Years ago my friend Esme at the Chocolates and Croissants blog had told me that the title of her blog had caused companies to send her chocolates for review. I remember at the time thinking,
“Clearly I did not think through the name of my own blog”
I suppose I could have called this blog COFFEE Journey, or New Jeep Journey, just to see what might have come my way…. but alas, Book Journey is a good title and it has worked for me.
While Book Journey has always been a place where I can write about books it has over the years become so much more. Not only has this site brought me great joy in friendships, connections to wonderful publishing companies, and taken me places like the Book Expo in New York – it also has caused me to be a more confident writer. After all, I pretty much write every day. :D
The most recent happenings on this crazy blogging ride is I received an invite to go to Minneapolis next week and sit at a round table interviewing the stars of Nicholas Sparks books that will be a movie on April 10th, The Longest Ride.
The stars are Scott Eastwood (Clint Eastwood’s son) and Britt Robertson.
Of course… I said yes.
So now, as I have not read the book yet, I will be this week. My book club, who know I have always pretty much avoided books about cowboys, westerns, or pretty much anything country…. are DELIGHTED to see I will be reading a book that has this on the cover:
I read somewhere recently that you are not living life fully unless you are spending time out of your comfort zone.
I am living life fully.
Book Journey, turns out is a very appropriate name for this blog.
I am out. I have a coffee date with a friend who recently had surgery and a long overdue lunch date. Other than that I have projects that will keep me busy all the time in-between.
Any fun stories to share?
Hello! Welcome to It’s Monday What Are You Reading? The meme that we use to share what we read this past week and what our plans are for the upcoming week. It’s a great way to see what others are reading and add to your own To Be Read list. :D You never know where that next great read may come from!
Another week! We are whipping through March! Here is what I posted this week:
Author Chat with Julia Lee – Author of Seven Stones (diversity in writing)
Insurgent – The Movie (based off the Divergent book series)
That was the week. A pretty good one and I am caught up on reviews. YAY! Here is what I plan on this week:
For My Ears:
When Eden was 10 years old she found her father, David, bleeding on the bathroom floor. The suicide attempt led to her parents’ divorce, and David all but vanished from Eden’s life.
Twenty years later, Eden runs a successful catering company and dreams of opening a restaurant. Since childhood, she has heard from her father only rarely, just enough to know that he’s been living on the streets and struggling with mental illness. But lately there has been no word at all. After a series of failed romantic relationships and a health scare from her mother, Eden decides it’s time to find her father, to forgive him at last, and move forward with her own life. Her search takes her to a downtown Seattle homeless shelter, and to Jack Baker, its handsome and charming director. Jack convinces Eden to volunteer her skills as a professional chef with the shelter. In return, he helps her in her quest.
As the connection between Eden and Jack grows stronger, and their investigation brings them closer to David, Eden must come to terms with her true emotions, the secrets her mother has kept from her, and the painful question of whether her father, after all these years, even wants to be found.
A stylish psychological thriller with the compelling intrigue of The Silent Wife and Turn of Mind and the white-knuckle pacing of Before I Go to Sleep – in which a woman suffering from bipolar disorder cannot remember if she murdered her friend.
Dana Catrell is shocked when her neighbor, Celia, is brutally murdered. To Dana’s horror she was the last person to see Celia alive. Suffering from mania, the result of her bipolar disorder, she has troubling holes in her memory, including what happened on the afternoon of Celia’s death.
Her husband’s odd behavior and the probing of Detective Jack Moss create further complications as she searches for answers. The closer she comes to piecing together the shards of her broken memory, the more Dana falls apart. Is there a murderer lurking inside her…or is there one out there in the shadows of reality, waiting to strike again?
A story of marriage, murder, and madness, The Pocket Wife explores the world through the foggy lens of a woman on the edge.
For My Eyes:
Vintage is Susan Gloss’s sparkling debut novel in the Vein of The Friday Night Knitting Club, centered around a Midwestern vintage clothing shop and a group of women who eventually transform the store and each others’ lives.
At Hourglass Vintage in Madison, Wisconsin, every item in the boutique has a story to tell . . . and so do the women who are drawn there.
Violet Turner has always dreamed of owning a shop like Hourglass Vintage. When she is faced with the possibility of losing it, she realizes that, as much as she wants to, she cannot save it alone.
