Goodreads Book Tag

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Here’s a fun tag post featuring Goodreads to share (thanks, Alex, for passing it along: https://mybookworld24.com/2019/08/15/goodreads-book-tag/ ). Funny thing is that I’m currently on a series roll as you’ll see below:

 

1. What was the last book you marked as “read”?

2. What are you currently reading?

3. What was the last book you marked as “Want to Read”?

4. What book do you plan to read next?

5. Do you use the star rating system?
Yes

6. Are you doing the 2019 Reading Challenge?
Yes, started with a pretty, unusually low amount, and quite happy to have surpassed it… it was really touch and go for a while this year to meet it 😦
https://www.goodreads.com/user_challenges/14858132

7. Do you have a wishlist?
No, I just add them to my TBR.

8. What book do you plan to buy next?
Hmmmm… still thinking; my TBR is quite lengthy 🙂

9. Do you have any favorite quotes? Would you like to share a few?
Yes…

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
– Toni Morrison

 

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Maya Angelou

10. Who are your favorite authors?
Isabel Allende, Tayari Jones, Bernice McFadden, Jackie Collins, Hilary Mantel, to name a few.

11. Have you joined any groups?
Yes: On the Southern Lit Trail, Literary Fiction by People of Color, Writers Worth, to name a few.

12. Are there any questions you’d like to add?
No.

 

Okay, readers, now, your turn 🙂

Are you on Goodreads? Let’s connect!

Feel free to share yours in the comments or if you have a blog, post your link to it. I’d love to read your responses!

 

For immediate publishing updates, please stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. My thanks to you is a FREE story – Without Your Goodbye!

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Grand Opening: A Novella is Available in Paperback!

Eden paperbacktemplate2Now also available in paperback is Grand Opening: A Novella (The Boutique Series #1)! Yay! Grand Opening, a romantic suspense story, is the first book of The Boutique Series which features the life of Eden Harper, owner and operator of Richmond’s hottest couture boutique, Josi’s Boutique, her family, her business, and her love – Nelson Donnelly, son of one of Classic Hollywood’s first black stars.

Amazon 5-star review for Grand Opening: A Novella (The Boutique Series #1): “A beautifully written novella of believable characters in high stakes living. Ms. Rice nailed the drama of disappointment, hurt and its aftermath.”

So, you now have two options: e-book and paperback! Can’t decide which? Well… you can do as I do – See you have your e-book on hand, by way of your tablet or smartphone, in case you happen (gasp!) to leave the paperback at home or are in place where you simply can’t pull out a paperback… you get my point, right? 😀 Believe me – it works!

Find out more about Grand Opening: A Novella and place your order here!

 

For immediate publishing updates, please stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. My thanks to you is a FREE story – Without Your Goodbye!

 

Thank you, Toni Morrison

tm booksAs I work on the rewrite and edits of my novel, I’ve held on to the spirit of Toni Morrison’s words: “If there is a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.” They’ve been ringing heavier in my mind for the past couple of days, since her passing, to keep going. It’s still a shock to know she’s no longer in this world with us, to feel such a void, but I thank God her stories AND essays carry on for us to continue learning from.

I remember in an interview (I believe it was on 60 Minutes) not long after Beloved was published, where she mentioned how she had to get up and take a walk outside to separate herself from the story as she wrote it. It was that difficult for her to write, but it was a story that had to be written and she knew it and nothing would stop it. Knowing the pain of writing it made me wonder if I wanted to even read it – but I sure did. It’s long been that process of hers that’s stayed with me inbeloved my own writing as I visualize the pain and ugliness along with the beauty my characters live through. It’s what writing is about… through her novels, essays, and non-fiction, she taught many of us about that. I remain grateful for her and for her sharing her gift of language. I will always cherish the way she uplifted the voice of the black family in literature and reminding me of my responsibility as an author to do just the same. It’s the voice I grew up with, it’s the voice I have, it’s the voice I too have to share.

“If there is a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.” – Toni Morrison

It’s been a major challenge for some unknown reason to work on my story lately. However, this particular story has to be told. I do want to read it and I so want others to read it and learn from it; therefore, as Ms. Morrison pointed out – I have to write it. So, from the words of the Queen, onward I go with it.

Do you have any Toni Morrison books among your favorite books? Which are they? Please share in the comments.

