Literary Friday ya’ll……

 

 

literary friday

Literary Friday…. The best day of the week (am I right? I so am, right?) This Literary Friday has a bit of a magical feel to me (even more than normal) because Christmas Day is just right around the corner. And the stockings were hung by the fireplace with care- and all that jazz!

 

1. Deep South Magazine and #literaryfriday: Stories from Kimberly Brock and Ann Hite, 15 Best Covers of 2013, and some Key West news. Plus, much more!

 

2. Giveaways at Traveling With T: 2 Year Bloggy Anniversary Giveaway, Blade to the Keep by Lauren Dane e-book giveaway, Turn Up The Heat by Lori Foster, Victoria Dahl, and Christie Ridgway, and Thought I Knew You by Kate Moretti giveaway!

 

3.  Remember when Traveling With T went to Louisiana Book Festival in November and how I was going to post all about it? Well- I finally did! Here is the recap- the fun I had, hanging out with Deep South Magazine and Rita Leganski, and how THE HUNK changed my life.

 

4.Bloggers Made of AWESOME is back this week- with Ashley @ Closed The Cover- a woman who is a social media machine (with a heart of gold!)

 

5. What are your #FridayReads? I just finished KIND OF CRUEL by Sophie Hannah. And I’m so disappointed. It had such promise- but for me, I did not care for it. Did anyone else read & LOVE it? If so, chime in & let’s talk books! Other reads: THE PIECES WE KEEP by Kristina McMorris (Loving it!)

 

6. Have you been noticing some of the changes to Traveling With T? I hope so 🙂 Been tweaking my blog (not to be confused with Twerking!)

 

7. 2014 is going to bring some new features to Traveling With T & an announcement or 2 🙂 Get your party hats on!

 

 

 

T Traveling With T pic sign off

 

 

 

 

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Louisiana Book Festival 2013

 

The Louisiana Book Festival was an incredible weekend in November! In Baton Rouge, just a hop, skip and a jump from my small town in Mississippi, the festival weekend was nice- not hot and def not cold! It was sunny skies and beautiful weather!

My friend Erin of Deep South Magazine invited me to come for the weekend and hang out with her. Erin was a lucky duck that weekend as she was getting to moderate 2 of the panels of author discussions (Rita Leganski of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow fame and Shirley Ann Grau!)

I arrived Friday around lunch time- and after a quick call to the Hotel Indigo (shout out to them for helping a lost girl find the hotel!), pulled up to hotel, left my car with the valet and walked inside. Seriously, Hotel Indigo was nice. Located in the downtown area, near the MS River- and across the street from PJ’s Coffee– the Hotel Indigo was in a great location with a polite staff! Erin arrived shortly after I made it to the hotel, and after a quick check in, we went to our hotel room and then left the hotel to find a bite to eat. Went to a nearby restaurant where we had this great lunch (grilled shrimp wraps!) and then stopped by PJ’s Coffee to get an afternoon pick me up. Sat outside and chatted, soaking up the sun and taking care of some social media business- then we walked down to the MS River, looked around and began a walking tour of the downtown area.

pjs coffee

 

me ms river

 

After walking around the downtown area- we decided to head back to the hotel and hang out for a bit before going to Tsunami for a pre-party drink, then heading to the Louisiana Book Festival Author Party. At Tsunami, we sat on the rooftop (incredible view of the MS River!) and chatted about different books we have been reading, places we wanted to travel and more! Erin convinced me to get The Hunk martini telling me it was so delicious (and she was right!) The Hunk is the perfect combo of sweet and delicious- and def is now my drink of choice for future visits to Baton Rouge.

 

watching sunset on ms river

 

hunk

 

That night, at the author party, as we walked in we saw Rita Leganski and her husband immediately and began chatting with them. In the lobby, there was a 3 piece band playing lively Louisiana music and there were book covers of the authors attending the festival decorating the area. Inside the library, there was food and wine being served- so we walked inside and had crawfish etouffee, catfish, shrimp, and other nibbles of food.  When the party was over, me and Erin walked back to the hotel- where we considered having another drink at Tsunami, but seeing the rooftop was closed for a private party changed our mind. So, we went back to the hotel, discussed The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow for Erin’s discussion the next day and then turned in pretty early- since Saturday was busy!

