When a Fellow Author Reviews your Novel!

Thank you to Kathleen Rodgers ( The Flying Cutterbucks and others) https://kathleenmrodgers.com/blog/f/claire-fullerton-tackles-southern-genteel-race-in-little-tea

Claire Fullerton tackles southern culture & race in LITTLE TEA

September 4, 2020|Authors, Book Reviews, Novelists, Novels, Readers, Women’s contemporary fiction

2020 Gold Medal Winner in Southern Fiction in the International Reader’s Favorite Book Awards. Southern culture, old friendship, family tragedy, and healing the racial divide.

“Claire Fullerton once again delivers an emotional, lyrical tale and proves she’s a writer to watch.”

–Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Perennials

“Claire Fullerton has an enviably light touch, a lilting style that carries shades of Pat Conroy and tinges of Anne Tyler while managing to be wonderfully of itself. Little Tea is a triumph .”

 — Multiple award- winning Irish author, Billy O’Callaghan.

Hayward's loyal dog, Rufus
Hayward’s loyal dog, Rufus

Description:

One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship.

For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed. When the past arrives at the lake house door in the form of her old boyfriend, Celia must revisit the life she’d tried to outrun.

As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years. Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if friendship can triumph over history.

Publisher: Firefly Southern Fiction
May 1, 2020

ISBN-13 : 978-1645262596

My thoughts on Claire’s new book:

Stunned, and with emotions charging through me, I looked up from reading the final lines of Claire Fullerton’s fourth novel as my heart and mind absorbed everything that happened in this narrative that alternates between the 1980s and present. In an ending I didn’t see coming, I blinked back tears as I pondered over how the author brought the story full circle.

For this reader, the imagery flowed over me like a healing. All the joys and sorrows of the story melded together into one satisfying grand finale.

At the heart of the novel is narrator Celia Wakefield who spent her childhood and youth navigating back and forth between her family’s Southern Colonial house in an affluent Central Gardens neighborhood in Memphis, TN and the family’s sprawling Wakefield Plantation in Como, MS. Until the age of ten, Celia only knew life in the bucolic surroundings of the large working farm where she lived with her father, a gentleman cotton farmer, her beautiful mother, and two older brothers, John, who carried an air of superiority, and Hayward, gifted and a kindhearted golden boy. Celia’s best friend is a black girl nicknamed Little Tea. Little Tea lives with her father and mother, Thelonious and Elvita Winfrey, in a small cottage on the plantation grounds. Thelonious overseas the crops and Elvita keeps things running smoothly at the big house. In some ways, Little Tea and her parents feel like an extension of the Wakefield family. A white family and a black family working in harmony to keep the farm running.

The story opens with a grownup Celia living in Malibu, CA. One phone call finds her on a flight back to Memphis where she eventually meets up with her best friends from Memphis days, Ava and Renny. While there are several storylines going between past and present, I found myself drawn to those scenes from the past, especially when they involved Celia and her immediate family along with Little Tea and her mom and dad. With a deft hand, the author has created complex characters I was totally invested in.

Multiple award-winning author Claire Fullerton
Multiple award-winning author Claire Fullerton

My favorite characters were Hayward, Little Tea, and Celia. And because I’m a dog lover, I fell in love with Hayward’s loyal pup, Rufus. At times I found Celia’s brother, John, unlikeable, not to mention the heavy-handed patriarch and matriarch, Celia’s wealthy grandparents who occasionally dropped by the family farm to check on things and see about their “investment.”

While much of the story revolves around Celia spending a weekend with Ava and Renny at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, AR, these present-day scenes are important as these two friends are key to bringing Celia back to the south to face her past. Two of my favorite lines from the novel occur in these sections. From page fifty-one: “I’d forgotten that after you manage to outrun something, there are those in your life who can call you back at the drop of a hat.” And, “There are some parts of your history your friends won’t let you outrun.”

