author alert

365 Challenge: Day 306 – Crime (Author Alert: Agatha Christie)

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Crime: (a) an action or omission that constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by law, or (b) 365 Daily Challenge word for today’s author alert — Agatha Christie

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If you are new to the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog, the 365 Daily Challenge, or the Author Alert segment, check out the About Site section from the main menu. I usually feature a new author who is currently writing: I share an interview with him or her, as well as fresh content about their upcoming work and fun facts. This week, as I wasn’t able to secure a new author in time, I’ve gone retro to cover an ole favorite! Below are some key things to know about this author, but at the end of this post, you’ll see the permanent page I’ve added to my blog. You can return to check out more on who (s)he is, what she’s writing and how to buy her future work. I am pleased to present a few tidbits about the very talented Agatha Christie. 

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First, I apologize for not bringing you a new author this week. I had a few possibilities falling into place, but given their schedule and my reading schedule, we opted for posting about them later this month or in early February. So… rather than rush to read someone else’s book at the last minute (to prepare me for a new author alert), I went with one of my go-to authors for when I want to have an amazing read!

I can’t imagine there is anyone out there who doesn’t know who Agatha Christie is… perhaps they’ve not read one of her books, or seen a TV/Film adaption, but the name must ring a bell. Just in case… huge fiction writer in the early/mid 20th century known as England’s Grand Dame of mysteries. She’s produced ~70 books in her lifetime, many focused on popular characters such as Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, and Tommy & Tuppence; however, there are also non-series books that are as equally compelling.

Miss Christie herself also had a bit of a mystery when she disappeared for months. To this day, many people still wonder whether it was staged or real. It’s an interesting story because she was considered quite famous at the time — no one would believe she’d stage such a thing, but then again… think about all her characters! I’ll leave it at that… let you have a bit of a puzzle to go in search of what really happened.

Mystery fiction is my favorite genre, and it’s because of Agatha Christie. The ingenuity built into the plots is often so clever, you will never be able to guess it; yet when you finally get to the reveal, it makes 100% perfect sense. In “And Then There Were None,” my all-time favorite of her books, ten people are invited to an island where one-by-one, they are murdered according to a poem they found in the remote house. It’s a bit of a controversial book in that the title was changed a few times; it had previously been called ‘Ten Little Indians,’ but far worse, it once held a name using the nasty ‘n’ word. Although it was ~100 years ago, and didn’t necessarily have as bad/awful/shameful a connotation as it’s grown to have, it was still a shock when I learned about it years ago. As it’s clearly WRONG, I won’t go into it anymore, but it did give me some concern when reading the books. Ignoring that for a moment (as the plot is purely about murder and revenge), the story is absolutely top notch.

When I need something brilliant and curious, I will always turn to a Christie. I love the inherent English tradition within them. When they visit the Middle East or India, it’s quite eye-opening to see how people (both the English and the native inhabitants) behaved in foreign lands at that time. Some of the dialogue and words are peculiar, which makes me want to look up more about the culture to get a better sense of reality. It’s engaging and analytical. I can usually push through one of her novels over 3 hours in one sitting, as you don’t want to put them down.

If you’ve never read a Christie, but want to… ask for a recommendation! If you want to buddy-read one with me this year, let me know. I’d love to share this author with others and have a great discussion about their beauty. And we can use our ‘little grey cells’ together.

 

Links To Learn More About Miss Christie

Goodreads

Amazon

Author Site

 

I’ve read about 20 of her books, but you’ll see below that I only have 7 listed with reviews, as I read them too long ago to be sure I could write a proper review. Instead, I challenge myself to read another 7 in 2018 as part of my Goodreads Challenge to read 104 books this year. I wonder which ones I will select…

Books I’ve Read

  1. And Then There Were None (1939) — My favorite Christie & in my top 5 of all books

Book Series – Hercule Poirot Mysteries

  1. The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)
  2. Murder on the Orient Express (1934)
  3. Death on the Nile (1937)
  4. Evil Under the Sun (1941)

Book Series – Miss Marple Mysteries

  1. The Body in the Library (1942)
  2. A Murder is Announced (1950)

Note: If there is an active link, I’ve completed a review.

***

To see more about Agatha Christie on ThisIsMyTruthNow, check out her dedicated author page where future content and reviews will added as I read her books.

Thanks for stopping by this edition of the Author Alert.


