Woot! It’s a Book Sale!

I’m a die-hard traditionalist when it comes to Christmas.

That means I observe the house rule of no Christmas decorations, movies or books before Thanksgiving. (Take that, Hallmark Channel!)

But once I wake up on Friday, November 23, I plan to dive whole-heartedly into decorating, baking, and shopping for Christmas.

I’ll also start watching movies and reading books with Christmas-themed plots; and this year,  I’m especially excited about that, because there’s . . .

A Big Book Sale Beginning Friday, November 23!

I’ve joined with a group of wonderful Indie authors to bring you a great selection of print and e-books at Black Friday prices that can’t be beat!

All books are free or just 99 cents!

Pick your favorite genre… mystery, romance, SciFi, or fantasy, or try them all. At these prices, you can’t go wrong!

Please join me on Friday! www.PerryKirkpatrick.com/sale

Sometimes, Life Is . . .

Thank goodness it’s Wednesday!

I don’t say that often, but it’s been a crazy week so far; and knowing it’s Wednesday means I’m that much closer to the weekend.

The pace at work always picks up at this time of year; there’s a crunch of projects and tasks that must be done before the end of the year. Add to that the fact that a lot of my coworkers plan to take time off next week for Thanksgiving, and I have a recipe for long days and a lot of work.

There are a lot of things I planned to get done this week, but because of my work schedule, they’re now on hold.

Sometimes, life just isn’t one of these:

But the good thing is, I’m working through it! And as I come up for air from the pile of work that’s on my desk, I’m reminded that there’s still much to be thankful for:

I have a job I love, and coworkers I truly like and admire.

And I’m especially grateful that it’s Wednesday, and a quiet, restful weekend is only two days away!

My Nostalgia: Grace Livingston Hill Books

When I was a teenager, Linda, a friend in my Sunday-school class, handed me a novel by Grace Livingston Hill and said, “You’ve got to read this.”

I had never heard of the author, but Linda had never steered me wrong before, so I took the book home and dove right in.

I was glad I did. After reading one book, I wanted more. Soon Grace Livingston Hill became one of my favorite authors and I began seeking out her books in second-hand stores. It wasn’t long before I had a pretty good collection of my own.

I enjoyed the plots and the characters, of course; but I discovered that I also loved the way Mrs. Hill made the time period of her stories come to life.

I was fascinated by her descriptions of American life in the 1920s and 1930s.

At the Seaside, by Paul Gustave Fischer.

I loved reading about easy chairs on the veranda and gardens that always yielded beautiful blooms; train travel and jaunty cars that never seemed to run out of gasoline.

Not long ago I came across some examples of the art of Paul Gustave Fischer, which are featured in this post. His works immediately made me think of Grace Livingston Hill’s novels.

In the Garden, by Paul Gustave Fischer.

The artist captured in his paintings the same thing Mrs. Hill captured in her books: Movement. Grace Livingston Hill’s heroines were always on the move; they were going somewhere, and they had purpose in their fictional lives.

I wish I could remember which Grace Livingston Hill novel I read first. It was a long time ago, but I think it was Job’s Niece or Bright Arrows.

At the Tram Stop, by Paul Gustave Fischer.

Either way, that book is gone now, along with the original dust jacket, because I followed Linda’s example one day and lent it to another friend with the same words Linda said to me: “You’ve got to read this.”

I never got the book back, but that’s okay. I hope my friend enjoyed the book as much as I did and decided to keep it, so she could read it again.

In the Train Compartment, by Paul Gustave Fischer.

Because that’s exactly what I do with my collection of Grace Livingston Hill books: I re-read them again and again.

How about you? Have you ever read a book by Grace Livingston Hill? What author’s books have a guaranteed place on your keeper-shelf?

Does Every Treat Have a Trick?

I’m going to tell you a true-life story. I hope you can relate to it.

About ten years ago, Prince Charming and I took a long-anticipated trip. We were both in high-stress jobs at the time, so this getaway was very important to us.

We planned every detail in advance, because we wanted to start our vacation stress-free, with no last-minute rushing about. We had a list of items to pack, which we dutifully checked off, one by one, as we put things in our suitcases.

We had a list of things to do, like holding our mail with the post office, and notifying our home security company of our trip, so they’d make extra rounds while we were away.

We even had a time table for the morning of our departure, starting with the time we wanted our alarm to go off, all the way up to the moment we checked our bags and entered the lines at airport security.

We had everything planned out, anticipated every problem, accounted for every contingency.

The big day arrived. When the alarm went off, we got up, dressed, and headed to the airport, right on time. We were happy. We were stress-free.

And we were proud of ourselves because all that pre-planning was paying off.

Then it happened. We were in the car, on the freeway, almost at the airport for our early-morning flight, when Prince turned to me and asked, “Did you remember to turn the coffee pot off before we left the house?”

So much for stress-free travel.

No, of course I could not remember turning it off, and my stress level immediately went from 2 on the scale to Red Alert level.