July was a Great (and Rare) Month of Reading

I don’t know how in the world I managed it this month, but I got four books in! Four readingbwwhole books! As a bibliophile, avid reader, one with whom a book is always on her person, it’s a big deal considering I’ve been in a nasty reading drought. I haven’t had nor, honestly, made the time in quite a while for such an adventure and I realize how much I’ve missed and have sorely needed. I used to pore through books like this on a regular basis. During grad school, my personal TBR list had to be put aside; generally over the years with work in my other life and life (mothering and wifeing – if that’s a word :/ ) one book a month or maybe two was the norm; and when writing, one or a half of one if I could get through was happening. This month, I have to thank Terry McMillan for getting my ball rolling again.

My Goodreads Reading Challenge bar had been set pretty low this year – as I have for the past few years because of work, writing, and life, and this time it didn’t look like I was going to even make it to those 10 books. Gasp. My best year was one when I worked in the library several years ago and got through 50. I miss those days. I mean, it was a part of my job!

I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan

When Dr. Georgia Young learned about the passing of a former college boyfriend, she realized she didn’t know if he’d known how much she had loved him. That moment set her on a journey to find her ex-husbands and lovers to find out more about their relationships and what made them stop working. With her intentions and the love of her close-knit family and friends during the process she learns more about herself. Recommended read.

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

This one’s a whole lot deeper than you may think. Highly recommended. Here’s my full review.

 

 

 

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Let me just say, about a week later, I’m still savoring this book. Told (written) in the form of a documentary about a top rock band of the 1970s that broke up right at the end of their first tour, which was a major success by the way. Everyone involved from the band members, journalists covering them, their biography writers, family members, etc, talk about the band and the breakup for the first time. As a classic rock fan, I loved it. As a biography fan, I loved it. I loved it… highly recommended.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Can you believe that it’s been over twenty years since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone if you’re in the UK) came out, introducing us to this amazing group of kids, namely Harry, Ron, and Hermione?! When I got Book #1 for my son years ago, I read the first chapter, was captivated, and had intended to return to it soon. But that didn’t happen. So just a few years ago, I finally got to it and finished it. Finally… and enjoyed every moment and even got myself a Hermione Granger quote shirt! Sometimes one could forget they were kids – just kids! Not yet teenagers and all they went through. Then – again, finally – I made it to the sequel and pored through it in just a few days. Just as the first, it’s a story of heart. As my best friend pointed out with a heavy sigh, I might add – we’ll never get to Potterworld at my rate (!), so I’m on to the third. In fact, I’ve never seen the movies because I knew I was going to read them first. I may or may not watch Chamber of Secrets though. There are some parts that I really don’t want to see and prefer to keep it in my imagination. I’ll continue to think on that though…

Have you read any of the Harry Potter series? Have you read any of the books I read this month? Please share your thoughts. Also, any suggestions for my TBR? I’m always open to suggestions for that!

Since I have to concentrate on my WIP for the upcoming #PitchWars and push back the new story that’s been screaming in my ear to be written, my TBR is set to collect a little dust once again. It won’t stop me however, from picking up the books today that I’ve got on hold at the library though. Of course, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is one of them.

For immediate publishing updates, please stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. My thanks to you is a FREE story – Without Your Goodbye!

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

My thoughts on the first of the trilogy: Wolf Hall.

Have you read either of them or both? Please share in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it too!

 

For immediate publishing updates, please stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. My thanks to you is a FREE story – Without Your Goodbye!

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Okinkan Braithwaite

38819868._SY475_I swept through this book quickly and loved pretty much every moment. Finished it in the wee hours of the morning. As macabre as the title is, and as grim as the subject matter, too, the humor woven through the story lightened it up JUST a bit. Korede narrates the story about her sister’s – shall we say – penchant for murdering her boyfriends. Once her sister, Ayoola, has set her sights on the doctor that Korede has loved (from a distance at the hospital where she works as a nurse), Korede begins to wonder just how much more of her sister’s homicidal ways she can take. Can or should she try to protect the doctor? How can she keep her sister away from him? How long will she be haunted by the victims – while fussing at Ayoola to stay off of Instagram like everything is okay? Moments like this are the ones that lighten things up for the reader and perhaps Korede as she shares this story. Even darker than these troubles is the childhood the girls lost and why and how. It makes the tale more somber and even a tad understanding. Set in Nigeria, My Sister, the Serial Killer also brings to light how women there are perceived by men, in terms of social status, work, their expectations of women, and looks. As Korede notes, that looks part can be a sad breaking point for some men.