 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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365 Challenge: Day 299 – Alphabet (Author Alert: Sue Grafton)

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Alphabet: (a) standard set of letters that is used to write one or more languages based upon the general principle that the letters represent phonemes (basic significant sounds) of the spoken language, or (b) 365 Daily Challenge word for today’s author alert — Sue Grafton

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If you are new to the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog, the 365 Daily Challenge, or the Author Alert segment, check out the About Site section from the main menu. Below are some key things to know about this author, but at the end of this post, you’ll see the permanent page I’ve added to my blog. You can return to check out more on who (s)he is, what she’s writing and how to buy her work. 

I am pleased to present the very talented Sue Grafton chosen because she is one of my top 10 favorite authors, and the unfortunate news of her death last week. Let’s do her justice in today’s special edition author spotlight!

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Sue Grafton (1940 – 2017) wrote suspense, thriller and mystery fiction.

Sue Grafton

***

Writing this post was difficult, as this wonderful author passed away last week — it felt eerie to change the date on her dedicated page on my blog from “Present” to “2017.” Rather than focus on the loss, I choose to celebrate the great talent and human being she was. I’d just graduated from college when I began reading cozy mystery novels, stumbling upon this series shortly after picking up Sara Paretsky’s VI Warshawski series. I was enamored with the idea of an author committing to writing 26 books in the Alphabet Series, but astounded when I learned she’d been writing already for over a decade… and that the first book took place in 1982. I was a tad concerned whether or not I could last in a series that would stay firmly put in the 1980s, as the character couldn’t possibly age 40 years as the author finished writing the series. But I almost never felt that way once I dived in to the books… it was a world I loved to be part of.

Santa Teresa, the small California town where it takes place reminded me of so many of the villages I visited when I lived in San Francisco. Grafton’s words and imagery bring you to the setting more than most other authors — it felt entirely too real, as did the heroine, Kinsey Millhone. Kinsey was an older sister to me, someone I could call up when I needed a few hours away from my life. She always delivered. She always made my day brighter. She always left me happier. I finished reading 22 of her books, and by 2005, I’d caught up where I was one of the first people at the bookstore to buy the new release. In time, I picked up too many other series and fell a bit behind, but I’ve purchased W, X and Y, the only 3 left I haven’t read. Unfortunately, I don’t believe Z will be published, but time will tell.

Grafton was at the head of the curve when it came to the development of the mystery series novels. Sure, there was the Golden Age in the early 20th century with Christie and the rest of the gang, but when it was re-invigorated in the 1980s with authors like Lilian Jackson Braun, Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton, the world of literature took a great leap forward again. Thousands of authors have used her style, pattern and themes over the years to find a cohesive book series, but few have found the truly intimate yet traditional approach that Grafton found. I will always appreciate her voice, not only in her books, but in the way she carried herself and interacted with the public. I admire her and would love to have met this fine writer.

If you’ve never read one of her books, and you’re willing to commit to read the whole series, start with A is for Alibi. If not, message me and we’ll figure out the best one for you to take on, if you just want a sample. In her honor, Fri 1/5’s Author Alert is dedicated to Sue Grafton.

To read any book reviews I’ve written on her work, click the link below. To learn more about this author, you can visit her website @ http://www.suegrafton.com/

***

Book Series – Kinsey Millhone Mysteries

  1. A is for Alibi (1982)
  2. B is for Burglar (1985)
  3. C is for Corpse (1986)
  4. D is for Deadbeat (1987)
  5. E is for Evidence (1988)
  6. F is for Fugitive (1988)
  7. G is for Gumshoe (1990)
  8. H is for Homicide (1991)
  9. I is for Innocent (1992)
  10. J is for Judgment (1993)
  11. K is for Killer (1994)
  12. L is for Lawless (1994)
  13. M is for Malice (1996)
  14. N is for Noose (1998)
  15. O is for Outlaw (1999)
  16. P is for Peril (2000)
  17. Q is for Quarry (2002)
  18. R is for Ricochet (2004)
  19. S is for Silence (2005)
  20. T is for Trespass (2007)
  21. U is for Undertow (2009)
  22. V is for Vengeance (2011) — last one I read
  23. W is for Wasted (2013)
  24. X (2015)
  25. Y is for Yesterday (2017)
  26. Z is for Zero (May not be published posthumously)

Note: If there is an active link, I’ve completed a review.

 

To see more about Sue Grafton on ThisIsMyTruthNow, check out his/her dedicated author page where future content and book reviews will added.

Thanks for stopping by this edition of the Author Alert.


