3 Suggestions on a Saturday Night with Author R. Douglas Clark

October 26, 2019
It's Saturday night folks! I am here with author of the book Welcome to Maravilla, an entertaining sci-fi novel that I just recently posted a review on (check it out).

Before we get into the author's Saturday night suggestions, here is a bit about the book Welcome to Maravilla:

The tiny hamlet of Maravilla, New Mexico is not immune to modern-day problems. But the citizens of Maravilla have their own special problems, as well:

A developer wants to build a Christian-themed amusement park next to Maravilla’s historic church.

The county line runs right through the town, splitting it in two.

And the government is threatening to close their post office!

Into this muddle steps Jake Epstein, a young writer from the big city. Jake is seeking peace and quiet to finish his current project: a science fiction story in which adventuress Tai-Keiko must deliver the secret formula for Zeton-9—with the evil Krossarians in hot pursuit.

But then reality and science fiction converge—and Tai-Keiko finds herself in present-day Maravilla, face to face with a gobsmacked Jake.

Join Jake on this comic run along the dusty roads of Maravilla, and find out who won the fight between Father Ignatius and the heathen pig farmer. How a basketball game changed the fate of the town. And was that white flash in the sky a UFO?

Now, here's author R. Douglas Clark with his suggestions for Saturday night:

Saturday Night Reading Suggestion: 

With your partner, read funny book excerpts to each other. The goal is to produce prolonged laughter and belly laughs. Try David Sedaris or Catch-22.

Saturday Night Movie Suggestion:

Cook up a pot of spaghetti, get a bottle of red wine, and watch The Godfather or Life is Beautiful with your friends, creating an immersive Italianate experience.

Saturday Night Board Game Suggestion: 

Have a marathon Monopoly session with friends. Dominos or Hearts works too.

Thank you to the author for the great ideas! Welcome to Maravilla is now available to purchase on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and IndieBound.
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A Book Review of Hug Everyone You Know by Antoinette Truglio Martin

October 25, 2019
It's a beautiful time of year! The leaves are changing colors and the brisk chill in the air isn't so cold quite yet. I had the chance to read the most beautiful memoir and I can't wait to tell you about it. It's called Hug Everyone You Know by Antoinette Truglio Martin, part of the WOW! Women on Writing Blog Tour (check out the launch day post here!).

First, a little bit about the book:

In 2007, Martin believed her call back doctor appointment was routine, maybe a scare, nothing worse. Her shock at receiving a Stage I breast cancer diagnosis was instantly compounded by her own deep fears. As a self-described wimp—afraid of needles and uncomfortable with sedation—how was she going to get through this?

Antoinette started her fight against cancer with words. She began by journaling and by writing emails to Her Everyone—the large close-knit family and circle of beloved friends wanting to offer their support, especially those who were fighting breast cancer alongside her. The emails not only helped to keep Her Everyone informed, they gave cancer less of a presence in Antoinette’s life, since she wasn’t repeatedly updating people or saying the word “cancer” over and over. The practice of writing calmed her and also gave her space to focus on living: on the house that wasn’t selling, an exciting new job, daughters in college, and summer beach plans. She signed every email with the reminder to “hug everyone you know.”

Those emails and journal entries are at the heart of this memoir, which give the book an immediacy and raw power.

HUG EVERYONE YOU KNOW is a memoir about how Antoinette found the courage to navigate her first year of breast cancer treatment. It’s the story of how a community—colleagues, family, friends—rallied to support her. The book is moving, brave, informative, and occasionally funny—and it speaks to us all.

What I Thought

What captured me immediately about this book is that Hug Everyone You Know is unlike almost any other memoir I've read. Antoinette really drew me into her experience of finding out the shock of the cancer diagnosis, having to tell her family and everyone else around her, and going through treatments. It was such a roller coaster of emotions while reading this book and I was so moved by the emails from her "everyone." On top of the moving experience of reading about Antoinette's journey, this book is also excellently written. 

So if you are looking for a new book to read this fall season, I highly HIGHLY recommend Hug Everyone You Know. 

Hug Everyone You Know is now available to purchase on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and IndieBound.

