Happy Reading

I know there have been a couple summer reads posts on the blog already this month, and this is another one, but hear me out. A Facebook friend posted a “must read” list the other day, and every one of the books was intense–about mental illness, or cancer, or the Holocaust, betrayal, murder, suicide. I asked if anyone read happy books any more, and the answer was no. Really?

I will say that I don’t always read happy books, and I definitely don’t watch happy TV–I’m binge watching Bitten and Penny Dreadful at the moment–whoa. The books I write, although they have happy endings–a requirement in romance, of course–tend to be on the dark side. But every once in awhile, I need something light-hearted–the literary equivalent of an ice cream cone. And when I want to read happy, I’ll usually pick up a romance.

But the Facebook exchange got me thinking. I can’t remember the last time I read a happy book that wasn’t a romance, although cozy mysteries come very close–my faves are the Aunt Dimity books by Nancy Atherton, and the Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen. Browsing through Goodreads, it’s hard to find one–every description seems to contain the words “poignant,” “deeply affecting,” “deeply moving,” “haunting,” yadda yadda, which are usually code for “will make you bawl until snot comes out of your eyes.” I’m sure they’re great books, but they’re not for me.

So my challenge for you, friends, is to help me come up with a list of feel good books for the summer. Happy, but not happy-ever-after. I found a few that look promising, and they’re on my TBR list for an upcoming road trip to Massachusetts and Maine:

 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. The title alone is enough. I actually read and finished this book after I drafted this post. Read it. You must, must read it.

 

 

The Whistling Season. Aptly demonstrating the power of a good blurb.

 

 

 

My Lady Jane. I’m not entirely sure how happy this will be–Lady Jane Grey didn’t exactly have a happy ending–but I am intrigued nonetheless.

 

 

 

 

What books do you recommend, or have on your TBR list?

About Marin McGinnis

About Marin McGinnis Clevelanders are tough, a bit cynical, and just a little crazy, and Marin McGinnis is no exception. When she’s not chasing after big dogs or watching tweens skate around hockey rinks, she is immersing herself in Victorian era romance. She lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband, son, and two standard poodles named Larry and Sneaky Pete. You can find her here, at marinmcginnis.com, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Summer Time Reading

It’s the middle of the summer and I’ve got lots of books I plan to get through before it’s all over.

Oh, wait! I haven’t even introduced myself. I’m a newbie here on the blog. Landra’s the name, and words are my game. In reality I’m a writer, who thanks to lovely ladies on this blog has a new critique home and a bunch of new friends, which I’m thankful for. This is my first time blogging (I missed last month – oops) and I thought I’d talk about the books.

My childhood summers were spent devouring books.  The Babysitters Club, Goosebumps, The Boxcar Children, Anne of Green Gables, Fear Street, and so many more. I read like a crazy person, consuming every book I could get my hands on. As I entered my teenage years reading fell away to music videos, boyfriends, and friends but, my love for reading never died. I may not have packed away as many books during the summer, but I still checked something out from the library each week. Still devoured books like candy.

This summer, thanks to a lawsuit, I’ve been gifted with a nice little nest egg. Most people would say spend the money on other things, but I think this is a great opportunity to re-invest in those authors I love reading and new ones too. It’s a summer to reminisce in what made the days and nights amazing. To seek out the words, the plots, the far off places, and a good delicious romance sprinkled in between the pages.

I’ve come a long way from the little girl who couldn’t wait for the 10 mile trip from her grandmother’s summer lake home to the small town library. Regardless, I’ll never give up my love of reading nor forget how a good book can cheer me up, fill in for the absence of friends, take me to far off worlds, and stimulate my imagination in ways I never could on my own.

What were your favorite summer books as a child? Do you have a reading goal for the summer?

 

Author Bio: Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day, and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

Where can you find Landra outside of this site: Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Amazon ~Goodreads

About Landra Graf

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

I’m in Georgia NOW…

I’ve been offline for about two weeks and–if all things have gone as I expected them to–my family is in Georgia for the next two years. [This is what happens when you write a blog post 15 days early!] And let me tell you, it is HOT in Georgia. The heat is on… [seriously, folks–Arsenio Hall?]

We’ve got boxes to unpack and a house to get settled… but, in general things are good [they better be!!]. Instead of writing in the past couple weeks, I’ve been attending Libby Murphy’s workshop–Fanning the Flames. Not only to do love the content, the set up is amazing. Not forum, not yahoo group, it’s an efficient webinar-type classroom. The content is working for me because I have a book due to my editor in a month, and this workshop is about plotting. It’s the first time I’ve had a chance to “talk” things out before I started writing. Plotting is my thing, but from now on, I’m going to be talking and brainstorming before I start.

If you’re looking for a good place to spend the summer, try Libby’s workshop. I’m really enjoying it, and she is keeping it open through the summer… Plus, it’s all indoors–AC and fans! Whoot.

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Looking backward, looking forward.

My nine-year-old son loves baseball.

He plays on a AAA team, which means nothing to me, but means something to my husband.

When he was nine–and for most of his youth into college and a little beyond–my husband, Billy, played baseball. He was a State Champion pitcher who got drafted into the majors at nineteen. But back then, there was no such thing as a pitch count for young players, and by the time he was twenty, his body was worn out. Even today, at the age of 47, he has problems with his rotary cuff. He did the thing he loved until it broke him.