Korede had spent so much time of her life protecting Ayoola as demanded by their mother, it reached the point where Korede expected it at all costs… and demanded it. My Sister, the Serial Killer is a story about a sister’s bond – an incredibly, strong one, and it’s quite a testament to the question of whether or not one could be broken even if the desire to do so is this freaking strong. Highly recommended.


For immediate publishing updates, please stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. My thanks to you is a FREE story – Without Your Goodbye!

The Poe Museum, Richmond, VA

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Photo: Tonya Rice

The Old Stone House located at 1914 East Main Street, near Shockoe Bottom, is Richmond’s oldest known structure. It was built around 1750. Perhaps much more significant than that to the rest of the world is the fact that it is also home to the memorabilia and artifacts of the gifted poet,  horror short story writer, and Richmond resident, Edgar Allan Poe. The Poe Museum was established in 1922 to honor Poe’s life in Richmond and as a tribute to his literary contribution to the world.

Richmond lays claim to quite a few literary notables, including Ellen Glasgow, Tom Wolfe, and Patricia Cornwell. However, no one else creates such a thoughtful pause as Edgar Allan Poe. Through much of his work, Poe’s writing gifts demonstrated his mastery of effectively illustrating the macabre, suspense, and terror with intelligence, wit, and the use of beauty in language. He is an inspiration to many writers within the genre to date.

Poe was born in Baltimore in 1809 and raised in Richmond by the Allan family following his mother’s death in 1811. John Allan was an owner of Ellis & Allan, a mercantile shop in downtown Richmond. As a young man, Poe attended Monumental Episcopal Church (now known as Monumental Church) with the Allans. It is believed that Poe’s strained relationship with Allan may have served as the muse for his works. Many of his stories mirror the intellectual and psychological experience of his youth and are carried through calculating and unhinged characters. He was reared in a large downtown Richmond home called Moldavia, which is also believed to have served as a form of inspiration, as many of his tales feature a mansion filled with gloom, madness, and events of a mentally spiraling nature.

The opposite of his maniacal expressions through prose was pronounced hopeless romanticism in verse. Three of his most beloved poems, including “Annabel Lee” and even “The Raven” are presumed to have been inspired by women of Richmond with whom he was known to have been involved.

The plan to use The Old Stone House as a museum was supported and funded by

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Photo: Tonya Rice

local historians, Mr. and Mrs. Archer Jones. The house possesses its own interesting piece of history. Poe’s connection to it may have been stemmed from his duty, around 1824, as a color guard escort to France’s Marquis de Lafayette during a visit to the Ege family, the original owners of the house. During the Revolutionary War, approximately fifty years earlier, Lafayette had stayed there as he worked to help Washington defeat the British. Other than that, there is no other association known between Poe and the house. However, commemoration of his works and time spent in the city was desired.

Remarkable thought went into the development of the museum and grounds. The Old Stone House is a small portion. By incorporating various items connected to Poe’s life to the museum, the grounds were expanded as a unique, heartfelt, nostalgic dedication towards his work on his craft and his life in Richmond.

The Old Stone House, which features the gift shop, contains the original heart-of-pine floors and a uniquely designed fireplace. The first leg of the self-directed tour in the House introduces the visitor to Poe and his family. The short walk to the Model Building reveals a stunning model of an early-to-mid 19th-century Richmond, complete with painstakingly created miniature houses and labels as they pertained to Poe’s lifetime. The minutest details of the model are so convincing, they constructively pull the visitor into the past. Featured are models of many of Richmond’s landmarks along with homes that are significant to Poe’s life, such as Elmira Shelton’s home – the woman to whom he was once engaged.

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Photo: Tonya Rice

The Enchanted Garden – a peaceful courtyard with an engaging fountain – was designed in 1921 to resemble the garden in his poem, “To One in Paradise”. At the north end of the garden is the Poe Shrine, where a copy of Poe’s bust from the Bronx Historical Society sits. Bricks and granite rescued from the demolition of the Southern Literary Messenger, a local magazine where Poe had worked and practiced his craft prior to his fame, are used in the shrine and throughout the garden.