 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

365 Challenge: Day 295 – News (RYDER RANT)

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News: newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events

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Happy New Year! It’s Ryder and I wanted to start the new year off right by wishing everyone a wonderful 2018. I am excited about everything it could bring! I have a few things to rant about, but also a couple of exciting updates to reveal… so I thought I’d just share some random ‘news’ today as part of my first 2018 365 Daily Challenge post. We’ll start with something good.

  1. A few weeks ago, Atwood Cutting, also know as Kate Peters, was the Author Alert on Dad’s blog. She’s a very cool lady and always says hello to me, plus she tells Dad to give me hugs and treats! Atwood taped a radio interview on 12/15 through FM station KCME 88.7 in Colorado Springs. You can listen to the recording on 1/1/18 at 7:00 PM MST. Check out KCME 88.7 FM and kcme.org for further information, or contact Atwood to get a copy of the broadcast. Dad has a copy and can also share it via email — I can’t wait to listen to it this week with him, curled up on his lap.
  2. On a sadder note, one of Dad’s favorite authors passed away this week. He’s been a big fan of Sue Grafton, who wrote the Alphabet Series, over the last thirty years. She finished the 25th book, Y is for Yesterday, but will probably not posthumously publish the final one in the series. In honor of her, Dad will make her the focus on the Fri 1/5 Author Alert — even tho she’s not someone he has met. Stay tuned!
  3. Dad told me all about his trip to Louisiana last week for Christmas. It’s a bit concerning how poor the service was on Delta.
    • Dad 2 left on Christmas Eve, planning to arrive at 11pm in the Louisiana airport. When he arrived in Atlanta for the first connection, there was no one at the gate even though the plane was supposed to take off in 30 minutes. He found out they had issues with the tugs to deliver the plane, but there was no flight crew. It seemed suspiciously like they planned to cancel the flight and forgot to tell anyone. It finally showed up, but he arrived at 1:30am on Christmas Day. Not good holiday service!
    • Dad 1 left on the same flight Christmas Day. At the gate in NYC, he was put in Zone 3 (last zone). They asked for volunteers to check baggage at the gate since there would be no room, and offered to let you get on the plane in Zone 1. He did the right thing and checked his baggage at the gate, then had an issue trying to board in Zone 1. He received a text alert saying his baggage was put on the plane. When he landed at 11:15 in Louisiana, his bag was nowhere to be found! One person said it was in NY. The mobile app showed it in Atlanta. The alert said it was on a plane. Very confusing. He filed a claim to get it all sorted out, and it was… he had to drive back to the airport to get it, which was after there were no rental cars available.
    • Dads left together on a trip back to NYC later in the week. As they arrived at the Louisiana airport, a text noted there was a 1 hour delay (no reason ever provided), but they only had 1 hour in between flights for the Atlanta to NYC connection. I really wanted them to come home, but it looked like they’d not make it. Then their second flight was delayed, which made the connection time potentially do-able… they raced from one gate to another gate all the way at the other side of the terminal, arriving just in time to hear an announcement about another delay for unknown reasons. A lot of running for nothing. I felt bad for them. Delta should do something to say they’re sorry for 3 major issues on 3 flights — all with no real explanation or follow-up, especially when it was on Christmas. Just rude!
  4. Are dogs supposed to have new year’s resolutions? If so, here are mine:
    • Keep proper weight. I came back from Ella’s and Dads both told me I look a lot trimmer!
    • Kill 12 birds / squirrels / mice … real or toys… I don’t care. I must keep the population in check.
    • Nap at least 20 hours per day. Continue to push Dad 1 further off the bed each night. I think he might be on to me!
    • Beg for treats until I get them every day.

OK, this is way too long for a holiday post. I’m outta here. See ya next week.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

365 Challenge: Day 292 – Crash (Author Alert: Lina Langley)

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Crash: (a) collision, (b) name of a company in a cool book, or (c) 365 Daily Challenge word for today’s author alert — Lina Langley

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If you are new to the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog, the 365 Daily Challenge, or the Author Alert segment, check out the About Site section from the main menu. Below are some key things to know about this author, but at the end of this post, you’ll see the permanent page I’ve added to my blog. You can return to check out more on who (s)he is, what (s)he is writing and how to buy any future work. 

I am pleased to present the very talented Lina Langley. Lina and I met about one year ago when we were reading each other’s draft work. She was helpful with feedback and suggestions on very early versions of my debut novel, which I will always be grateful for. I’ve read one of her more recent novels and can’t wait to jump into more in 2018. You’ll find my review of Welcome to Crash here.