Pat Conroy’s widow, Cassandra King Conroy, a noted novelist in her own right, says this about the novel: “Claire Fullerton skillfully draws us into a lost world of Southern traditions and norms where past tragedies cast long, dark shadows on present-day lives, and no one ever truly escapes.”

L-R the author's pups: Sorcha, Ceili, and Ronin
L-R the author’s pups: Sorcha, Ceili, and Ronin

The tragedy that unfolds in the novel got me to thinking. Anytime there’s trouble that breaks out at a gathering, there’s always that one instigator, that one person who sets off a chain of events and gets away with it. In this case, it’s a loss so tragic it emotionally cripples several families as they cope or don’t cope with the aftermath. The story also deals with the struggle of going along with family expectations and social norms or what can happen if you buck the system. The author tackles these tough subjects with courage and aplomb. Claire Fullerton is at her best when writing about family dynamics and southern culture.

The story explores interracial friendships and relationships at a time when society in general didn’t welcome such mingling. Even today there are those who want to separate the races. This is a timely story about race, family, friendship, betrayal, loss, and redemption.

An important book not to be missed!

Pour your favorite beverage and settle in with Little Tea. You won’t be disappointed! I hope you love the ending as much as I did.

Little Tea is a 2020 Pulpwood Queens Book Club read.

Author Claire Fullerton at her oceanfront home  with her pups in Malibu, CA.
Author Claire Fullerton at her oceanfront home with her pups in Malibu, CA.

Claire Fullerton hails from Memphis, TN. and now lives in Malibu, CA. with her husband and 3 German shepherds. She is the author of Little Tea, a Somerset Award Finalist and Faulkner Society finalist.  Mourning Dove, Claire’s Southern family saga set in 1970’s Memphis, is a a 9 time award winner, including the Ippy silver medal for regional fiction and the Literary Classic’s Words on Wings for Book of the Year.  Claire is the author of Dancing to an Irish Reel, a Kindle Book Review  and Readers’ Favorite award winner set on the west coast of Ireland, where she once lived. Claire’s first novel is a paranormal mystery set-in two-time periods titled, A Portal in Time, set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. She is a contributor to the book, A Southern Season with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, set at a Memphis funeral.  Little Tea and Mourning Dove are book of the month selections of the Pulpwood Queens Book Club, of which there are 800 chapters.  Claire is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary Agency.

If you love Claire’s writing, do yourself a favor and read her third novel, Mourning Dove. It’s garnered at least nine awards to date.

Grace and Peace,

Kathleen

author of The Flying Cutterbucks

https://kathleenmrodgers.com/

 

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The Madwoman of Preacher’s Cove

The Madwoman of Preachers Cove made such a splash, pre-release, by winning the Grand Prize in Paranormal Fiction at The Chanticleer Reviews Conference in Bellingham, Washington that I begged author Joy Ross Davis for an advance review copy! I read the book raptly, marveling at it’s unusual setting in a fictitious town named Preacher’s Cove in the mountain foothills of Alabama. This book has everything: a journalist with hidden ties to Preacher’s Cove comes to town on assignment to cover paranormal activity and oddly, incrementally, characters come to the fore and jog his memory! I knew I was in for something big when I met doll-maker, Lucy, who has method to her creative madness. Unsettling atmospheric activity, the lure of attraction, town secrets, quirky characters, and hidden connections comprise this page-turner that will top the list of favorites for paranormal readers!

joy-ross-davis-paranormal award

 

Here is The Madwoman of Preacher’s Cove book description:

The Madwoman of Preacher’s Cove tells the story of Lucy Addams, a woman who was horribly disfigured in a fire that claimed the lives of her husband and children. After the tragic loss of her beauty, her voice, and her family, Lucy became an artistic genius, sculpting lifelike dolls—replicas of the children of Preacher’s Cove.

Lucy, and her workshop, are hidden in the back of the local resort—a hotel and restaurant complex owned and operated by her sister, Libby.

