The Pros & Cons of Book Clubs, by Bette Lee Crosby

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Kindle_SpareChangeCover Half the people you know probably belong to some sort of book club. Some love it, some tolerate it, some claim they’re far too busy to read a book every month, and others find fault with the quality of books selected. Still the number of book clubs in existence continues to grow, as does their popularity. Why?

I do belong to a book club – it’s called the Analyze This Group. Although I can’t speak for the vast number of clubs across the country, I can tell you a bit about our Book Club. Our members almost never miss a meeting unless it is absolutely, positively, unavoidable…something the magnitude of a death in the family, or a flat-on-my-back-and-will-die-if-I-move sickness.

We all read the book – and – we discuss it at length. Sometimes we discuss it ad nauseum.  We don’t simply decide we liked or disliked it; we study the characters’ actions and alternatives, compare their experiences to ones we ourselves have undergone, laugh at their (and our own) haphazard missteps and sometimes even shed a tear because of their plight. At times a meeting will start with a negative comment about the book, but even that inevitably leads to an exploration of the protagonist’s motives and ultimately a greater understanding of the story. Although I am a voracious reader myself, my book club buddies have introduced me to a number of new authors and wonderful stories that I most probably would never have read.

We have over twenty women in our group, and several others waiting to join, but members seldom leave, because Book Club is more than just a discussion group, it’s an afternoon of unbridled friendship. Of letting go of things you may not have talked about for years and knowing that not one of your friends will think less of you or carry the tale elsewhere. It’s having a glass of wine, eating the type of food we don’t make for our husbands, and conversation that is thoughtful, intelligent and stimulating. Book club group

Book Club is having twenty wonderful friends, any one of whom I could call for help, even in the dead of night. Sure, I’ve had times when I was so rushed I barely had time to shower before dashing off to the meeting, and we’ve read a few books that were rather forgettable …but I still would not have missed the experience of a single Book Club discussion. Some people claim their life is too busy for reading, not to mention a full afternoon for the discussion…I pity those poor people. The truth is, a life such as that only seems full, but in things that matter, it is most probably empty. Books enrich us with knowledge, entertainment and quite often memories of things we might otherwise have allowed to be forever entombed in our cranial data base. Books take us to places we may never visit, introduce us to people we will never know, and with the turn of a page, can transport us back and forth through time. Through books, our world grows larger and our personal problems seem smaller. Not only does participation in a book club give us all of that, it also challenges our minds and opens the door to new friendships.

I said I would give you the pros and cons of books clubs, but the only con is that for one short afternoon a month, you are unplugged…which in thinking about it, is not a bad thing.

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Crosby_headshotAward-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby brings the wit and wisdom of her Southern Mama to works of fiction—the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away.

Crosby’s work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. Since then, she has gone on to win several more awards, including another NLAPW award, three Royal Palm Literary Awards, and the FPA President’s Book Award Gold Medal.

Her published novels to date are: Cracks in the Sidewalk (2009), Spare Change (2011), The Twelfth Child (2012) and Cupid’s Christmas (2012). She has also authored Life in the Land of IS a memoir of Lani Deauville, a woman the Guinness Book of Records lists as the world’s longest living quadriplegic.

Born in Detroit and raised in a plethora of states scattered across the South and Northeast, Crosby originally studied art and began her career as a packaging designer. When asked to write a few lines of copy for the back of a pantyhose package, she discovered a love for words that was irrepressible. After years of writing for business, she turned to works of fiction and never looked back. “Storytelling is in my blood,” Crosby laughingly admits, “My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write.”

Connect with Bette Lee Crosby on Facebook or on her website.

Award-winning Author of the Amazon Bestseller SPARE CHANGE

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Announcing the Her Books Authors’ Celebrating Women Giveaway

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WE’RE HAVING A PARTY…AND YOU’RE INVITED!

Her Books Authors are having a week-long celebration of women

 with loads of giveaways and prizes

plus heartwarming tributes to the special women in our lives.

You’ll have six times as many chances to win wonderful prizes as you visit each of our blogs to read the stories of why we think women are so very special. Just by visiting each blog, you’ll be entered into the gigantic sweepstakes to win an iPad Mini, six individual prizes or one of 60 bestsellers by these authors:

Bette Lee Crosby –  Ten-time Award-winning Author of Spare Change

Christine Nolfi –  Award-Winning Author of Treasure Me, a USA Today “Best Pick”

Steena Holmes – Featured Speaker at the London Book Fair and Author of Finding Emma

Rachel Thompson –  Author of Broken Pieces, nominated for Women’s Studies Global e-Book Award

Patricia Sands –  Bestselling Author of the Hot New Release The Promise of Provence

Karla Darcy –  Bestselling Author of 7 Regency Romances including The Divided Hearts

~ The party starts on Sunday, April 28th but be quick because it ends on Sunday, May 5th ~

Get going right now…visit the Her Books Facebook Page where you will find all the links you need to be part of the fun…like the page and come back often because something special is always going on!