About the Author

Antoinette Truglio Martin is a life-long Long Islander, teacher, wife, mother, daughter, and friend. She is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer—a memoir chronicling her first year battling breast cancer as a wimpy patient. Personal experience essays and excerpts of her memoir were published in Bridges, Visible Ink, and The Southampton Review. Martin proudly received her MFA in creative writing and literature from Stony Brook/Southampton University in 2016. Antoinette had also written the children's picture book, Famous Seaweed Soup (Albert Whitman and Company), and was a regular columnist for local periodicals Parent Connections (In a Family Way) and Fire Island Tide (Beach Bumming). Her blog, Stories Served Around The Table, tells family tales and life's musings. She lives in her hometown of Sayville, New York with her husband, Matt, and is never far from her “Everyone” and the beaches she loves. Since being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2012, she strives to not let cancer to dictate her life.

Follow her at Facebook and her website.
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A Book, A Movie, and A Wild Card Suggestion for a Saturday Night

October 19, 2019

It's Saturday night and I can't believe how fast this year has gone. It's already mid-October! What have you all been up to? I'd love to hear! Also, I'm doing a trial run on subject lines, so if the subject line caught your attention - let me know!

So, before you know it, the holidays will soon be upon us. First, a special shout out to my Saturday night sponsor: Don Pablo Coffee! They have an incredible Bourbon Infused Coffee that I know will be PERFECT for your holiday gathering. You can get a two-pack over at Costco for only $28.99! Purchase now.

Now, here's for my suggestions:

Saturday Night Book Suggestion: I'd love to recommend What We Do For Love by Anne Pfeffer. It's a romance novel with a twist of drama. 38-year-old Nicole is a single mom who has taken on a major project for a local museum along with raising her son. Everything starts to get really stressful, real fast when her son's girlfriend gets pregnant. I enjoyed this a whole lot and it kept me on the edge of my seat with the touch of the thriller mixed in. Check this one out on GoodReads.

Saturday Night Movie Suggestion: I sure hope I haven't recommended this movie, but the "Lake House" starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. This movie is so romantic and touching. It actually made my mom and I cry! This basically includes dual plot lines of two people living in different time frames, but slowly they fall in love. Check it out on IMDB.

Saturday Night Wild Card Suggestion: So, my random suggestion for this Saturday night is an online game that I played several years ago. It's called the Ballads of Reemus. It's basically like a bug-monster-catcher guy and his purple bear assistant going on a journey together. It's a fun, entertaining point-and-click game that is web-based. I think you'll enjoy it a lot if you love web-based games and just want a cheap, fun thing to do tonight. Play now!



Again, a special thank you to Don Pablo Coffee for sponsoring this post! If you are interested in doing something good for the environment, be sure to check out their eco-friendly Subtle Earth Organic Coffee made with Nespresso capsules that are plant-based and 100% compostable. Purchase now.

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
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Review of Welcome to Maravilla by R. Douglas Clark

October 17, 2019

Rain is coming in, the weather is getting cooler, and the nighttime is creeping in earlier. It's the best time of year to pick up a new book! If you are interested in something unusual, entertaining, and humorous.

Here is a bit about the book Welcome to Maravilla:

The tiny hamlet of Maravilla, New Mexico is not immune to modern-day problems. But the citizens of Maravilla have their own special problems, as well:

A developer wants to build a Christian-themed amusement park next to Maravilla’s historic church.

The county line runs right through the town, splitting it in two.

And the government is threatening to close their post office!

Into this muddle steps Jake Epstein, a young writer from the big city. Jake is seeking peace and quiet to finish his current project: a science fiction story in which adventuress Tai-Keiko must deliver the secret formula for Zeton-9—with the evil Krossarians in hot pursuit.

But then reality and science fiction converge—and Tai-Keiko finds herself in present-day Maravilla, face to face with a gobsmacked Jake.

Join Jake on this comic run along the dusty roads of Maravilla, and find out who won the fight between Father Ignatius and the heathen pig farmer. How a basketball game changed the fate of the town. And was that white flash in the sky a UFO?

What I Thought

Immediately when reading this book, I got such an incredible sense of the setting. It's rich in detail and character. In fact, the setting itself felt like a character all on its own. There's a lot going on in this book and the writer does a great job with keeping things lively with each of the characters. The side part featuring Jake's story was a bit sidetracking at first, but it became such an integral part of the story. It reminded me so much of how a writer can become attached to their characters. So, if you want an interesting, unusual book for the colder seasons, you'll want to pick this one up.