Following a series of deaths by lightning strike in Preacher’s Cove, a handsome investigative reporter arrives to solve the mystery of the coincidental accidents. Lucy and Libby find themselves facing yet another enemy. As keepers of an ancient treasure—a secret that binds them—they alone know why the deaths have occurred, and more importantly, how to stop them.

With the eventual help of Libby and Lucy, the reporter finds a sacred place in the woods called The Hallows—where Druids once roamed, and where his answers are deeply buried.

After months of investigating, the death toll rising, a bit of romance, and otherwordly harbingers of Lucy’s dolls, the mystery of Preacher’s Cove begins to unravel.

 

Joy Ross Davis

“Joy Ross Davis proves with The Madwoman of Preacher’s Cove that she’s one of the South’s most creative minds. This novel is fantastic—in every sense of that term!” Allen Mendenhall, Editor, Southern Literary Review

Book Reviewer Carla Suto writes this:

THE MADWOMAN OF PREACHER’S COVE by Joy Ross Davis is an atmospheric and intriguing story of deeply held secrets and an ancient mystery set in Preachers’ Cove, Alabama where Druids once worshipped. Lucy Addams lost everything when a tragic fire killed her husband and children and left her terribly disfigured and unable to speak. She lives as a recluse with her sister, Libby who runs a local resort in Preacher’s Cove. Lucy spends her days in a secluded workroom crafting beautiful and haunting dolls called the Firelight Angels that are detailed replicas of the children of Preacher’s Cove. When a seemingly coincidental series of deadly lightning strikes hits Preacher’s Cove, investigative reporter, Hap returns to Preacher’s Cove to look into the mysterious deaths. As Hap delves deeper into the unusual occurrences, long-buried secrets come to light and the mystery of The Hallows is gradually revealed. Filled with history, suspense and even a little romance, this enchanting book held me captive from beginning to end. I always enjoy Joy Ross Davis’ stories and this one was no exception. I highly recommend it.

Congratulations to Joy Ross Davis on the release of The Madwoman of Preacher’s Cove!

Joy Ross Davis — Creative Author.

 

 

Ron Rash Releases In the Valley!

I, along with legions of others, have waited for months for In the Valley to release.  Everything you’d hope for from Ron Rash is within this collection of short stories– his trademark, laser-sharp realism, poetic prose, and fully realized Appalachian vignettes of life wrapped in tight construction. All short stories are hymns to the art of world-building, rich in visceral setting and written with vernacular that sets the mood and tone. Simply put, Ron Rash is a league of his own, and this highly anticipated, critically acclaimed book is on par with all others in his stellar body of work.

If you’ve never read anything by Ron Rash, his collections of short stories are a great place to start, as is his poetry, which is starkly real yet emotional to the point of being visually panoramic. Two of his novels have been made into movies: The World Made Straight, and Serena. Serena seems to be his most widely read book. It’s title character is   one of the more diabolical, female characters ever written! In his new release, Rash continued the story of Serena by including a novella among the short stories.

Here are a few book blurbs for In the Valley. I’ve included more to whet your whistle for a taste of the American writer referred to as the Appalachian Shakespeare.

 

“Mesmerizing…He’s one of the best living American writers.”–Janet Maslin, New York Times Book Review

From bestselling and award-winning writer Ron Rash (“One of the great American authors at work today.”–The New York Times) comes a collection of ten searing stories and the return of the villainess who propelled Serena to national acclaim, in a long-awaited novella.

Ron Rash has long been a revered presence in the landscape of American letters. A virtuosic novelist, poet, and story writer, he evokes the beauty and brutality of the land, the relentless tension between past and present, and the unquenchable human desire to be a little bit better than circumstances would seem to allow (to paraphrase Faulkner).

