Wednesday, September 23, 2020

#CatThursday - The cool, bad breath, and fall is finally here! #cats


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.



Yes, this was me!

This isn't me any longer. I live in Michigan now! Yay!


Happy Fall!!!


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Thursday, September 17, 2020

#CatThursday - The snark is real #cats


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.






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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

#CatThursday - #Authors and #Cats (97) Joan Aiken


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.

The second Cat Thursday of each month is Authors and Cats Thursday. Each time I will feature an author (with a birthday during the month), pictured with their/a cat(s), or guest posts by cat loving authors who also (sometimes) write about cats.


Joan Aiken (b. September 04, 1924 - d. January 04, 2004) was a much loved English writer who received the MBE for services to Children's Literature. She was known as a writer of wild fantasy, Gothic novels and short stories.

She was born in Rye, East Sussex, into a family of writers, including her father, Conrad Aiken (who won a Pulitzer Prize for his poetry), and her sister, Jane Aiken Hodge. She worked for the United Nations Information Office during the second world war, and then as an editor and freelance on Argosy magazine before she started writing full time, mainly children's books and thrillers. For her books she received the Guardian Award (1969) and the Edgar Allan Poe Award (1972).

Her most popular series, the "Wolves Chronicles" which began with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, was set in an elaborate alternate period of history in a Britain in which James II was never deposed in the Glorious Revolution,and so supporters of the House of Hanover continually plot to overthrow the Stuart Kings. These books also feature cockney urchin heroine Dido Twite and her adventures and travels all over the world.


Another series of children's books about Arabel and her raven Mortimer are illustrated by Quentin Blake, and have been shown on the BBC as Jackanory and drama series. Others including the much loved Necklace of Raindrops and award winning Kingdom Under the Sea are illustrated by Jan PieƄkowski.

Her many novels for adults include several that continue or complement novels by Jane Austen. These include Mansfield Revisited and Jane Fairfax.

Aiken was a lifelong fan of ghost stories. She set her adult supernatural novel The Haunting of Lamb House at Lamb House in Rye (now a National Trust property). This ghost story recounts in fictional form an alleged haunting experienced by two former residents of the house, Henry James and E. F. Benson, both of whom also wrote ghost stories. Aiken's father, Conrad Aiken, also authored a small number of notable ghost stories. (Goodreads)



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Wednesday, September 2, 2020

#CatThursday - Meet Merida Brienne #kittens #cats


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.

We're back! All moved...but still settling in. In the meantime, we have a new addition to our family. Introducing Merida Brienne. Isn't she adorable? She's quite the little stinker, but also very sweet. The girls have not quite acclimated to her yet. Arya more than Alice. Hopefully, over time they will all live in harmony. 








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Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Readers Imbibing Peril (R.I.P.) XV #ripxv


Fall is upon us. Well, fall to me means September 1st, especially now that I'm living in the north (Michigan) where fall really shows up in all its splendor. 🍁🍂

Fall also means it's time for all the scary...and that means all the scary events, including R.I.P., back for another year. Version XV.



I'm also hosting my yearly FrightFall Readathon in September and October this year (due to the hiatus of my summer readathon, High Summer, in August because of my move). FrightFall also happens in conjunction with my annual fall event, now in it's third year, Something Wicked Fall at my horror site, Castle Macabre. We are doing a read-along of Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White. Click the links above to find out all the details.

So, what will I be reading you ask? I have quite a bit of reading lined up, but not sure if I'll get to everything. I'm still unpacking and arranging the new house. Moving seriously takes a chunk out of reading time. 😠

  • Finishing Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff (I'm also watching the excellent series on HBO).
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  • A couple of classic horror novels as of yet not decided for my True Book Talk reading group in October. Possible titles...Le Fanu's Carmilla, Lowndes' The Lodger, Benson's The Necromancers
  • The Witch of Ravensworth by George Brewer
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  • Snow by Ronald Malfi
  • Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Watching tons of horror movies, of course. We will be having two or three horror film watch-alongs during Something Wicked Fall as well.

Join us for ALL the scary!



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Thursday, August 20, 2020

#CatThursday - Extended hiatus


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below
.

Let me be honest. The move was HELL. Still need a bit more time to get things organized (who am I kidding?) and just generally recuperate. Cat Thursday will be back. I promise. September 3rd.





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Thursday, July 23, 2020

#CatThursday is on hiatus


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.