Welcome to Maravilla is now available to purchase on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and IndieBound.

About R. Douglas Clark

R. Douglas Clark was born in Vermont, grew up in Colorado, attended college in Chicago, and received a Master's degree in music from Brown University. Seeing no future for himself in academia, he spent a year in the Oregon woods, living in a primitive cabin, writing music reviews and cultural commentary for magazines and newspapers. Next stop, Eugene, Oregon where he spent 20 damp years as a bootstrap businessman, father and musician. On a vacation trip, he and his wife, Shelley, fell in love with sunny northern New Mexico and subsequently moved there. After four years running Boys and Girls Clubs in Chimayó and Abiquiú--and another four, running a U-pick raspberry farm--he retired to write fiction full time.

Find R. Douglas online: https://www.rdouglasclark.com/

I received the above book in exchange for my honest review.
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3 Suggestions on a Saturday Night with Author Charles Suddeth

October 12, 2019

Another Saturday night is here folks! So I'm excited to introduce to you, author Charles Suddeth, who is guest host tonight. Before we read his suggestions for Saturday night, here is a bit about the author himself:

Charles Suddeth has published poetry, picture books, middle reader’s books, young adult thrillers, and adult mysteries in English, Cherokee, and Turkish. He is active with Green River Writers and leads a monthly SCBWI Social. He lives in Louisville and teaches for the Jefferson County Schools.

You may find him online at his website, his Twitter account, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr.  

Now, here is what he suggests for Saturday night! Take it away Charles...

For a Saturday night book alone...

If you are not alone, I suggest 2 copies of my book suggestion. No use fighting. The first thriller I ever read was a 1974 best-seller, Six Days of the Condor, by James Grady. It is about a US government employee on the run from spies intent on stealing government secrets. It is one of those books you begin and read to the finish, even if Saturday morphs into Sunday. It started me on a path of reading and writing thrillers.

A Saturday night movie at home with your special someone

Dunkirk, the 2017 Warner Bros. World War II movie written, directed, and produced by Christopher Nolan. It was nominated for 27 awards, winning 3 Academy Awards. It has land, air, and sea stories running simultaneously. It uses what I call emotional time, compressing the 3 stories into a thrill ride as Allied Armies escape from Nazis. It has little dialogue so you can snuggle with someone and talk without missing anything. I have watched Dunkirk several times.

A special Saturday night with your special someone

A lady friend and I often hike the Big Four Pedestrian Bridge over the Ohio River connecting Louisville, Kentucky and Jeffersonville, Indiana. From 1895 to the 1960s, it was a railroad bridge. It is open 24 hours and is a 1 mile walk each way. Near both ends of the bridge, local restaurants and shops are open for hikers. It is lit up at night and features lights in patterns, especially for holidays like the Fourth of July and Christmas.

Thank you Charles for your amazing suggestions! If you need another book to read in addition to his suggestion, check out his book Stone Man and the Trail of Tears.

Driven to Stone Man’s trail...

After U.S. soldiers attack twelve-year-old Tsatsi’s Cherokee village, his family flees to the Smokey Mountains. Facing storms, flood, and hunger, they’re forced to go where Stone Man, a monstrous giant, is rumored to live.

His family seeks shelter in an abandoned village, but soldiers hunt them down. Tsatsi and his sister Sali escape, but Sali falls ill and is kidnapped by Stone Man. Tsatsi gives chase and confronts the giant, only to learn this monster isn’t what he seems.

Their journey is a dangerous one. Will Tsatsi find the strength to become a Cherokee warrior? And will they ever find their family?

Release date – October 8, 2019



Find Stone Man And the Trail of Tears at:

Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Stone-Man-Trail-Charles-Suddeth/dp/1939844622/

ITunes - https://fnd.io/#/us/book/1455664389-stone-man-and-the-trail-of-tears-by-char

Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/stone-man-and-the-trail-of-tears

Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130849102?ean=9781939844620

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44453832-stone-man-and-the-trail-of-tears


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3 Suggestions on a Saturday Night with Author Derik Cavignano

October 5, 2019
Welcome to my weekly feature where my Saturday night guests share about a book, movie, and one random suggestion of their choice. I am excited to have author Derik Cavignano with us.

