Weekend in Granbury, TX- a weekend filled with bookish delights

ladies at granbury twt watermark

A few weeks ago, it was time for Unofficial Booktopia. What is Unofficial Booktopia, you ask? Well, Unofficial Booktopia is a play on Official Booktopia (hosted by the fantastic Books on The Nightstand). How did it all start? A few of us met in Oxford, MS back in 2012- and we became fast friends- discussing books, going out for drinks, and just having a good time. After that weekend, we all stayed in touch through the power of social media and monthly phone chats. Unofficial Booktopia happened, though, because in 2013- none of the Booktopia sites were close for 2 of us to get to be able to attend (basically, it was a wing and a prayer kind of thing). So, one suggested- let’s get together in Jackson, MS (home to Lemuria Books). So we began the plan and it worked! We all managed to get together (and engage in some literary hijinks!) We had such a good time that Unofficial Booktopia was born- and this year, it was in Texas. Continue reading


I’m not doing the whole Facebook “Day #: I’m thankful for these things”- not because I don’t believe that it’s a good idea, but mainly because the people who really know me already know the things that I’m thankful for. But for the people who read my blog- you may not know some of the things I’m thankful for- so here goes:

1. Books- without books (whether it’s real books or e-books) a world without books would be a sad place.

2. Photos- I’m the girl with the camera. Always. I take tons of pictures. Why? Because one day- when I’m sitting around in elderly years I want to be able to look back and see the proof that life rocked. Maybe it wasn’t always all glittery and sunshine, rainbows and unicorns- but hopefully the pics will show that life was good more than it wasn’t.

3. Journals- I don’t keep one in particular, I have a few different that I write in. 99% of what I blog, tweet, facebook, etc about is ME. The real me. The me that I want to be recognized, understood, loved, etc- however; there are times when I need a place to write that only I’ll see. Maybe self-doubt is creeping in, maybe I’m unsure if anyone will understand- but mostly I worry that someone will dismiss my thoughts/worries. This is when a journal comes in handy.

4. Erin from Deep South Mag. Ever since she started following me tweets from my first SPQ wkend, a great twitter friendship has formed. When I finally got to meet her over the summer- it was so weird putting a face to a person that I’ve “known” for over 2 years. Erin- thank you for all you have done- the encouragement with my blog, book recommendations, and more. xoxo

5. Robin O’Bryant- could be considered at the center of much good news. Through her, I found out about Joshilyn Jackson coming to Turnrow Books for luncheon book signing. So I went- got to meet Joshilyn Jackson and Robin O’Bryant- then the girl sitting beside me started talking- her name was Keetha and surprise- we live in neighboring towns. Finding someone that lived near me to talk books with was nice- then joining Keetha and her book club worked out even better. Keetha introduced me to Books on the Nightstand podcasts, and told me about Booktopia in Oxford. So I signed up and met even more ladies who rock: Dawn, Michelle, Jana, Cathy, Jennifer, and Suzanne (these are just a few of the wonderful Booktopia people I met). Not to mention the Booktopia authors- Susan Gregg Gilmore and Ellen F. Brown are tops in my book for how they acted towards me and the sweet gift they gave me! But back to Robin being at the epicenter of this- after seeing Robin rave about Kimberly Brock’s book The River Witch- I knew I had to read it-and we started following each other on Twitter. Which led to me getting to know her and becoming part of She Reads Blog Network- and finding another group of people to talk books with.

5. Various authors such as Erika Marks, Erika Robuck,Nichole Bernier Jenn McKinlay, Lucy Burdette, Cleo Coyle, and Alison Pace. xoxo to all you ladies for responding to social media, for writing great books- books that make you think, transport you to another time, a book that is like a warm and cozy sweater- just makes you feel good and happy.

6. Deidre (aka Yankeefan2975) a Twitter friend that is up to date on Days of Our Lives, books and movies. She makes the Twitter fun!

7. Naturally,  family and true friends 🙂 They make life good!

8. Zeke, my beautiful dog. He was great, he loved me and he instinctively knew when a hug or doggy grin was needed to brighten the day. I still miss him every day; but at least not as much as I did when he first passed away.


Book news…. (list style!)