Lina’s novels bring dynamic characters and interesting conflicts to the forefront of the story. You immediately connect with them, but you’re not sure how/where you want it to end up. It’s increased my interest in reading other genres with surprising elements I didn’t know I’d enjoy — I won’t say much as I don’t want to give away the plot or the cleverness within the story. It wasn’t at the forefront of the book I read, but it touches the surface in a way you find yourself drawn in… wanting more. It’s a different kind of read – a good one – something that will push your boundaries and offer a great surprise and connection.

Without any delay, let’s hear from Lina…

———-

Welcome to Crash isn’t a romance.

I can see how it would be easy to expect a romance. I half-expected it to be a romance myself, when I first started writing it. And don’t get me wrong, I love a good romance. I love writing romance. It’s one of my favourite genres!

So I set out to write a poly m/m/m with one of my all-time favourite tropes. But that wasn’t what Welcome To Crash became at all—the relationships are important and romance is a huge part of the story, but the story isn’t about the romances.

The story is just about Damien. He’s 20-year-old visual arts student with epilepsy, and things are changing rapidly for him.

But regardless of what happens around him, or to him, the story is about Damien. Who Damien is as a person, from the beginning to the end, the decisions he makes, the person he chooses. It never becomes about anything else, not even when everything around Damien begins to change.

Damien is an oblivious character,  which is necessary, in some ways, for the plot. But he’s oblivious in other ways too, in ways that don’t immediately make sense. His obliviousness is something of a defense mechanism. Damien is both extremely vulnerable and detached.

In a way, the story is about bringing these two parts of his personality together to make him whole, and how he’s trying to do that.

So if you decide to read the book, don’t expect a romance. What you should expect is a real mess.

A relatable, young, sweet mess, who is totally trying his best. Even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, not even to himself.

 

Links To Learn More About This Great Author

http://linalangley.com/

https://www.subscribepage.com/langleyreader

 

To see more about Lina Langley on ThisIsMyTruthNow, check out the author’s dedicated page where future content and books will added as (s)he publishes them and I review them. Thanks for stopping by this edition of the Author Alert.


 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

365 Challenge: Day 285 – Fortitude (Author Alert: Cathleen Townsend)

Posted on Updated on

Fortitude: (a) courage in pain or adversity [may we all learn to grow in this area, so we can also rise to life’s challenges when necessary] or (b) 365 Daily Challenge word for today’s author alert — Cathleen Townsend

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If you are new to the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog, the 365 Daily Challenge, or the Author Alert segment, check out the About Site section from the main menu. Below are some key things to know about this author, but at the end of this post, you’ll see the permanent page I’ve added to my blog. You can return to check out more on who she is, what she’s writing and how to buy her future work. 

I am pleased to present the very talented Cathleen Townsend. She and I met about 3 months ago through our blogs, probably a comment on one of her books or my 365 Daily Challenges (sometimes I don’t remember how it all started!). As we chatted during the first few weeks, I developed a good bond with her over inspirational messages and reading great literature. Cathleen and I talked about sharing our work with each other’s followers and readers, and from there, it’s taken off. She wrote a wonderful review and interview during the launch of my book last month (check it out here). I downloaded two of her books and just finished reading the first one last week. You can check out my review here, but I will be reading more in 2018!

I always try to take a different path with each author, and today’s is definitely an extra special one… just wait til you see how generous Cathleen is being with her latest book of short stories, as well as a few other offers. And knowing how many dog-lovers follow my blog, you must be pleased to see the wonderful photo on this post of Cathleen with her dogs! I’m so glad to connect with her, but it’s time to let her do the speaking with a brief background on the word ‘fortitude’ to share:

 ***

When Jay and I talked about a word for “The Gift,” I suggested fortitude, a quality we’re somewhat lacking in these days. It’s a trait the “greatest generation,” the survivors of WWII, had in abundance. Several years ago, I sat down with my grandmother, her older brother, my father-in-law, and my husband’s aunt, and I transcribed their life experiences, both in the war and afterward. I came to have a great respect for the strength and utter dedication they had, whether building P-57s in North Carolina, stringing anti-submarine netting off the California coast, or coping with the wreckage when your test pilot husband has crashed and you’re stranded miles away with a baby daughter. Two of those four have since passed, and the world seems a less safe place without their wisdom.

