A Good Home, International Book Awards, The Diamond Book Awards

Happy News

The Diamond Book Awards

I just got the news: An Honest House is a finalist for the Diamond Book Award!

I am humbled and thrilled at the very same time.  Hooray!

Thank you, Kevin Cooper, for offering this wonderful award to authors and for including me in the short list.  Kevin is a UK author, musician and book reviewer who does much to highlight the work of authors from around the world.

Congrats to my fellow finalists. It’s a privilege to be in your company.

Here’s the notification I got from Kevin:

The Top Five Nominations for The Diamond Book Award

I can’t believe we’ve got there already folks! All the reviews for the first year of the Diamond Book Awards are complete. There were twenty-five submissions, but only twelve were accepted. Selecting the top five from those twelve was a gruelling exercise; far harder than I imagined it would be. From the five I’ve chosen, it must be said… All of them hold equal weight for the DBA.

In no particular order, here are the final five nominations with links to each review:

The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles by Ronald E Yates

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Lemon Girl by Jyoti Arora

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An Honest House by Cynthia Reyes

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The Fantastic Travels of William and the Monarch Butterfly by Christina Steiner

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Wings of Mayhem by Sue Coletta

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The Diamond Book Award is a tough award to win. All have done incredibly well to get this far. It is now up to the judging panel to decide who the award will go out to. For more information on the Diamond Book Awards please visit: The Diamond Book Awards

The Diamond Book Award winner will be announced in next month’s newsletter. Good luck guys!

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A Good Home, An Honest House, Author Cynthia Reyes, Book Reviews, Books, Great books, New Books

A Summer of Great Reviews

What a precious gift from a reader to an author! Taking the time to buy, read and review their book.

My great thanks to:

Hilary Custance Green (UK), acclaimed author of Surviving the Death Railway and The Green Writing Room blog.  An Honest House was her companion during her own book tour:  

AN HONEST HOUSE AND AN ALBRIZIA

I loved Cynthia Reyes’s first Memoir  A Good Home, so I picked up the continuing story An Honest House in happy anticipation. This is a book with a perfect title and has been my companion during a more than hectic summer….                         Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 20.22.10

I laughed over the Valentine, I wept over Keats, I laughed over ‘a job that pays’. There are few easy-walking meadows in this story, because it is about the mountains and valleys. Among the things that struck me was Cynthia’s insistence on facing up to something we all know – it is never a good time for a difficult or dangerous conversation – and dealing with it so courageously….

Read More at:  https://greenwritingroom.com/2016/08/05/an-honest-house-and-an-albrizia/

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Tina of Chase N Chance Ranch (USA), who took An Honest House along on her summer vacation:  

BOOK SUGGESTION

On our vacation I brought along the new book (An Honest House: A Memoir, Continued) of one of my favorite authors and bloggers, Cynthia Reyes.

Living on a small hobby farm, working part time, having two children who play multiple travel level sports, and trying to fit in a little me time is always a challenge.  I figured I would be able to get in at least a chapter or two while away for those 6 days.  After the third day, my family threatened to hide my book as I finished it and was starting it over again.  I did not want to put it down!!

 Read More at:  https://chasenchanceranch.wordpress.com/2016/07/26/book-suggestion/

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Chip Barkel, realtor and writer (Canada), who made both A Good Home and An Honest House his summer picks:  

SUMMER READING: CYNTHIA REYES’S A GOOD HOME & AN HONEST HOUSE

“Ambercroft Farm, the sign out front said. Hamlin was on a first name basis with the grand old farmhouse right from the start, calling it Ambercroft. For years, I didn’t call it anything at all. The tall, two-story Victorian house seemed sealed off from the rest of the neighbourhood. Within a solid wooden fence and gates, massive maples waved big leafy arms. Pines and dense blue-green spruces soared. A cedar hedge ran the length of the property on one side. This was a private place, sure of its personality and power.”

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I often think as I walk through neighbourhoods that behind every shuttered window is a story. Often those stories are ones only the walls and maybe a few select people ever witness. For some a house is a sanctuary, but when life presents a crisis….

Read More at:  http://www.chipbarkel.com/blog/summer-reading-cynthia-reyess-good-home-honest-house/

Chip, Tina and Hilary: I thank you all. 

Note to Readers:

If you’ve recently read a book you like, especially one by a new or Indie author, would you please consider reviewing it online

A Good Home, Artists, Arts, Authors, Book lovers, Book Stores, Books, Booksellers, Stratford, Ontario

Must Love Books

Let’s face it: you have to really love books to own a bookstore these days.

Blog Photo Fanfare Sign1 by Hamlin Grange

That’s what I say to Bob Newland, owner of Fanfare Books in Stratford, Ontario. 