1. Recently began reading  James Patterson. Sorry to report that I have been ignoring his great books for years. Loved Kiss the Girls, I, Alex Cross and now reading Roses are Red. Good books.

2. Received my copy of The River Witch by Kimberly Brock that I won from Hallie Sawyer’s blog. Kimberly personalized my copy with the sweetest message: To Tamara- My sweet friend. May the story sing for you! Love, Kimberly Brock
I cannot wait to sit down and begin reading this book. With the rave reviews it’s getting, I’m very excited about reading it.

3. Bought Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn yesterday. Have never read a book by her, but between the description of the book from Reader’s Digest, the book cover and my book friend, Keetha’s, excitement over the book- I feel sure it’ll be a winner. I hope so anyway.

4. I’m still waiting on the library to get my copies of Ready, Player One and The Rook from the inter-library loan. This is probably why people buy, as opposed to borrow books mainly- it’s too long of a wait.

5. I was asked to guest blog about The Hunger Games trilogy for a friend’s blog- Man Vs Books Club. The blog is a collaborative effort among a group of people who read and encourage others to read. If looking for another blog to read or some great reviews, please check them out.

6. It’s 9 days till Booktopia Oxford, MS. Books on the Nightstand has several great events planned. Look for future blog posts on the authors I met at Booktopia.

7. Speaking of Books on the Nightstand, if you don’t listen to their weekly podcast, give it a try. They usually have great recommendations for books. This week, they recommended Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D by Nichole Bernier. Nichole’s book was getting quite a bit of attention from several bloggers I follow yesterday- based on the talk, I’ve decided to add it to my list of books to read this summer.

8. My “to-read” list is growing exponentially. It bothers me because no matter how much time I devote to reading, it seems I never make a dent in my list.

9. She Reads is looking for more bloggers to join their network- if you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please check out their website.



What Booktopia means to me….

A few weeks ago, I registered for a weekend retreat in Oxford, MS. The weekend is being sponsored by Books on the Nightstand and it’s called Booktopia. In short, several authors will be in town and the participants will be able to meet them, listen to author talks, ask questions and meet other book people. In short, it will be a book lovers dream weekend. After I registered, Ann and Michael ( the Books on the Nightstand creators) asked everyone to please consider contributing what their idea of Booktopia was, and it would be printed into a small souvenir type book. I submitted my idea of what Booktopia is to me, and the book has been published. So I guess, technically, you could say that I’m a published writer! Since it does not seem fair to only let the people who bought the book ,Living in Booktopia, know what my dream of Booktopia is, I decided to write a blog post about it.

My vision of Booktopia is this: Walking in a room with great lighting, bright and colorful bookshelves crammed with books, but organized. Books are divided into sections- chick-lit, suspense, fiction, and the like. There is a beautiful plush pink velvet chair with a table beside it. There is also a rich midnight blue couch with a silver blanket and plush pillows. I can sit or lie down as I rediscover favorite books or invite new friends to my collection. I simply snap a finger and the book I currently want to read just magically appears. The room never gets over-crowded, the bookshelves just expand for more reading material. This room houses all my books- from childhood to current age. In short, when I unlock the room with my antique key, it’s like a magical room: filled with promises of laughter, good times, some sadness, but mainly unlocking emotions and fulfilling me. This room is my utopia- it is where I go to rest and relax. It is where my best friends live and eagerly await my return. Simply put, this vision of Booktopia is magical.

While I understand that not everyone enjoys to read as much as I do, I’ll never understand why some people so proudly announce that they never read. I firmly believe that there is a book out there for everyone- a book that is a game-changer and that will instil at least a slight yearn to read more. When a person does not read, they are willingly shutting themselves off from worlds and stories that can be enjoyed from the comforts of home. Traveling is great, and I firmly believe people should travel; but reading takes you traveling much cheaper than airplane tickets.

Now that I’ve shared my vision of Booktopia- consider your vision, if you are a reader. Might it be a porch where the wind blows and there is a glass of sweet-tea ever present? Or a deep footed claw tub with never ending bubbles and a glass of wine that never empties (yet, you do not get tipsy?) Maybe your vision is walking in a bookstore and seeing row after row, and knowing you have all the time in the world to explore?