Starry Night by Debbie Macomber

starry night 1

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Carrie, a young reporter working for the Chicago Sun Times, is tired of her society column. She yearns to write new stories with power and heft- not the fluffy society pieces she has been writing. Her boss keeps telling her to pay her dues and her time will come; but Carrie is ready for a change. She tells her boss she’s going to quit if she does not get moved off the society beat. Instead of moving Carrie immediately or accepting Carrie’s resignation, Carrie’s boss counter offers an interesting plan. Find Finn Dalton, the best selling author of ALONE, get an interview with him for the Sun Times and Carrie can write what she wants to write. Carrie hungrily accepts the offer-dying for a chance to prove herself. Her editor informs her that it won’t be easy- Finn is a person everyone wants to find and interview, but no one has had luck.

Carrie begins the search for Finn and within a few days has managed to track his whereabouts down. With a little help from a friend of Finn’s, she makes it to the cabin in Alaska- where she is met with a chillier response than the weather. Finn is not happy to find that a reporter has found him and he makes his feelings very clear. Due to the weather, Carrie has to stay with him, though. As they get to know one another, both are surprised at the attraction they feel- yet neither act on it. Right before Carrie leaves, Finn kisses her and tells her to not write the story.

Back home in Chicago, Carrie weighs the pros and cons- and decides she will not write the story. Finn and Carrie begin emailing and talking to each other daily- falling in love even though there is miles between them. Both recognize they are very different, and yet; the feelings the city girl and the rustic outdoorsman have for each other are real. Their relationship is like a fairy tale, until a misunderstanding causes them to question everything that has happened between them.

Can Finn and Carrie find common ground? Will Carrie decide to write the article on Finn? Will Finn step out of his comfort zone and into an unknown world with Carrie?

 

Traveling With T’s Thoughts:

Debbie Macomber writes a cute, fun, fluffy and sweet book to get her readers ready for the holidays. Romance is there and the allure of 2 people in love, trying to overcome the odds to be together is sure to be a holiday pleaser! Make a cup of hot chocolate, sit back, and enjoy a Starry Night!

 

*This book was provided to me through Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are mine alone.

Interview with Wendy Francis- author of Three Good Things

three good thingsToday, Wendy Francis- author of Three Good Things– was gracious enough to find time to answer some interview questions about Three Good Things, why she’s writing now instead of being an editor, and why a kringle should be something we all can experience. Check back on Wednesday, when she’s back for an Author Spotlight- complete with #literarycrush and #literaryconfessions.

Interview with Wendy Francis

Wendy, what was the inspiration for writing Three Good Things?

After being a book editor for several years, I very much wanted to try my hand at writing. When I was home alone with my one-year-old son, I figured it was as good a time as any to give it a go. At the back of my mind was a story about two sisters whose mother died when they were young. Ellen was the first character I imagined for Three Good Things. I knew she was at a turning point in her life, recently divorced, in her forties, and about to open a bakery. I was also missing the Midwest, where I grew up, and wanted to recapture its spirit – and its signature pasty, the kringle – in my novel.

How long did Three Good Things take to write?

I wrote the first draft probably in a year, but then I did a fair amount of revising over the next year. From start to publication, it was about three years.

Are any of the characters in Three Good Things based on people you know in real life? Or are they created from your imagination?

I don’t have a sister, but I’m very close to my mom. In many ways, she was the inspiration for the bond between Ellen and Lanie. And though Ellen is much more outspoken than I am, I share her affinity for proper grammar, the Midwest, and, of course, kringle.  Lanie ended up being the easier character to write, if only because I’d just had a baby myself, so all those great baby firsts (and sleepless nights!) were still vivid in my mind.

Your character, Ellen, opens a shop called the Singular Kringle. Why not a cupcake or cookie store? What, in your opinion, made a Kringle the food to feature at Ellen’s store?

This one is easy to answer! I grew up in Wisconsin, where kringle is a staple for breakfast, tea, you name it. It’s a delicate Danish pastry that has nearly thirty layers of butter and a filling – apple, almond, or blueberry, to name a few. I probably don’t need to say anything more than “thirty layers of butter,” but authentic kringle is mouth-watering. Racine, Wisconsin, is the American home of kringle. In fact, I recently learned that State Representative Cory Mason has proposed that it be named the official “state pastry.” That’s how seriously we Midwesterners take our kringle! Since the book is set in Wisconsin and my own personal dream is to open a kringle shop one day, it seemed natural that it would be Ellen’s dream as well.

If Three Good Things was made into a movie, do you have a dream cast?

Wouldn’t that be fun?! Let’s see. . . I love Rachel McAdams (she played Allie in The Notebook) for Lanie. Ellen would have to be played by someone with humor and sass: maybe Sandra Bullock? As for the fellows, Max has to be sexy and sultry: Eric Dane from Grey’s Anatomy? For Henry, how about Greg Kinnear (he seems as if he has a gardener’s soul)? And Lanie’s husband, Rob, would be well-played by any of those cute, earnest-looking young actors – Jake Gyllenhaal and John Krasinski are a couple who come to mind!