Eighteen-year-old April Morgan is nearly five months along in an unplanned pregnancy when her hasty engagement is broken. When she returns the perfect 1950s wedding dress, she discovers unexpected possibilities and friends who won’t let her give up on her dreams.
Betrayed by her husband, Amithi Singh begins selling off her old clothes, remnants of her past life. After decades of housekeeping and parenting a daughter who rejects her traditional ways, she fears she has nothing more ahead for her.
An engaging story that beautifully captures the essence of women’s friendship and love, Vintage is a charming tale of possibility, of finding renewal and hope when we least expect it.
I still have reading of other books to do and hope I can get time this week to do some reading. What did you read this past week? How about this week? Add your link below to your own Its Monday What Are You Reading post.
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For those who read mainly children and middle grade books please add your link here as well:
Now that the factions are scrambling for safety and the world is literally in chaos, Tris and Four are trying to stay safe all the while knowing that the only way anyone will have hope of feeling safe is once Jeanine is dead. In this world, you never know who you can trust.
A friend and I went to Insurgent this week. I had read the book, as well as Divergent (the first book) and had been impressed with what they had done in the first movie. Shailene Woodley (who also starred in Fault In Our Stars) makes an excellent Tris and I love the diversity in the roles that she plays. Theo James as Four is a new actor to me although I see he was also in Underworld and an episode of Downton Abby so I must have seen him. Theo is also perfect for the role that he plays in the movies.
I really enjoyed this second installment of the Divergent Series. I have yet to read the third book due to grumblings I heard when it came out about how they should have just ended it at two books. I have a year before the next movie will come out (Allegiant) which I see will be broke into two parts (the new trend to S T R E T CH out our movie addictions I guess. I will read the final book before then.
I enjoyed the movie, I can not recall the book well enough to do a comparison, but I love the action and the story line. Kate Winslet gets kudos from me for playing the evil mastermind rule keeper of all (she is the equivalent of President Snow from Hunger Games).
Overall: AWESOME SAUCE. If you like YA Dystopia even if you have not red the books, see these movies. They are kickin.
Good morning and happy Sunday. I had quite the steady week of appointments, conference calls, and meet ups ending the week yesterday with a Writing Conference and with an Author Book Release party. A busy week but looking over it now, a fun and productive one too.
It seems like at this time I am spending a lot of time reconnecting with people I have not seen in a while and maintaining time with those I do keep in my life pretty actively. It’s all crazy but as I talk to people I am making connections for what I am doing now so it is all good.
Crazy good actually.
I had a nice little surge of books and audio come in this week that I am excited about:
Ming Tea Murder by Laura Childs (from the author)
The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks (purchased)
Seven Stones by Julia Lee (SQUUUEEEE!!! purchased at her book signing)
The Tapestry by Nancy Bilyeau (from Touchstone/ Simon and Schuster)
Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran (from the author)
The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein (Listening Library)
HALF WILD by Sally Green (Listening Library)
At The Waters Edge by Sara Gruen (Random House Audio)
DEAD WAKE by Erik Larson (Random House Audio)
The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter (Random House Audio)
I am going to spend some time reading today. Seems like this past week that part has been lacking. By the time I get done running each day I am too tired to read. This week I hope to correct that. :)
Any fun new exciting books that have come your way this week?
Last weekend I was a part of the largest run that Minnesota hosts every year, the Get Lucky. The Get Lucky run is a ST Patrick’s Day Run and it is a 7 K Run or a 7 7 7 Run (21 K). This is my third year being a part of this run.
For Saturday Snapshot this morning I thought I would give you a little recap of the run.
I ran the 7k with 11,000 other people in Minneapolis. In St Paul, another 20,000 were running the Triple 7k. CRAZY stuff.
The run has entertainment along the way. These girls were dancing Irish style at the start of the run…
These little boys were about half way through the run. There were also a couple of Irish bands along the way that played music for us as we went by.
There were signs along the way that marked what “K” we were at to
torture us let us know how far we had gone.
The route is the same every year and towards the end of the run we go over a bridge that is always an uphill battle. Literally.
Sweet victory was mine!
At the end of the run they had up signs for other runs they will be having in Minnesota this year. I am signed up for the Tiki run next that will be a night run in St Paul. SWEET!
One of the things I really enjoy about the Ortho Runs is the swag you get for doing them. Ortho does not give out yet another event t-shirt. They usually have cool hoodies or running gear.
SO that was the run. Today is a literary day. After a walk with a friend this morning, this afternoon I am attending a writing class and after that a book release party. I am looking forward to a good day!
