This is my book:
This is my book listed at the San Francisco Public Library, which now has several copies available:
This is how I feel about it:
Please enjoy this guest post by Bella Andre, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of the contemporary romance series, The Sullivans. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including special romantic swag baskets for each book, an iPad Mini, Kindle Fire, Nook Color, and Kobo eReader, and Amazon and iTunes gift cards!
You know that saying – kindness begets kindness? Well, I think love begets love, and the more love you have in your life – of all types – the more you learn about how to love yourself and others. The first kind of love you learn about, soon after you’re born, is love for your family. Then comes love for your classmates and friends, then various dates until you meet the one.
Family love is so important to me. My husband is incredibly supportive and we’re both equal partners in everything we do. Since I’ve always got a new book to write, I try to get my pages in while the kids are at school. But since my daily to-do list often spills over into the evening, I often take my MacBook Air into the living room and write or answer emails while my kids play on the carpet.
In fact, just at this very moment, my son is organizing his baseball cards on the floor while my daughter sits beside him and colors…and my fabulous husband cleans up the kitchen. (Hooray for men with cleaning skills!) I hope we’re creating a loving, nurturing environment so when my kids grow up and find partners of their own, they know what true love feels like.
Mary Sullivan is an example of love for her eight children, the talented siblings of the Sullivan series. Because she cares so much for them, and they care for each other, they’re unwilling to accept less than that level of devotion and affection in their partner. The family is also so intuitive, they learn to recognize when the others are in love.
In my latest release, Smith (COME A LITTLE BIT CLOSER) falls for his co-star’s sister. But Valentina is determined not to be the kind of woman who falls into bed with a sexy movie star. Only, when Smith’s family meets Valentina and Smith, they’re immediately able to see that Valentina is different than any other woman Smith has ever been with – and that Smith is happier because of her, too.
The Sullivans are on tour with Novel Publicity. Follow along for your chance to win amazing prizes. We’ve got special romantic swag baskets for each book, an iPad Mini, Kindle Fire, Nook Color, and Kobo eReader, and Amazon and iTunes gift cards. WOW!
You’ll also get introduced to this amazing contemporary romance series via excerpts as well as interviews with and guest posts from New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Bella Andre. You’ll definitely want to learn more about the family that has captured the world’s heart.
All the info you need to join the fun and enter to win amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!
To Win the Prizes:
In this sexy, emotional and funny contemporary romance series, each member of the Sullivan family will eventually find true love…usually where he or she least expects it. Get the eBooks via Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, the iBookStore, or the Kobo Store.
Audiobooks are also available for the first five in the series (with more coming soon). Plus, keep an eye out for paperback editions coming from Harlequin Romance starting Summer 2013.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Bella Andre has always been a writer. Songs came first, and then non-fiction books, but as soon as she started writing her first romance novel, she knew she’d found her perfect career. Known for “sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance” (Publishers Weekly) about sizzling alpha heroes and the strong women they’ll love forever, nearly all of her novels have appeared on Top 10 lists at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and Kobo.
Her books have been Cosmopolitan Magazine “Red Hot Reads” twice and have been translated into nine languages. Winner of the Award of Excellence, The Washington Post has called her “One of the top digital writers in America” and she has been featured by NPR, USA Today, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal. She has given the keynote speech at Book Expo America on her self-publishing success and has sold more than one million books.
If not behind her computer, you can find her reading her favorite authors, hiking, swimming or laughing. Married with two children, Bella splits her time between the Northern California wine country and a 100 year old log cabin in the Adirondacks.
In a few days I’ll have a post up on my crochet blog about the crochet artists featured in the books by Dona Z. Meilach, particularly her 1970s books. But crochet isn’t the only craft this author covered in her prolific writing career. In fact, she seems to have authored books on almost every craft topic as well as other design and even food books. I can’t find much information about the author herself but I think her work speaks for itself.
What I do know about Dona Z. Meilach is that she was born in 1926 and lived until 2006. She authored her first book that I can find anyway in 1964. Her last book was published in 2007, shortly after her death. In that time span she wrote dozens of books. I am amazed by how prolific she is and think that she did a great job in her lifetime of curating the work of other creative people in a way that not only reflected her own interests but preserved a piece of history through the lens of those interests.
