along the highway and tell us how some historical figure led an expedition right through here on the way to wherever. He was always up for a visit to a museum or an expedition to some local historical point of interest. He talked about history much of the time, and while I wish I’d listened better when I was young, his take on American history stays with me.

What I have read of your writing so far is varied in style. What genres and authors do you particularly enjoy in your personal reading?
My reading tastes are varied so I often read prize winners, like the Pulitzer or the National Book awards. My reasoning is that since there are so many books and so little time, I find a prize winner usually guarantees a good read. Not always, but often. I love John Steinbeck’s work, but I’ve read all of them, so I have to move on. I love Willa Cather’s books and I’ve read all of them, too. Among contemporary authors, I enjoy Lee Smith’s books, set in Appalachia, and I like Molly Gloss and Jeannette Walls. There’s no rhyme or reason to my reading tastes. I read the same way I write: I look for a good story, well told.


What are your upcoming projects?
Right now I’m working on a trilogy, a family saga set against the 19th century iron industry in Pennsylvania. The first volume, The Furnace is out. Volume Two is well on its way, and Volume Three is still percolating. That will keep me busy for at least the next year and a half, but I have more ideas for books than I have time for. Family sagas are interesting because I love genealogy and it is so interesting to see how families ebb and flow from one generation to the next. Great stuff to write about.

:-)



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