In these ten stories, Rash spins a haunting allegory of the times we live in–rampant capitalism, the severing of ties to the natural world in the relentless hunt for profit, the destruction of body and soul with pills meant to mute our pain–and yet within this world he illuminates acts of extraordinary decency and heroism. Two of the stories have already been singled out for accolades: “Baptism” was chosen by Roxane Gay for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories 2018, and “Neighbors” was selected by Jonathan Lethem for The Best American Mystery Stories 2019. And in revisiting Serena Pemberton, Rash updates his bestselling parable of greed run amok as his deliciously vindictive heroine returns to the North Carolina wilderness she left scarred and desecrated to make one final effort to kill the child that threatens all she has accomplished.

I’ve  had the pleasure of crossing paths with Ron Rash in person a few times, over the years. You’ll never meet a more humble guy! It was my complete honor to introduce him to the audience at the Pat Conroy Literary Festival in 2017, in Beaufort, South Carolina, when he was the festival’s key note speaker.

Claire Ron two

More written about this world-renowned writer:

“A gorgeous, brutal writer” (Richard Price) working at the height of his powers, Ron Rash has created another mesmerizing look at the imperfect world around us.

Rash’s poems and stories have appeared in more than 100 magazines and journals. Serena received enthusiastic reviews across and beyond the United States and was a 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist.

In addition to being a bestselling novelist, Rash has achieved international acclaim as a short story author,[3] winning the Frank O’Connor Award in 2010 for Burning Bright. [4] Recent work such as The Outlaws (Oxford American, Summer, 2013) focused on ordinary lives in southern Appalachia. Scholars have praised his ability to find the universal within the particulars of place, citing his writing’s “universal appeal, lyrical grace, and narrative efficiency.” [5] Jim Coby examined Rash’s use of mystery thriller tropes in One Foot in Eden.[6]

Ron Rash holds the John and Dorothy Parris Professorship in Appalachian Cultural Studies at Western Carolina University, where he teaches poetry and fiction-writing in the Department of English.

To familiarize you with his body of work before the release of In the Valley, here is a list that excludes his poetry, which I highly recommend!

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

One Foot in Eden (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Saints at the River (2004) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The World Made Straight (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Serena (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Cove (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Above the Waterfall (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Risen (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth and Other Stories from Cliffside, North Carolina (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Eureka Mill (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Among the Believers (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Casualities (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Raising the Dead (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Chemistry and Other Stories (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Burning Bright (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Waking (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
My Father Like a River (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Nothing Gold Can Stay (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Ron Rash Reader (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Something Rich and Strange (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Poems: New and Selected (2016)

To read Ron Rash is to engage in a memorable experience!

 

https://www.clairefullerton.com

It’s a Dog’s Life

 

The reason this seemingly endless pandemic has not thrown my wellbeing completely asunder is due to the love of my dogs. I’m thinking of this because our puppy, Sorcha, is one year old today, and in looking back over the past year, much of which seems shrouded in the dark unknown hasn’t been so dark after all because raising a puppy, while the world’s been on pause, has been a bright light at the center of everything.

Here is Sorcha on August 22, 2019, the day she was born.

GSD Puppy

Here is Sorcha’s first photoshoot at 31/2 weeks old.

Sorcha

So much of my downtime has been devoted to raising a puppy that it’s been a delightful distraction.

Sorcha is the fifth German shepherd we’ve had over the past 20 years. The thing about shepherds is once you have one, no other dog breed will suffice. GSD’s verge on having human intelligence, surpass it, if you factor in devotional, emotional intelligence, and in many respects, raising a German shepherd is like raising a kid. Their combined energy and curiosity coupled with their need to please has caused many a shepherd owner to remark, “If you don’t give them a job, they’ll find one,” and I believe this is true. It, therefore, makes a German shepherd easy to train; all that’s necessary is militant consistency.  Shepherds delight in rules and boundaries. They flourish when they perceive a schedule. When shown an activity, the time piece in their constitution calibrates forever. Shepherds are sticklers for time, and get animated should you veer from their schedule, especially when it involves something they deem rewarding— a walk, playing with a ball, their dinner. This makes them conveniently predictable. If you need nothing else from your dog, you need them predictable.