Meilach’s books run the gamut of craft and design subject matter. Her first book was about found art; her last book was on decorative ironwork. Her other books cover a wide swath of topics including rug making, blacksmithing, homemade liquers, basketry, batik, furniture making and fondue. The books themselves matter individually, of course, because of the information that they offer – especially the ones that offer instructions on how to do these crafts yourself so that the crafts are preserved over time.
Why I think these books really matter, though, is that so many of them are collections of the works of other crafters. I learned about Meilach in my research into 1970s crochet designers. Several of her books feature of the works of artists who were working during that time period, on the cusp of when the craft was beginning to get acceptance as an art form. She features images of the works of artists that I’ve seen in other publications as well as works from artists whose work I haven’t seen elsewhere. The sum total of Meilach’s books is an amazing collection of curated crafts and art that celebrate the individual artists, the history of the crafts and the work of makers of all kinds. This is important.
Writers can do many things but I think one of the most important things that we do is to share and preserve the stories of others. That’s a lot of what Meilach has done in these books.
You can see the books I checked out related to crochet in the upcoming Wednesday post on my crochet blog. But here I’ll share some of her other interesting titles. I’m currently loving the oldest book of hers that I was able to locate, which is the book Collage and Found Art that she co-authored in 164 with Elvie Ten Hoor. It talks about how collage allows the artist to get a fresh perspective on mundane objects, including paper, and to turn that into new art. It gives tips, techniques and ideas for collage art including mixed media and found art collage – something I think many of us think of as a relatively new thing.
Other Meilach books I’m interested in checking out include:
1970s Jazzercise book; I’d love to check it out for the retro appeal!
1970s book on papier mache art
1988 book on ethnic jewelry
2000 book that covers the history of a specific niche of metal sculpture work
2006 book about teapots and the people who make and collect them
What a fun career Meilach seems to have had!
It seems like I have drifted towards books about food a lot lately – or more specifically about the food industry. Here are a few that I read and enjoyed:
Over the years I’ve become really interested in this celebrity chef. Of course, I was introduced to him first through Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares and also quickly started following him on MasterChef. At first this was just reality TV to pass the time while multi-tasking other things. However, as time went on and more about his personality was revealed I became intrigued by the many behind this stardom. I’ve since watched many of his different shows, both American and UK, including a recent UK show where he set up a cooking program in a prison.
The prison program was what really got me especially interested in him. He reveals here that his brother was in and out of prison because of drugs. And you can see in the show that despite all of his success in both restaurants and TV over the years he was extremely nervous that this program wouldn’t work out, which is always inspiring to see because we think of celebrities as not having those fears when of course they do.
So anyway, I wanted to learn a little bit more about him and that was what prompted me to read this biography. I thought it was a good overview of his life. It was published a few years ago so the most recent information isn’t in there but it does a good job in general of showing how this guy went from being kid in a troubled home to a star athlete to a top chef to a TV star. It shares some of his personal life with his original family as well as his married life. Basically it’s just about the man behind the food shows. So while it’s not exactly about food, it’s a good book from the food industry and one that I thought was an interesting read. I’d now like to read some of the books he’s actually authored himself.
I love reading niche topic books and was super interested in The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy. Basically this is just a book about the history of sushi. It shares how sushi became so popular in recent times. But what I really like is that it gives a lot of insight into how sushi goes from tuna in the ocean to a delicacy on a plate through sharing the personal stories of individual people along the way in that process, such as the buyers of fish at auctions. By putting faces to the process it makes it really easy to understand the in-depth and detailed economics and culture of the sushi history. Fascinating.
I do have to say that it made me disinterested in eating sushi, though. This is probably just me. I used to be vegetarian and I still have a lot of mental issues when it comes to the thought of eating animals. It just grosses me out and seafood grosses me out most of all. The detailed descriptions of how the fish gets shipped and handled really turned me off personally, although they aren’t so gory that I think others would be likely to have this reaction. I should add that I actually don’t really like sushi and always end up with California Rolls anyway since none of the raw fish tastes good to me so it’s not as if I was a huge fan and the book turned me away from that. It just reiterated how I already felt but gave me much more appreciation into the food and industry as a whole.