Click here to join the party!

 

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3 Top Authors – 9 Great Tips for a Super Spring, by Christine Nolfi, Bette Lee Crosby, & Steena Holmes

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SCG for websitesIf you’re suffering the winter blues, shake them off. Spring has arrived.

The season of renewal offers the opportunity to renew our lives, our relationships and the goals we strive to achieve. Here’s how three of your favorite women’s fiction authors add the sizzle to Spring:

Christine Nolfi

It doesn’t matter the season—I’m always at work on a new novel. Writing books that promise the reader a rich emotional experience takes hard work and a few simple strategies I’ve relied upon for years:

Clean Up, Clear Out – No, I can’t find the time to deep clean my entire house. Chances are you can’t either. But I do tackle the heart of the home—my kitchen—every spring. Cupboards are organized. Unused gadgets go into a box for the annual Goodwill donation. Winter recipes go into a file, and cuisine with fresh ingredients fill the menu. South Carolina has a long growing season, and I can whip up new treats for my family with local fare ranging from some of the freshest peaches in North America to the shrimp feasts that have made my hometown of Charleston famous.

How’s Your Health? – It’s a personal query every busy adult should ask. Am I getting enough rest? Have I slacked off on my gym routine? Do I eat right? Every dream you wish to unfurl begins in a simple place: with the body and mind God graced you with. Take care of yourself, and everything else falls into place.

Lift Your Heart – Novelists are, first and foremost, readers. I search for literature sure to inspire, uplift, renew. Recently I finished Bette Lee Crosby’s heartwarming Spare Change. This spring I’ll delve into Cracks in the Sidewalk. Another book on my spring reading list? Steena Holmes’ superb Finding Emma. With 200 rave reviews on Amazon, I can’t wait to dive into the pages.

Kindle_SpareChangeCoverBette Lee Crosby

I’m what people call a nester.  I build my nest and work happily ever after. My nest is my office, and in it I surround myself with books, pictures, and mementos of good times and happy days. I delight in the organization of little things, things I look at, use or touch most every day. When clutter abounds, I get frazzled, and my nest doesn’t feel quite so wonderful. That’s when I know it is time to de-clutter, and I’m going to share three fun things I do to make my nest nice again.

Buy a colorful new address book. Over the years, friends move, change their phone number, get married or in some cases unmarried and like everyone else, I scratch out the previous entry and write in the new information. Before long my address book is a scruffy-looking mess full of scratched off entries and sticky note add-ins. In one evening, I can fill in my new address book and do it while I’m watching a TV show or listening to music. Voila! My first new start!

De-clutter the photos on my bulletin board and desktop. You know which ones I mean—the photos friends and family send: the new baby, the new dog, the new house, kids at Halloween, kids at Christmas. They’re too precious to part with, but do I need them on top of my already too-small desk? I think not. So I scan them in and save a digital file for each family. Nice. Now I know right where to find it when someone asks if I still have that picture of Cousin Suzie the year she got her new puppy.

Get rid of sticky note reminders by making a new wall calendar. Yes, make not buy. It’s a lot easier than you think with a simple-to-use program like PrintMaster. As you set up the calendar months, you add in the birthdays, anniversaries and book club meetings you want to remember, and for your feature art, just use some of those wonderful photos you’ve now got on digital files.  For those who are faint of heart when it comes to designing anything, Snapfish will do it for you at an easy-on-the-pocket cost. This one isn’t a one-evening project, but it shouldn’t take more than a day depending on how many photos you use and how artsy you want to get.

Whew! Once these three things are done, I’ve uncluttered a lot of my nest, and I’m ready to start writing again. The best part is I didn’t have to let go of any of my treasures, I simply reorganized them.Finding Emma-Final 2013

Steena Holmes

I’m one of those people with a heart of good intentions when it comes to spring cleaning. I pore through Pinterest looking for organizational ideas, I faithfully read FlyLady to figure out how to have my house looking like a show home in 5 easy steps and I have (literally I have this) a shelf crammed FULL of ‘how to organize’ books. I ‘think’ I’ve cracked open a few of them too….

But then I get overwhelmed or busy or … I have plenty of excuses (don’t we all). I’ve come to realize that no matter the good intentions, I just have to accept my limitations and figure out how to bribe my children to help me more around the house.

However, there are a few things I do faithfully each spring that I can call my ‘spring cleaning.’ I go through my books and keep the ones I’ll re-read over and over and over, and I donate the ones that were ‘okay’ to either the local library or a group that will take gently-loved books. I’ve also just left books on benches, in restaurants etc …

I also clean out my email and folders. I empty my sent and deleted items. I go through my group emails and even clean out my favorite folders for the Internet.

