July 2013 Events!

June 20, 2013 at 9:18 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

George Wright Padgett July

Reeshemah at North Oaks

Karyna Humble

Karyna North Oaks

Quilting with Good Books

Melinda McGuire July 2013

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Interview with Author Rhonda R. Dennis

January 30, 2013 at 9:18 pm (Interviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

bayou

Author of the Green Bayou Novels

July 2012 110

Rhonda on the right at HPB Humble last year.

I met Rhonda R. Dennis while booking her and Melinda McGuire for A Southern Saturday – an event we put on at the Half Price Books in Humble. It featured southern authors, southern goodies, and all around a lot of southern hospitality. We had a blast. Rhonda was friendly, donated a lot of her own books to raffle off to customers, and kept a professional attitude.

Another signing is the works now, with details to follow later.  But since I can’t quite have her in the store again just yet, I’ve arranged an interview! (So exciting! As I’ve said before, interviews and guest blogs make me feel like Oprah.)

  1. Your books are set in Southern Louisiana, and you’re also from there.  What were your favorite things about the state when growing up? What are your favorite things about living there now?

First, I want to thank you for having me as a guest!  I absolutely love reading your posts.

While growing up, I never gave much thought to how different my culture is to others.  I assumed that everyone ate tons of seafood, celebrated Mardi Gras, and had the innate ability to pronounce French names.  I started traveling, and realized that was far from true!  I love visiting new places and I have a huge appreciation for their traditions, but South Louisiana will always be home to me.  It’s definitely a place that everyone should visit at least once.

  1. Your books are Romantic Suspense/ Mysteries.  Is this the genre you typically read as well? What authors or books are on your ‘favorites’ shelf?

a-confederacy-of-dunces-by-john-kennedy-tooleI enjoy most genres.  My favorite book is A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.  I read it at least once a year and I’m always amazed by his genius!  I also love Charlaine Harris’ The Sookie Stackhouse Novels and Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum Series.  I appreciate the work of many Indie authors, although several of them are now being traditionally published.  Colleen Hoover’s Hopeless left me sobbing and Marie Coulson’s Bound Together was scorching!  L.B. Simmons’ Running on Empty—phenomenal!  I tend to gravitate toward books that let you feel a range of emotions.  I like to cry one minute then laugh the next.  To me, that’s the mark of a truly great author—being able to take your reader on a roller coaster ride of emotions.

  1. Do you have play lists of mood music you write to?  If so, which artists/songs generally make the cut?

writing-and-musicMy music choices are even more eclectic than my reading preferences.  Depending on the mood of the scene I’m writing, I will listen to anything from Red Hot Chili Peppers to Bruno Mars.  I’ve been listening to a lot of 80’s and 90’s music lately, as well as the Les Miserables soundtrack. A lot of times, I have to turn the music off because I spend more time belting out tunes than getting my story down!

  1. What do you find to be the easiest part of the writing and editing process? What is the hardest for you?

unforseenThe easiest part is coming up with the general direction I want to take the story.  Generally, I type a skeleton version then rework it until I’m happy with the manuscript.  The hardest part is when I actually put it out there for the public to read.  I believe in my stories, my beta readers are generally enthusiastic about the books, but until I get that feedback from the readers, I’m waiting with bated breath.  Please leave reviews people!!  You have no clue how important they are to authors, not for an ego boost, but for validation that we’re on the right track. J

  1. When you complete a book and it goes to print, how do you celebrate?

It’s generally a quiet, personal pat on the back kind of thing.  Although, the series will be wrapping with book six at the end of the year, so I anticipate a book launch/series finale party for that one.

  1. I’ve met a lot of authors with drastically differing views on this… would you ever be interested in a TV or movie deal for your series?  If so, how involved would you want to be? (There every step of the way? Or hand it over and let the film people do their thing?)

I have so many people tell me that they strongly feel the series needs to be made into a movie/movies.  I’m all for it!  I’d love to have lots of control over it, but I’m realistic enough to know that that probably won’t be likely.  My only wish is that they would do the series justice.

