Seeing Beth Hoffman, best author hugger ever.

I had the pleasure of spending some time on Saturday afternoon with the beautiful bestselling author Beth Hoffman.  I met Beth when she came through northeast Ohio (her old stomping grounds) on the Saving  Cee Cee Honeycutt tour a few years ago and was charmed by her warmth and spirit.  On Saturday she was just as inspiring.  Beth told the story of how very close to dying she came and how she knew that something had to change.  Cee Cee was born.  Like most who read it, I loved Cee Cee and Beth became a bestselling author.  Her latest book, Looking for Me, was a much more personal one for her.  She considers Cee Cee her heart, but Teddi’s story her legacy.  I think part of her legacy may also be how genuinely appreciative she is of her readers, and how great her hugs are 🙂  So if you ever get the chance to hear her speak, do it!!

IMG_1710

IMG_1711(Once again I apologize about the quality of the photo.  It seems I can only edit photos on this new computer some of the time.  The other 90% of the time it ignores my requests.  Have I mentioned lately how much I dislike pretty much everything about our new computer?  I’ll come back and fix when it lets me.)

I was also able to meet Bonnie from Redlady’s Reading Room (we were the first ones there) and we were able to catch up after the signing.  Considering that we live about 20 minutes apart we don’t see enough of each other.  I didn’t get a picture of the three of us like I did at the last book signing, but you can hop over to Bonnie’s to see her picture with Beth.

I did get an extra copy of Looking for Me signed by Beth and will be giving it away at a later date.

Ohiana Book Festival and book blogger meet-up

Last Saturday my mom and I attended the Ohioana Book Festival in Columbus and we can thank Carol for the wonderful day since it was her post that intrigued me.  We had a fun time going to a few of the panels, visiting the author tables, and meeting Carol and her husband and daughter.  I didn’t even recognize her (she doesn’t post enough pics of herself on her blog) but I knew who Amber was right away.  We only visited for a few minutes, but hopefully next year we can work in some more time.  She was lovely.

The panels

Columbus at 200 with Raimund Goerler, David Meyers, Arnett Howard, Nellie Kampmann

  • I grew up about 40 minutes east of Columbus and graduated from Ohio State so I was interested to see what kind of things they would share.  Goerler wrote a book about the history of Ohio State that I’m pretty sure I’ll be unwrapping for my birthday in October.
  • Kampmann talked about the haunted places around town and her experiences with ghosts.  Although I have no intention of reading her book I was most fascinated by her stories.

Fiction:Mystery series with Les Roberts, Casey Daniels, Carrie Bebris

  • This is my fourth time listening to Les Roberts speak and it never gets old.
  • I was surprised to learn that Daniels has a mystery series set in Lakeview Cemetery, one of my favorite Cleveland places.  I am very excited to start this series.
  • Bebris writes a series of books that blend Austen novels “in which the married Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice become entangled in intrigue with other Austen characters.” I picked up the first one!

Novel Ideas:Creating Fiction with Karen Harper and Robin Yocum

  • This one was fun because you had an author with 20 books and a brand new novelist sharing the way they approach writing.  I also thought it was interesting to hear Karen talk about the difference in British marketing and why some of her books are bestsellers over there and not here. (Hint:they add Queen to the title over there)

I only came home with three books, but I am going to make it a goal to read all three plus a few other Ohio authors for the next month or so.  I hope you’ll enjoy my Ohio author reading tour!

Regina Brett book signing winner and Words with Friends

Regina Brett is a local columnist for the The Cleveland Plain Dealer and a breast cancer survivor.  I’m not a regular Plain Dealer reader, but I have read some of her columns and really enjoyed them.   One man asked at the signing last week why she felt the need to write about every aspect of her life and she explained that it’s just the way she writes and it resonates with a lot of people, saying, “I can’t be anybody but Regina Brett.”  I like that.  In her last book, God Never Speaks, she shares some life lessons and my friend Molly is doing a wonderful series of posts on them.  If you check out Tuesday’s post you’ll see the most adorable picture of Sammy and Tedy.

I found Regina Brett full of energy with lots of enthusiasm for journalism and bookstores, both under fire and no one is sure what the future of either will be.  On her most cynical days she sees her job as “the best seat on the Titanic.”  Her new book, Be the Miracle: 50 Lessons for Making the Impossible Possible, tells about everyday heroes that make a difference.  I loved the few stories that she shared and look forward to reading more.

So, who was the big winner of the signed book?  Gage chose Kathleen by picking her number out of his bowl.  For some reason I can’t find the pic right now (grr).  I’ll add it if I do.  Also, we had a second book signed for Molly since she is the one who made me think I would like this new book, which is all about everyday miracles.  So, Kathleen and Molly, Be the Miracle, is already on its way to you!!

Also, I don’t have this blog connected to my Facebook account for a few reasons and for a long while I thought I would keep Facebook for face to face friends only, but a few bloggers have snuck in there with requests.  Jason and I love playing Words With Friends and if you do too, please friend me so we can play 🙂  I look forward to some stiff competition!