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Photo: Tonya Rice

In the Elizabeth Arnold Poe Memorial Building, named in honor of his mother, many dynamic aspects of his literary self are displayed, including his desk from the Southern Literary Messenger. Also safely stored and displayed is the staircase from the first Allan home in which he lived. Several of Poe’s wares displayed in this building demonstrate his fine aesthetic tastes.

The last stop of the self-directed tour is the Exhibits Building. Most of those artifacts bring a more modern-day connection to Poe with the exhibit of film adaptations to his work. Included is an impressive letter displayed on behalf of Universal Pictures’ president, Carl Laemmle, asking that photo stills from the 1932 hit, Murders in the Rue Morgue, be added to the Poe Collection.

In 1849, at the age of forty, Poe died in Baltimore about two weeks after leaving

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Photo: Tonya Rice

Richmond for a brief stay. Even though he is buried in Baltimore, his life remains immortal here in Richmond with each piece that represents him, his contribution to the world he provided, and his life as a Richmonder in that charming Old Stone House and its grounds.

The museum features special events throughout the year, most notably in October, since Poe is usually synonymous with Halloween. Any time would make a great family outing to learn more about Poe’s era in the city. Make your plans to visit soon. Ticket prices range from $6 to $8.

Museum hours:
Sunday                        11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Monday                       CLOSED
Tuesday                       10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Wednesday                 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday                     10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday                          10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday                      10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

My Literary Crush – Ponyboy Curtis

This was originally a post for the #ReelInfatuation Blogathon a few years ago that I participated in with my classic movie site, Goosepimply All Over, celebrating my movie crush. It’s been updated a bit. Since he’s also my literary crush, it’s quite relevant here as well. 🙂

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THE OUTSIDERS, C. Thomas Howell, 1983, © Warner Brothers

When I recently watched The Outsiders (1983) not very long ago, I could still recite most of the lines with the characters – beyond “Do it for Johnny”. It was of no surprise to me or my kids, because they’ve heard me wax poetic about that movie a lot over the years. When C. Thomas Howell popped up on some show my son was watching one night some years back, my shriek, “It’s Ponyboy!”, had him shaking his head with the shame of a teenage boy embarrassed by his mom being a fangirl. When he had to read the book by S.E. Hinton in his high school English class, all of my feelsoutsiders for Ponyboy came back and I was too anxious to rewatch the movie with him (even though they’d also watched it in his class!). Needless to say, while all of the Curtis boys and their friends making up the darling ’80s memory known as the Brat Park were adorable to say the least, none captured my heart like Ponyboy Curtis.

MCDOUTS EC026Ponyboy Curtis was the writer, the dreamer, the sensitive, sweet, and caring one. In the midst of all the chaos he had endured living between the rivalry of the Greasers and the Socs, that made up much of his childhood, everyone on all sides knew he was the one who could try to make sense of life for himself and the rest of them through writing. Johnny told him so through his beautiful letter after he died and Dallas tried to protect him long before he died. I certainly understood that method of coping – it’s why we were kindred spirits, I guess.

It’s why we were kindred spirits…

I adored him so much, I didn’t even want Cherry Valance to talk to him (and I am a Diane Lane fan). I loved that movie so much, I memorized Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay” outside of my 11th grade English class, not so long after the movie had come out. I can still even sing the ending song, “Stay Gold”, along with Stevie Wonder. And – I even had a conniption fit when I realized that the copy of Gone With The Wind my uncle gave to me when I was in college is The Exact, Same Edition that Ponyboy and Johnny had at the church!! (It was his copy in college. Of course, I still have it – see below 🙂 and here!)

So, yes… my movie and literary crush is Ponyboy Curtis. I’ve got other movie crushes of course, (like Gene Kelly in Anchors Aweigh – see him on the telephone here and you’ll know why…

And Ray Milland in Beau Geste -sigh) but Ponyboy Curtis was the first to come to mind for this fun blogathon!

Who’s your literary crush? Please share in the comments below.

Originally posted on June 16, 2016 on Goosepimply All Over, my classic movie site.

For immediate publishing updates, please stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. My thanks to you is a FREE story – Without Your Goodbye!