Growing up in Chicago Keilann Douglas didn’t think twice about her Ojibwe heritage. Around her family and peers it was a non issue and Keilann who never liked standing out is fine with that. Yet when Keilann’s father needs to move the family to Scotland for a teaching job everything changes.
Keilann enrolls in the new school along with her younger sister Fiona. Fiona never has trouble fitting in and adapts quickly to the other kids her age and soon has a group of friends. Keilann on the other hand feels like a square peg in a round hole and finds solace only back in the sanctuary of her new home and in the woods beyond her home.
The woods are comforting, the silence covers Keilann like a warm blanket. While exploring she finds an ancient stone circle where at times, a wild-eyed scared girl appears and disappears right before Keailann’s eyes. While at first witnessing such a thing is frightening, eventually Keillann becomes less scared and more curious. Who is this girl and why is Keilann the only one to see her? What is with the seven stones? And how can each of these two girls possibly learn from one another?
Yesterday, I posted a conversation I had with the author of this book, Julia Lee. There is so much that impressed me about this book that when I was reading it recently I had a hard time putting it down as each page led to more questions that I wanted answers to.
Originally when I started Seven Stones I thought I was going to be reading YA book. Yet, once I was into the book I discovered something more. I discovered I was learning about a Native American heritage that I knew little about. Through a young girl and her mother’s eyes, I was getting a taste of the deep heritage that is centered around the Ojibwe. Toss in a little bit of Scotland and their heritage as well and I was surprised to find this book to also be a historical read.
Seven Stones is a book I found to be wonderfully diverse in culture and history. I appreciated what this book had to offer and look forward to what author Julia Lee has in store for us next.
Currently Seven Stones is available at RiverPlace Press and soon will be available on Amazon.
Good morning! It is FRIDAY! And my today is LOADED with things to do so I don’t even know why that is exciting to me… but there it is. :) Friday.
*dance dance dance*
I am going to work out, lunch with a friend, coffee with another friend, a walk with another friend, and a movie with another friend.
Seriously… that is my day.
Friday must mean Friends day. :)
It is just the way it worked out. I have been working on catching up with those I have not seen in a while and honestly as you probably all know keeping up on relationships can be time-consuming! No wonder so many people lose touch.
These relationships are important to me however so onward I go. It makes life busy but it is enough for me. :)
The movie? Insurgent. I am so excited.
Tomorrow a writing seminar and a book release party.
What are you doing with your weekend?
It has actually been quite a while since I have had an author chat on Book Journey. Lack of time to do them is mainly the reason you don’t see them anymore. Occasionally, an author comes along that you can not pass up a chance to chat with, and that is exactly what is happening here with Julia Lee. Julia is passionate about writing. What she has done in her book Seven Stones with racial differences is truly brilliant. I have the pleasure of knowing her and I am excited to feature her here today to share with you about her book that is being released this Saturday, Seven Stones.
Please welcome Julia Lee.
Hi Julia! I know you are not so much of a coffee drinker as a tea drinker but I think we can still get along. :) When did you first know you wanted to write?
Telling stories has always been a big part of my life. My parents were my first inspiration. My dad is an amazing storyteller and would tell us bedtime stories every night. I started writing because I wanted to tell stories the way he did. My mom is a prolific reader and always encouraged us to read everything we could get our hands on. Between the two of them, I developed a deep love of the written word at a very young age. I started writing short stories in kindergarten and never stopped. Besides writing, I’ve always adored reading. As a kid, I’d happily spend most of my day reading books or at the library. I would often dream about seeing my own book on a library shelf.
Bonus points for mentioning the Library! Seven Stones is your first book. Have you any others books that you have been working on prior to Seven Stones?
Seven Stones is my first full novel. I wrote several short stories in college, but never anything longer than twenty pages or so. Since completing the manuscript however, I’ve began working on several very different projects that I’m really excited about. Of course, my main project has been writing the sequel to Seven Stones and hope to have the first draft finished by September.
My other projects include a futuristic dystopian series about human survival after the earth can no longer support life (also Young Adult) and a book I’m writing with my husband that revolves around the life and struggles of a fictional baseball player. However, my heart really belongs to Celtic folklore and culture, and I know I will be returning to those elements again.
Overall, I feel like I am just beginning to stretch my wings as a writer, and look forward to writing many more stories!