We had two German shepherds, when we brought Sorcha home: Ceili and Ronin, who were well into their sixth year when I got puppy fever. In rationalizing, I told my husband that we wouldn’t want what happened with our first two shepherds to recur, meaning when our beloved nine year old, Shadow, went to heaven,

WP_20130405_010 our eleven year old shepherd, Secret, was, for the first time, a disillusioned, solitary canine.

(Above is Shadow, on the Mission Trail in Carmel, California. Below, is our gorgeous female, Secret, whose name came from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)

Secret GSD

 

The void was so apparent for all of us when Shadow died, that soon thereafter, we acquired Ceili at 11 weeks old.  ( Here is Ceili fully grown.)

Ceili CFF Sofa

 

Four months later, when Secret unexpectedly died, it broke my heart all over again, and once again, we were a one dog household. So, we brought our first German shepherd male home and named him Ronin, which meant we now had two shepherds roughly the same age.

(Here is Ronin in all his male magnificence.)

L1000230 Ronin

All this leads to how we came to include Sorcha. I waged a puppy campaign this time last year, rationalizing that our lifestyle is unthinkable in a shepherdless world, and stating the obvious, which is to say that when the sad inevitable comes to Ceili and Ronin, we’ll still have a shepherd who loves them, and is six years behind them. Now, Sorcha completes the triage of three German shepherds, each with an Irish name.

trio of gsd

It’s been a focal point every day, raising Sorcha, and let it be known that Ceili and Ronin have had an integral part in her rearing. Being, as it is, that dogs are pack animals, from the second Sorcha entered the fray, Ceili and Ronin took charge. They led the schedule, accepted no shenanigans, were clear with boundaries, and were touchingly magnanimous in sharing their lives. As it turns out, mature shepherds will raise a puppy for you!

the pack

This dynamic has fostered a secure, confident, fearless German shepherd. Sorcha’s seamless inclusion into an existing pack immediately spawned playful competition.

Case in point: here is Sorcha at 9 weeks, commandeering what was once Ronin’s frisbee. The look on Ronin’s face says it all!

sorcha ronin frisbee

At times, Sorcha wants to be helpful. Here she is at four months, as we were out in the yard, replacing some of the pine trees that burned during the Malibu, 2018 fires.

6 month sorcha carrying bucket

Here is Sorcha at six months old

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Today, Ceili, Ronin, and Sorcha do everything as a pack

 

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Ronin Ceili Sorcha

Today, I’m thanking my lucky stars for our canine companions. They seem to me heaven-sent during these unusual times!

Here is Sorcha today, on her one year birthday!.

one year old sorcha

Happy Birthday, Sorcha. Let us eat cake!

 

htps://clairefullerton.com

After Abbey Road: The Solo Hits of The Beatles

I’m sharing this for all Beatles Fans! I bought this book and have been sending it as gifts to many appreciative musicians!

You Read It Here First

AFTER ABBEY ROAD ebook cover

When The Beatles made their debut in 1964 on The Ed Sullivan Show, I remember my father saying, “No daughter of mine is going to listen to the music of those long-haired Limey freaks.” And so I did what any passively rebellious tween would do. I went to my best friend’s house and listened to her records. For hours on end as we did our homework, we’d sing, “She loves me yeah yeah yeah” until her mother called up the stairs and told us to dial it down. Whereupon we retreated to the floor of her bedroom closet and continued, sotto voce, until dinnertime. Thus, what a treat it is to take a trip down nostalgia lane with author Gary Fearon’s new book, After Abbey Road: The Solo Hits of The Beatles. A must-read for anyone who needs a respite from the escalating insanity of 2020.

