Monday, November 28, 2016

Miami Morning - #TeaserTuesday and First Chapter / First Paragraph / Tuesday Intros

     From South Africa to South Beach, Miami Morning gives a deep and fascinating look into Leila Payson's world as a teacher, community volunteer, daughter, and friend. Author Mary Clark takes us into the character's thoughts and dreams through her life choices and relationships with others, including a mysterious man with a book who keeps popping up. "Miss Pacer" is an interesting character who leads an introspective life.
     I lived in Miami for quite a few years, so I especially enjoyed visiting the area again through the pages of Mary Clark's story. She nailed the setting and "feel" of that locale.

First Paragraph:
Present Day.
     Leila Payson walked from her pale yellow bungalow toward the opening horizon, listening to the call of birds rising above the primal hum of dunes. She had risen early the first morning of her forty-something life, seized by an eager sense of being on the threshold of accomplishment.

Teaser (from 17% on my Kindle) (Leila is thinking about a fight she had stopped between two girl students.)
     She'd seen these fights before, with the girls using every means to inflict as much damage as they could, even slamming their opponent against the floor, lockers, or the concrete planters in the courtyard. Without a tradition of long-understood rules of combat, the ferocity was frightening; rather than a ritual dance, a rite of passage, or defending a romantic interest, as it was with boys, this came from a primeval source, protecting and asserting the girl's core identity.

Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction / Literary
Book Length: 202 Pages
Amazon Link: Miami Morning
Author Website/Blog: Literary Eyes

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Leila Payson, affectionately nicknamed “Miss Pacer” by her students, is always pushing the boundaries in her efforts to achieve her goal of becoming a better teacher and human being. Before settling in to her life as a Social Studies teacher and volunteer at the local playground, Leila spent a year teaching in South Africa where she met an occupational therapist and others working within the disability community. Now, years later, when a student discovers he is going deaf and asks her for help, Leila embarks on a pivotal journey that calls on her to employ everything she’s learned and earns her both allies and rivals. And while she juggles work, family, and adventures with her diverse group of friends, a mysterious man with a book keeps appearing at her favorite places. Come along for the ride as Leila Payson faces challenges and opportunities with spirit and courage … and a bit of humor, too.

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Jenn of Books and A Beat. Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you're reading. No spoilers, please!

First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To participate, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you're reading or thinking about reading soon.



Twitter: @SandyNachlinger
Facebook: sandy.nachlinger

Friday, November 25, 2016

Scooter Girl! - #SaturdaySnapshots

Just a quick video of my granddaughter, taken this past week. On her little pink scooter (decorated with various Disney princesses) and wearing her dragon helmet, she's unafraid of tackling the skate park's obstacles. What's at the top of her Christmas list? A skateboard. She's five-and-a-half years old.

video




Saturday Snapshots is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.
To enjoy a variety of beautiful pictures from around the world, 
click HERE or on the box below.  

West Metro Mommy Reads
To participate in Saturday Snapshots: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) 
have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky on the host blogsite. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Key Largo Blues - #BookBeginnings on Friday and The #Friday56

     In the "About the Author" section of Key Largo Blues, Lynne M. Spreen writes: "Many novels and movies feature the coming-of-age story, in which young people figure out who they are and what they want to be. That's compelling, but so is this: what happens afterwards, twenty or thirty years later, to these interesting people?"

     I love stories about older characters. In Key Largo Blues, Karen Grace is fifty when she goes through major life changes. Her career is in shambles and she is recently divorced after thirty years of marriage. As the book opens, Karen is starting her life anew, building a business, and taking chances. It isn't always easy to start over in midlife, and the author shows her character's doubts, challenges, fears, and triumphs. Key Largo Blues is a book with many layers and one I'm sure I'll read more than once.

     Key Largo Blues is the sequel to Dakota Blues, but the book stands alone. You'll enjoy it even more, however, if you read Dakota Blues first. I'm proud to feature Lynne M. Spreen and other fabulous indie authors on my blog.

Book Beginning:
     Staging was everything.
     Karen Grace closed her windows against the possibility of noise. Key Largo teemed with Christmas Eve revelers, and the marina was like a parking lot, what with fishing charters and pleasure boats coming and going. So Karen took precautions. She couldn't afford to blow her scheme. In one hour, the show would go live.
     And the show, if successful, would launch her business. In the past year, her safe and happy life had imploded. Now footloose and broke, she considered the optics. Her new client had to think Karen was calling from a high-end office building, not an old camping trailer.

Friday 56 (from 56% on my Kindle):
She was accomplishing so much. The degree to which she could focus, living alone in the trailer with no social life, was thrilling. It was also somewhat depressing.

Genre: Women's Fiction / Older Adult (OA)
Amazon Link: Key Largo Blues
Book Length: 275 Pages
Author Website: Any Shiny Thing

Synopsis:
When Karen Grace turned fifty, she lost her husband and her job. Now she’s starting over, and this time, she’s determined to build a new life on her own terms. However, she’s being pulled in multiple directions: her family and friends want more of her time, her hometown sweetheart wants a commitment, and her fledgling business is on life support. With the hard-won confidence of midlife, Karen knows what she needs to do, and pays the heartbreaking price for pursuing her dreams. While grieving that decision, another challenge lands: Frieda’s granddaughter arrives on her doorstep in Key Largo, pleading for refuge. In this life-affirming sequel to Dakota Blues, Karen Grace completes her journey, deciding what can be saved and what must be jettisoned as she navigates passage into the second half of her life.

Disclosure: The author provided me with an advance copy of Key Largo Blues; however, that did not affect my review of the book.