Seven Stones is unique to anything I have read before. How did you come up with the idea for Seven Stones?
It was a long process. Inspiration for the original story began in high school. Back then, it was going to be a fantasy novel that focused solely on Celtic culture. I wrote about 150 pages, and then put it aside during college. After graduation, I returned to my original manuscript and scrapped about 99% of it. I still wanted to write a novel about Celtic culture, but I needed a different story.
After we moved to Minnesota in 2011, I began learning about Ojibwe culture for the first time. The more I learned, the more similarities I saw between my own Celtic heritage and Ojibwe culture. I was fascinated that two cultures with seemingly nothing in common, could have such amazing parallels. One day, I thought to myself, “Someone should write a book about this.” Then it hit me: why don’t I write it? With a totally new vision, lots of research, and more chocolate than I’d like to admit, I started working on what would eventually become Seven Stones.
Can you explain the steps you took to finding a publisher?
Well, I started out in the traditional way: sending out hundreds of queries to agents…and getting rejected hundreds of times. I did get several requests for partial and full manuscripts, but no offers for representation.
How I actually found my publisher was a mixture of serendipity and persistence. In April of 2012, I attended a publishing conference. Chip and Jean of RiverPlace Press were among the publishers speaking at the event, and I remember thinking that I had to introduce myself to them. After all the publishers on the panel were finished presenting, I approached them and did just that. I told them how much I loved the sound of their independent press, asked them about publishing tips, and told a little about myself as an author. To my great surprise, they asked me if I’d like to meet them for coffee sometime and talk about the publishing market.
A few weeks later, I met them at a local coffee shop with my synopsis in hand. When they asked me, “What is your book about?” I was ready. I gave them a copy of my synopsis and my elevator pitch. They loved it! They asked me to send them the first few chapters. After a few weeks, they asked me to send the whole manuscript once it was finished. Fast forward a few months: after an initial edit, I sent them the first draft of my completed manuscript. They loved it, and we have been working together ever since!
What did that feel like when you actually knew you were going to be a published author?
I don’t know if I can accurately describe the feeling I had as I left the publishing house the day they presented their offer to publish. As soon as I got home, I danced around my apartment and sang, “I’m going to be an author! I’m going to be an author!” It was the most incredible rush, and completely overwhelming. To have a life dream become a reality, to know that your story is going to be a real, physical book that other people are going to read. It is beyond wonderful and incredibly humbling. I still can’t believe it sometimes!
I was impressed when I read Seven Stones to discover that your protagonist and her family were Native American. You tied in a lot of history and culture into your book. As you are not Native American yourself, I am curious as to why you decided to write a book with characters outside your own culture.
I read once that, until an author specifies otherwise, most readers will assume a main character is white and thin. I’m not saying that is true for everyone, but that statement really troubled me because my original main character was white and thin. Why did I make her that way? I didn’t even think about it until then. I was simply writing from what I knew. After I moved to Minnesota and learned so much about Ojibwe characters, a new idea started forming. Once I decided to make the book about both Ojibwe and Celtic cultures, it seemed natural to make Keilann Ojibwe.
I gained so much from this decision. Through the research I’ve done, I have gained a new appreciation for the beauty of both cultures. Writing this novel only emphasized to me how superficial racial differences are. To me, that is the true goal of reading and writing: to learn about and empathize with people around the world. Literature has the power to break down barriers and introduce ideas and perspectives in ways we can understand. Culture is a beautiful representation of humanity, and I wished to bring to light both the beauty and similarities of the two cultures explored in my novel.
Was it difficult to write about a culture outside your own?
It was intimidating. No matter how much research I did, I was afraid that it would never be enough. I wanted my novel to be an accurate representation, and I was terrified that I would make a mess of it. At first, I was also afraid that my writing about Ojibwe culture would anger people. A few times, I was almost abandoned the project because it just seemed too big for me.
Ultimately, what kept me steadfast was my belief that reading books changes how you view the world around you. Confining people to restricted perspectives goes against what reading and writing are all about—and is a slippery slope. If a white author is only allowed to write about white characters, then should a white reader only read books about white protagonists?
Of course, ensuring my work was authentic and accurate was always top priority. I undertook years of research and learned so much more about Ojibwe and Scottish culture than I ever would have otherwise. I am truly grateful for the experiences I’ve had and people I’ve met along the way. Writing from a cultural perspective other than my own was one of the best decisions I could have made.
I understand that Seven Stones is not going to be a stand alone book. Can you share a bit of what will happen in a second book?
Actually, I hadn’t intended to write a sequel until the meeting with my publishers. Toward the end, they asked me what I was currently working on. I excitedly rattled off my projects. When I was finished, they asked, “Have you thought about writing a sequel?” I answered that I hadn’t. “You should.”
Say no more!
Though I hadn’t really considered a sequel prior to this, I had toyed with some ideas. It has been wonderful to return to the world of Seven Stones and the characters that are like old friends. This next chapter of Keilann’s journey will take her back to the States to the reservation where her mother grew up. While learning more about her heritage, Keilann’s dreams will take a new twist and she’ll have some big decisions to make as she grows from girl to woman.
Because of graduate school, the writing process has been a bit slower for the sequel. However, it is my goal to have the first draft finished by September and begin working with my editor immediately.
What advice would you give first time writers?
Meet people. Make as many friends and connections as you possibly can—especially in the writing world. If there are any writing conferences or workshops in your area, go to them. You never know when you’ll meet someone who can help you with your writing in some way.
Write every day—even if it’s only for five minutes. Enjoy every minute of your writing process. And eat lots of chocolate.
Most importantly: NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP!
Sounds like excellent advice. It has been a long-standing tradition here that when I do author interviews I ask them to share a little known fun fact about themselves. Please share with us something unique and fun about you.
Many people know that I do yoga to relax. Not many people know that I used to be a Muay Thai (full contact Thai kickboxing) fighter and hold a black belt in Kenpo karate. Back in 2005, I injured my knee during a kickboxing match and the subsequent surgery ended my fighting days. Now, I do yoga to keep in shape because it is low impact for my knee and also requires the same discipline and focus as martial arts. I’ve grown to love it as much as I loved being in the ring.
Awesome. Thanks Julia for hanging out with me here and chatting about Seven Stones. I am sooooo excited for you!
Seven Stones is available for pre-order now at RiverPlace Press. Her book will be available on Amazon soon. Secure your copy today and be ready to dive into a book that will keep you reading long past your bedtime. ;)
Do you have any questions for Julia? I am excited to hang out with her this Saturday at her release party!
Good morning. Thursday already and it feels good. After yesterdays post about how to move your emails around in gmail to receive what you want in your primary box, it was really nice to wake up this morning and find the emails I enjoy reading right at my fingertips.
After the morning ritual of letting the dogs out, filling their food and water dish and grabbing my lap top, it was nice to sit down with a good cup of COFFEE and open up the Shelf Awareness email and read through it. Usually my morning emails consist of communications with others and jobs I am working on so this was a nice relaxing way to start the day.
Is that not awesome?
Today is pretty mellow compared to what the week has been so far. I have a lunch meeting and a work out commitment this afternoon and the rest of the day is free. YES! I plan to work on a few projects this morning and then after that I am back home this afternoon – blissful reading is a must. :D
Enjoy your day and pop back in later when I talk with author Julia Lee and her first book release coming our this Saturday, Seven Stones.
Medical mysteries can be fascinating. I can not even imagine what it must be like to be a doctor and have to diagnose the unique, bizarre, and sometimes not even there symptoms of each person that walks in the door saying something is wrong.
Fascinomas is a book of these true cases that doctors have shared using false names of the patients of course, and in some cases – remaining anonymous as they share these tales. What of the lady who thought her breast implants were speaking to her? What of the man who had the same severe illness symptoms as his dog? The teen whose legs hurt so bad and no one could find anything wrong until he went to three different doctors… what of him?
I like mysteries and true mysteries are just a bonus. This was an interesting listen on audio. AT first I admit I was a little disappointing that many of these cases are old cases, back in the day – WAY back. Yet as I listened I started to get into it… each case so unique and interesting how the doctor figures out what is going on. What is truly baffling are the cases that are self-inflicted and how they do it, I guess I knew that happened, I didn’t realize it happened so often.. people finding a need within them to have someone help them, even if it is false. Crazy stuff!
The narration by James Kiser took a bit of getting used to for me. He narrates like he is a radio personality and much like the book, eventually I was ok with his narration, even thinking that this may be a good listen for someone who does not normally listen to audio because it does narrate like a documentary and it is fairly short
Recommended for those who like medical mysteries. The book is never gory and some of the cases are truly interesting.
- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 3 hours and 11 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: clifton k meador
- Audible.com Release Date: February 25, 2015