  1. I’ve read in other interviews that you’ll write this series as long as Emily has stories to tell. Do you have any other projects in mind at this time?

I do have some projects lined up after the last book of The Green Bayou Novels series is released.  I want to branch out a little bit.  I have plans for a couple of stand-alone novels, as well as a book about local ghost stories.

  1. You’ve been featured on Melinda McGuire’s Southern Creatives segment of her blog, been involved in joint book signings, and contributed to a project she edited (Rich Fabric) [I’ll link to Rich Fabric].  How did you meet?

facebook_like_icon_blogsThat is one of the wonderful things about technology!  We met online!  I want to say it was the Goodreads website?  Anyway, being that we are both writers of Southern fiction, we instantly bonded, even though our writing styles are quite different.  She writes from a historical perspective, whereas my novels are set in modern times.  I’m pretty sure she’ll agree that we have a mutual appreciation of each other’s enthusiasm for all things Southern.  I’m a definite fan of her work.

  1. Every reader or writer has a favorite bookstore (and if you don’t, please don’t spoil my delusion!).  Now is your chance for a shout out!  Tell us who you love and what you love about them.

While I could easily spend loads of time and money in any Barnes and Noble store (or any other major retailer for that matter), I prefer the feel of the small Mom and Pop bookstores.  I love walking into a place where you know the staff is there because it’s their passion, not just a job.  We had a quaint little bookstore in Morgan City, but unfortunately, it shut down.  I continually hope that someone will try to open another one.
I should also mention that we don’t have any Half Price Book branches in Louisiana, but based upon the reactions of my husband and son when I had my joint signing with Melinda McGuire in Humble, we’d be spending lots of time in there, too!

  1. Outside of writing and Southern Louisiana, what are your passions?

I am very passionate about giving back to others.  I’ve donated many copies of my books, t-shirts, and other prizes to raffles and auctions to raise funds for injured or ill persons.  My favorite charities revolve around cancer research/children’s charities:  St. Jude’s, the Shriner’s Hospitals, American Cancer Society…  At this moment, I’m in the process of working something out for our local Relay for Life.

I’m also passionate about treating others the way I would like to be treated, and doing all I can to help make this world a better place for my son to grow up in.  I love to promote the good things that are happening around us.  I feel that we often get bogged down in the bad news.  Just as many wonderful things occur in a day, however, it’s not often considered “newsworthy”.

Rhonda Dennis

Rhonda R. Dennis posing for the St.MaryNow Franklin Banner Tribune fifteen months ago. Click on the image to visit the article.

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January 17, 2013 at 5:08 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

This is a great read. Every home grown history or quilt lover will enjoy it.

melindamcguirewrites

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The ebook, Rich Fabric, is live!

It includes short stories, memoirs, historical essays, color photographs, quotes, and links to music with videos.

The anthology focuses on the culture, symbolism and tradition of quilting.

And, all profits are donated to the Twilight Wish Foundation (think “Make a Wish” but for Senior Citizens who live below the poverty level).

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the making of the anthology.

And, a Big, BIG, B-I-G thank you to everyone who has purchased a copy of the paperback anthology.

You can purchase the ebook here and the paperback here.

Also, go to the Twilight Wish Foundation and read through the list of “wishes” posted there to see what the profits from the anthology are going towards.

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A Rich Anthology

November 8, 2012 at 12:05 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Rich Fabric lying on a piece of my own rich fabric, a quilt made by a family friend’s grandmother.

Title: Rich Fabric

Editor: Melinda McGuire

Length: 165 pages

When I first booked Melinda McGuire to do a signing at Half Price Books in Humble, I didn’t know I was about to meet one of the sweetest and down to earth people ever. A successful indie author of southern fiction and fellow Texan, she has been to the store for two events now, and hopefully more. Her most recent project, Rich Fabric, is an anthology about quilting, “the tradition, culture & symbolism.” With a dozen contributors, memoirs, short stories, tidbits, tricks of the trade, and all sorts of cozy anecdotes, Rich Fabric truly shows off the exciting and colorful heritage of quilting.