Saturday, we arrived to the Capitol, had to go through security, and then made it to the author room a few minutes before the Rita Leganski discussion. When escorted to the correct room, Erin passed me her Iphone to take some pictures and video- and I became Deep South Magazine’s social media person- tweeting, videoing, Instagram-ing, and taking picture with my own camera as well! Listening to Rita talk about her love for the South, how Bonaventure Arrow came about and Rita’s incredible story of going to college in her adult years was something else! Rita is incredible- and if you ever get the opportunity- def go meet her! We quickly rushed to the room for the Shirley Ann Grau event- where I again took on Deep South’s social media accounts. Not being familiar with Shirley’s work- I wasn’t sure what to expect- but she was entertaining and memorable. Listening to her stories about her books, her life, and more was so worth it!

Once Erin finished her commitments, we just walked around, took pictures- went to see Kit Wohl cook Popeye’s Gumbo, and had lunch. All in all, we had a fantastic time- and I will def be wanting to go back to Louisiana Book Festival! Here is the recap of the weekend from Deep South Magazine (with a link to the video of Erin and Shirley Ann Grau).

 

rita me erin

Rita Leganski, me, and Erin

 

me and erin

Erin and I at the Louisiana Book Festival Author Party

I HIGHLY recommend attending the Louisiana Book Festival if you ever get a chance.

T Traveling With T pic sign off

 

 

Gift Ideas for the Book Lover In Your Life

The holidays are fast approaching.  I’ve got visions of a white Christmas dancing in my head (even though that is not santalikely), craving cups of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and marshmallows while listening to Christmas music and decorating the tree.

Before the stockings are hung by the tree with care, before the cookies are left out for Santa, before the joyous rush of family members hanging out at the house, before I celebrate another successful holiday by enjoying a glass or 2 of wine- presents will have to be purchased. And this is where my list of book-ish delights comes in handy. Have a reader in your life? Perhaps you’ll find a book that you will like to buy!

Mystery and Suspense

The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillipi Ryan

the wrong girl fb

Photo Credit: Goodreads

My first Hank Phillipi Ryan book- and I’m so glad I read it! As a fan of Sue Grafton (and seriously Sue- nothing but love for you- but I NEED you to write faster- yet I dread as we come closer to the end of the alphabet.) That little side topic is my way of saying that Hank helped me in quest for a Sue fix. Jane Ryland won’t knock Kinsey Millhone out of my heart for the #1 spot- but Jane is almost as good. And that’s saying a lot. The Wrong Girl was twisty and turny- with a great mystery and some potential steamy romance. Here is my review of The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan- an excellent consideration for someone looking for mystery and suspense!

Never Tell by Alafair Burke

Never Tell

Photo Credit: Goodreads

This was my first Alafair Burke- and after reading it- I’m all “Alafair-where have you been all my reading life?” Each time I thought I had the story figured out- Alafair zigged. Then she zagged. Then she twisted and turned. And kept me captivated.  Highly recommend Never Tell by Alafair Burke! Here is my review of Never Tell.

W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton

w is for wasted

Photo Credit: Goodreads

As witnessed above, I LOVE Sue Grafton. I LOVE Kinsey (Sue’s Character). If you have enjoyed A-V- then W is another great book.  Seriously. Just go get it. W is for Wasted is worth it.

If You Were Here by Alafair Burke

if you were here

Photo Credit: Amazon

Another Alafair Burke book- and again- twist, turns, zig and zags! While I prefer Alafair’s Ellie Hatcher a bit more to McKenna- that’s just a personal preference. Both mysteries are top-notch and great reads! Put If You Were Here on your wish list! Here is my review of If You Were Here- intriguing and enjoyable.

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

recon amelia

Photo Credit: Amazon

Oh. My. Gosh. I LOVED this book. Edge of my seat. Great storyline. How well do you know your child? Read this and prepare to wonder. This book will lead to a wonderful discussion amongst friends and book clubs. Reconstructing Amelia may very well be this year’s Gone Girl.  Here is my review of Reconstructing Amelia.

Cozy Mystery

I adore Cozy Mysteries. They are quick, fun and easy reads. They make me feel warm and fuzzy. The characters are fun and interesting. The settings are enjoyable- and the mystery is good.

Murder of a Stacked Librarian by Denise Swanson

murder of stacked librarian

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Denise Swanson’s latest has Skye getting married- if the groom can get away from the police station long enough to exchange vows! If you’ve read Denise’s other books- you’ll enjoy this one. If not, start with Murder of a Small Town Honey. While each story stands on it’s own- there are some things that build along the series of the books- and to fully enjoy, you might want to be invested in the characters. Murder of a Small Town Librarian is a must have for cozy mystery fans! Here is my review of Murder of a Small Town Librarian.