This is a book about waiting tables. It is really insightful about the whole experience of being a 30-something waiter in New York, collecting experiences and stories and money while passing the time until eventually a writing career develops out of it all. You can read here why I think this is a great book about writing, in addition to one about the restaurant life.
Next up on my reading list of books related to food is Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil. I’m a huge fan of olive oil and look forward to learning more about it through this book!
On Thursday night I had the opportunity to stop by a store in my area that was having a panel discussion on the topic of print publishing in the digital age. The talk was super interesting, plus I got an awesome goodie bag, so I thought I’d tell you about it all.
The panel discussion was being held at Zinc Details, a local store selling furniture and other home decor and design items. The store is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year. I have only lived in the neighborhood for two years and have already seen many stores come and go in that short period of time so I think their longevity is a testimony to the fact they’re doing something right.
I’ve actually noticed their own design and offerings change a bit in the two years I’ve been walking past their storefront. Lately they seem a little less cluttered, a little more polished, like they have a slightly stronger voice of their own. I think it’s neat to see.
I didn’t actually know that they hosted events in the store but happened to be shopping in there the day before the event and was invited so that’s how I came to check it out … and I was glad I did.
The panel, moderated by Vas of Zinc Details, consisted of three local print publishers working in different genres and styles:
What all of these people have in common is that they are creating a print product right now and are based here in San Francisco. Meg and Dan both started their publications recently, in a time when many print magazines are foding. Chronicle has been around for 50 years but of course has had to adapt to the changes of the digital age.
During the panel discussion these terrific people talked about several key topics:
A lot of what was said was what you might expect in the sense that these print publishers believe that there is most certainly a place in the future for print publications. Like most of us, they support digital reading and getting information digitally but think that there’s room for both print and digital publications.
Some of the more interesting points of view I heard included:
The first 25 people who showed up to the event got a free goodie bag and I just have to mention it because it’s probably the best goodie bag I’ve ever gotten from a free event. It included:
I don’t know how many people ultimately showed up to hear this panel discussion but it was packed in there and I’d say at least sixty people, if not more, were in attendance. I would also say that about 90% of the attendees were female which I thought was interesting to observe.
Very nice event.
Note: Please forgive my less-than-stellar photos. My terrific camera is in the shop so I’m relying on my iPod and cell phone for photos and neither does a great job.
When I was a teenager I went through this period of reading lots of true crime books constantly. Ann Rule was probably my favorite author. In more recent years, I don’t usually read these books. My non-fiction reading tastes have moved on to other things and I tend to prefer my crime stories in the form of TV dramas. However, during my recent vacation I went through a stint of reading some true crime stories and the stories compelled me so I thought I would share.
The first book that I read was a book my dad owns called Abandoned Prayers: The Incredible True Story of Murder, Obsession and Amish Secrets. My dad works closely with the Amish when he is harvesting wood for sale back in Ohio so he’s always tuned in to stories related to the Amish. This one is a sad true story about an Amish man who strayed from the Amish ways for many complicated reasons, a man who likely murdered his wife and child. The man was abused, gay in an Amish community that obviously doesn’t accept homosexuality and likely had some serious mental illness. The story is sad, but compelling.
I took longer than I usually do to read this book and I think a main reason was that I had a tough time keeping the players straight in my mind. The Amish community has very few names among all of its family members. To make it more complicated, the same name might refer to a specific person or it might refer to a specific branch of the Amish community. I had to read a bit carefully to keep track of everyone in the beginning but eventually I got the whole story. It does an interesting job of explaining Amish life and the complications of handling a criminal element within that community.
The next book was one recommended by my mom. It’s called The Trunk Murderess: Winnie Ruth Judd. Judd was a woman who was convicted of murder in the 1930′s after she was caught taking trunks with dismembered bodies in them on a train from Phoenix to Los Angeles. Judd spent most of her life in mental hospitals, which she frequently escaped from. She eventually escaped a final time as an old woman, changed her name and made a life for herself but eventually did get turned in and finally got released from her lifelong imprisonment after a fresh new trial. The book exposes how it is possible that Judd never committed the murders at all and says that if she did it was likely a self-defense situation that landed her such a harsh punishment because of AZ political circumstances involving various high-ranking officials in the area at the time.