Wendy, you were a former senior editor in publishing. Now you are an author. How are the lives different? How are they similar?

Good question. I wrote a little piece about this called “A Letter to the Author You’re About to Become” on the Huffington Post (http://huff.to/10ZEATC). In a nutshell, it’s a lot harder being an author than an editor! You’re much more isolated, and there are long stretches of time when you wonder if what you’re writing is any good. Self-doubt seems to be an essential part of the writer’s life. On the other hand, so is that wonderful feeling that you’ve created a whole new world on the page.

“At the end of every day, you can always think of three good things that happened” is a phrase that is said in Three Good Things –it’s the advice that Lanie and Ellen’s mother gave them. Is this advice that you pass on to your family and friends?

Though I don’t think anyone in my family would accuse me of being a Pollyanna, I am a big believer in taking time to stop and appreciate the little things in life.  Maybe it’s the Midwestern girl in me talking, but I love a good, drenching rainfall, a rosebush in full bloom, an amazing view, a good laugh. I’ve since come to learn that a lot of people try to recall three good things at the end of every day.  I think it helps a person keep perspective, even when the world appears to be breaking your heart.

What are you working on next, Wendy? Can you give us any hints?

I’m writing my second novel, which features three women who are all facing various challenges in their lives. I wanted to write a story that captures the kaleidoscope of experiences that many friends seem to be confronting right now – balancing work and marriage with caring for their children, their own aging parents, and their own health.  But it’s also a summer novel, set on the East Coast, so you can count on some romance and a few salty characters as well.

*Special thanks to Wendy Francis for agreeing to be interviewed!

wendy francisWendy Francis, author of Three Good Things, a former senior editor and currently hard at work for her 2nd book. Look for Three Good Things in stores or online. Like Wendy’s writing? You can find funny and poignant posts of hers at Huffington Post. Wendy also has a website and Twitter page.

To read Traveling With T’s review of Three Good Things, read HERE.

*GIVEAWAY: A copy of Three Good Things is up for grabs! Comment on this post and tell me what’s the best mother-ly advice you have ever received! Giveaway is open to US only (sorry!) and will run from July 15th- July 22 at 11:59pmEST. Winner will be notified on July 23rd. Please include your email address (you may use the AT and DOT).  While no extra entries will be awarded for following Traveling With T or liking my Facebook page- if you’ve been enjoying the content lately- give me a like or a follow!

The Widow Waltz by Sally Koslow

the widow waltzGeorgia Waltz has the life. 2 daughters she loves, a husband who she cannot picture life without, and an adorable little dog, Sadie. Life is pretty rosy for Georgia- till the day it isn’t.

When Ben Silver, Georgia’s husband, dies unexpectedly- Georgia and the girls are stunned. With how Ben took care of himself, they expected to have years with him. Georgia, while deeply distraught, knows this: Ben would have made plans to take care of her and the girls in the event of his untimely death. Except- the lawyer can’t find his plans. Money is missing. Georgia is beside herself- and yet knows she has to pull it together.

So Georgia makes a plan. She knows that it’s up to her- she’s got to find a way to make thing work. Cola and Luey also realize that being Daddy’s girls has been a great way to go through life- but that time is over.

With Ben dying, he left behind more questions than answers. Georgia finds that while she may not ever know all the answers to the questions- finding herself, being strong, learning to be independent- those are lessons that Ben’s death has taught her. And that is worth more than the money he should have left her.

Traveling With T’s Thoughts:

This is my first Sally Koslow book. I enjoyed it. Light and fluffy at times- and poignant at others. An excellent book for a book club to discuss- where each person could identify with the different characters.

Recommended.

 

*This book was requested through Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All above opinions are mine alone.

Interviews, Giveaways, and Happy Pub Days!

Today’s a day where several books are released- and it’s got Twitter and Facebook a-buzz with the excitement. Out of the 5 books that I know that were released today- I’ve read 3- so buckle up for the wild ride through interviews, reviews and giveaways!

Happy Pub Day to Gods of Mischief by George Rowe, The Next Time You See Me by Holly Goddard Jones, Calling Me Home  by Julie Kibler, The House Girl by Tara Conklin, and The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers!

Giveaways:

She Reads is giving away a copy of The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers. Just comment on She Reads post for a chance to win!

Women’s Fiction Writers is giving away a homemade bracelet to celebrate Julie Kibler’s pub day of Calling Me Home. They also have an interview with Julie Kibler for your reading delight. Read the post, follow the directions, and good luck to you for the bracelet!

Interviews:

Bookmagnet interviews Tara Conklin, author of The House Girl.

Bookmagnet also interviewed Julie Kibler, author of Calling Me Home.

Book Reviews:

Katherine Scott Jones reviews Gods of Mischief by George Rowe

Bookmagnet (aka Jaime Boler) reviews The House Girl by Tara Conklin.

Bookmagnet reviews Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler.

And lastly I (Traveling With T) review:

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

The Next Time You See Me by Holly Goddard Jones

Gods of Mischief: My Undercover Vendetta to Take Down the Vagos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang by George Rowe

It’s a good day book lovers- a really good day!