Interviewer; Christina Hamlett

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #Paranormal Roberta Eaton Cheadle, #Thriller Suzanne Burke, #Contemporary #Southern Claire Fullerton

Are you following the incredibly creative, author and book blogger, Sally Cronin of Smorgasbord? I am and have been, for years! Here are recent updates to books Sally has championed!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the first of the Cafe and Bookstore updates this week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves

The first author today with a recent review is Roberta Eaton Cheadle for Through the Nethergate.

About the book

Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own. In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise…

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Paying it Forward

I have a newly released novel titled, Little Tea, but that’s not my focus here.  My focus is on sharing an incredible experience I had on Facebook because it’s a case in point of what can transpire through the magnanimous efforts of one fellow author during these unusual times.

Those of us who released a book during the pandemic were blindsided as to how to proceed with promotion. In my case, I had a book tour of the South scheduled to promote Little Tea, only to discover each event was canceled. The good news is most of my events were rescheduled virtually, though in many ways, I swam in smaller waters. I stayed tethered to my desk bereft of the gift of personal contact and although I’m not taking the merit out of it, in most ways I preached to a Zoom choir. But an uncanny domino effect ensued that came through the power of connections, and although it’s not a complete surprise, I have Facebook to thank for a great time promoting Little Tea.

My good fortune began with the moderator of a Facebook book group who interviews authors via StreamYard on a nightly basis. I was a guest on her live show and was grateful beyond measure to answer questions about Little Tea. In thanking my hostess profusely, I said, “If there’s anything I can do for you, it would be my great pleasure.”

The first step along the chain of events came when the aforementioned moderator asked me to talk to a debut author she admires, who had questions about the publishing business. I issued the caveat that I’m no expert, but I’ve been in the business long enough to have an opinion. I’ll say here that my policy as an author has always been to pay it forward. Authors work in a common arena, and few of us would get very far were it not for the opportunity to compare notes. And so, I got on the phone with a complete stranger and talked about navigating the book world and am happy to report that by the time we hung up, I’d made a new friend. An hour later, my new friend messaged me via Facebook messaging and invited me to come to her Facebook group page to do an “author takeover.” I said yes before I fully understood the set-up, so, I’ll explain it now that I understand. This debut author had the foresight to create a private book launch group on Facebook. She issued a call-out six months before her book release and created a Facebook “street team” by offering incentives that simply boiled down to the joy of being involved. This street team was gifted with insider information about her debut novel. She gave her private group book swag, played games, and shared pictures pertaining to her life and her book that the general public wasn’t privy to, so by the time her book was released, roughly a thousand readers were ready to shout from the rooftops because suffice it to say, they felt personally tied to the book’s launch.

My invitation to come to her private Facebook group and do an all-day take over essentially sounded like this: “I know of a thousand people who’ve never heard of you, so come on over, I’ll introduce you, and you can post as much about your book as you want to.”

You better believe I came ready! I prepared with photographs of Little Tea’s setting in the Deep South (Como, Mississippi; Greer’s Ferry Lake in Heber Springs, Arkansas; and my home town, Memphis) two book trailers, a dozen memes, Little Tea reviews, and, knowing that a picture tells a thousand words about an author’s life, photographs of ocean waves taken where I now live in Malibu, California and endless un-staged photographs of my three photogenic dogs. It was my dogs that got the ball rolling. It’s astounding how many people have “a German shepherd story.” The sharing of dog stories led to an enthusiastic kind of bonding. Soon enough, there was a vibrant thread in the private group of dog pictures that dovetailed to include the posting of pet cats.