Topped Chef (Key West Food Critic Mystery #3) by Lucy Burdette

Topped Chef - Cover

Photo Credit: Goodreads

I have fallen in love with Lucy Burdette’s main character, Hayley Snow. Cute, fun, gets her tarot cards read- how adorable she is! She’s a foodie- but not pretentious. Hayley is struggling a bit in the romance department (but aren’t we all?!) Topped Chef is a book to put on your list! Here is my review of Topped Chef.

Women’s Fiction

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski

the silence of bonaventure arrow

Photo Credit: Amazon

Magical- realism. If you were like me- and those words kind of make you feel nervous about a book- put aside your worries. The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow is wonderful. The story, the setting- the amazing Bonaventure Arrow. Forgiveness and love are major themes of this story. Read. You won’t be sorry. The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow is a book that some readers might overlook- don’t do that! Here is my review of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow.

The Guest House by Erika Marks

the guest house

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Love. Secrets. Family drama. Being true to yourself. The Guest House is a book that you must read. Here is my review of The Guest House.

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

a hundred summers

Photo Credit: Amazon

Love. Intrigue. Friendships. Family secrets. And a Aunt Julie that provides a humorous aspect to the story. This story is fantastic. A Hundred Summers is a book to read- no matter the time of the year. Here is my review of A Hundred Summers.

I’ll be posting a few more recommendations next week as well! Hopefully, you, my darling readers of Traveling With T, will find a book to buy for your book-ish friends and loved ones!

Literary Friday ya’ll……

It’s Friday- the weekend is almost here- we can almost touch it!

 

1. Deep South Magazine and their #literaryfriday: Louisiana Book Festival wrap-up (plus a picture of me, Erin and Rita Leganski!), a video of Erin interviewing Shirley Ann Grau, a #giveaway of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, and much more!

Next week (when I finally get all my pics uploaded and organized), I’ll be posting about my first time experience at the Louisiana Book Festival- but Deep South Mag’s is EXCELLENT!

 

2. Blog Talk: Today, Rebecca at Love First Book gives us access to this cute printable blog planners! Maybe you are more of a digital person- and that’s great! But wouldn’t it be nice to have 1 binder where all your bloggy stuff is? Use the printables! Get organized. Your blog will thank you! Want more Blog Talk? Check out my Thursday Mashup– there’s talk of how to increase traffic, blog tips and much more (all thanks to other bloggers who are kicking butt and taking names in the bloggy world!)

 

3. Giveaway news: Closed the Cover and Book2Buzz teamed up to create a fantastic giveaway- and I, Traveling With T, is part of it! Visit here for the details! Want more giveaway? See my Thursday Mashup for other giveaway news!

 

4. Last night I was reading a few blogs and looking over some others that I’d been meaning to check out- The Book Musings was one of those I’d meaning to look at. I noticed a blog post in her Top Posts and Pages titled Please Don’t Reblog Our Content- so I clicked on it to read. M talks about how she does not care for the WordPress feature of re-blogging a post for a variety of reasons- but mainly because she works hard on having unique content at her blog. I had never actually even thought about this- but after reading her views, I’m curious as to what other people think. Re-blog or not? Should you ASK the blog before you re-blog?

I have re-blogged a few things in my time- bloggy friends post and the likes. I’ve always considered it a shout-out (since if you click to read, it directs you to the original website post). For Book Lovers Unite, before my co-host had to take a break- re-blogging worked great for us to make sure fans of our blogs were aware that new discussion questions had been posted. However, I’ve also had a negative experience- I wrote a post about Chick Lit and Body Image- and a bloggy friend re-blogged it. Months later a person commented on the post being negative and thinking that the people who re-blogged the post actually wrote it (their blog was about getting Men to read books).

Re-blogging is a feature I don’t mind- but use responsibly. Think about target audiences and if someone asks you to remove the re-blogged content, respect their wishes.

 

5. Week 1 Discussion Questions about Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn. Join in the discussion! This book is fast-paced and exciting!

 

6. What are your #fridayreads? I’m reading Sleigh Belles by Beth Albright. I’m in the mood for a mystery- any suggestions?

 

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

Author Spotlight: Rita Leganski

the silence of bonaventure arrow

Yesterday, I posted an interview with Rita Leganski. Today is the author spotlight where we learn more about the author!

 

Author Spotlight: Rita Leganski

Who are some of your favorite authors?