The story is a sad one. The situation described about her life in the mental hospitals reminds me of the horrifying movie Changeling (a great movie) featuring Angelina Jolie portraying the true story of a woman in 1930′s Los Angeles who ends up in mental hospitals after her child is taken due in large part to political circumstances. I was intrigued by the story and also by the opportunity to learn something about 1930′s Phoenix politics and the players involved in that, names I recognized in passing from having grown up in Tucson although I didn’t know much about the people prior to reading the book.
Finally I found this book interesting because I was somewhat familiar with Judd’s story. I saw it portrayed on a true crime TV show within the last year or two. (I think it was on Deadly Women on the Discovery ID channel but I may be misremembering that.) The way the story was told there was the way most people know it, without all of these extra details that paint Judd as a more sympathetic character. I always love knowing multiple sides of a story so I enjoyed this aspect of reading the book.
The third book, which I started during the last part of my vacation and actually set aside and haven’t finished yet (no reflection on the book’s quality, though) is Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Famous Multiple Personality Case. This isn’t a true crime book in the same way that the other two are but it does tell a true personal story and exposes a case of what could easily be called fraud so I figured I’d include it in this review roundup.
Shortly after my true crime reading phase I went through a phase of reading biographies and memoirs related to mental health. Unlike the true crime phase, this is a non-fiction area I continue to read widely in. In any case, during that time I read the book Sybil, which was presented then as a true story about a woman with multiple personalities. This book explains that the truths in that book weren’t truths at all but were largely, if not entirely, fabricated.
What’s really interesting about this book is that it’s basically three biographies in one. It tells the history and true story of the woman who came to be known as Sybil. It does the same about the treating doctor and about the journalist who turned Sybil’s story into a book. From what I’ve read so far, it weaves the stories together to show the dynamics that were involved in allowing the story to come to life and be presented as fact. As I said, I haven’t finished it, but definitely finding it interesting so far.
Some books I’ve read and liked recently:
Moonwalking with Einstein, a book on memory I mentioned once already
Helping Me Help Myself, in which author Beth Lisick studies self-help experts and reports on her experiences with gurus from Deepak Chopra to Richard Simmons
Passing for Normal, a memoir of OCD and Tourette’s by Amy S. Wilensky
Tao of Pooh – a classic of sorts I’d never read before
The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, a really interesting look at what gets someone labeled as “psychotic”
Made By Hand, a cool book on the DIY/ Maker life style by MAKE magazine guy Mark Frauenfelder
Language of Flowers, a novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh about growing up in foster care that does a lovely literary job of weaving the Victorian language of flowers into the modern story
I also recently re-read Prozac Nation, which was interesting because my experience of it now post-depression-diagnosis is far different from when I read it at 18 before I even realized I had depression. I started reading Stroke of Insight but found the basic story more compelling than the actual book so I abandoned it. And I’m reading lots of stories that are bilingual in Spanish/English to practice Spanish.
What are you reading these days?
I’ve read a few books lately that I really liked. And I’ve started a few others that I couldn’t get into at all.
I absolutely loved this memoir by Jon-Jon Goulian. He’s an androgynous male who writes about the experience of figuring out what that meant for him and adjusting to the larger world around himself in the face of it. Although at first glance it might seem like a memoir with a limited niche (how many people truly struggle with sincere androgyny, after all?) it’s actually got a wide appeal in my opinion because ultimately what it’s about is figuring out how to learn who you are and how to fit into the world around you. That’s something that we all have to figure out. The author’s incisive, sometimes self-deprecating, wit actually had me laughing aloud which I can’t say I do often when reading a book at home alone. Loved it.
This is another story about finding and defining yourself but this one is a young adult novel. I’m not even really sure why I picked it up but I ended up kind of liking it. It’s about a transgender teenage boy during the stage when he’s beginning to dress as a woman. I think what made me like it, though, is that it’s told from the perspective of his younger sister who is the only one at first to know the boy’s secret. This unique perspective made an otherwise “whatever” book a lot more interesting to me.