Ceili Little Tea

Little Tea’s premise is built on the power of female friendships—the anchoring, long-lasting kind that see a woman through a lifetime. These friendships tend to have their own language, often times there’s a shared sense of humor spawned from shared history, and what comes from shared history is an arsenal of stories. In Little Tea’s case, much of the bi-racial relationship story is due to the setting, which is to say the story wouldn’t have happened as it did were it not set in the South with its attendant social mores set amidst the roiling cauldron of the cultural racial divide. There’s a line from Little Tea, when narrator Celia Wakefield describes her Southern upbringing by saying, “The thing about being a Southern girl is they let you run loose until the time comes to shape you.” I posted a meme with this quote during my author take over and it led to a riotous discussion about the South and the power of female friendships, which is part and parcel to the story of Little Tea—Little Tea being the nickname of the main character, who is Celia Wakefield’s childhood best friend.

Little Tea without preorder

I have to say I’ve always known that readers are discerning people. They’re interested in learning about a book, but they’re equally interested in learning about the author. The beauty of my all-day, author take-over was that it afforded the latitude of an unfolding. One subject led to another with regard to Little Tea, but what warmed my heart the most was the participants who shared their own stories in what became a delightful, even exchange. I came away from the event knowing I’d represented Little Tea and introduced myself as accurately as I could, but the real gift to me came from getting to know those who love reading as much as I do. I went into the author take-over hoping to reach readers, but as I learned about them, it turned into the thrill of finding common ground.

I’m still marveling at the fun I had in the midst of a fortuitous opportunity. It’s not every author who invites another to take over their page and meet their followers. When you’re lucky enough to meet the kind of author who realizes we’re all in this together, it serves as an exemplary reminder of the impact of paying it forward.

 

Claire Fullerton hails from Memphis, TN. and now lives in Malibu, CA. with her husband and 3 German shepherds. She is the author of 7- time award winner, Mourning Dove, a coming of age, Southern family saga set in 1970’s Memphis. Claire is the author of Dancing to an Irish Reel, a 2-time award winner set on the west coast of Ireland, where she once lived. Claire’s first novel is a paranormal mystery set in two, time periods titled, A Portal in Time, set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. She is a contributor to the book, A Southern Season, with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, set at a Memphis funeral ( because something always goes wrong at a Southern funeral.) Little Tea is Claire’s 4th novel. Little Tea is a Faulkner Society William Wisdom Competition finalist, a finalist for the Chanticleer Review’s Somerset Awards, and the August selection of the Pulpwood Queens Book Club. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary Agency.

https: //www.clairefullerton.com and/or https://linktr.ee/cffullerton

From SWM

Little Tea by Claire Fullerton #BookReview

My gratitude to Carla Loves to Read. I’m having a wonderful time on Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour of Little Tea. All tour stops appear on this post!

Carla Loves To Read

Little Tea by Claire Fullerton 
Southern Fiction
Published April 28, 2020 by Firefly Southern Fiction

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#BlogTour, #BookReview & #Giveaway: Dignity and Grace by Alison Ragsdale

This book looks fantastic, so I’m re-blogging here. The reviewer, Annie McDonnell, hosts an author interview forum on Facebook called The Write Review, and it’s wonderful. Thank you, Annie McDonnell for sharing your review of Alison Ragsdale’s Dignity and Grace on Kate Rock Book Tour.

The Write Review

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Dignity & Grace by Alison Ragsdale

Date of Release: July 27, 2020

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Summary:

On her 21st birthday, gifted cellist Iona Muir receives a package from her estranged father containing a letter from her mother, Grace, a talented musician who tragically died ten years earlier. Reeling from what she reads, Iona soon discovers a mysterious, faded photograph of Grace, hidden inside her cello case.

Honoring her mother’s request, Iona visits Grace’s beloved music teacher, taking the first step on an emotional trail of discovery that has been left for her. As Grace’s story unfolds, Iona gains a deeper insight into the mother she lost and the heartbreaking truth about Grace’s last months. The more Iona learns, the more she is drawn back to her family home, on the remote Scottish island of Orkney, and to her father.

CD4A5A50-3A57-4333-819E-DC06F5B42EABSerena visited Scotland, too! She Loved Edinburgh Castle!

Reviewer: Serena Soape

Alison Ragsdale has touched…

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Book Review: Evening in the Yellow Wood by Laura Kemp.