Sundays with Gage – Eating is necessary, right?

I thought we all needed food for energy.  Not just adults, but everyone.  I mean when you have an infant it is a very big deal that they eat enough.  So, why is it that toddlers can take or leave food for days at a time and still run around the house like a whirling dervish?

We have been too reluctant to add lots of things to his diet because we weren’t sure of his allergies, but now that we know we only have to avoid dairy and peanuts I really have to get busy and find some good recipes.

Some days the biggest part of his calorie intake consist of oatmeal, cereal bars, and baked potato fries.  He went through a period of resisting soy yogurt but now he likes it again, but is off the chicken.  Sigh.  Getting him to eat has become the biggest frustration of my day.

Any tips from you experienced mothers out there?

The post where I gush about Thrity Umrigar & a winner

Last night I was supposed to meet Bonnie at Thrity’s book signing, but on the way her car came in contact with another car whose brakes didn’t work.  Seriously?  Who is driving if their brakes don’t work?  Not to worry, she’s fine, and I missed seeing her.  Next time.

I have never read any of Thrity’s six books, but I have seen lots of love for them from other bloggers and I love to go to book signings, especially local authors.  I had no idea what to expect, but let me start by saying that Thrity was warm, personable, smart and engaging, and this may be my favorite author signing.  She read two passages from her new book, The World We Found, both of which were beautiful, and then spent an hour, graciously taking questions from the 75 people who were there.  Oh, wait, before she did any of that she heaped generous praise on the other Cleveland authors who we were there.  Sarah Willis, (Pulitzer Prize winner) Jim Sheeler, Loung Ung, Karen Sandstrom, Susan Grimm were in the audience.

I am terrible at taking photos at these events.  You can barely see Thrity up front, but on the upside, Sarah Willis is in the last row, closest to the camera.

So, why is India born Thrity a professor at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University? The answer is here.  That’s right she heard this Joan Baez song and decided at 21 to come to Ohio and earn her graduate degree at The Ohio State University (Go Bucks!).  One brave Clevelander pointed out that a map might have put her somewhere else since the Ohio River is hours from Columbus, but anyway…She calls this decision absurd and whimsical.  She’s been in the Cleveland area for 30 years.

When asked the requisite, who are your influences, question she answered with Virginia Woolf and Toni Morrison (Thrity’s first job after college was in Lorain, where Morrison was born).  She says both have a true understanding of human psychology.  She says she’s also influenced by music and poetry, which she has written her whole life.  She spent years as a journalist because she could write and get a paycheck and feels optimistic about the future of journalism, although she had harsh words for the 24 hour news stations calling them laughable and dangerous.

A few memorable things she said about writing

“You write because it’s an act of discovery.”

“The magical part of writing is when you get lost in the woods.”

She did spent quite a bit of time talking about India, the effects of globalization and why it is so rich with stories.  The admirable people of Bombaby live on the edge and with such bravado that the stories are there for the plucking.

I really could go on, but this is already long.  I suggest you check out her book tour  to find out if you can see her in person.  You won’t regret it. I am so excited to read her book because she was such wonderful author to spend a few hours listening to.  I am pretty sure I’ll feel the same way about her books.

So, who got the signed copy of Thrity’s new book?

It’s JoAnn of Lakeside Musing!  Congratulations 🙂

Thrity Umrigar- signed book giveaway

Next Tuesday, local professor and acclaimed author, Thrity Umrigar (The Space Between Us, The Weight of Heaven) will be visiting our local Barnes & Noble to talk and sign copies of her latest book, The World We Found.  Bonnie (Redlady’s Reading Room) and I plan on meeting there for the event.

To celebrate a new year (on Saturday Stacy’s Books will be starting year 5!) I’m going to have a copy signed for one lucky blog reader.  I’ll have Gage draw a name on Tuesday before I go so that it can be personalized for the winner.

How to enter-

1 entry – leave a comment with your email address

1 entry – participate in my weekly quiz (Writers Lost in 2011) No need to tell me, I have your names.

1 entry – tweet about it (and let me know)

Deadline to enter- January 10th at noon.  Good luck 🙂

An Hour with author Leah Stewart

I love to meet authors.  For book bloggers and writers they are celebrities.  My local library brought Leah Stewart, author of 3 books, to talk to us and answer questions.  I am over halfway through her latest book (and the first one I’ve read) and I’m loving it.  It is about a woman’s identity and how it changes once she becomes a mother.  Given my nine months of motherhood I relate.  I hope to have it finished and my review posted in the next few days.

Leah talked about her writing process.  When she started Husband and Wife she had a 3-year-old and a 7 month old at home.  I am in awe of that!  It took her a little over a year to write and was her easiest writing experience because she knew the story before she started writing.  Her second novel, The Myth of You & Me, took her 5 years to write because she had no clear vision, just the suggestion from her editor to write a contemporary story about a woman.  She offers the advice to know the story before you start writing.