A native of Boston and a writer since high school, Derik Cavignano currently lives in Florida with his wife, children, and an angry cat who won’t stop biting him. He writes character-driven thrillers in a variety of genres, including horror, sci-fi, and crime. His novels include The Righteous and the Wicked and Colony of the Lost (a 2016 Silver Falchion Award finalist for best horror). His upcoming crime thriller, The Art of Dying, is due for release in fall 2019. Connect with Derik on Twitter @DerikCavignano or visit his website at derikcavignano.com.

Before we share Derik's Saturday Night suggestions, here is a bit about his book The Art of Dying:

When the bizarre death of a mob foot soldier sparks an escalating war between Boston’s Irish and Italian mafia, Detective Ray Hanley’s relentless search for the truth uncovers evidence of a serial killer obsessed with the art of human suffering. As the body count rises, Detective Hanley must navigate a minefield of crime families, dirty politicians, and crooked cops, while matching wits with a deranged serial killer. Temptation, betrayal, and death threaten to derail the investigation… and justice doesn’t come without a price.

This fast-paced police procedural examines the darkest corners of the human mind, exposes powerful political corruption, and depicts an honorable detective striving to balance the horrors of the job with his commitment to his family.

Be sure to add this book to your Goodreads list or purchase a copy on Amazon.

Now, take it away Derik!

Saturday night reading suggestion: Despite being a horror and thriller author, my all-time favorite book is EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED by Jonathan Safran Foer. It’s a wildly imaginative novel about a young American who travels to Ukraine to find the woman who may or may not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Along the way, he is assisted by a hilarious Ukrainian translator who butchers the English language and a blind driver who requires the help of a seeing-eye dog named Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior. The story switches point of view between the translator, the young man (also named Jonathan Safran Foer), and the ancestors of a Jewish settlement eradicated during the Holocaust. Foer’s writing style is ground-breaking, elegant, and eclectic, and the book, itself, is a work of genius. After reading it for the first time, I immediately returned to the first page and read it over again. If you’ve never read it, check it out… and don’t cheat by seeing the movie—it’s not the same!

Saturday Night Movie Suggestion: I’ll get back to my genre here and recommend “The Shining”, the 1980 horror classic based on Stephen King’s novel of the same title. If you’re part of the younger generation that hasn’t seen it, “The Shining” tells the story of a family holed up for winter in a haunted hotel built on an Indian burial ground. Jack Torrance is a recovering alcoholic who accepts a job as caretaker of the Overlook Hotel when it shuts down for winter, despite learning that a former caretaker once developed cabin fever there and violently murdered his family. Jack’s relationship with his wife is strained and their young son, Danny, has psychic abilities that present him with visions of the hotel’s violent past. But as the ghosts of the hotel become increasingly real, they attempt to turn Jack against his family and instruct him to “correct” his wife and son. The film’s suspense and creep factor are off the charts, thanks to Stephen King’s imagination and Stanley Kubrick’s fantastic directing skills. The acting is also great, with Jack Nicholson brilliantly portraying Jack Torrance’s descent into madness. A long-awaited sequel—Doctor Sleep—features a grown-up Danny Torrance and debuts this November (based on King’s 2013 novel), so if you haven’t seen “The Shining” yet, make sure you check it out in time for “Doctor Sleep”.

Saturday Night Wild Card Suggestion: If you’re looking for a night of fun beyond the tired routine of dinner, bar, or movie, I’d suggest teaming up with some friends and reserving a spot at an Escape Room. If you’ve never heard of one, an Escape Room is a physical challenge where a small group of people assembles inside of a locked room and must solve a series of riddles, puzzles, or clues in order to crack the code and escape before time expires. Each Escape Room is different and the challenges generally follow the theme of the room (e.g., crime and punishment clues for a prison escape or Prohibition-era clues for a 1920s jazz club). The time limit varies but is often 45 minutes to an hour. Escape Rooms are a perfect way to experience something different and enjoy an exhilarating night out with friends.