I mention some of them in the PS Section of the book—Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, Harper Lee, and William Faulkner, to which I would add Southerners Eudora Welty, Pat Conroy, and Anne Tyler. I also like Sheri Reynolds, Leif Enger, Yann Martel, Ann Patchett, Aimee Bender, and Alice Hoffman. And I’m a HUGE Annie Dillard fan.

 

Tell us some books that you will always make room for on your shelves.

To Kill a Mockingbird; Peace Like a River; Ellen Foster; Life of Pi; A Gracious Plenty; The Book Thief; Frankenstein; The Catcher in the Rye; A Good Man is Hard to Find; The Member of the Wedding; The Sound and the Fury; Bel Canto; The Accidental Tourist; An Invisible Sign of My Own; The Giver; and Teaching a Stone to Talk.

I’m sure there are many more that I’ll think of later.

 

Rita- do you have any #literaryconfessions?

I’ve never read any Jane Austen.

 

Do you have a #literarycrush?

I had the Rhett Butler crush going on when I was very young, but that’s about it.

 

If you could be a character in a book, who would you pick to be?

Liesel Meminger from THE BOOK THIEF.

 

 

*Special thanks to Rita Leganski for the author spotlight!

 

Want to know more about Rita? Check out her Facebook and Twitter pages!

 

 

 

Interview with Rita Leganski- author of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow

the silence of bonaventure arrowToday, Rita Leganski, author of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow, has stopped by to answer questions about writing, her book tour through the South and much more.  On Friday, Rita will be back to reveal #literarycrush, #literaryconfessions and favorite authors.

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow was March’s She Reads book club selection so that is how I became familiar with Rita. When she came to an independent bookstore near me, I made sure to go and meet her- just so I could tell her in person how much I enjoyed the book!

 

Interview with Rita Leganski

In 15 words or less, how would you describe The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow to readers?

A mute little boy with magical hearing discovers family secrets.

 

Rita, you are not from the South- and yet, The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow sounds like a book a Southern writer created. How did your favorite Southern writers influence your writing style?

More than anything else, I think I was influenced by their literary “voices”. The cadence of their sentences contributes so much to the storytelling, and they take full advantage of Southern vernacular to convey a certain regional mystique. Characters written by Southern writers are almost always complex in that they inhabit their own inner world while functioning in the outer one. It makes them quite fascinating.

 

Recently, you and The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow went on a book tour of several Southern cities. How was that experience?

Oh, I just loved every minute of it! Let me tell you, I was on the receiving end of Southern hospitality nonstop. One thing I really enjoyed was the architecture. There’s a certain look to those cottage-type houses one sees in the South that I find really enchanting. The Southern environment in general, things like the landscape, vegetation, and climate exert such great influence on Southern literature. A Southern setting is like another character. Probably the thing about the South that I noticed the most was how Southerners are so fully invested in what they value, be it literature, food, manners, or reverence.

I’ve been invited to attend the Louisiana Book Festival the first week of November in Baton Rouge, and I can’t wait to go back!

 

Could you tell about the first time you saw The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow completely finished- what kind of emotions were you, as an author, experiencing?

The first time I had a really emotional reaction was when my editor sent me copies of the layout of the first pages. I saw the HarperCollins imprint and realized that it was the same one that appears in Mark Twain’s books (and many other famous writers).

My next really emotional reaction came when I returned the final version (still in manuscript form) and knew that there would be no more changes. It felt like I was sending my child away from me.  I would say I went through a kind of postpartum depression after that.

When I received the actual book, I had a rather odd reaction.  I liked the cover, and seeing my name on it made me cry. But I had a really odd reaction to the story. I’d only ever seen it on my computer screen or on typing paper. When I opened it and started reading, nothing seemed to make sense! I even compared what was on the page to what was in my computer to make sure they were my words. They were, but it seemed to me I’d never seen that story before. It took a while, but I got over it.

 

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow was March’s She Reads Book Club selection. Through She Reads, many people were able to see and read reviews, and get to speak to you, the author, with use of Twitter chat and the Online Book Club Discussion Forum.  As a debut author, how important were those opportunities?

Books and reading have been thrust into the digital age. The internet is a universe unto itself. I think its greatest contribution is how it has made so much so easily accessible.  Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool there is, and things like Twitter offer tremendous exposure. The audience is huge. It’s also efficient in the ways of spreading information.