This is another young adult book and to be honest the only reason I picked it up is because I needed something to read while I was at the airport and the selection at the newsstand in my terminal in LA was really limited. I ended up liking it, though. It’s about an era in which all of society is divided into five factions that each values a certain virtue (like amity or candor) and at the age of sixteen the members need to pick the faction that they want to be a part of. It’s the story of one main character who makes that choice. So I guess I’m on a theme these days of reading these “how do I define myself?” books!
This is a collection of fictional monologues about the fiery passion and difficult lives of teenage girls. It touches on topics both small and large. I didn’t like every single part of it. And it’s something that I think would be a lot more fun to see performed on a stage than read in a book. That said, I liked the gist of it and enjoyed reading pieces of it here and there. It was tough being a teenage girl and this book reminded me to celebrate and honor that toughness.
I picked up this book because I wanted a light summery novel to read on the plane to LA. I actually did read the entire thing so I can’t say I totally didn’t get into it. But I’m pretty indifferent to it. It’s about two friends who were close in high school and then lost touch for twenty years and now they’re becoming friends again. It’s about their journeys through lives, the differences in the choices they made, etc. It’s not a bad book just not exceptional for me.
This is the story of Coco Chanel and I really, really want to read it because it covers a “secret” period of Chanel’s during the WWII era. It sounds intriguing. However, I can’t seem to get more than a few pages into it before I get bored. It’s too heavy-handed or dense or something. I may try again. We’ll see.
This is the true story of someone who underwent the terrible experience of being kidnapped and then held captive for eighteen years. She was treated horrible, had two children in captivity … it’s a powerful story. And I wanted to learn more about it but I just couldn’t get into the writing. I seem to be really restless with reading lately and if something doesn’t capture me immediately then I move on to something else. I think I’d rather see a documentary on this one than read the book.
This is a book by the wife of Patrick Swayze that shares what it was like to spend twenty months with him undergoing intense cancer treatment and passing away. I just tried starting it this morning and I couldn’t get into it. It actually seems like a good book but for some reason I just can’t get the cheesy Dirty Dancing Swayze out of my head and it makes me not like the story that much. I think I’ll try again before returning it to the library, though, because the bias seems weird and sill.
So, that’s what I’m reading. What’s on your nightstand?
Ebook publisher Hyperink.com asked: What is the best book you read in the last year? Here’s my answer …
Although I’ve read quite a few books in the past year, there is only one that comes to mind when I’m asked my favorite: Room: A Novel by Emma Donahue. Room is a novel about a child born to a woman who was kidnapped and has been trapped in a room since before the child was born. The thought-provoking, heart-wrenching tale is told from the child’s perspective.
Room is impressive because it takes on the task of telling a story from a highly unusual perspective. It is difficult to write a book in the voice of a five year old that will appeal to adults and yet Donahue does this seamlessly. She imagines what the world would seem like if you grew up only in a single room with no outside influence and were then thrust into the larger world. It’s a terrifying prospect that makes for an amazing story about both the internal and external worlds of a child in a rare situation.
Garden at Il Brolino Estate designed by Yoch and Council
One of the books that I got as part of the first set of books for my 3 digit reading project was The Gardens of California: Four Centuries of Design from Mission to Modern. Prior to reading this book I didn’t know anything at all about garden design and now I feel like I have a tiny understanding of what has influenced landscape design in California. This book has also led me to be curious about a new-to-me couple, Florence Yoch and Lucile Council.
Florence Yoch studied garden design, getting a degree in landscape design at a time when this was definitely a male-dominated industry. She opened her own design business and was joined three years later by Lucile Council. The two maintained a presumably-monogamous lesbian relationship from 1921 through 1964 while simultaneously maintaining a creative partnership that resulted in more than 250 different designs. Wow!
I haven’t found a lot written about this couple. I checked my library’s database and there doesn’t seem to be a book written about them although there certainly seems like there ought to be. Most of what I’ve been able to find online is specifically about the design work of Florence Yoch. She was a set designer on numerous movies including Gone with the Wind. And she was the designer of countless California estate gardens. Council is typically mentioned as a footnote although it sounds like she was a huge contributing partner to Yoch’s life and designs. The mystery makes me even more curious!
Sounds like there’s more research to be done here.