Fantastic suggestions! Thank you Derik! In addition to buying his book, be sure to check out his website https://www.derikcavignano.com/.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. If you want to be a guest on my Saturday night weekly feature, send me an email at npyles86[at]gmail[dot]com. Fun fact: you don't need to be an author to be a guest!



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Blood Creek by Kimberly Collins [Book Review & Giveaway]

October 4, 2019
Have you ever gotten into a book slump? I was in one for about a month and then I came across a surprising book that brought me right out of it. The book that did it is called Blood Creek by Kimberly Collins. It is the formerly untold story of the women of Appalachia. The author dives into lesser-known mine wars of the 20th century and takes the reader on the journey of an uprising.

What makes this historical fiction book is unique is she draws from her own family history.

Blood Creek is set in 1912 West Virginia, where the coal miners are arming themselves up and getting ready to strike. Wealthy coal owners have hired the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency to do whatever is necessary to crush the miners and protect their fortune. In the midst of all of this chaos is Ellie Cline. She arrives in Charleston on the arm of John Felts, a top aid to Tom Felts himself.  And despite all the gossip of being a kept woman to John Felts, she enjoys his attention, his lavish gifts, and the parties.

But Ellie is a spy. She is positioned between the lavish high society of Charleston and her family roots that go all the way down into the dusty coal mines. Will she escape the call of duty that pushes her to share what she knows? Or will she hide in high society, running from her past?

What I Thought

Ellie was a woman far ahead of her time. She is not settled with the status quo. She wants more to life than what society will give her. In West Virginia, she fears all she'll ever have is that cabin she lives in with her husband. Then something changes - her husband commits a crime, she gets pregnant, and her lover is dead. What will she do?

When she gets the chance to leave for Charleston, it's the chance to leave it all behind. Then the old saying comes around, "No matter where you go, there you are." Well, Ellie's past is not far behind and her call of duty draws her back to her roots. I was more than taken by surprise by the character of Ellie - who was likable, understandable, and occasionally detestable at the same time - while enjoying the world of the coal miners and the flashy life of Charleston.

This book drew me in and I couldn't put it down. The setting is so vivid. The book cover depicts a moment in the river when Ellie contemplates her situation, which is such a turning point for the character. I felt the strong family ties emit off the page.

Since it is based in historical fact, there is definite tragedy in this book. Yet, the author has a way of sweeping you along and drawing you back in, even in the midst of sadness and confusion.

I can't wait to see what comes up next for the Mingo Chronicles. If you haven't read historical fiction before, I suggest you start with this book. When I read "coal mines" I didn't realize how much I would enjoy the characters, the world, and the fight for what is right.

If you love historical fiction, you will not be disappointed by this book. I am sure you will enjoy it and will want to read more.

A small thing I really appreciated was how the author introduces which characters are inspired by real people and which characters are pure fiction. She does that in the beginning so that really sets the stage of helping me get to know who I'm about to read.

Memorable Quotes

"She turned to get her things, but an old, familiar tug in her gut told her not to go with Mary. It made her a little dizzy it was so unexpected." (pg 17).

"She sat for a long time watching the river gently flow away from her, listening to its gentle caresses against the rocks and shore. Where was it going? Could she go with it? Was there something better at its end?" (pg 64).

"She was skilled at feeding the male ego to get what she wanted. By the time they arrived in Charleston, John Havers didn't realize he had been hit with a meteor." (pg 118)

About the Author, Kimberly Collins



Kimberly Collins is the author of two novels, most recently Blood Creek, which is the first in the Mingo series. Collins grew up in Matewan, West Virginia, the home of the Hatfield & McCoy feud and the legendary Matewan Massacre. She loves the mountains, the river, the people, and the history. Collins is busy working on several projects including the Mingo series, short stories, photography, and dabbling in other creative endeavors. In 2017, she co-wrote her first screenplay for a short film, which premiered at the Knoxville Film Festival. For more information about Collins and her work, visit https://www.bluemingopress.com/


Giveaway

Best of all I get to giveaway a copy of Blood Creek to one lucky winner! This is US Only. Enter via Rafflecopter below. Giveaway ends on 10/22/2019.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to pick up a copy of this book on Amazon.com or add to GoodReads.

I received the above-mentioned book in exchange for my honest review.
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