During the book signing on November 3rd, Melinda was kind enough to give me a copy of this little anthology, and yesterday I finally sat down to read it by my fireside, hot cocoa in hand.  I knew it would be interesting and precious, but I didn’t expect such a lovely and diverse group of writers.  Not all were from the south, not all were over thirty; in fact, there were contributors from all over and of all ages.  The entire work is dedicated to a woman whose work is included within the pages, but died before Rich Fabric’s publication, an avid quilter named Crystal Vining.  All the profits go to the Twilight Wish Foundation, a non-profit organization that grants wishes to senior citizens living at or below the poverty level, but the work itself leaves you with a strong sense that quilting is not just something of interest to senior citizens, but the young and the very young as well.

A beautiful inscription.

I have truly enjoyed the stories and pictures in Rich Fabric. I have enjoyed the feeling of getting to know families I have never met while being inspired to hunker down and complete my own unfinished quilt, as I have been working on one for years but all the quilts in my house were made by others. Many of the anecdotes were so intimate and involved, I began to feel a little sad for my quilts not having such an involved history. Each of mine were made by friends of the family and their families, they are items I received used, merely by accident; though they are well-loved here in my home, I do not personally know their crafters or the circumstances in which they were brought into existence. Then, I read Claire Burson’s piece about her quilt, passed down through the family and cherished but the intimate details being lost. She explains the treat and delight in the mystery of the quilt itself, how there is beauty in the known facts but beauty in the lost details as well because then she can imagine all the possibilities. In that moment, the sadness for my hand-me-down quilts was gone and I realized she was right, it is kind of nice to be able to imagine.

I hope there will be more Rich Fabric volumes. It truly is a little treasure to have on the shelf, and with all the lovely stories within its pages it is only so glaringly obvious that there must be so many more out there in the world. I’d like to read those too some day.

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A Quilting Event Gone Lovely

November 4, 2012 at 3:54 am (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Quilts are such cozy, beautiful things.  Think of a quilt and immediately images of your favorite colors and patterns combine with aromas of cinnamon, ginger, coffee or cocoa, pine, and crisp air.  Think of a quilt, and you’ll usually imagine yourself in your favorite chair, maybe near a fireplace, in that old worn out sweater you’ve had for ages.  You’ll hear a fire cracking, winter birds chirping if it’s an early morning, the sounds of snoring pups or purring cats if it’s evening.

Take all that and put me in a bookstore or library, and man am I in heaven.

Then, just for good measure throw in the divine flavor of cake balls.

That’s a bit of what happened today in Half Price Books, Humble, with Melinda McGuire, Jo-Ann’s, and The Martin Epicurean. Well, all that minus the fires, bird chirps, dogs, and well, pretty much the rest of it. That part was all in my head.

Melinda McGuire is a Texas author who mainly writes southern historical fiction, but recently branched out and edited a quilting anthology called Rich Fabric. Today the Half Price Books in Humble had the pleasure of hosting her for a book signing where she sold and signed copies of the anthology whose profits will go to the Twilight Wish Foundation.

Many people are involved in the creation of this anthology. This book, Rich Fabric, focuses on the culture, tradition and symbolism of quilting with both historic accounts and modern stories.  McGuire, handpicked the contributors, and they have come together to create an anthology full of vibrant stories, poignant memoirs, beautiful photographs and touching quotes.

Customers who purchased the book (or any home arts title in Half Price Books) during the signing were eligible to enter a raffle for a gift basket full of quilting supplies that was donated to the event by Jo-Ann Fabrics and Craft Stores. The lucky winner, Doris, went home with quite a treat!

Speaking of treats! The Martin Epicurean catered the entire event and served the most delicious cake balls you could imagine. Chocolate were available, but I repeatedly devoured the delightful rich flavors in the vanilla desserts. They were a bit of Heaven in a baked good, I assure you.

Be sure to stop in the store as often as possible, you never know what might be happening! But, if you do want to plan your trips in advance visit the store’s website: http://www.hpb.com/074.html

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A Quilting Event

October 14, 2012 at 7:46 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Looking forward to this!