                

Anyone can participate in Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56.
Click HERE to connect to other Book Beginnings posts (sponsored by Rose City Reads) 
Click HERE to join other Friday 56 bloggers (sponsored by Freda's Voice)


Twitter: @SandyNachlinger
Facebook: sandy.nachlinger

Friday, November 18, 2016

Gig Harbor, #Washington - #SaturdaySnapshots

Gig Harbor is a lovely little town in western Washington State, so when a hike was offered in the area, I signed up to participate. 
[Click on photos to enlarge.]



Our group covered about five miles on the up-and-down paved trail. The walk took us to the top of the hills far in the distance on this cool, hazy day


Part of our route meandered through a residential area. The fog thickened as we neared the harbor.




During lunch the clouds lifted and gave us a beautiful view of the harbor. We enjoyed a yummy lunch at The Tides restaurant overlooking the harbor. I had halibut and chips. Delish! (Photo taken with my cell phone.)


View from the ladies restroom. (Photo taken with my regular camera.)


A beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest!

PS: I took some photos with my cell phone's camera and some with my little point-and-shoot, just to compare. I'm beginning to think my cell phone takes sharper images. 




Saturday Snapshots is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.
To enjoy a variety of beautiful pictures from around the world, 
click HERE or on the box below.  

West Metro Mommy Reads
To participate in Saturday Snapshots: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) 

have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky on the host blogsite. 

Enumclaw Wine Walk Winner

It's so much fun to give away a book! During last week's Enumclaw Wine Walk, I teamed up with authors #Kelly Marshall and Pam Johnson for a book signing.
We also had book giveaways. Lots of readers signed up. Today I put all the sign-up slips into a bag, shook it up, and chose ....

Marybeth Stern, winner of Bluebonnets for Elly!!

Your paperback copy is on the way to your home, Marybeth. Happy reading!



Monday, November 14, 2016

A Man Called Ove - #TeaserTuesday and First Paragraph / First Chapter / Tuesday Intros

Ove is one of the most fascinating characters I've read about in a long time. He's not likable, and I'm pretty sure I'd avoid him if he were my neighbor. But ... sometimes there's more to a person than what we see on the surface.
This is a 5-star book that I highly recommend.

First Paragraph:
Ove is fifty-nine.
     He drives a Saab. He's the kind of man who points at people he doesn't like the look of, as if they were burglars and his forefinger a policeman's flashlight. He stands at the counter of a shop where owners of Japanese cars come to purchase white cables. Ove eyes the sales assistant for a long time before shaking a medium-sized white box at him.
     "So this is one of those O-Pads, is it?" he demands.

Teaser from 36% on my Kindle:
She talked as if she were continuously on the verge of breaking into giggles. And when she giggled she sounded the way Ove imagined champagne bubbles would have sounded if they were capable of laughter.

Genre: Literary / Humorous
Book Length: 352 Pages
Amazon Link: A Man Called Ove

Synopsis:
Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

A feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Fredrik Backman’s novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others. “If there was an award for ‘Most Charming Book of the Year,’ this first novel by a Swedish blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down” (Booklist, starred review).


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Jenn of Books and A Beat. Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you're reading. No spoilers, please!

First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To participate, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you're reading or thinking about reading soon.



Twitter: @SandyNachlinger
Facebook: sandy.nachlinger

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Puyallup Herald Article


Here's a photo of the talented members of my Puyallup, Washington, writing group. Reporter Allison Needles of The Puyallup Herald interviewed us at Starbucks - our regular meeting place. The article highlights our upcoming book signing on Saturday, November 12, as part of the Enumclaw Wine Walk. 

Here's the link to the complete article: Puyallup Herald article



Friday, November 4, 2016

Soaring Eagle Regional Park - #SaturdaySnapshots

I've been on a lot of hikes with the Auburn Senior Activity Center over the past several months, and one thing I've noticed is that each adventure has something that sets it apart from the others. My recent trek at Soaring Eagle Regional Park took place at the end of October, and the abundance of autumn leaves is one thing that made it memorable.
[Click on photos to enlarge.]



Soaring Eagle is 600 acres of mature forest, wetlands, and wildlife habitat in King County, Washington. The trails are shared by hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers. Although it's conveniently close to Seattle suburbs (part of the park abuts a golf course), the area feels as if it's in the middle of wilderness.


We had a break in the weather on the day of our hike, but we'd had rain for almost a week beforehand. That made the leaves slippery in places. They obscured rocks and roots, ready to trip any hiker who wasn't paying attention to her footing. A single Big Leaf Maple leaf can be as wide as 11.5 inches across, and that seemed to be the predominant tree in these woods. The senior center brochure warned of "areas of mud and exposed roots in this mixed forest environment." 



As you can tell from the map above, multiple trails intersect. Although our hike was planned to be five miles long, we went farther than intended and my FitBit (and other hikers' pedometers) said we walked closer to seven. I believe it! We were definitely ready for our lunch break at 3.5 miles.



This sign warned of hazards on the Devil's Slide trail, which we avoided. Someone said the owls were dive bombing hikers.
UpdateAccording to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife website, aggressive behavior from owls is “motivated by defense of their territory or young, or their search for handouts.” It’s heightened in the winter months when owls establish their territories and prepare to raise their young.]


Our hike was rated 2 on a scale of 1 to 4. 


More info about Soaring Eagle Park HERE.
Here's a map. Click on the + or - to zoom in or out.






Saturday Snapshots is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.
To enjoy a variety of beautiful pictures from around the world, 
click HERE or on the box below.  

West Metro Mommy Reads
To participate in Saturday Snapshots: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) 

have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky on the host blogsite. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Book Signing & #Wine Walk - Enumclaw, WA

Mark your calendars! Three members of my Puyallup writing group are participating in Enumclaw, Washington's, Semi-Annual Wine Walk on November 12. We'll be signing our books at Arts Alive! 

Stop by and say "hi."