A Modern Little House on the Prairie #Thursday Book Feature

If You Lived Here You’d Be Home By Now: Why We Traded the Commuting Life for a Little House on the Prairie

by Christopher Ingraham

Copyright 2020

 

What Amazon Says

 

The hilarious, charming, and candid story of writer Christopher Ingraham’s decision to uproot his life and move his family to Red Lake Falls, Minnesota, population 1,400—the community he made famous as “the worst place to live in America” in a story he wrote for the Washington Post.

Like so many young American couples, Chris Ingraham and his wife Briana were having a difficult time making ends meet as they tried to raise their twin boys in the East Coast suburbs.  One day, Chris – in his role as a “data guy” reporter at the Washington Post – stumbled on a study that would change his life. It was a ranking of America’s 3,000+ counties from ugliest to most scenic. He quickly scrolled to the bottom of the list and gleefully wrote the words “The absolute worst place to live in America is (drumroll please) … Red Lake County, Minn.” The story went viral, to put it mildly.

Among the reactions were many from residents of Red Lake County. While they were unflappably polite – it’s not called “Minnesota Nice” for nothing – they challenged him to look beyond the spreadsheet and actually visit their community. Ingraham, with slight trepidation, accepted. Impressed by the locals’ warmth, humor and hospitality – and ever more aware of his financial situation and torturous commute – Chris and Briana eventually decided to relocate to the town he’d just dragged through the dirt on the Internet.

If You Lived Here You’d Be Home by Now is the story of making a decision that turns all your preconceptions – good and bad — on their heads. In Red Lake County, Ingraham experiences the intensity and power of small-town gossip, struggles to find a decent cup of coffee, suffers through winters with temperatures dropping to forty below zero, and unearths some truths about small-town life that the coastal media usually miss. It’s a wry and charming tale – with data! –of what happened to one family brave enough to move waaaay beyond its comfort zone.

 

My Thoughts

 

When I read an excerpt from this book in the June issue of Reader’s Digest, I was intrigued. It’s one example of what can happen when a reporter doesn’t check things out thoroughly. Luckily for Christopher Ingraham, this turned out better than anyone could have expected.

I’ve always enjoyed stories that take place in Minnesota, including the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon vignettes. This book didn’t disappoint me. The author’s accounts of deer hunting and ice fishing fascinated me, although I doubt I’ll ever engage in such activities. Having once spent six months in Fargo, North Dakota, located on the border with Minnesota, I could empathize with the family’s struggles during the winter. This is a great book to read on a hot summer day.

***

By the way, from now through July 31st, you can download My Ideal Partner and The Red Dress absolutely free from Smashwords as part of its annual summer/winter sale. Click here to visit my Smashwords author page.

Also, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. Thank you for reading.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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Coal Miner’s Daughter #Monday Musical Memories

In the 1970’s, after my family moved from Tucson, Arizona, to Sheridan, Wyoming, I remember sleeping with Grandma in her double bed and waking up in the morning to country music. Lorretta Lynn was one of many singers I enjoyed hearing on the radio.

When the movie, Coal Miner’s Daughter, first came out, after I saw it with my family in the theater, naive teenager that I was, I wrote my own song about being my father’s daughter. Using the same tune as the original, I substituted “service man” for “coal miner” because that was what my dad was. He sold and serviced coin-operated machines. I remember the first two lines of the song I wrote.

 

I’m proud to be a service man’s daughter.

If you should see a broken jukebox, holler.

 

My parents immediately informed me that if I ever recorded that song, Lorretta Lynn would no doubt sue me. So, I gave up on that idea but still enjoyed listening to the sound track from the movie.

I recently picked up Lorretta Lynn’s memoir by the same name, published in 1976, which was the basis for the movie. I plan to review it here. So, please stay tuned. Meanwhile, enjoy the song.

By the way, My Ideal Partner and The Red Dress are now available on Smashwords as part of its sale to support those isolated by the coronavirus. This sale will run until the end of May. Please click here to visit my Smashwords author page and download these books. As always, thank you for reading.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

Take Me Out to the Ball Game #Excerpt #Book Promotion

Baseball season would have opened last week, but because of the coronavirus, who knows when that will happen? If my husband Bill were still alive, he would not be happy at the prospect of not listening to a game with his beloved Colorado Rockies on the radio.

In my latest book, The Red Dress, my main character Eve’s thirteen-year-old son Thomas, like Bill, is a Colorado Rockies fan. During this period of social isolation, he may have been ecstatic about not having to go to school, but he would no doubt be down in the dumps with no Colorado Rockies games for him to watch on television or attend with his father. The following excerpt demonstrates his devotion to this baseball team.

***

“Wow, two tickets to the Rockies game tonight!” Thomas said almost a week later.

On Monday morning, they were all gathered at the breakfast table, where he had been opening his birthday gifts.

