I hope you are doing well during this time, and I think we can all finally see an end in sight to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, only two weeks until June 3rd when my new book, Back of the Yard is released. So I'm offering you a free sample of the book so you can meet Betty O'Leary and begin her journey through the Great Depression and into the 1950s. Click the link below.
Early reviewers say, "...a beautifully written story with vivid imagery, characters that come off the page, and a narrator that could pass for a chat with an old friend."
"A story of struggle, compassion, and the determination to overcome life's obstacles. The reader is cheering for Betty through every step of her journey. A must-read book."
"The first chapter had me hooked because there was so much I could relate to personally. The timing, dynamic and language come together here to build suspense and a compelling desire to read on. What is going to happen? Where are we heading here?"
Not that I'm old, but I recall roller skating with the wheels clamped on my shoes, hopscotch on the sidewalk, and my cousin's grandma had a collection of dishes that actually came in flour sacks!
For those of you who'd like to write a review or quick blurb on Amazon and/or Goodreads on June 3rd or after, I'll send a reminder right before with a direct link to the page.
Thanks so much for reading this, and I hope you all stay safe and in good health.
Set in the south Chicago neighborhood of Sinclair’s The Jungle, Betty O’Leary grows up during the Depression, struggling to scrape by in this harsh, foul-smelling, yet compassionate area. The youngest in her Irish Catholic family, Betty is overshadowed by her pretty older sister, and when tragedy threatens to shatter her world, Betty is sent away to stay with relatives.
As grief and loss take its toll on family members, Betty eventually meets Phil, who offers hope for long-awaited happiness. But secrets begin to unravel, and depression gradually descends on Betty. Is a family history of asylums and madness the cause? And unlike her disturbed mother, will she ever find peace and fulfillment?
The story gives voice to those struggling with emotional pain and shows how families can heal with love, courage, and promise. It tells of a neighborhood reflecting America’s cultural changes and how one’s childhood is forever present.
It seems like everyone is in a book club of some kind—online or meeting with other readers in homes and other venues.
A while ago, I wanted to join a book club, but didn’t know of any, so I asked my good friend to help me organize a group. As a former English teacher, I taught with friends who love to read, so we corralled them to come on board. I also invited several neighbors and ladies from my small daytime choir.
A local indie bookstore offers a discount for book club members, so we needed an official name for their files. Thus, we are known as Books, Brunch, and Beyond. (Apologies to that store, Bed…well, you know). We meet the last Friday of the month in the morning and take turns hosting the group. The hostess provides coffee and cake or whatever treat we choose. After coffee, we discuss the selected book, and around noon head out for lunch at a restaurant in the hostess’s area.
Our members have come and gone over the years; currently there are nine active ladies and five are charter members. Needless to say, our club evolved into more than just a book group. We’ve become friends—sharing life’s peaks and valleys. Several have lost husbands and battled illnesses. We share travels, kids, grandkids, and more, all while having fulfilling social time.
We’ve been active for 12 years since our first meeting at my house in January of 2005. We select from a variety of books and genres: fiction, nonfiction, and classic, books with positive reviews and articles from various sources.
We’ve been introduced to books we never would’ve read on our own. Have all our books been a success? No! There have been some duds, but most have been worthwhile, enjoyable, and oftentimes educational.
I must add, these ladies have been so supportive in my writing process—from my first my dabbling in writing groups to the day my first novel, Bailey’s Law was published. It's great to have cheerleaders! Great books and better friends...Can you tell how blessed I am?
If you’d enjoy a book club, I say, start one. If I can, anyone can!
PS. If anyone is interested in our book selections, please message me on my Contact page.