But there’s a personal side to it as well. I get a lot of personal messages through Facebook and email. People send me favorite quotes or relate the story to their own lives. I find it very humbling.

 

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow- themes of forgiveness, of darkness, of light, love, family and hope. How was it to write a book like this- and with characters that were human, flawed; yet relatable?

Honestly, sometimes it was exhausting. There was a point when the characters took on lives of their own, and even I became an observer. The key word in your question is “relatable”. As an author, I felt a great responsibility to be honest about that which makes us human—our flaws—while presenting them to the reader as something they could relate to.

The human condition is a massive topic; a writer tries to understand it through her characters in an effort to discover truth. I like to think there are a number of truths woven into THE SILENCE OF BONAVENTURE ARROW. Some have to do with the darker side of the human experience, like grief, judgment, guilt, jealousy, and self-righteousness. But others speak of the very best in humanity; namely, our willingness to forgive and our capacity to love. Love is full of paradox; its greatest might is its greatest weakness. Love puts a heart at risk; it strengthens us as it makes us fragile; it is measured by joy and by sorrow.

 

 Rita- are you gathering ideas for a future book? If so, are you still in the early days- or do you have a definite idea as to what the next book will be?

I get asked that all the time! I have a couple of stories in the early stages. Sooner or later one of them will take prominence. Whichever one I go with, I plan to stick with magical realism.

 

*Special thanks to Rita Leganski for agreeing to be interviewed!

 

rita leganski twitter

Rita Leganski’s first novel, The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow, was a tale of magical-realism set in the New Orleans area. It’s a book that book clubs should put on their list! Rita, when not writing or working, can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

For more information on Rita:

Traveling With T’s review of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow

Meeting Rita Leganski- the author of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow

Literary Friday ya’ll….

Friday. The week has flown by. Supposed to go to Double Decker Art Festival tomorrow with my cousin- but appears to be rain in the forecast. So we’ll see!

1. Deep South Mag– the #literaryfriday edition celebrates Harper Lee’s birthday, Reese Witherspoon, and several festivals and writing events. Plus there’s a mention or 2 about The Great Gatsby!

2. Today, on my blog, I reviewed Mitiz Kelly’s Deadly Policy. Perfect for fans of #cozy books, or for readers looking to read about characters over the age of 40- it’s a quick read. Interesting. Nice plot. Mitiz Kelly is also being generous- and is giving away the 2 books in the Silver Sleuths series to each blog in the Cozy Mystery Reviews DEADLY POLICY blog tour. Go to my review of Deadly Policy, follow the directions (super-easy!) and you’ll be entered to win! Contest ends April 30th! Winner announced May 1st.

3. Monday, April 29th, Patti Callhan Henry will be Twitter chatting about her latest book, AND THEN I FOUND YOU. The Twitter chat will be hosted by yours truly- so def stop by! Did I mention there will be a #giveaway? We’ll chat from 2-3pmEST. Use #srchat to join in!

4. Can’t make it to Twitter chat? 😦 😦 Don’t worry! The AND THEN I FOUND YOU discussion will begin on April 29th and go through May 6th at She Reads. Again- yours truly will be hosting that as well!

5. What is your #fridayreads? Mine is The Glass Wives by Amy Sue Nathan!

6. With all this talk of AND THEN I FOUND YOU- have you gotten a thought of “this would be perfect for my book club?” Or maybe “I want to make something for my book club that goes with this book?” “Or I need music for my book club while we’re drinking a glass of wine- but what music?” She Reads has all these answers. Read the next articles for more info.

1. Books and music: The Playlist for AND THEN I FOUND YOU

2. Featured Recipe for AND THEN I FOUND YOU

7.  Yesterday I packed my fictional beach bag with the books I plan to read over the summer- tell me what you want to put in your beach bag! Here’s my Beach Bag Reads list!

8. She Reads recommended books this week as well: A Tisket A Tasket A Book-Laden Basket

9. Remember my book-ish bucket list? Beginning in June, I can cross 1 thing off the list! Intrigued? Traveling With T will be having an ONLINE BOOK CLUB! The book is RECONSTRUCTING AMELIA by Kimberly McCreight. It’s been getting some great reviews- and it looks like it’s going to be a fun book to read. More details to come as it gets closer to time- but if you’ve been wanting the book and needing people to discuss the book with- this is a chance!

10. ICYMI:

Meeting Rita Leganski: The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow

Interview with Kimberly Freeman author of Lighthouse Bay

Meeting Jill McCorkle- author of Life After Life

Happy Reading!