Now Brady is playing. He’s not a pitcher–he’s a catcher. This is possibly by design (my husband’s) or maybe because Brady loves the position. It’s the most important position on the field, come to find out. He has to be aware of the positions of all the opposing players on the bags (that’s baseball jargon for “bases”–I didn’t know that either, once). If someone tries to steal a base, he has to see them and make snap decisions on where to throw the ball–and be on target. He can’t overthrow his intended baseman, because then the runner can move on to steal another base.

He also has to be aware when he can’t stop a pitch; when he goes running to get it, he also has to have eyes on the field to be sure to stop runners.

And then, there are other times when he just needs to be in the game and with the program. My favorite is when one of his team’s young pitchers are wobbly and walking batters; Brady looks so serious as he lifts his mask onto the top of his head and marches out the the mound to talk to them. He doesn’t take long, and he never fools around. Usually, he’ll pat the other player on the shoulder as he talks to them, and he looks right at them with such a grown-up expression on his face. Usually, this exchange works to calm the pitcher down and get them to throw strikes. Later, when I ask him what he said, he tells me things like, “I told him to take a deep breath and just play catch with me. Don’t worry about the batter.” Or, “I told him to follow through, just like we practiced.” Wise counsel from someone who needs reminding to brush his teeth and to use deodorant.

His coach has told us that he’s the best player in the league, and in fact, some of the “major” league coaches are scouting him. (Not the major majors, you understand. But the coaches of the older kids. My husband and Brady know what this means–I’m just in the stands, cheering when everyone else does.) Baseball has become something that means so much to both of them. Billy has volunteered to coach the young pitching “staff” and with amazing patience, teaches them the physical mechanics of pitching and how to strategize their pitches. Brady has  gained confidence and leadership skills he’s not even aware of, and has developed a focus that has helped him in school and other places because of baseball. And it’s something both of them, father and son, can share and discuss and analyze–man to man. More than a game, it’s a common link for the two of them.

As I sit on the bleachers, I’m  watching: Billy, looking backward through this current experience and reliving the golden, glory days of his youth, and Brady, looking forward and planning for his future in the game. Me? I’m just here in the present, looking forward and backward, and enjoying the view. I never understood what was so good about sports, but I think I’m finally starting to understand.

 

About Jenna Jared

Jenna Jared is addicted to love. And caffeine. She lives with her husband (of 20+) years, three children, two dogs and one cat, and she knows that nothing eases the difficulties of life more than a little humor.

Summertime!

Whether the calendar agrees or not, June is my official summer kick-off. Kids get out of school the first week of the month here in Las Vegas and we are ready to take a vacation! Sadly my littles and I haven’t been on a vacation in two years, but that is about to change. We are heading to California for a little beach, fun, family, and R & R! And of course as I started writing, music started popping into my head, so let me share with you, my Summertime Kick Off Playlist!

A few to take us back….

Just got to love a little DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Oh! And how can you think of taking a vacation without this little gem in your head?

And no playlist is complete without a little Jake Owen…

If I’m totally honest, this last video is my favorite. I love me some Jake! Well I love me a lot of country singers, but that is a topic for another post. So tell me, what are some songs that just pop into your head when summer hits, or vacation is coming up?

About Kinsey Corwin

Kinsey Corwin, a contemporary romance author who really is drawn to small town stories, beaches, and cowboys (I know, that is quite a mix). She is a single mom of amazing boys, a fan of kitchen experiments, a lover of country music, and a dreamer.

The Meandering Writer

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I’m late and apologize for it. Then again, I’m always late and I recently read an article as to why. It seems that while I know time is important, it isn’t the only thing important in life. Apparently, people who are late make more time for those important things. Hmmm, I thought, maybe I do, maybe I don’t.

But while on a walk today with my husband, who kept asking me if something was wrong because I wasn’t walking normal speed according to him, I had a revelation. It’s something I’ve always known but am just now putting into perspective. I’m a meanderer. I take my time, I smell the roses. I want to see everything, do everything and want to enjoy it. So I don’t rush a thing, I meander through something to absorb it all.

Now, you may think this is odd for a writer to wander through life, meandering through, taking one’s time. But meandering is an age old tradition. The Grand Canyon was made by a meandering river who cut down through the top soil into the hard rock. It took millions of years to do so but just look at what a little meandering can do.

Much of my writing is that way. The pieces that I feel are my best are also the ones that I’d write a little on every day, set aside then come back later to them. I’d make sure the setting was perfect, that the characters acted true to themselves and a host of other things because I was striving for perfection.

Notice I said striving. Nothing is perfect and we as writers need to realize this. We need to make things the best we can make them then hand them over to others to help us find flaws we’d overlooked. Once they go through our critique groups the story will go to our agent if we have one. Then it’s back on our desk for another once-over before it goes to an editor.

If we’re not all worn out by the process, we’ll start it over again. If we’re lucky, sometime we can do this at a fast pace, sometimes a little slower but always meandering through the parts that need to be meandered through. Taking time to get something done isn’t a flaw but a trait that should tell the world we want to put our best foot forward. We want to give you the best story possible for us to give.

And if I have to meander to be a better write, I’ll take meandering any day.

So…are you a meander? Or are you someone who likes to go through life a little faster?

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

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