Wearing a broad grin, he waved the tickets high. “Wait till Andy sees these. I’m the luckiest kid on the block!” Andy, who lived across the street, was Thomas’s best friend.

Greg, sitting next to Thomas, looked dazed. “Amazing, honey. How did you manage that? I heard that game was sold out weeks ago.”

“It was almost sold out,” answered Eve. “I got the last two tickets. They’re not the best in the house.”

“Let’s see them,” said Greg. Thomas handed them over, and Greg glanced at them and said, “These aren’t bad.”

“I can’t believe it,” said Thomas. “I’m going to another Rockies game! Mom, you’re the greatest!”

He leaped out of his chair and ran around to his mother’s side of the table to hug her. He then turned back to his father. “When should we leave, Dad?”

Greg consulted the tickets. “The game starts at 6:30, so we should leave here by 4:00. We’ll hit the freeway just at rush hour, so it’ll take us a while to get there.”

“I don’t want to miss the first pitch,” said Thomas, casting an anxious glance in his father’s direction.

“Don’t worry,” said Greg. “We won’t.”

***

Will Thomas and his father make it to the game on time? Will the Rockies win? Read the book, and find out.

By the way, for the next month, My Ideal Partner and The Red Dress are available on Smashwords as part of its sale to support those isolated as a result of the coronavirus situation. Please click here to visit my Smashwords author page and download these books. Thank you for stopping by.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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Vain Teenagers #excerpts #Thursday Book Feature

“Mom, where’s my Sugar Shack shirt?”
On a Saturday afternoon in June, Eve Sawyer turned from her computer with a sigh and faced her seventeen–year–old daughter, Julie, who was standing in her home office doorway, fresh from the shower, clad only in a long t–shirt.
“Oh, honey, I’m sorry. I’ve been so busy with the proofs for Always that I haven’t gotten around to putting away the laundry. It’s still in the dryer.”
Julie rolled her eyes. “God, I hate having a bestselling author for a mom.”
As she flounced away to the basement to retrieve her shirt, Eve turned back to her computer.
Julie reappeared a few minutes later, the garment slung over her arm. “I found it, Mom. Thanks. I’m running late, so can I use the car to get to work?”
“Sure. I’ll be busy with the proofs this afternoon, so I probably won’t be going out.”
“Thanks, Mom. By the way, the mail’s on the hall table.” Julie gave her mother a quick hug before hurrying upstairs to dress.
Eve shrugged. The only reason Julie had brought in the mail was that she was expecting the monthly issue of a teen magazine she enjoyed reading. Then again, Eve was proud of her daughter. Julie did well in school and would be starting her senior year in the fall. This summer, she’d found a job at a local ice cream parlor.
A few minutes later, Julie came thudding down the stairs and hollered, “See you later, Mom.”
***
Leaving the dog tied outside the store, Eve purchased hamburger and other items. After returning home and putting Ginger in the yard with a bone, she walked into the basement laundry room and groaned. Clean clothes were scattered on the floor and on top of the washer and dryer. She could never understand why the kids couldn’t put everything back in the dryer once they found what they needed.
She’d discussed this with them many times. Julie’s response had always been, “Mom, if you’d only put the clothes away when they’re dry, we wouldn’t have to hunt for them.”
Often, Eve had explained that she wasn’t the maid. She’d reasoned that her writing provided most of the income that paid for the house, food, clothing, and entertainment, and that when there was a deadline, that took priority.
Ashley and Thomas had always promised to try to do better, and Julie had always shrugged and said, “Whatever.”
***
The above excerpts are from my latest, The Red Dress. See below for more information. Thank you for reading today.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

I Will Always Love You #Monday Musical Memories

In 2005, when my late husband Bill proposed to me, he was living in Fowler, Colorado, and I, here in Sheridan, Wyoming. He sent me a cassette of love songs he’d downloaded from the Internet. If he could have given me another cassette containing more songs related to his eminent death in 2012, this would have been one of them.

With his declining health and paralysis, Bill thought that if he hung around, he’d only be in the way. He thought he wasn’t what I needed. If I’d spent more time with him after he moved to the nursing home, maybe he would have understood how much I valued his love and support.

The nursing home was only a temporary placement until he could get into a facility where he would have a room to himself with plenty of space for his recliner and computer. With a laptop, I could have easily worked away from home. If he’d waited, we both might have been happy for many years to come.

But what’s done is done and can’t be undone, according to Shakespeare. So, I can only hope that wherever he is, he still loves me after seven years apart. I will always love him.

By the way, you can learn more about Bill and me by reading My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. This book, along with my latest, The Red Dress, is available absolutely free this week as part of the Smashwords 11th Annual Read an eBook Week. Click here for more information and to download the books. Happy reading and thank you for stopping by today.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.