{Alert Interruption: As an avid genealogist, I absolutely connected with Cathleen’s story about fortitude and can only imagine what her family went through. I can only imagine how wonderful those sessions were when she collected their experiences!}


As a VERY SPECIAL TREAT, Cathleen has graciously shared one of her amazing short stories from this collection. Please take a few minutes to read it, as it’s quite inspirational and heartwarming.

 The Gift

Alisha set the table and lit her red candles, her dark, wrinkled hands quivering as she blew out the match. A roasted chicken filled her nicest platter, and she’d arranged her silverware on a red cloth napkin. She was doing her best to make the holiday special, but the entire day had been a series of going through the motions.

She’d gone to mass that morning, smiling at all the people with families and radiant faces. She could have stopped for coffee afterward, but she didn’t like making other people work on Christmas.

When she’d eaten, Alisha washed the few dishes. Treacherous memories reared their heads as her fingers dipped into the warm, soapy water. Watching her children open their gifts as the joy from their laughter filled the house. Feeling their arms tighten around her as they said how much they loved her. It had always been a day-long marathon of love, food, and gifts. There had never been enough time—the hours flew past on reindeer feet.

No more. When Ed was still alive, it had been…okay. That’s when the two of them had started having chicken instead of turkey. What would they have done with a whole turkey? Afterward, they’d watched movies together, played cards, and opened each other’s gifts.

She’d have never guessed she would miss his snores so much. If nothing else, they’d masked the sound of her neighbors. While grateful for the roof over her head, Alisha fervently wished the walls were thicker. She turned on the television and played A Christmas Carol to drown out the man in number six calling his girlfriend a slut.

It was a relief when the sun set—now she could get ready for bed. She carefully hung up her thrift store find from last week, a still-pretty floral skirt with only a small stain near the hem. She turned the shower on as hot as she could stand and sighed as the water relaxed her back muscles.

When she returned to her small living room, clad in blue flannel pajamas, a box wrapped in green paper with a bright red bow sat on her coffee table. Alisha gasped and leaned against the door frame, her eyes darting around the room. No one else had a key except the manager, a young gal in her forties who minded her own business. Alisha’s breaths came hard and fast, and she staggered to her old tweed couch.

No one else was in the bathroom or bedroom—she’d just come from there. Her tiny front room and kitchen held no hiding places. She was alone. The knowledge was both a relief and a crushing despair.

Her eyes devoured the gift. She’d bought a present to donate at church and told herself that was enough. Christmas was a time to give. Besides, the one thing she truly wanted she couldn’t afford—an apartment that would let her keep a small dog or cat. Someone to love again. She turned her mind firmly away from thoughts of her children. That way led only to tears.

Slowly, with trembling hands, she untied the velvety bow. The nap caught against her fingers, and she brushed it against her cheek. Grandma had used ribbon like this. She’d always had the knack of making perfect bows. Alisha had tried, but she could never quite equal Grandma’s display. She could still hear Grandma’s voice as she plucked a gift from the beribboned pile, saying, “Now, Alisha honey, it’s your turn. I hope you like it.”

The brightly wrapped package had always contained clothes, often a hand-knitted sweater or poncho. And she’d always kissed Grandma’s cheek and told her she loved it. Grandma would smile as Alisha put the ribbon back in her hand to be used next year. Grandma would iron it later.

Funny to think that Grandma had been younger then than Alisha was now.

The box’s lid was wrapped separately. All she had to do was lift the top off. Her heart thudded, and she scrubbed a tear from her face. It was just a gift. A small kindness. Nothing to get so worked up about.

She lifted the lid slowly and sniffed. Cinnamon. And…spring grass? She pushed the lid aside and her lips curved as the warmth of sunshine caressed her face. Was that a tree swing on that hill behind the cottage? A dog barked, and Alisha stood. She took one halting step into the scene and then another. A collie bounded up and licked her hand. She stroked its soft fur and followed it to a gray shingled house, where the smell of spiced cider wafted out onto the porch.

Back in the apartment, the lid rose and settled firmly on the box. The ribbon tied itself back into a perfect bow. The package paused for a moment, as if regarding the neat, shabby room.

And then it was gone.

 

 ***

{Interruption from Jay} How often do you get an opportunity to hear from the author exactly how a story came together… this is a truly motivational message…

This story actually grew out of a hot summer’s day. I had been helping my husband waterproof some elevator pits (our day job), and I’d walked to the nearby grocery store to buy a cup of coffee at the indoor Starbucks kiosk before it grew too hot to drink it.