If you’ve read Husband & Wife she based physical likeness of the Rajiv character on Naveen Andrews View Image.  A few authors she feels are important because she connects with them personally are Austen, Eliot and Fitzgerald.  She had just finished reading a Sarah Dessen book and My American Unhappiness.  She does not like the labels of chick lit or women’s fiction, but understands their marketing value.

She was asked if she was happy or sad when she finished a book and she said, “I’m so happy when I’m done.”  I loved the honesty.  When she was asked the most important quality for a successful writer to have, her answer was perseverance, determination, or the inability to stop doing it.

I really enjoyed her talk and the easy way she listened to the questions and took her time to answer them completely, not just giving stock answers.  She describes her books as ambiguous, moral situations.  Husband & Wife centers on infidelity and she told us right up front that she has no knowledge of her husband cheating on her!  It’s fiction people.

She likes twitter and if you’d like to find her @leahcstewart.  Or on her website.  I thought the evening was wonderful and that she was a delightful speaker.   I do hope you will check her out.

Signed Books Quiz

I love autographed books.  I try to go to author signings and am always happy to receive a signed book in the mail or as a gift.  I’m not sure how many I have since I do loan them to my mother, but somewhere in the 30’s.  Do authors have good penmanship?  I’ll let you decide. 

The first picture has 18 of my signed books and only 10 of them are answers.  I just need the author’s name 1-10.  Each correct answer is worth 10 points.

Here are the rules… 1. Open to everyone.  Play once or every week, that’s okay.  I’m happy to have you here today.

2. No cheating.  No googling, other internet searches or looking at other commenter answers.  Yes, we’re going by the honor system

3. Your first answers will be the only ones accepted.

Last week’s Jane Austen Quiz gave us two perfect scores.  Well done Nise and Heather!!  Current leaderboard here.

1. Harlan Coben  2. Susan Elizabeth Phillips  3. Anthony Doerr  4. Beth Hoffman

5. Mary Doria Russell  6. Diana Gabaldon  7. Mitch Albom  8. Les Roberts

9. Carla Neggers  10. Carl Hiaasen

Happy Guessing!

Beth Hoffman Book Signing & Giveaway

Tonight  I met Bonnie from Redlady’s Reading Room for the first time.  We only live about 20 minutes from each other and we decided to get together and meet Beth Hoffman, author of Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt.  Bonnie is a fellow Ohio State grad and we had a lot of fun chatting before we headed to the library for the book discussion and signing.  I have exchanged a few emails with Beth and knew that she was sweet.  However, I think she was even sweeter in person!  She was full of charm and warmth and if you have the chance to meet her on her book tour, take the opportunity!  (tour locales here)  She was truly inspirational. 

I should note that before her discussion she talked to Bonnie and when Bonnie introduced me, Beth said, “Oh, Stacy,  Max’s Mom!”  Well, let’s be honest, I was floored that she remembered to mention him.  How cool is that?! 

Okay, a couple of photos…

Beth getting ready to speak.

Bonnie, Beth, and me.

We also got to meet a few new-to-us local bloggers and writers.  Christina from Write-Brained and Lisa and Laura from Lisa and Laura Write.  Why not check them out?

Tomorrow I’ll post my interview with Beth, so come back for that.

Okay, now for your chance to win a brand new copy of Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt.  Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman: Book Cover Leave a comment with your email address and you’ll be entered to win.  You have a chance to earn extra entries by participating in my Tuesday quizzes.  Open internationally and I’ll draw a winner on February 1st.

GIVEAWAY CLOSED

Tracy Chevalier Book Signing and Giveaway

Tonight my friend Jean and I met for dinner at Joseph-Beth Bookstore and stayed for the book reading by bestselling author Tracy Chevalier.  I just recently read Girl with a Pearl Earring and loved it, so I was excited to hear her speak. Her first question to the 30-40 of us who were there was ‘who likes Jane Austen’?  Well, with a start like that you knew it was going to be good.  She chose 3 different passages from her new book, Remarkable Creatures (just realeased January 5th), and spent half an hour reading to us.  She was wonderful. 

Then she opened it up to questions.  Here are a few things I learned…

*It took her 2 1/2 years from beginning research to completion to finish Remarkable Creatures.  As part of her research she looked for fossils and brought a few that she had found to the signing.

*Margaret Atwood is the living writer that she respects the most.

*She went to an Ohio college, Oberlin.  One of her professors was sitting in the front row.

*She chose to not be directly involved with the making of the movie, Girl with a Pearl Earring.  She thinks a movie should respect the book, but not be a slave to it or the movie will fall flat.  She was able to visit the set and loved it.

*Her next book is set in Ohio.  Woo Hoo for the Buckeye State!

It was a wonderful way to spend a Thursday evening with a friend.  So, when it was my turn to have my book signed I had her sign two. 

So, is this your book she’s signing?  Could be.  Leave a comment with your email address and you’ll be entered to win this autographed hardcover copy of Remarkable Creatures.  You have a chance to earn extra entries by participating in my Tuesday quizzes.  Open internationally and I’ll draw a winner on February 1st.