Category: Reading

Keeping Up With the Neighbours COMPLETE SERIES

It’s official! The COMPLETE SERIES is now available as an ebook with the paperback coming next week. Check it out on AMAZON.

Look out! The Malloy family have taken over the neighbourhood, starting with Jed, whom we met in Neighbours Series 1. Jed is a downhome boy from Newfoundland who is a bit rough around the edges, but is the first to lend a helping hand when needed. His colourful and sometimes raucous siblings – Bo, Reba, Pip, Will, and Zeb – join him one by one in the western city of Calgary, Alberta. There’s plenty of laughter, romance, and a few surprises, as the Malloy clan get together. In the midst of the surprises, a greater love than any one of them ever expected comes to call: The love that only God can give.

 

As always, an honest review is always appreciated!

It’s a Wrap! Volume 7 – NEIGHBOURHOOD WRAP hits the virtual shelves!

The last instalment of the NEIGHBOURS Series is out! Here’s the blurb. Look for the complete series in both ebook and paperback – coming soon!

Volume 7 Neighbourhood Wrap- Finale

The Malloys have taken over the neighbourhood! This ‘rough around the edges’ family from Newfoundland are back in the final instalment of “Keeping Up With the Neighbours’. Will Jed be admit he has a drinking problem? Will Reba’s strong will keep her from finding true love? Will Pip return to his philandering ways or has he been bitten one too many times? Has Will given up or can he make peace with his feelings? What about Zeb? Will this ginger giant succumb to love or will he stubbornly stick to his vow as a bachelor? And will Bo ever get over the first real love he’s felt? There are no easy answers as the clan set to work solving their troubles in typical Malloy fashion. In the midst of the surprises, a greater love than any one of them ever expected comes to call: The love that only God can give.

Note to readers: This series, although labelled ‘Christian’, does contain elements that may be troubling to some readers, such as the use of alcohol as well as pre-marital sexual encounters. (The latter take place ‘off camera’.) There is, however, a faith based element throughout with a strong redemptive message at the end of the series.

 

Reviews – How Much Trust Can You Put In them?

Read any good books lately?

I discussed the quandary of book reviews in a previous post awhile back. The bottom line is this. Not everyone is going to like what I, or any other author, has written. There are books that I don’t care for that have lots of positive reviews on Amazon and elsewhere. The fact that I didn’t like them simply means that we have different tastes in reading material.

I don’t think many readers understand the impact of reviews, however. For some, it just seems like too much bother to write and post a review on Amazon, goodreads, or other places and I’m sure many readers feel like their two cents really won’t make that much difference. Think again. Reviews have a huge impact on both ranking and rating, not to mention the fact that they help other readers choose what to read next. If you are one of the people who have read a good book but have not bothered to write a review, may I implore you to take ten minutes and post one. It doesn’t have to be long, just honest.

Which brings me to another point. Honesty is all important when it comes to reviews so in a way I am glad to have a few less than stellar ones. It shows that I am not paying or otherwise coercing anyone into writing a positive review.

Rather than dwell on the negative, I try to focus on the positive feedback I’ve received. Precious to me are the hand written notes I’ve gotten in the mail from both family and friends, but also from complete strangers. One elderly woman wrote to say she really enjoyed my book AND THE BEAT FOES ON, and although she didn’t know how to write an online review, she wanted me to know how much she felt the story impacted her. She said she was planning to pass it on to others.

Another reader contacted me through facebook and expressed how she loved PLAY IT AGAIN. She said it made her feel like she was back in the 80s and mirrored some of her own experiences. My daughter lent a copy of MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER to a colleague and after reading it, she wanted a copy for herself and for her sister-in-law. She said the ‘realism’ of Joleen’s struggles really hit home for her. She felt that her sister-in-law, a non-Christian, might respond well to the message of redemption and grace because of her own checkered past.WIND OVER MARSHDALE has had more than one similar remark from readers, either on facebook, via email, or verbally.

To my knowledge, none of these people bothered to write a review on Amazon, but the fact that they contacted me personally perhaps says even more. I can’t think of the last time I contacted an author to tell them I enjoyed a book, even though I regularly write and post reviews on Amazon and elsewhere. Sometimes the personal touch is so much more validating.

In the end, I have decided to leave reader response in God’s hands. There is always a risk – quite a substantial one, I might add – that someone who reads and dislikes a book I’ve written will write a nasty review. It happens. Honesty is the best policy, after all. Knowing that even one person was affected in a positive way is enough for me to want to persevere.

To leave a review visit my Amazon Author page or my goodreads author page

Legacy of Words

Why do I love words?

I often cite the time as a young mother I borrowed my mother’s old typewriter and thus began my love affair with writing. I’ve also written about the time I wrote my first play back in Grade Four and how that impacted me to write and direct in the future. Or I’ve mentioned my high school English teacher who encouraged me to write and gave me that small seed of hope that I really could be a writer some day. But I think the love of words and beautiful language goes much farther and deeper than any of these incidents.

My grandmother loved reading and could quote long passages from the likes of Longfellow and Shakespeare. She was the ‘go to’ person when any member of the family needed a poem to recite for public speaking. (We did that in those days…) I can still see her, eyes closed, as she recited the first lines of Evangeline, Longfellow’s epic poem.

'Evangeline'

‘Evangeline’

“This is the forest primeval, the murmuring pine and the hemlock, bearded in moss, in garments of green, indistinct in the twilight.” 

The words were haunting and beautiful. She would then go on to tell the rest of the story in her own words, for it was a tale too long for little children.
The impact was profound. I read the poem to my own children one year when we homeschooled and were studying Canadian history. Then, a few summers later, we visited Nova Scotia and the fabled site of Evangeline’s tragic tale. I now have a granddaughter named Evangeline – not by coincidence, I suspect. (Here is a painting I did entitled ‘Evangeline’ which I gave to my daughter.)

Reading books to children and telling them stories has a huge impact. Never belittle the bedtime story or the importance of sharing words with your children and grandchildren. It has lasting effects.

Read Widely

I am a teacher by profession and one year we tried a literacy initiative at our secondary school that divided part of the student population into small reading groups based on reading level, comprehension, and fluency. Each small groushutterstock_307383305p was assigned a different staff member (even those that aren’t in the English department) and for thirty minutes three times a week, the groups got together to read and discuss books. That’s it. No tests. No questions. Nothing but the enjoyment of good literature.

At first, skeptics wondered at the practicality of such a project. It was obviously taking time away from other subjects. As well, how would the students respond? They were being put into multi-age, multi-grade groups. Wouldn’t those at the lower end of the reading scale feel embarrassed to be reading with students up to two grades younger than they were?

As it turns out, the project was a huge success. Test scores done at the end of the year showed a dramatic increase in all areas of reading competency. The vast majority of students loved the experience, saying it helped them gain confidence as readers. Many even reported that they were doing more reading at home and spending less time playing video games. Now if that isn’t success, I don’t know what is!

It just goes to show that reading is a worthy activity for so many reasons. So keep on reading, folks!

 

 

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