It’s almost finished, so I suppose I can make an official announcement on the old blog. In the next few weeks I’ll be completing the revisions of my Young Adult novel THE LONG WAY HOME and my wonderful new agent, Erin Harris of Folio Literary Management, will soon be pitching it to publishers. I’ve written several novels in recent years (all unpublished…so far ;)), but this story is particularly special to me because it deals with topics rooted in my Army brat upbringing that will hopefully speak to people living this lifestyle today…and anyone else suffering from wanderlust! Here’s the story:
Gabriela Santiago remembers the moment her childhood changed forever: September 11, 2001. Since that day over a decade ago she’s lived on more Army bases than she cares to count, her soldier father has deployed five times, and now her nineteen-year-old brother, Lucas, is going to war too. Some people would love to spend their senior year living in Europe on the U.S. government’s dime, but not Gabi. With her boyfriend back in the States and her brother in Afghanistan, Gabi wants nothing less than to be stuck on a U.S. base in Germany. What she wants is to go home—too bad Uncle Sam is the one who gets to dictate every aspect of her life.
Gabi’s already unstable world is turned upside down when she learns that her brother has been severely wounded in action. What’s more, right before he was injured Lucas sent her a cryptic message in the form of a Homeric epic and a strange request: if anything should happen to him, Lucas wants Gabi to fulfill his dream of conquering the Camino de Santiago—the ancient route of their family namesake, which crosses northern Spain and is still walked by thousands of seekers and skeptics alike.
To honor her brother’s wish while he fights for his life, Gabi must make the journey with Cain Cohen, Lucas’s best friend, a young soldier who harbors dark secrets about what happened in Afghanistan and wrestles with these demons of war the entire way. What transpires on the road is a transformative journey filled with quirky characters and an unlikely romance between two people united by their loyalty to Lucas…and to Gabi’s surprise, a great deal more. Cain may be the last person Gabi would have chosen to walk to the ends of the earth with, but he may become the one person she can’t walk without.
Stay tuned! :)
I’ve never been one for making serious New Year’s resolutions, but I often make a list of fiction reading goals and since I’m in Scotland, this year I’m focusing on Scottish authors (and it turns out there are many great ones!). Here we go:
1) Sir Walter Scott
Often considered the first historical novelist, there’s no way I could pass up Sir Walter Scott! Right now I’m reading Kenilworth (about Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley) and I hope to get to Ivanhoe and The Tailsman as well.
2. Dorothy Dunnett
Another historical novelist, Dorothy Dunnett’s retelling of the story of Macbeth, King Hereafter, is the novel I’m most looking forward to reading.
3. Robert Louis Stevenson
4. George MacDonald
This Victorian writer was an influence on some of my favorite authors and wrote many, many stories, but I think I’ll start with his children’s classic, The Princess and the Goblin.
5. J.K. Rowling
I know, I know, technically J.K. Rowling was born in England (though her grandfather was Scottish–born on the Isle of Arran–so she’s 1/4 Scottish), but Harry Potter’s birthplace is Edinburgh, where Rowling wrote the early books. She has also stated in interviews that she always envisioned Hogwarts being located in Scotland (which is where you end up when you get on a train at King’s Cross station and head north!). I’ve been working my way through the series and am getting ready to begin The Goblet of Fire.
6. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
After watching two seasons of the hit BBC series, I’m eager to read a few Sherlock stories by another Edinburgh-born author.
Originally posted on The Greenery:
56 Ways to Identify an American Post-Camino Peregrino in Withdrawal
1. Goodwill will not accept your used hiking boots.
2. You carry toilet paper, extra-powered Ibuprofen, and Compeed with you at all times.
3. You wash your socks with shampoo.
4. You have a fantastic tan…but only on your left side.
5. You have seen Pablito‘s special rock.
6. You fear cyclists.
7. You routinely approach reception desks and ask if the hotel is “complete.”
8. You hear that Alanis Morissette song in your head when you take long walks.
9. You can say “hello” in Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, English, Dutch, Korean, and Aussie.
10. You are secretly a little bit in love with the Singing Nun of Santiago.
11. You wash your underwear with shampoo.
12. You either have or are contemplating a scallop-shell tattoo.
13. You’ve engaged in hour-long poncho…
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Now that Thanksgiving is over and Advent is upon us, the last of the leaves are falling from the trees here in Scotland and the hours of daylight are dwindling. Looking back on my first semester at St. Andrews, I realized how fortunate I was to have celebrated in an intimate way the lives and work of two ‘men of letters’ who are also two of my literary heroes. Both Russell Kirk and C.S. Lewis were fond of a saying attributed to Bernard of Chartes, which acknowledges the debt we owe to the great writers and thinkers of the past: “we are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than them, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size.” I do not think it would be an exaggeration to say that the American Kirk and British Lewis are considered by many to be two literary giants of the 20th century who shared that quintessential ‘giant’ quality: they help us to better see. And the view these past few months has been particularly clear, since anniversary celebrations have brought both writers back into the spotlight.
To start, this October some of Russell Kirk’s family members, friends, former students, and St Andrews alumni arrived in Scotland to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the publication of Kirk’s seminal work, The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot, originally his doctoral dissertation from the University of St Andrews. As the names in the subtitle suggest and the intellectual genealogy within the book’s covers confirms, Kirk’s portrayal isn’t so much about politics (in the sense of policy issues) as it is about the power of the imagination; the “faculty of meaning” (as Lewis puts it) employed by creative thinkers who sought to conserve the very best of the past for subsequent generations—something they succeeded at only because they were able to speak to the present. This linking of the past and present was a palpable theme throughout the entire weekend’s celebrations, as visible in the physical presence of Kirk’s grandchildren as it was in the sharing of his ideas with a new generation of St. Andrews students.
Similarly, the C.S. Lewis Symposium and Commemoration at Westminster Abbey in London this November was a gathering of those who, as speaker Alister McGrath put it, shared the childless Lewis’s “intellectual DNA”, in that we had all been deeply inspired by him and are “linked to him through our imagination and reason.” This ‘bridge building’ between reason and imagination seems to be the key to understanding Lewis’s ever increasing popularity and persistent influence (many of his books, after all, remain bestsellers even 50 years after his death!).
During the dedication of a stone memorial to Lewis in Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey, the last surviving recording of C.S. Lewis’s BBC talks during WWII was played and the final scene from Narnia’s The Last Battle was read by Douglas Gresham, Lewis’s stepson:
“Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no-one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
Life was an adventure for Russell Kirk and C.S. Lewis because they both knew their own small role was part of an even Greater Story. Both writers attempted to bring others into that Story by reconciling the modern divorce of Reason from Imagination through that most irresistible of invitations: Wonder. Because of their literary legacies, any child (or child-at-heart) who reads their fantastical tales will never look at an old wardrobe or the ominous door at the end of a spooky hallway the same way again. And as eager readers open their minds more with each turning page, many will find the courage to enter these magical portals and discover where they lead.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments.
May the redeeming words of Russell Kirk and C.S. Lewis continue leading many to that realm of the Timeless, giving us the sturdy shoulders we often need to better see the way.
October is my favorite month for many reasons (crisp fall weather, autumn colors, apple cider, and All Hallows Eve, to name a few), so it is fitting that our first visit to my favorite city would take place in October just like it did back when we were in Edinburgh in 2008. And for all you Harry Potter fans out there, Hogwarts is without a doubt located in Scotland…there are little HP “inspirations” near J.K. Rowling’s writing haunts all over Edinburgh!
*Please do not use photographs without permission….my husband gets the credit for most of these awesome shots!
If you like any of these things…
The Big Band Era
Multiple Narrators with distinct voices
Mystery and Suspense
Generational Family Sagas
…then you will love THE ANGRY WOMAN SUITE by Lee Fullbright!