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Get Ready for HPB Humble’s 1st Book Club Meeting!

August 30, 2012 at 1:52 am (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I made and printed little post cards in preparation of the September 3rd Book Club Meeting (8pm-9pm at HPB Humble!).  We will be discussing Koen’s Through a Glass Darkly.  Feel free to print a copy for yourself.

Pamela Aidan

Paul Anderson

Jean Auel

Bernard Cornwell

Umberto Eco

Karen Essex

Diana Gabaldon

Kathleen O’Neal and W. Michael Gear

Pauline Gedge

Margaret George

Philippa Gregory

Karen Harper

Melinda McGuire

Michelle Moran

Delaney Rhodes

Anya Seton

Anne Easter Smith

Wesley Stace

Also…

Eleanor Hibbert, who also writes under the names:

Jean Plaidy

Victoria Holt

Philippa Carr

Eleanor Burford

Elbur Ford

Kathleen Kellow

Anne Percival

Ellalice Tate

Don’t forget we will be meeting the first Monday of the month through out the Fall/Winter 2012.  Here’s this season’s reading roster:

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Bookstores + Brownies = Best Things in Life

July 30, 2012 at 7:27 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , )

July 28th couldn’t have come fast enough.  I twiddled my fingers and tapped my toes, checked my blog and my messages, repeatedly, in anticipation of meeting Melinda McGuire and Rhonda Dennis in person at Half Price Books.  I haven’t read Josephine: Red Dirt and Whiskey, or any of Rhonda’s Bayou titles, but I’ve enjoyed following Melinda’s blog and getting to know her through her posts and emails.

Melinda and Rhonda were both just the definition of southern friendliness.  Brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and free packets of Cajun seasoning were available for the taking.  In addition to signing and selling copies of their books they held an exciting raffle for a gift basket of all their combined titles and other goodies.  The event was all smiles, pleasant conversation, and plenty of brightly colored checkered napkins!

Raffle Winner!

I find that the best things in life are browsing books, meeting people, and eating fabulous baked goods.  It doesn’t really get much better than that!  I think the kiddos would agree, as Ayla got to meet Melinda’s youngest who is the same age (but a head taller), and share sugar free cookies.  The girls pal’d around in the kids sections here and there as well as discussed the merits of alternative health in the stacks behind the book signing table.  Toddlers can be quite chatty around new friends.

It was a pleasure to have these two lovely ladies and their families at the store this weekend and I look forward to having them again.  Maybe next time you can join us.

Even if you missed the signing, show your support for these southern authors by purchasing copies of their books here and here.

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A Southern Saturday at Half Price Books

July 21, 2012 at 12:17 pm (Events, Guest Blogger) (, , , , , )

Make plans for Saturday, July 28th!

Southern summer sun beating down on you?

Need an escape?

Take a trip to northeast Texas and the land of pine trees and red dirt roads in Josephine: Red Dirt and Whiskey. Set in the Great Depression, travel with Josephine on her late night adventures as she tries to find the elusive and forbidden Ethan.

Want to travel a little further?

Try post-Civil War Kentucky and meet Nelson McGinnis and Cora Ross as they get to know each other and come to terms with their attraction that will change their lives forever in Nelson and Cora – The Beginning. The McGinnis family are Confederate supporters and the Ross family are loyal Unionists.  Each family hides dark secrets that will come to light as you get to know Nelson and Cora.

Prefer a little more modern travel?

The Green Bayou series set in south Louisiana may be just the ticket for your literary vacation.

 

Come on in to Half Price Books at Humble on July 28, from 1-3 PM, for a Southern Saturday. Escape the heat and dive into a Southern Fiction novel.

Come meet Melinda McGuire, author of Josephine: Red Dirt and Whiskey and Nelson and Cora – The Beginning, along with Rhonda Dennis author of the Green Bayou Series.

Enter to win a book bundle, signed posters, bookmarks, coffee mugs and more.

There may even be cookies!

– Melinda MCGuire

 

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