Traveling With T’s Holiday Gift Guide for 2016

holiday-gift-guide-for-2016

I know. It feels like it’s barely¬† November and in Mississippi- well today is nice weather (it’s in the 70’s!) . But with it being only 6 days to Thanksgiving, 7 days to Black Friday, 8 days to Small Business Saturday and 37 days to Christmas Day- even though we may not be ready to talk holiday shopping, the time is upon us.

But, don’t you fret- because I have been making a list for your holiday shopping (so that you will have more time to kick back, enjoy that hot chocolate and a good book ūüėČ

 

Gift Guide for Book Lovers:

1. Gift cards. Book lovers love gift cards so we can go get the book we want (because odds are that you don’t know all the books we’ve pre-ordered or already have). Some pre-order suggestions to use your gift cards for: The Shimmering Road by Hester Young (February 2017), The Secrets You Keep by Kate White (March 2017), Slightly South of Simple by Kristy Woodson Harvey (April 2017), Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson (January 2017), and The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty (January 2017).

2. Bookmarks. Every reader needs a bookmark and Marked by Mary makes some exceptional ones. Continue reading

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Meeting M.O. Walsh author of My Sunshine Away

It’s the book that everyone is talking about. Book bloggers are already talking about how THIS book will be on their end of year best lists (and it’s only February!) It’s a book that has built a buzz with many curious when this author would enter the world of Twitter (He has now!)

What is this book?

This book is……… (drumroll, please) Continue reading

Hanging with Jenny Milchman at Lemuria Books

Back in 2013, I had the pleasure of meeting Jenny Milchman on World Book Night- she was signing books at Lemuria Books. So when I found out that she would be coming back to Lemuria to sign her second book, RUIN FALLS- I knew I would attend that since I had such a great time at COVER OF SNOW signing. Continue reading

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

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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

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Meeting Ashton Lee- The Cherry Cola Book Club book signing

IMG_0042The Cherry Cola Book Club– I first heard of this book thanks to Andrea at Great Thoughts– Kensington Publishing was being super kind and furnished her some giveaway copies during a #gr8books chat about another Kensington book, The Affair by Collete Freedman.

Anyway- from the moment I saw this bright, fun, and cheery cover- I knew I wanted it. But then to read the description, well that just made me have to have it! As time goes by, though, I found myself still not having it simply because I had many others books to read. This turned out to be fortunate, though, because after checking Lemuria Books website- I realized I could buy and get my book signed (book signings make me VERY happy!)

So, I waited. And then I went to the book signing- and from the name Ashton Lee- I was expecting to see a cute girl reading and signing books. I couldn’t have been more wrong, and yet I was delighted because Robert Kuehnle (pen name Ashton Lee) was charming, funny and theatrical. Of course- with Robert being from the South¬†– theatrical was practically his birthright!

As I sat around and let other people get their books signed, I overheard Robert tell another person “Make all the people think the fun characters are them and the negative characters make them think they are not them!” This was in regard to a question of was his characters based on people he knew. The book signing, was fairly well-attended- 10-12 people where there and Robert had a stack of books to sign!

The reading was quite good as well. I love a good reading and Robert delivered! The Cherry Cola Book Club, based of small-town Mississippi, has the feel of a small Southern town down pat. Ashton Lee nails the surroundings, the language, the feel of small town Mississippi. But, after all, growing up in Natchez and now residing in Oxford- he not only knows the feel of a Southern town- he is a Southern town. As he read, he put feelings into the parts, into the reading. In the small reading area section of Lemuria, people sat and watched Ashton as he read- all of us smiling and laughing at parts because while we did not know each other- we could all relate to the story, as most of us had a tie to a small Southern town.

While I have not read The Cherry Cola Book Club (yet!), I’m happy to know that there is a sequel in the works- The Reading Room: Cherry Cola Book Club (release date March/April 2014). Will there be more books in the Cherry Cola series? Time will tell!

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Meeting Jenny Milchman- author of Cover of Snow

Jenny Milchman signing books

Jenny Milchman signing books

Jenny Milchman, author of Cover of Snow, came to Lemuria Book to sign and read from her debut novel.¬† While Cover of Snow is Jenny’s first published book- she is not new to publishing game. This is the 8th book she has written- but her first to be published. When she was college- age, her parents asked her what her plans were- and she told them she would like to live in the woods, build a log cabin and write poetry. While her parents felt that she had potential as a writer- they did point some flaws in this plan; namely the fact that Jenny had never built anything. After this, Jenny decided that perhaps pursuing psychology degree would be better.¬†Her mother told Jenny one day that “she thought Jenny had talent, but it would take her at least 10 years” (before she became published). It took Jenny 11 years.

When Jenny began writing and looking for someone to represent her, since she felt her writing was very good- she sent her work to the people that represent Jonathan Kellerman. While she did not get the reply she wanted- she realizes that reading someone else tell her: “I did not want to spend that much time in your neurotic protagonist’s head.” She describes reading this “as the quote from the rejection letter that put the writing in perspective”. So Jenny goes back, worls different ideas, comes close to being published- but still; falling short of the goal.¬† Then after much time, things begin to go to Jenny’s favor.¬† Nancy Picard, after reading Jenny’s writing, tells Jenny this: “that she could not wait to finish, and if the novel does not disappoint, which I don’t think it will, would like to write a blurb and then send to my publisher.”

Jenny says that she loves first drafts “like Christmas morning, wedding day, finding out being pregnant, summer vacation, candy-wrapped ice cream sundae.” Cover of Snow, as published,¬† is in it’s 22nd draft. During the 21st draft, a scene was pointed out had a implausible air about it. Jenny, because she liked so much of that scene, simply changed the coffeepot to a programmable coffepot- and the scene was saved!

When asking Jenny about her writing space and routine- she informed the audience that she likes to write 2,000 words in the morning. And her writing computer is not a super-duper fancy gadget- no mam- Jenny writes on a computer than has Windows 98, is not internet-enabled, and backs up her work on floppy disks. Jenny also informed the audience that it usually takes her 2-5 months to write the first draft.

I asked Jenny if she would like to have Cover of Snow made into a movie- and if so, who would she want to play her characters? She said there was some early talk, even some talk of a possible made fo TV movie. As far as for who she pictures as Nora- she always liked Ashley Judd or Julieanne Moore- however, the character of Nora is younger than those ladies now; so she’s unsure of who would be the best person to play Nora if a movie was made now.

Look for Jenny Milchman’s new book, Ruin Falls, to be out in March 2014.

Jenny and Me

Jenny and Me

Jenny reading Cover of Snow to the audience

Jenny reading Cover of Snow to the audience