In those days, our coffee maker didn’t have an automatic turn-off mechanism. And since I couldn’t remember turning off the burner under the pot—and, incidentally, neither could Prince Charming, which was kind-a why he asked the question—I had an immediate vision in my head of the coffee maker melting down from its own heat and catching the house on fire. Prince had the same vision.

We immediately abandoned our beautifully orchestrated timetable and returned to the house. Prince kept the motor running, while I ran in, only to find one of us had turned the burner off under the pot, after all. So, it turned out, there was no need to rush; there was no reason to panic; there was no cause for worry.

We just had to get back on track and finish what we set out to do, and get that vacation started.

Why am I telling you this story?

Because I had a coffee pot moment not long ago; but this time, the thing that got off track wasn’t a vacation. It was a book.

Back in January I set a goal for myself to finish a novel I’d been working on. And guess what?

I did it!

I finished the novel and sent it off to a couple of beta readers and a proofreader.

Confident, I had a cover designed, wrote a book blurb, and set a date to publish my book in print and e-book formats.

And then I heard back from my readers. They all liked the overall story, loved the hero, and Miss Proofreader spotted only a couple of typos.

But they all agreed there was a problem with one of the subplots. And I had to admit, once they brought it to my attention, I saw the problem, too. But why had I not seen it before?

I was so busy concentrating on writing “The End” on the last page of my manuscript, and reveling in the feeling of having accomplished a major goal, that I didn’t see a hole in my plot.

And now I have to do some revisions throughout the story so that plot hole can be fixed.

So, the good news is, I did achieve one of my goals for the year. I finished writing my book. But the bad news (if you can call it that) is I still have some more work to do to on it.

So I’ve re-calibrated my timetable, and I’m now busy with rewrites.

And while I do that, I want to give a shout out to beta readers and proofreaders all over world.

Thank you! You help make dreams come true.

.

Every Picture Tells a Story

Every once in a while I’m able to justify the time I waste on social media by coming across something I truly love. Here’s my latest find:

There are so many things I adore about this image. Let me count the ways:

  1. The setting is quintessential American heartland. I love the red barn, and even though they don’t appear in the painting, I can imagine what the house looks like, and what color the old pick up truck is that made the ruts in the dirt drive.
  2. The field of newly-sprouted crops against the rich purple-brown soil reminds me of the pattern in a favorite quilt.
  3. I can remember a time (long before emails, direct messages, and tweets) when I sometimes haunted our mailbox, waiting for a letter, so I understand what it was like for this woman to receive a long-awaited letter. I love that she couldn’t wait to get back to the house, but opened the letter and started reading, right there at the mailbox.
  4. There’s a small silhouette of an airplane in the top left corner of the painting; that, combined with the woman’s age and clothing, makes me think of all the mothers who kissed their sons good-bye when they went off to fight in World War II. That’s the story I imagine this painting is about: a mother anxiously waiting for news that her soldier son is healthy and unharmed.
  5.  I love the sweet way she holds the envelope to her cheek.
  6. The way the sun tops the horizon just as the woman is reading the letter is a beautiful touch.

I’m sure there are many other ways to interpret this painting: A mother waiting to hear from a daughter who moved to the big city; or a grandmother who hasn’t seen her grandchildren in a long time because they moved out of state. The possibilities are endless.

But that’s the beauty of a really good picture or painting: It tells a different story to each person who views it.

This painting is signed by an artist named  “John Falter.” I Googled the name, but I couldn’t come up with a definite match. I’m going to keep looking, though; I’d love to see other pieces by this artist, and see what other stories he has to tell me through his brush.

How about you? Have you ever come across a painting or photograph that really speaks to you or touches your heart? I’d love to hear about it!

 

Talked to Death

Am I the only one who wishes there were no such thing as political ads? They’re everywhere; I can’t escape them, but I dearly wish I could!

I think this 1873 Currier and Ives print sums up my feelings pretty well:

I’ve decided that until election day, my only form of entertainment will be reading.

No TV (unless I’ve recorded the program and can fast-forward through the commercials), no more radio. Just books.

Having made that decision, I now know why I have a To-Be-Read pile that’s taller than I am (times three); it’s for emergencies such as this.

So, a few minutes ago, I covered my eyes with one hand and poked the fingers of my other hand into my TBR shelf; here’s the book I randomly selected:

Falling for the Cowgirl by Tina Radcliffe

Doesn’t this look like  a fun book? It’s my first time reading this author and I’m looking forward to losing myself in her cowgirl world. And when I’ve finished this book, I’m going to select another; then another.

So good-bye horrible, screeching, misleading political ads. I’ll see you again in 2020.

A Romance Trope in Real Life

I freely admit I’m a hopeless romantic. There isn’t a romance novel trope I don’t like, from a hero in disguise to an orphaned heroine who must work as a governess to a moody widower aristocrat.

One of my all-time favorite tropes is the friends-who-fall-in-love trope. In fact, I’ll go ahead and let the cat out of the bag: the book I’m writing right now is a variation on that theme.

So it’s no wonder that a post on today’s Inspy Romance blog really touched my heart. It’s all about friends-who-fall-in-love, but it happened in real life!

You can click on the image below to read the post. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!