 As I sat down to wait for my decaf to brew, my attention was caught by an older woman sitting across the aisle. She was black, her dark hair shading mostly to gray, and her hand rested on a wire handcart, the kind you pull along behind you, with a single paper sack of groceries sitting in it. She obviously cared about her appearance; her white blouse was accented with a nice paisley scarf tied in a complicated knot that I couldn’t duplicate. But her yellow skirt was stained—and not from coffee spilled on it that morning, but the sort of stain that someone has tried to scrub out and this is the best they can do.

 My heart went out to her, and I wanted to do something, anything—put more groceries in her cart or at least offer her a cup of coffee—but I didn’t want to offend, either. She carried herself with a quiet dignity. I dithered until my coffee came up, and when I turned around with it, she was gone.

 And since I didn’t know what else to give her, I wrote her this story. I also pray for her now and again, but I still wish I could have done more.

 ***

I also offer Dragon Hoard and Other Tales of Faerie and Stolen Legacy free at my site: https://cathleentownsend.com.     (WOW – More free books!)

Both are on my list to read in 2018! (Jay)

 

Cathleen’s Latest Book: Twelve Tales of Christmas

Christmas isn’t always “Jingle Bells” and “Ho, ho, ho.” In these Twelve Tales of Christmas, even Santa has to deal with unexpected German Shepherds and reindeer who suddenly want to learn the tango. A dryad works feverishly with a teenage boy to save her tree, now in a stand in his living room, and everyone begs Death to hold off for just one more day.

And nobody knows what to do with the fire-breathing dragon. He’s not going on the Christmas card list anytime soon.

Come enter worlds of beauty and dread. Join a house hob as he raises his cup of eggnog high, and enjoy yuletide yarns delicious enough to tempt even St. Nick.

Twelve Tales of Christmas cover copy copy

{Alert Interruption: If you loved the short story, The Gift, you’ll love this entire collection. I read all 12 and struggled to pick my top 3 favorites as there were at least 6 contenders… check out my review here!}

 

AUTHOR BIO

An avid reader, Cathleen Townsend discovered fairy tales as a child and never outgrew them. Along with her husband Tom, she lives in the beautiful Sierra Nevada foothills of northern California, which is fortunate because this encourages her to leave her computer and take her dogs for walks. She firmly believes the oak and pine studded hills are also home to dwarves, brownies, and trolls, but so far they persist in lurking unseen.

Her short stories have been published in numerous trade anthologies and ezines, and Cathleen’s short story collection, Twelve Tales of Christmas, rose to #8 in its category, making her an Amazon bestselling author.

She loves to chat with readers on her blog (https://cathleentownsend.com), and she tweets @CathleenTowns.

Therese portrait 2010--med

 

To see more about Cathleen Townsend on ThisIsMyTruthNow, check out her dedicated author page where future content and books will added as she publishes them and I review them. Thanks for stopping by this edition of the Author Alert.


 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

365 Challenge: Day 278 – Elucidate (Author Alert: Atwood Cutting)

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Elucidate: (a) to make lucid or clear; throw light upon; explain, or (b) 365 Daily Challenge word for today’s author alert — Atwood Cutting

elucidate

If you are new to the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog, the 365 Daily Challenge, or the Author Alert segment, check out the About Site section from the main menu. Below are some key things to know about this author, but at the end of this post, you’ll see the permanent page I’ve added to my blog. You can return to check out more on who she is, what she’s writing and how to buy her future work. 

I am pleased to present the very talented Atwood Cutting, who I met about three months ago through our WordPress blogs. Atwood, or Kate, as she’ll confess to you shortly, is a wonderful woman who I’ve been exchanging emails with every week. She occasionally gives me a ‘difficult’ time about all the *.gifs I use in my posts (and I’ve cut down based on her input), which we joke about all the time. She also comments on all my posts and shares her perspective on life, having lived quite an unusual one compared to most of us. You’ll find out more if you read one of her published books, which I have just completed this week. You can check out my review here.