Blog Photo Fanfare and downtown by Dale Ratcliffe.JPG
Credit: Dale Ratcliffe

Q. Owning a bookstore doesn’t seem like a way to get rich quick. Why do you do it?

A: You are right: money is not the motivator. But the store provides many other satisfactions:
1)The people- I get to hobnob with the most intelligent, erudite and well-read people on the planet.
2)The books- Everyday is Christmas!
3) Sundry satisfactions- While it doesn’t happen as often in reality as it does in The Little Paris Bookshop,  every now and then someone will say that a book that I sold them years ago made a profound change in them. Often a book is a personal thing and it’s nice to think that I have made a difference, however small, in their lives.

Blog Photo Fanfare and Bob by Hamlin Grange
Credit: Hamlin Grange

Blog Photo Fanfare Story Downtown Traffic and Street by Dale

Thousands of people visit Stratford each year. It’s a beautiful city, with nature (including the Avon River) adding its charms.

Blog Photo Stratford River by Dale Ratcliffe

Blog Photo Stratford Swan by Dale Ratcliffe

It’s also home to famous artists, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and the Stratford Summer Music Festival, and it’s singer Justin Bieber’s hometown.

Blog Photo Stratford and shakespeare by Dale Ratcliffe
4 above photos by Dale Ratcliffe

Q: Who are some of the individual shoppers who have delighted you by coming to your bookstore? 

 A: The most fun story that I have is this:
First Saturday in December is our sale day. We’ve been doing this for thirty years and it is usually the busiest day of the year. A couple of years ago, Colm Feore came in- as he sometimes does- and held half of the substantial crowd in thrall for about half an hour as he described how he grilled a steak. Now THAT`S entertainment!

(Colm Feore is one of the busiest actors in Hollywood, but his home is in Stratford and he’s a beloved star of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.)

Blog Photo Fanfare and Shoppers by Hamlin Grange

Bob’s mother, a teacher, fostered a love of books. He studied English literature and Bob managed bigger bookstores before buying Fanfare in 1989. 

Fanfare carries books by big-name authors such as Louise Penny, Alice Munro, W.O. Mitchell, Robertson Davies, John Irving, Timothy Findley, Nobel Prize winner Derek Walcott, Alan Bradley and others.

But it also carries books by less well-known authors like me. (Thank you, Bob, and store manager John Woodward.)

Book image An Honest House 1

Blog Photo Fanfare window and Street by Hamlin Grange
Above photos by Hamlin Grange

Q: Why should readers and society in general value bookstores today? 

A: Books are the instruments that produce and preserve culture and civilization.
Okay, it sounds like hyperbole but it’s actually true.

The bookstore is a place of discovery.

It’s where you discover passions that you didn’t know you had.

It’s the place where serendipity happens. Also, taking text out of the equation, a well-made book is an object of beauty in and of itself. I love the look and feel of a book where the designer had the talent, patience, awareness and materials to make something special.

Blog Photo Fanfare address

 

 

A Good Home, Authors, Diane Taylor, Memoir-Writing, New Books

The Gift of Memoir

Author and editor Diane Taylor has published a new book called The Gift of Memoir.

I highly recommend it.

Diane is part of my blog community: you’ve likely seen her replies to my posts. When she asked me to read her manuscript, I said “Yes”, and dug in.

Yippee! I can tell you without reservation that this is a strong book. It’s full of useful and inspiring tips that benefit not only writers of memoirs, but any author.

Edited and published by BPS Books, this is a great read.

Blog Photo - Gift of memoir front cover

Here’s what’s been said about A Gift of Memoir so far:

“Every writer can benefit from reading Diane Taylor’s wonderfully clear, down-to-earth, practical, and inspiring book. But for the memoirist, in particular, Taylor’s expertise is invaluable.” –PHILIP MARCHAND, National Post books columnist and author of Ghost Empire: How the French Almost Conquered North America

The Gift of Memoir will lift you from desire, doubt, and inclination to exploration, discovery, and triumph. A bountiful gift for the hearts and minds of aspiring memoirists.” –DAVID H. HUGHES, author and ghostwriter of thirteen books.

Among the topics addressed:

  • Telling the truth when you aren’t sure
  • Journaling as a kind of personal writing workshop
  • Four strategies to retrieve memories
  • How to use anecdotes and establish themes
  • How to write through the five senses
  • How to choose a form that fits your writing
  • The revision process

Diane Taylor lives in Northumberland County, east of Toronto. She has had a varied life, working as a lab technician, seamstress and book seller.  Some years ago, she and her partner built a large sailboat and “sailed south”.

Blog Photo - Diane Taylor1

That’s when she started writing.

“Life on the ocean and in the islands was so fresh and immediate,” she says,  “I felt an urgent need to record it so as to not forget it, to re-experience it in words, and to communicate it to others in various sailing magazines. A book resulted: The Perfect Galley Book.”

Other books followed.  Diane has also taught memoir-writing and is an avid member of the Spirit of the Hills writers’ group. (In fact, the book explains why writers should join such groups.)

You’ll find my own recommendation for The Gift of Memoir on the book’s back cover.

This is a fine book, a great read and a worthwhile toolkit for authors.

Congrats, Diane.

*This book is sold on Amazon, Chapters Indigo and other online bookstores. Links are contained in the text of this post.