Another thing I’ve started to do in the past two years is to go through my Goodreads account and go through all the books in my TBR list. Have you looked at yours lately? Mine’s huge! So many books I wanted to read or looked interesting or were recommended … But when I go back and look through, I whittle down the list to the books I know I will read. My goal is to read 100 books this year. And not just ‘ho hum’ books but books that will change my life – whether from women’s fiction, to sci-fi or even non-fiction. I want my heart changed this year, and my TBR list on Goodreads needs to reflect that.

Both Christine and Bette’s books are on my list…and I can’t wait to find out how my heart will change from reading them!

  § § § § § § §

Nolfi Author Photo1Christine Nolfi’s debut Treasure Me is a 2012 Next Generation Indie Awards finalist. Midwest Book Review lists Treasure Me, Second Chance Grill and The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge as “highly recommended.” Prior to writing fiction, Christine owned a small public relations firm in Ohio. Visit her at www.christinenolfi.com

BLC_photoBette Lee Crosby: Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby brings the wit and wisdom of her Southern Mama to works of fiction—the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away.

Crosby’s work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. Since then, she has gone on to win several more awards, including another NLAPW award, three Royal Palm Literary Awards, and the FPA President’s Book Award Gold Medal.

Her published novels to date are: Cracks in the Sidewalk (2009), Spare Change (2011), The Twelfth Child (2012) and Cupid’s Christmas (2012).  Her fifth novel, What Matters Most, is scheduled for release in April 2013.

SteenaSteena Holmes: Chocoholic. Reader. Wife. Chocoholic. Mother. Author. Chocoholic. Living a life full of passion is the only way to live – especially if you have coffee on hand. Author of Bestselling Finding Emma, Steena snagged a 3-book deal with Amazon Publishing after thousands of readers fell in love with a little girl and grandfather from her story. Now she’s feverishly working on edits for Emma’s Secret and a special project which she’ll write as she travels to Europe and visits a town with 50 chocolate shops! Visit www.steenaholmes.com to find out more.

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NEW HOMES FOR BOOK BABIES by Bette Lee Crosby

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bette

Bette Lee Crosby

There comes a time when every gal has to face the fact that her bookshelves are sagging. They are over-burdened, over-worked and overloaded! But if like me, you love each and every one of those books—the cracked spines, the wonderful words, the stories that touched your heart—how can you say goodbye?

Well, I’ve discovered a way to lessen the burden on my bookshelves and share the stories I love with my book club buddies. December is the only month of the year when our book club doesn’t read a book, instead we have a party. I hosted the party this year, so I did what any book-loving Mama would do – I found new homes for my babies. I gathered together twenty-five of my favorite books, the ones I loved the most and I wrapped each of those darlings in shiny foil paper with festive ribbons. Almost all had broken spines, some had raggedy edges, a few had margin notes, but all were loved. The most raggedy books were usually my top favorites – the ones I’d lent out time and time again. But decked out in shimmery gold paper and puffy ribbons, they all looked beautiful.

When the guests arrived, each person got to select a package, which they soon realized were books. But no one knew what book was in what package. We then played the right-left game. I read a story and every time I said right, everyone passed their package to the right, when I said left they passed their package to the left. Since the story was about Mister and Missus Wright and the leftovers of Christmas, I need not tell you that no one ended up with the package they originally selected.  …After a few glasses of wine, this game went from funny to hilarious. When all the passing of gifts ended, everyone opened the package in their hand and I explained that I was sharing some of my favorite books with some of my favorite friends.

At the end of the day, some gals went home with a book they’d always wanted to read, others went home carrying the work of a heretofore unknown author but in thebooks blog pic end, they all went home with warm memories of a wonderful book club party. Everyone agreed, this was the best book club party ever.

A funny thing happened that day, I found that I could clear my bookshelves and make room for some new favorites, but I didn’t have to say goodbye to my much loved babies…they weren’t gone; they were simply staying with friends.

§ § § § § § §

Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby brings the wit and wisdom of her Southern Mama to works of fiction—the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away.

Crosby’s work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. Since then, she has gone on to win several more awards, including another NLAPW award, three Royal Palm Literary Awards, and the FPA President’s Book Award Gold Medal.

Her published novels to date are: Cracks in the Sidewalk (2009), Spare Change (2011), The Twelfth Child (2012) and Cupid’s Christmas (2012). She has also authored Life in the Land of IS a memoir of Lani Deauville, a woman the Guinness Book of Records lists as the world’s longest living quadriplegic.

Born in Detroit and raised in a plethora of states scattered across the South and Northeast, Crosby originally studied art and began her career as a packaging designer. When asked to write a few lines of copy for the back of a pantyhose package, she discovered a love for words that was irrepressible. After years of writing for business, she turned to works of fiction and never looked back. “Storytelling is in my blood,” Crosby laughingly admits, “My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write.”

Connect with Bette Lee Crosby on Facebook or on her website.

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