I'm not sure if everyone is aware, but I'm moving house in August (the 10th, to be precise). We are moving back to Michigan, close to my hometown. My son is going to college there too. As you can imagine, there is a lot involved when moving across four states, especially when you have books numbering in the thousands. We're moving in 19 days! It's crunch time! So, Cat Thursday will be on hiatus until August 20. Thanks in advance for your understanding. I will be back next month with more cat fun. Perhaps I'll share some pics of the girls in their new digs. 

Stay well, friends. đŸ˜»






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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Expect a Miracle: Understanding and Living with Autism - Why the Backwards "E"?


My son does not have Autism nor Asperger's. However, he does have ADHD (diagnosed when he was five) and so I did a lot of reading about Spectrum Disorder because for a while we suspected he might have one or the other. Though ADHD is not on the Spectrum, there are some similarities, and Gabe having ADHD qualified him for exceptional education services throughout his school years. I had to attend meetings every school year to reevaluate his IEP (Individualized Education Program). All this being said, he ended up doing very well educationally, bringing in a 3.7 GPA his senior year.

This brings me around to the subject at hand. The young man behind the book, Expect A Miracle. David Petrovic, diagnosed with Autism as a toddler, has found happiness and success. This new edition of the book (released July 7th) is the story of his journey. Read on to learn where the unique version of the title originated.

Why the Backwards “E”?

by Sandy Petrovic and David Petrovic

Expect a Miracle: Understanding and Living with Autism chronicles a young man’s journey to happiness from the separate writings of him and his mother (me!). Diagnosed as a toddler, David Petrovic fulfills his dreams of teaching middle school and speaking nationally—and he continues to reach new goals and greater heights. More than just a story, the book is filled with tips, strategies, and lessons learned, and it gives the reader the unique opportunity to experience life from the perspectives of the autistic person and family living it. Valuable for self-advocates, families, professionals, and employers, it addresses issues from toddlerhood through young adulthood, including bullying, college prep/success, and acclimation to the workplace.

Echoing the style of our book, my son and I will each contribute our separate thoughts in this blog, with David’s in italics to clarify that distinction.

The cover of this second edition book is particularly symbolic for us, and the eye is immediately drawn to that backwards “E” in the title. Was it a mistake? Hardly!

Sandy:

Like this “E,” David often drew attention to himself and stood out as being different. He was repeatedly out of synch with the majority, doing things his way and behaving or enjoying activities different from the norm. He saw the world from a contrasting perspective. Imagine what life is like living among letters that all face a different direction—not understanding their ways and rules! And he did want participation and relationships in that world!

David had different needs, and he often required information and social skills to be presented in varied ways before comprehension dawned—but was he wrong, just because he was different?? One might think that the backwards “E” is the outlier, until the time is taken to learn and understand why he or she does what he or she does. After getting to know the person and discovering his or her strengths, one might then rightfully appreciate him or her and even regard that backwards “E” as cool, unexpected, courageous, refreshing, and uniquely insightful.

There is symbolism in the illustration, as well. Every developmental milestone or aspect of life is made more cumbersome by the load of differences inherent in autism—an additional weight on one’s back. But with the proper tools, learnt skills, and accommodations also carried, barriers can be crossed! The backpack additionally symbolizes individualized education: learning is possible if concepts are taught in a way that makes sense and works for each person. Vocational training, job skill acquisition, and/or college may be attainable with the right accommodations, supports, and programs—all leading to increased independence.

People with autism might take different, longer routes to get to the other side of a challenge, but they can make it! Determination and daring are depicted on this cover, but transitioning, preparation, and use of strengths also go a long way towards attaining success.

If you don’t take a leap, you will never know if you could have accomplished getting to the desired place—the sky is the limit.



David: 

The backwards “E” represents my comfort and openness to be different—and own it! I acknowledge that there are people who will not vibe with me because of who I am...and that’s okay! If people don’t like my differences, they are entitled to their opinions, but I am going to keep being “me.” I am confident in showing the world my individuality, and I am not afraid to go against the grain of society. I even believe that there’s a reason why they call autism or any other diagnosis “a difference”: because one has the potential to MAKE a difference.

The image of an individual leaping across a canyon is the ultimate representation of taking a leap of faith. The canyon implies the risk and fear of falling way down and experiencing tremendous pain from it. But the young man on the cover illustrates the confidence and fearlessness I now possess. Unlike my younger years, it is no longer within me to give up trying. I know that even if I fall, I will find the drive to get back up. I am no longer afraid of failure.


Finally, note the rays on this cover: are they emanating determination and motivation from within, or are they coming from an external source of guidance and possibility? And why did we choose the title, “Expect a Miracle”? Those answers, and many others, will be found within the pages of our book...


Grab the book at a discount at the publisher's site, AAPC Publishing. Also available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.