I just love historical dramas that span generations, though I usually go for stories like this set in Europe. Yet I really enjoyed this book’s beautiful writing, literary voice, suspenseful plot, and complex characters. A story of family dynamics and (at times) abuse, this story truly reveals how “the sins of the father” impact subsequent generations. Told from the perspectives of Francis Grayson, his stepdaughter Elyse, and his musician mentor Aidan Madsen, the reader sees how the characters’ relationships are perceived differently depending on their own perspective, which often blurs the search for the Truth.
I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that the vivid characters were what made this heartbreaking story special. I particularly liked Elyse’s voice, her touching relationship with her grandfather, and her strong character.
About the Book – About the Author – Prizes!!!
About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards or an autographed copy of The Angry Woman Suite! Here’s what you need to do…
That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win the first gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found here. The other two prizes will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Angry Woman Suite tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!
About the book: “They need to be exercised, hearts do … to keep them strong.” Every family has skeletons, but the Grayson family has more than its share of secrets–and of portraits. Mystery portraits that incite and obscure. Portraits to die for. An unsolved celebrity double murder in Pennsylvania. A girl looking for autonomy. A young man in search of an identity. An older man’s quest for justice. A plot that pulls and twists. Get The Angry Woman Suite through Amazon.
About the author: Lee Fullbright, a lifelong San Diegan, lives on beautiful Point Loma with her Australian cattle dog, Baby Rae (owner of her heart). Her literary mystery, The Angry Woman Suite, was a Kirkus Critics’ Pick, and won a Discovery Award (for literary fiction), as well as a Royal Dragonfly HM, and the award for “Best Mystery” at the 2013 San Diego Book Awards. Lee Fullbright is also the recipient of the 2013 Geisel Award, for “best of the best” at the SDBA. Connect with Lee on her website, Facebook, Twitter, or GoodReads.
Support an awesome author and enter to WIN a Kindle Fire, a $50 Amazon Gift Card and an autographed copy of The Midwife’s Revolt
We’ll be doing an event every hour on the hour with prizes throughout as well as a day long giveaway for a Kindle Fire! Each event will have clues for extra entries so check back in often. So hop over to GoodReads between 10AM and 8PM EST! Come back throughout the day to get more inside info about Jodi, The Midwife’s Revolt and have some fun!
The Midwife’s Revolt is rated 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon this novel is rich in detail, character and intrigue! The Midwife’s Revolt takes the reader on a journey to the founding days of America. It follows one woman’s path, Lizzie Boylston, from her grieving days of widowhood after Bunker Hill, to her deepening friendship with Abigail Adams and midwifery, and finally to her dangerous work as a spy for the Cause. A novel rich in historical detail, The Midwife’s Revolt opens a window onto the real lives of colonial women.
“A charming, unexpected, and decidedly different view of the Revolutionary War.”
– Publishers Weekly
We have a lot of fun things planned So come on over!
|10am||10 things you didn’t know about Jodi|
|11am||Trivia Game #1|
|1pm||Picture Caption Contest|
|2pm||Excerpts -w/ Discussion Questions? #1|
|3pm||Trivia Game #2|
|4pm||Excerpts w/ Discussion Questions? #2|
About the Book: The Midwife’s Revolt takes the reader on a journey to the founding days of America. It follows one woman’s path, Lizzie Boylston, from her grieving days of widowhood after Bunker Hill, to her deepening friendship with Abigail Adams and midwifery, and finally to her dangerous work as a spy for the Cause. Much has been written about our founding men. But The Midwife’s Revolt is unique in that it opens a window onto the lives of our founding women as well.
About the Author: Jodi Daynard is a writer of fiction, essays, and criticism. Her work has appeared in numerous periodicals, including The New York Times Book Review, The Village Voice, The Paris Review, Agni, New England Review and in several anthologies. She is the author of The Place Within: Portraits of the American Landscape by 20 Contemporary Writers (W. W. Norton). Ms. Daynard’s essays have been nominated for several prizes and mentioned in Best American Essays. She has taught writing at Harvard University, M.I.T., and in the MFA program at Emerson College, and served for seven years as Fiction Editor at Boston Review. The Midwife’s Revolt is her first novel.