One of the best things I’ve come to adore about this woman is her voice and tone. She has an earthy, charismatic and brilliant approach to living and building relationships. Whether it’s the words she chooses, the things she doesn’t say, or the love she’s shared with those around her, you’ll find something quite worthy of learning in each experience. It’s rare to find a kind soul who knows how to share her gift with others, but when you do, you cherish it. I’m grateful to have a chance to chat with this lovely woman and I hope you’ll take up more time to do so after reading her post and one of her books. Without further ado, let’s watch her elucidate…

———-

Me thinks ’tis time to expose Atwood Cutting for what she really is: a literary device used by Kate Peters, the much older woman who pioneered during the late 20th century in Alaska and wanted to write about her experiences, but feared possible retaliation for doing so. After thirty years of self-hindering, Kate Peters determined that fictionalizing someone of the next generation could make the perfect teller of a mother’s stories. So, Kate created an “author” daughter—not to be confused with her real daughter who did actually ride home on the back of a snow-machine—to be her personal biographer to write her story. Would such a ploy provide protection from ex-neighbors who might take issue?

Bravely, the stories were penned and the saga was introduced to all readers.

All too soon, a friend, who saw an early copy of the story, commented on the photo of the author at the back of the book. “You don’t look like this,” he challenged.

“I used to look like that. Now, I look like my grandmother,” old Mrs. Peters rued.

It was obvious that the real Kate Peters would not be able to publicly masquerade as a fetching young authoress. Kate would have to become two people: the fictional and shy young author of a nearly-true saga about life and circumstances her parents encountered at the end of their remote Alaskan road; and the older woman, who actually lived the tale, “saw the elephant,” and is still alive to share her stories with interested listeners.  In our modern social media world, projecting such a double-identity has proven to be quite complicated. How can one communicate honestly with people, and not have them realize that she is not the young author, but rather a much older gal who has lived an interesting life, and loves to share stories and simple wisdoms with others?

She can’t.

Through the kindness of James Cudney and his invitation to participate in his Author Alert series, I can now elucidate that I am both the mother and the daughter; the pioneer and the artist; the young dreamer as well as the aging survivor of an actual Last Frontier “elephant” sighting.

By saying this, I am blowing my cover. But hopefully this public interaction with Jay will make things clearer for everyone, myself included. So, here is my true story:

I stood at the threshold of my life adventure back in 1972, when, as college graduates we were being honored at a Phi Beta Kappa dinner. During the event, each graduate was asked what they were going to do next? One stated that he was going to be a doctor. One, a lawyer. One, a professor, etc. When they got to me, I could only say, “I don’t know.”

A year later, disregarding the recently earned degree in Dance, Vocal Music and Theatre, I opted to avoid any fame to be earned playing the lead role in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” and instead took a quick dodge to the left. I ventured north to Alaska, where I met and married a man who harbored a rustic pioneering dream. This jibed with my own Emerson-inspired vision of self-reliance, and I followed his lead. Together we worked on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline construction project and saved up a good nest egg. Then we settled at the end of a remote mountain road near Sleeping Moose, Alaska. That’s where the saga begins.

* * *

As you might imagine, my work history was varied, and I never found a career. Museums, mental health clinics, universities, plant nurseries and elementary schools all called me “an employee,” but no one ever offered me tenure.

When I retired at 62, my sister urged me to write my story of life on the Last Frontier, and the next five years reignited a long-abandoned love for wordsmithing. To date, I have managed to self-publish and indie-publish several versions of my story, as well as a few coffee table photo books. They are all available on Amazon today, but revenues have been slow to come in. That’s okay. I’m content with my children happy, my husband wonderful, and my view spectacular.

* * *

And what of the future? When all three volumes of SLEEPING MOOSE SAGA have been published, and Kate’s story has been told, Atwood Cutting will be free to create her art, and Kate will allow herself to be old.  She intends to continue to use her talents to delight others, by singing, sharing in humor, watching the glory of a setting sun and reflecting on life, as well as her own great fortune. Meanwhile, Atwood plans to be producing books of beautiful photography “until the cows come home.”

So, after following the road “less traveled by” for most of a lifetime, Kate Peters has arrived at a state of contentment. Thanatopsis.

And how have the doctors and lawyers and professors at that long-ago collegiate table fared? Hopefully, just as well.

desksdssd.png

A younger Kate, primed to find her truth in nature

 

Thank you, James J. Cudney IV for this opportunity to gather my thoughts and prepare for today’s chat. Radio interview on FM KCME 88.7 in Colorado Springs. Interview taped 12/15 airs MST (mountain time) on “Culture Zone” 12/31/17 at 5:00 PM and again on 1/1/18 at 7:00 PM. Check out KCME 88.7 FM and kcme.org.