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Thursday, July 16, 2020

#CatThursday - Comedian #cats


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.








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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

THE WOMEN OF CHATEAU LAFAYETTE #StephanieDray #CoverReveal #HistoricalFiction


July 14th marks Bastille Day, a pivotal turning point in the French Revolution, now celebrated as France’s national independence day. 

What better day to announce the cover reveal of THE WOMEN OF CHATEAU LAFAYETTE by New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Dray (Berkley hardcover; on-sale March 30, 2021).

Enter to win an advanced reader copy (link at the bottom of the post).

ABOUT THE BOOK
An epic saga from New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Dray based on the true story of an extraordinary castle in the heart of France and the remarkable women bound by its legacy in three of humanity's darkest hours.

Most castles are protected by powerful men. This one by women...

A founding mother...
1774. Gently-bred noblewoman Adrienne Lafayette becomes her husband's political partner in the fight for American independence. But when their idealism sparks revolution in France and the guillotine threatens everything she holds dear, Adrienne must choose to renounce the complicated man she loves, or risk her life for a legacy that will inspire generations to come.

A daring visionary...
1914. Glittering New York socialite Beatrice Astor Chanler is a force of nature, daunted by nothing--not her humble beginnings, her crumbling marriage, or the outbreak of war. But after witnessing the devastation in France and delivering war-relief over dangerous seas, Beatrice takes on the challenge of a lifetime: convincing America to fight for what's right.

A reluctant resistor...
1940. French school-teacher and aspiring artist Marthe Simone has an orphan's self-reliance and wants nothing to do with war. But as the realities of Nazi occupation transform her life in the isolated castle where she came of age, she makes a discovery that calls into question who she is, and more importantly, who she is willing to become.

Intricately woven and beautifully told, The Women of Chateau Lafayette is a sweeping novel about duty and hope, love and courage, and the strength we find from standing together in honor of those who came before us.


Q&A WITH STEPHANIE DRAY

What made you fall in love with Adrienne Lafayette and why do you think readers will fall for her as you did?

Thanks to a popular musical, the Marquis de Lafayette is known to a new generation as "America's Favorite Fighting Frenchman"--and there's good reason for that. He's easily the most lovable of our Founding Fathers, and his wife, whom he called his dear heart, is just as lovable if not more so. Adrienne was our French Founding Mother, so right up my alley as a heroine, but at first I worried she was too sweet, devoted, and forgiving. In short, too gentle for a novel. Little did I realize that more than any other historical heroine I've ever written, Adrienne fought and sacrificed for her principles, courageously threw herself into danger, confronted tyrants, and endured trials that would have broken lesser mortals. She truly humbles me, and when I talk about the Lafayette legacy, I think of it as every bit as much hers as it is his.

How long did it take you to write this book? Did the story evolve as you researched, or did you always know you wanted to take on the lives of these particular women?

I was always interested in Lafayette--an interest that grew as Laura Kamoie and I co-authored America's First Daughter and My Dear Hamilton. I think I had the germ of the idea for a Lafayette novel at least seven years ago, but I had other projects in the way. And I was always in search of an angle that would be fresh and unique. That came to me when I discovered that Lafayette's castle in Auvergne, which had been purchased and renovated by Americans, served to shelter Jewish children from the Nazis. Knowing how deeply the Lafayettes both felt about religious freedom, I knew this would have pleased them, and it touched me. I was then determined to know which Americans had purchased the chateau, and when I found out, yet another glorious chapter in the Lafayette legacy was born. That's when the story took shape for me about one special place on this earth where, generation after generation, faith has been kept with principles of liberty and humanity. I find that very inspirational, now more than ever.

The book is centered around Lafayette’s castle, the ChĂąteau de Chavaniac, and the pivotal role it played during three of history’s darkest hours—the French Revolution and both World Wars. If you could have dinner with any three people (dead or alive) at Chavaniac, who would you choose and why?

Believe it or not, this is actually a difficult choice because so many incredible men and women passed through those doors. I'd have to start with the Lafayettes--though I hope they would not serve me pigeons, which were a favorite at their wedding banquet. To join us for dinner, I'd choose the colorful stage-star of the Belle Epoque, Beatrice Chanler, because she was a force of nature without whom Chavaniac might not still be standing. Actress, artist, philanthropist, decorated war-relief worker and so-called Queen of the Social Register, she was as mysterious as she was wonderful, and even after all the startling discoveries I made researching her larger-than-life existence, I have a million questions about the early life she tried so hard to hide. I can't wait for readers to meet her!

Enter the ARC giveaway here.



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