I just finished the delightful book, Evening in the Yellow Wood by Laura Kemp  (TouchPoint Press.) It’s an action-packed, fast-paced story about an immediately likable, twenty-something year old woman on a quest to find her missing father, who disappeared without explanation, which leaves narrator, Justine Cook, and her mother jumping to worst-case conclusions. But a chance occurrence changes all that!

Here is the book’s description:

Abandoned by an eccentric father on the eve of her twelfth birthday, Justine Cook has lived with her fair share of unanswered questions. Now, ten years later she leaves her life in southern Michigan and heads north to the mysterious town of Lantern Creek after seeing his picture in a local newspaper. Once there, she discovers her father had been leading a double life and meets the autistic brother she never knew—a young man who is mute but able to read her mind.

When a local girl who looks like Justine is mysteriously murdered, she joins forces with sheriff’s deputy Dylan Locke to capture the killer. But the more they dig for clues to the past, the closer they come to discovering a secret someone will kill to protect. Justine begins to show signs of supernatural power and eventually must stop an immortal enemy that has hunted her family for generations.

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( My 11 month old, GSD named Sorcha is always in the picture!)

 

When I finished Evening in the Yellow Wood, I wrote and posted this book review on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, and Book Bub. I love to support my fellow authors!

All I knew going into author Laura Kemp’s highly praised Evening in the Yellow Wood is that I loved the title. It’s phonetically pleasing, lyrical, and balanced. Give me a title that sings on a haunting book cover and you have my attention. Hand me a dilemma that yearns on the second page and I’m thoroughly roped in.
In an au currant voice so accessible you think you know the narrator, Evening in the Yellow Wood exemplifies the term “page turner.” It’s an off-kilter, rollicking ride on a hero’s journey; an edge-of-your-seat through-line chock-full of forward momentum in a cauldron of delectable genres that has something for every discerning reader.
Recent college graduate Justine Cook doesn’t know her genetic history. She’s on course of a promising journalism career when one glance at the local newspaper derails her plans. Through the glass window of a hardware store in another town stares her lost father’s photograph. The mystery begins with Justine’s caution to the wind move, and the game begins.
More than a mystery, Evening in the Yellow Wood is commercial fiction walking the high wire of romance strung up by the paranormal. Its personality shimmers, its pacing is breathtaking. It’s the rare writer who makes the unusual plausible, and Laura Kemp does so by anchoring her charming novel in the small-town Midwest. In the name of covert operation, Narrator Justine Cook takes a bartending job and drives “the heap.” She shares an apartment with a delightfully disreputable local and falls in love with a cop– who, it unfolds, is uncannily part and parcel to the whirlwind story, as Justine adheres to the task of finding her father.
Immortality, mind reading, totems, and visions fuel the fire of this spellbinding book. Evening in the Yellow Wood by Laura Kemp is absolutely unforgettable.

Here is Laura Kemp’s bio as it appears online:

 

About the Author

Laura is a teacher who loves to write about her home state of Michigan. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University where she studied under Stuart Dybek, and has had her short fiction and poetry published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Word Riot, Tonopalah Review, SaLit and SLAB: Sound and Literary Art Book. “The Pursuit of Happiness,” – a short story she wrote while at WMU, was chosen as a finalist in the Trial Balloon Fiction Contest. When not writing, Laura enjoys musical theatre, hiking, swimming, reading and performing with her Celtic band- Si Bhaeg Si Mohr. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and children as well as her dog, two hamsters, two gerbils, ten chickens, two horses and eight (and counting) cats. Laura loves to connect with readers on her blog: laurakempbooks.com/blog (Sea Legs on Land), as well as on Facebook, Twitter (@LKempWrites) and Instagram. (lkempwrites)
And here is the wonderful Laura!

 

Laura Kemp’s website is here: https://laurakempbooks.com/

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https:www.clairefullerton.com