 

Links To Learn More About This Great Author

Sleeping Moose Saga — Atwood Cutting (WordPress Site)

Amazon Author Central

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Pinterest

Goodreads

LinkedIn

To see more about Atwood Cutting on ThisIsMyTruthNow, check out her dedicated author page where future content and books will added as she publishes them and I review them. Thanks for stopping by this edition of the Author Alert.


 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

365 Challenge: Day 271 – Cat (Author Alert: Lilian Jackson Braun)

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Cat: (a) one of the main characters in a fantastic author’s book series or (b) 365 Daily Challenge word for today’s author alert — Lilian Jackson Braun

If you are new to the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog, the 365 Daily Challenge, or the Author Alert segment, check out the About Site section from the main menu. Below are some key things to know about this author, but at the end of this post, you’ll see the permanent page I’ve added to my blog. You can return to check out more on who she is, what she’s writing and how to buy her future work. 

Unfortunately, the planned author selected for this week had to re-schedule, so I am not doing a traditional alert for someone I’ve actually had a chance to meet or chat with. Today’s author is someone whose work introduced me to the cozy mystery, which I adore. I’ve read all 30+ of her novels and when I needed to come up with a post at the last minute, I chose her. I am sorry I’m not introducing you to someone new and fantastic to chat with on the blog, but I am very happy to share an old favorite with you. Today’s word is also ‘cat’ because of the two cats, Koko and Yum Yum, who accompany the main character on all his investigations… and all the books in this author’s series are entitled “The Cat Who…” Happy Reading!

———-

Lilian Jackson Braun (1913 – 2011) wrote the “Cat Who” cozy mystery series set in Moose County, Minnesota with Jim Qwilleran, semi-retired journalist, as the main character, along with his two Siamese cats, KoKo and YumYum. The first 3 books in the series were published in the 1960s, but she then took a 20 year hiatus before publishing the next one in the 1980s. With almost 30 books in the series, she’s a highly prolific writer who’s created a wonderful world full of charming, eccentric and relatable characters.

If you’re a fan of the traditional American cozy, Braun created some of the very early standards when she built the town of Pickax, 400 miles north of everywhere! Between the Goodwinter family, the amazing cats, the journalism stories, Qwill’s mustache, and the converted barn, I always found something to love in these books. While the last few took a turn south in terms of quality, they were still fun to read if you liked the characters and the setting.

Below are my reviews for every book she’s written. In addition to the series, she published several other books about and around the Cat Who series.

  1. The Cat Who… Cookbook: Delicious Meals and Menus Inspired By Lilian Jackson Braun (2000)
  2. Short and Tall Tales by Jim Qwilleran (2002)
  3. The Cat Who Had 14 Tales (1988)
  4. The Private Life of Cat Who (2003)

Book Series – Cat Who

  1. The Cat Who Could Read Backwards (1966) — Favorite in the series
  2. The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern (1967)
  3. The Cat Who Turned on and Off (1968)
  4. The Cat Who Saw Red (1986)
  5. The Cat Who Played Brahms (1987)
  6. The Cat Who Played Post Office (1987)
  7. The Cat Who Knew Shakespeare (1988)
  8. The Cat Who Sniffed Glue (1988)
  9. The Cat Who Went Underground (1989)
  10. The Cat Who Talked to Ghosts (1990)
  11. The Cat Who Lived High (1990)
  12. The Cat Who Knew a Cardinal (1991)
  13. The Cat Who Moved a Mountain (1992)
  14. The Cat Who Wasn’t There (1992)
  15. The Cat Who Went into the Closet (1993)
  16. The Cat Who Came to Breakfast (1994)
  17. The Cat Who Blew The Whistle (1994)
  18. The Cat Who Said Cheese (1995)
  19. The Cat Who Tailed a Thief (1997)
  20. The Cat Who Sang for the Bird (1998)
  21. The Cat Who Saw Stars (1998)
  22. The Cat Who Robbed a Bank (1999)
  23. The Cat Who Smelled a Rat (2001)
  24. The Cat Who Went Up the Creek (2002)
  25. The Cat Who Brought Down the House (2003)
  26. The Cat Who Talked Turkey (2004)
  27. The Cat Who Went Bananas (2004) — Least favorite in the series
  28. The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell (2006)
  29. The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers (2007)

cat

To see more about Lilian Jackson Braun on ThisIsMyTruthNow, check out her dedicated author page where future content and books will added as she publishes them and I review them. Thanks for stopping by this edition of the Author Alert.


 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin