Category Archives: Meanderings

Morning Meanderings: My Crazy Amazing Encounter with Sue Grafton

 

Good morning.  Or Afternoon.  Or evening.  Wherever you are and whenever you are reading this.  It is morning here in Minnesota on this exceptionally COLD day.  The coffee is brewing and I am capturing a few minutes to myself before my day explodes into activity.

You are probably familiar with the name Sue Grafton.  She was the author of the long running books that started with A is for Alibi, a series she started after having penned 7 previous books.  It was this alphabet series that went on to make her the famous author she had become.  She passed away in December, and although she was not an author I read (yet) she is one that holds a special place in my heart.

I have a personal story about her.  It was at the Penguin Bash in New York during the Book Expo of 2013.  I was at this event with my good friend Allison and my roommate that year Cindy (Cindy’s Love of Books).

I was siting and talking with a group of book reviewers when I believe it was Jill (Rhapsody in Books) who ran up to me and grabbed my arm.  “You have to come and meet Sue Grafton!” she said.  I remember feeling like a little kid putting the breaks on. I had not read Sue Grafton’s books and what would I say to a big name author who I had not read?

I was introduced and I came up with something awkward and surely cheesy by saying, “So.. you are on W.  What happens when you get to Z?  I mean, AA already means something and AAA means something else.”

GAH.

For some reason, she liked me.  We talked for about 15 minutes about writing and my wanting to do so myself and having yet (even now) to find my direction.  She gave me her email and told me to write her anytime to discuss writing.

Wait…

what?

Well as most things Expo for me…  I have HUGE plans when I return home, however life kicks back in and many things, such as emailing Sue Grafton about writing… fall to the way side.  It was a few weeks later the letter arrived.

It was a beautiful letter from Sue Grafton hoping that she was mailing the girl that she talked to about writing.  (Gulp)  I had not given my information to her but somehow she had come up with my mailing address and sent me this personal letter encouraging me to follow my passion.  It was beautiful.  Amazing.  And somewhere I still have that letter.

From that year on, she sent me a Christmas card every year.  Now, January 12th, I have put away all the Christmas cards of 2017… except hers.  Hers is still on my refrigerator.  I am savoring the memory of her, the conversation, the letter and knowing that this is the last Christmas card I will receive from this amazing author…  who changed the world – and ended the alphabet with Y.

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Sue Grafton and I  2013

Morning Meanderings… A Week Of Experiences

A week in!  Anyone else feel like a rock star?  Or just amazed that the first week of 2018 is coming to a close.  I am a mixed bag of both 🙂

This week for me was a little crazy…  I accepted a position (YAY!!!) that takes me out of my office at home a little more and into the world of marketing which I LOVE LOVE LOVE – yet it is new and I am adjusting to the change in my availability while still hanging on to the commitments I have with non profits, friends, and other projects.  I need to borrow from my good friend Amy her word, BALANCE.

I read a little (thank you Jill Anderson!) and I listened to a little audio… I have reviews to write (Huzzah!), W9s to fill out, invoices to send, power point to design, and this recap of the week.

SO Experience….

January 1:  COLD The 10k in ST Paul at 20 below zero.  6.2 miles.

January 2:  Love and Friendship…  a beautiful gift in the mail, my friends had their little boy

January 3:  BOOKS.  The donations at the library are overflowing.  A few of us hauled books from the library to the sale spot set for spring.  More book donations than I have ever seen at one time!

January 4:  Purpose.  I started my first day in an office in town.  I was a little nervous, I have worked mainly out of my home office since July 2014.  It went well.  The others were super nice, I felt good, and I felt I had purpose, which surprised me in good ways.

January 5:  Heartbreak.  Bailey, who has been around for 20+ years was put down (horrible words). He was getting to be too much to handle – above assisted living care.. he needed someone all the time to carry him outside and in, he was blind and deaf and the HARD decision had to be made.  UGH.

January 6:  Creativity.  I attended two jewelry making classes today – one for a necklace and one for a bracelet centered around our words of the year.  I have never been to a jewelry making class before so this was new, exciting, fun, and took my mind off of (for a little while) the sorrow over Bailey.

As for today, the 7th… I do not know yet.  The day is young…  I am planning to stay at home for the most part and prepping some things to take pressure off my week…  and it will be a week!  Tomorrow Friends meeting, take down decorations at library, Author, Books Burgers and Brews in the evening, Tuesday office and lunch with friends, Wednesday gym, book hauling, a couple of meet ups for work, Thursday office, 2nd Thursday Happy Hour For A Cause in the evening, somewhere in the middle maybe some shopping for vacation next week, Friday gym, office.. somewhere in the week I should consider tanning as well….

Welcome to 2018.  How was the first week for you?

Morning Meanderings… Experience Has A Bad Rap


Good morning from Minnesota.  *Yawns.  Stretches.*

I am starting to feel that my word for the year “Experience” has a bad rap.

When looking up inspirational messages for my word, I am finding that often experience is connected negatively.  Exhibit A:

Really Oscar Wilde? REALLY?

I was actually surprised as I dug more into the word.  My 2016 word COURAGE was so inspirational and strong.  My 2017 word SHINE followed suit and everywhere you looked positive things were said in regards to SHINE.

So what is up with Experience?

I don’t see it this way.

Experience is not something you get when something bad happens.  Well – it sure can be, but that is not what the word is to me.  I was thinking way more positively. EXPERIENCE is moving forward and EXPERIENCING what this world/life has to offer.  Doing something new, EXPERIENCING an event, a taste, a challenge, an accomplishment.  It is getting up, getting out, and moving in a positive direction.

I plan to run my 1st half marathon in July of this year.  That is an experience I am excited for.  I am signed up to do RAGBRAI, a 7 day bike ride across Iowa.  THAT is an experience.

I am not saying my year will be all sunshine and lollipops.  Of all people, I know better than that.  I also know that some experiences would be ones I would have rather passed on if given the choice.  There may be painful experiences ahead – but guess what?  The year of Courage and Shine also had their moments.


Thank you Emily.  I have always liked you.

When I looked at the lists of words that are suggested for your One Word of the year, Experience does not even make the list.  I kind of like that.  I have always been an outside the box kind of girl and I kind of like the thought of turning Experiences reputation and the way we think of it around.

Challenge accepted.

If I can keep up with my own ambitions (ha ha … always a challenge) I will share with you here the experiences of each day… come what may –

It will be an EXPERIENCE.

January 1st…  ran a 10k in 20- zero weather in St Paul Minnesota…  Experience was:  COLD, Invigorating, Inspirational… great way to start the New Year

January 2nd:  Started a new position with a company I so enjoy working with.  My friends had their baby, a little earlier than expected – but he is beautiful and he is a fighter.  I received a lovely gift in the mail… a Gryffindor scarf (HOW have I not already had one of these?)  And a beautiful copy of The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice.  Something I have never read, but would like to.

Experience was:  Excitement, Joy, and a little sadness too mixed in as milestones and holidays tend to do that to me.

How are you?  If you chose a word this year, how is it working for you these first few days?  How are you implementing it in your life?

First Book 2018 Updated


Good morning!  Happy January 2nd.  It has been fun to watch my E-mailbox fill with these pictures and stories about to be/being enjoyed.  Each title inspires me and as some of you noted on yesterday’s post – with as many entries as we have, there is not one duplicate.  I love that in so many ways.  The diversity in our choices.

This morning, my friend Mary sent in her book choice of Gone Girl with a message that her son asked her to read it so they can discuss it.  This opened up a flood of memories for me.  On our last trip to Happy Potter world in 2014,  Justin and I went to the movie.  I had already seen the movie, and I had already read the book prior to that, and wanted to EXPERIENCE (see what I did there?) this with him.

He loved it.  We left the theater in an Orlando mall and we immediately walked over to the malls book store where he purchased the book.  We talked about it for weeks afterwards. Differences between the book and the movie, plot…  I cherish those conversations.

AND that is just one of the many delights of a good book.  Not only experiencing it for yourself… but sharing it.  I love the book you hand to a friend and say, “Call me… as soon as you are done.  We need to talk about this.” 

Here is the UPDATED post of the 2018 books.  93 of you in all submitted your First Book.  Thank you.  This is always so much fun to do and kick starts my year in books, and in blogging, off right.  I am bringing over much of the info from yesterday’s post (the places and the book links) to this post so you can click away and perhaps find your second book here.

(The top 2 sets are the newly added pics)


Here are the areas where these books were sent in from:    Alabama, Arkansas, Australia, Bermuda, California, Canada, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Jamaica, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, New Zealand, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Scotland, Singapore, Switzerland, Tennessee, Texas, UK, Virginia, Washington DC, Wisconsin and Wyoming

First Books:

Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

Just Between Us by Rebecca Drake

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

The Hearts Invisible Furries by John Boyne

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

The Sandcastle by Iris Murdock

Breaking Free by Rachel Jeffs

A Distant Heart by Sonali Dev

The Wake Up by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

Ginger Snapped by Gail Oust

Wonder by RJ Palacio

The Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White

Copy Cat by Alex Lake

Jack Reacher The Midnight Line by Lee Child

Sourdough by Robin Sloan

Every Breath You Take by Mary Higgins Clark

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Little French Bistro by Nina George

Still Me by Jojo Moyes

Bear Town by Fredrich Backman

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Tremontaine by Ellen Kushner

The Papers of Tony Veitch by William McIivanney

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter

Degrees of Love by Lisa Slabach

Killers Of The Flower Moon by David Grann

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

My Antonia by Willa Cather

A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms by George RR Martin

Freya by Matthew Lawrence

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu

The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks

American War by Omar El Akkad

Palo Duro by Max Knight

American Indians American Presidents

Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck

The Reminders by Val Emmich

The African Trilogy by Chinua Achebe

Year One by Nora Roberts

Reset Reset Reset by Ellen Pao

The Mayflower Bride by Kimberly Woodhouse

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Crown of Stars by Sophie Jaff

180 Seconds by Jessica Park

Jacqueline Willoughby by Schuyler Randall

The World To Come by Dara Horn

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Those who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante

All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

White Bodies by Jane Robins

Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

I liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi

Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

Origin by Dan Brown

Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage by Hugh Brewster

Faithful by Alice Hoffman

The Listener by Robert McCammom

What If God Wrote Your To Do List by Jay Payleitner

The One Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith

In the Moment by Karen Kingsbury

A Man Called Ove by Frederick Backman

The Perfect Girl by Gilly MacMillan

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Hunger by Roxanne Gay

The Man In The Black Suit by Sylvia Reynard

Glittering Images by Susan Howatch

Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights by Catherine Matthew

I Am A Truck by Michelle Winters

Sitting Murder by AJ Wright

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller

Lighthouse Road by Peter Geye

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner

Weave A Circle Round by Kari Maaren

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

River City Secrets Stories from Richmond by Lana Krumwiede

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

 

 

 

Morning Meanderings… The Day Of The Eve

Good morning.  *Yawns stretches*  How are we doing this New Years Eve Day?

I am sitting here with LAPTOP and COFFEE looking out at a very chilly day (22 below is the current Minnesota temp) and thinking of all the little things I want to accomplish today.

I have some laundry in the works, and a website I am building for an upcoming event, and pictures to go and take for an article, and what to make for dinner… and I am of course thinking about The First Book Of The Year… not only the post (which I love love love) but also… what my book will be.

My book will possibly be at least partially completed on audio since I leave early to get to a 10K run in the AM in St Paul and listening to audio makes that 2+ hour drive way more enjoyable… but alas… which book?  (The first book is almost as hard to pick as the word of the year lol)


If you are considering participating in First Book or if you are reading this thinking what the heck is First Book?  Here is a link to that post.  It is not to late to send in a pic to me of you and the book to add to the collage of readers going into 2018.

I am also looking at Goodreads.  I love that challenge, I am just trying to think what I can realistically do.  There was a time I could read over 100 books a year.  Now with all the things I have added in my life, I do not think that is a reachable goal.  I want to partake for sure, and I don’t want to drop the ball on it like I did in 2017.

So thats me.

The First Book post will go up early due to my run.  If you miss getting your pic in on time, do not worry – I almost always have some that come in after the posting and I add them to a post on January 2nd.

In the mean time… enjoy this day as we close out 2017 and all it has held… and look forward to 2018 and what this New Year will bring.

Morning Meanderings…. Seriously – Where You Been?


Huh.

So sad to turn to this site today and see how long it has sat waiting for me.

Am I reading?  Yes

Am I doing?  Yes

So what’s my damage?  Why could I not get up like I used to… grab my COFFEE and write something funny(IMO) or amazing or ridiculous or hard or coming soon or….

Meh.  I don’t really know. 

I wont bore you with the details ( well.. any more than I already have)….  lets just rip the band-aid off and start again.

Hi.

I’m Sheila.  I love to read and write and talk about both.  I love to do community and I love to create and dream and do.  I love to bike and run and I want to love kick boxing.  😉  I love to be outside the box because  A.  I don’t believe the box has ever been big enough.  B.  The box is so overdone I want to puke  C.  Life is too precious to contain yourself to such perimeters.  D.  All of the above

(yes… it is D)

That said… here is what I have been reading as of late…


The Girl With Seven Names is our Books Burgers and Brews selection for Monday November 20th.  This will be our first non fiction title we have read with this group and it should be interesting.  It is also the first selection we have had that I was unable to find any discussion questions on line (EEP) meaning I need to create the discussion…

The Bookies Book Club recently finished The Kind Worth Killing….  and ooh.  I will be reviewing this one at some point here soon….  Peter Swanson (IMO) knocked this one out of the park.  LOVED so much about this…

And finally … what am I doing on audio?


Yeah…. don’t be judgy….  every once in a while I like to listen to a true crime.  It’s been a while and this one is crazy.  Its one of those which I am seriously baffled why it took the police so long to catch him.  Trust I will have much MUCHNESS to say about this one…

Anyway – that’s my meanderings.  Stay tuned for a book review coming your way shortly.

Oh and yes….  I will again be hosting One Word here and I will again be hosting The First Book Of The Year here.  Stay tuned…..  it is coming 😉

 

WHAT are you reading?

Morning Meanderings… A Silence So Deep You Could Hear A Jockstrap Drop


It is true…by the time I am writing this, it is not exactly morning anymore…. but wanted to do it any way… my site.. I can pick if it is day or night.  ;P

 

It is Audio Book Month and I LOVE LOVE LOVE this event and promoting audio, however June is sooooo full of big stuff…it seems I can never give it the full hurrah that it deserves…

I am a big audio advocate… like tie me to a fence post with a picket sign promoting audio… like disturbing the peace in front of the city council and getting locked up for the night promoter of audio….

YES.

That is how much I love it.

Earlier today I was driving home from a breakfast with an author friend (more on that later…) and listening to Fredrick Backman’s latest book on audio – Beartown.  While driving this line caused me to admire Fredrick sooo much.

A silence so deep that you could hear a jockstrap drop.

Ahhhh come on, it is like poetic beauty….  and so different from Backman’s other books that I am falling in love fast and quick on this one…

Audio….

Continuing with that theme, today I wanted to touch on one of the Audio Books I brought home from the expo.  James Patterson may catch a lot of slack on the mass production of books, short short chapters, and well..whatever we want to pick on him for… but there is a soft spot in my heart for him.  Patterson can be contributed to my love at audio.  When I first started reviewing audio, his were some of the first I was sent for review.  I loved the narration, even the sound effects that in some audio can come off as feeling odd… his seem spot on.

James (yes I call him James) was one of the speakers this year at the Book Expo Audio Tea…and this is one of the books I brought home…

 

Black Book…

Billy Harney was born to be a cop. The son of Chicago’s chief of detectives, whose twin sister is also on the force, Billy plays it by the book. Alongside Detective Kate Fenton, Billy’s tempestuous, adrenaline-junkie partner, there’s nothing he wouldn’t sacrifice for his job. Enter Amy Lentini, a hard-charging assistant state’s attorney hell-bent on making a name for herself – who suspects Billy isn’t the cop he claims to be. They’re about to be linked by more than their careers.

One missing black book.

A horrifying murder leads investigators to an unexpected address – an exclusive brothel that caters to Chicago’s most powerful citizens. There’s plenty of incriminating evidence on the scene – but what matters most is what’s missing: the madam’s black book. Now shock waves are rippling through the city’s elite, and everyone’s desperate to find it.

Chicago has never been more dangerous.

As everyone who’s anyone in Chicago scrambles to get their hands on the elusive black book, no one’s motives can be trusted.

 

Hmmmmm? Yeah I thought so.

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Morning Meanderings…. Adriana Trigiani… To Know Her Is To Love Her


It is a beautiful day here in Minnesota…  maybe not as sunshiny warm as I would like… but the sun is out and it will be good weather for gardening this after noon and mowing the lawn while listening to audio ( )

When in New York earlier this month, I was hoping I would get a chance to see Adriana Trigiani.  Adriana is tied in to my whole BEA experience from the first time I attended in 2010.  That first year, I won a contest Adriana had held and was one of 6 Bloggers who were picked up at the Javitz Center in a limo and taken to Alice’s Teacup for an amazing lunch and one on one time with Adriana.  She was so personable and sweet and I felt like I was in book lovers heaven!

In 2011, a group of us met up with her again and went on a walking tour of Greenwich Village and where her characters frequent.  In 2013, she had us over to her home for brunch.  BRUNCH!  AT HER HOME.  Yeah, I just said that.

In 2015, when my life fell apart and I did not attend the Book Expo, Adrianna personally called me.  That meant so much to me I can not even put it into words.  In 2016, we were in Chicago for the Expo and she was not there.

Some Authors are like Super Heroes…

So this year, I really wanted to say hi to her and I stood outside her long line for book signing just so I could wave at her.  I sent a message up the line that I was there and just for her to look up so I could smile and wave (I am from Central Minnesota this is what we do)…  I waited for over an hour and finally my message was delivered and she looked up and called me over…

*Gulp*

Security helped me get through the rope barrier and I passed in front of the line of those still waiting to have their book signed.  A little embarrassed, and sure an Adriana fan who had been waiting in line was going to knock me to the ground and beat the stuffing out of me… surprising they let me pass and were nice about it..book people are the best!

Once up front she hugged me and I had my picture taken with her, despite my polite refusal to have a book signed that I had not been in line for, she signed one for me anyway.  We talked for like 30 seconds and I thanked  her for the phone call and I was on my way.

Yeah.

So without further ado… Kiss Carlos.

It’s 1949, and South Philadelphia bursts with opportunity during the postwar boom. The Palazzini Cab Company & Western Union Telegraph Office, owned and operated by Dominic Palazzini and his three sons, is flourishing: Business is good, and they’re surrounded by sympathetic wives and daughters-in-law, with grandchildren on the way. But a decades-long feud that split Dominic and his brother, Mike, and their once-close families sets the stage for a rematch.

Amidst the hoopla, the arrival of an urgent telegram from Italy upends the life of Nicky Castone (Dominic and his wife’s orphaned nephew), who lives and works with his uncle Dom and his family. Nicky decides, at 30, that he wants more – more than just a job driving car number four and more than his longtime fiancée, Peachy DePino, a bookkeeper, can offer. When he admits to his fiancée that he’s been secretly moonlighting at the local Shakespeare theater company, Nicky finds himself drawn to the stage, its colorful players, and the determined Calla Borelli, who inherited the enterprise from her father, Nicky must choose between the conventional life his family expects of him and charting a new course and risking losing everything he cherishes.

 

So now you know the why this book came home with me from the expo… and you know why I have every book that Adriana has ever written in my own library.  Kiss Carlos was released this week on June 20th.  It you have not experienced Adriana, then I am telling you that you are in for a treat…  she write amazing characters and amazing stories.  Don’t miss out.

 

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Morning Meanderings… Up Close and Personal With Lorna Landvik

Recently at the Book Expo I was talking with my roommate (Beth Fish Reads and yes I like saying she is my roommate lol)  and we were talking about how much we used to blog…  she had said, “You used to put up two posts a day!”

She was right, I did.  For the longest time I would do a Morning Meanderings… and then something; bookish review, author meet up … in the  afternoon.  At the time… it flowed well… now it is funny to think how the heck did I do that?????

At this time, I have enough footage to do it…. I am behind (WAY BEHIND!) on reviews.  I have much to share about bookish things and by golly I am going to keep talking about those great Expo books.  So we shall see…  😉

Lorna Landvik was at the Brainerd Public Library yesterday.  She is not only an amazing author, funny funny lady, and our MC for Wine and Words… she is also someone I am pleased to call friend.

Lorna was at the Brainerd Public Library for our Brown Bag Author Event. Every Monday through the summer we have an author from noon to one.  I was initially going to skip this weeks as I was up to my ears in working on the Books Burgers and Brews discussion for last night, but once I checked the schedule and remembered it was Lorna I had to go.

Lorna packed the house.  Our events usually bring in around 45 – 60….  Lorna had 104 in the room.  I counted twice.




Lorna’s new book is Once In A Blue Moon Lodge.  The follow-up to Patty Jane’s House Of Curl.  The book sounds amazing!

Morning Meanderings… Scraping in with Author Lisa Jewell #bookexpo2

Saturday!!!! My favorite day of the week!  I usually get to connect with friends…  and try to take this day as something at least partially for me…   a little reading or sitting in the sun…  and I try to avoid any work projects if possible.

In a little bit here I am going to go to town to get a spreadsheet for the books coming out (yes I am trying to be organized!!!)  as well as go try on a potential dress for next months annual Queen event.

Today I want to talk about another book that made its way home with me from the expo…

Hello to I Found You by Lisa Jewell.

In the windswept British seaside town of Ridinghouse Bay, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on a beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, newlywed Lily Monrose grows anxious when her husband fails to return home from work one night. Soon, she receives even worse news: according to the police, the man she married never even existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty Ross are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. The annual trip to Ridinghouse Bay is uneventful, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just because he’s a protective older brother.

Who is the man on the beach? Where is Lily’s missing husband? And what ever happened to the man who made such a lasting and disturbing impression on Gray?

 

OOH right?  I love a good mystery and Lisa Jewell’s books never disappoint.  I am looking forward to spending some time in this one.


Happy Saturday!  I hope you are listening to or reading something really really good!