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.

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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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Seen and Unseen #TMI Tuesday

I originally wasn’t planning to do TMI Tuesday this week because I found a couple of the questions strange, to say the least. But after reading Lynda McKinney Lambert’s post, I was inspired. So, here goes.

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What’s invisible but you wish you could see?

 

Because I’m visually impaired, there are some things I can’t see. For example, on the rare occasion I go to a movie, if I sit close enough to the screen, I can catch most of what goes on. But I can’t read subtitles or most other printed material. So, I must depend on whoever I’m with to read and describe things for me. Our small-town local movie theater doesn’t have audio description.

 

Would you rather watch your neighbor(s) having sex while you are in the same room or anonymously watch your parents having sex?

 

I don’t want to watch anyone having sex. I don’t even like reading books with graphic descriptions of lovemaking. To me, sex is a private matter and not relevant to most stories.

 

For what are you nostalgic?

 

I long for the days before COVID-19. Although things are gradually getting back to normal here in Sheridan Wyoming, many large gatherings, including our annual rodeo, have been canceled. Although I’m not a fan of rodeos, I understand the negative effect this cancelation will have on our local economy, which is driven by tourism. Normally, I’d be looking forward to band concerts in the park starting in July, but I doubt that will be happening this year. Then again, it could be worse. So, I’m not complaining.

 

What is an unwritten rule where you work?

 

Since I work from home and live alone, I have no rules except for when my cleaning lady comes. I ask her to refrain from moving anything because no doubt I wouldn’t see well enough to know where she put it. Most of the cleaning ladies I’ve had have been  very good about this.

 

Which body part do you wish you could detach and why?

 

I don’t want to detach any body parts. As a caregiver for my late husband, I’ve seen, firsthand, the difficulty caused by not having the use of certain body parts. If you want to learn more, read My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

 

Bonus: What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home?

 

My brother in Florida purchased a robot vacuum cleaner and named her Peggy. She doesn’t even look like a vacuum cleaner. She resembles a toy flying saucer rolling across the floor. She does pretty well when she’s not hung up on throw rugs and other items that end up in her way.

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Now, it’s your turn. Click here to learn how you can participate. Alternatively, you can put your answers in the comment field below. Don’t feel you have to answer all the questions, especially the second one. It’s a doozy!

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, my latest book, 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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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

 

My Kind of Character #Open Book Blog Hop

This week, blogger Stevie Turner asks us writers what types of characters we like to read and create. I prefer characters who are down to earth and easy to understand. I also try to develop my characters as the book progresses.

Take, for example, Eve, the main character in my latest, The Red Dress. She’s a best-selling author with a husband and three kids. As the book opens, she’s spending more time with her writing and not always paying attention to her family. Laundry often falls by the wayside, and most of the meals she prepares are ready-made.

As the book progresses, Eve is forced to face her past after receiving a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and meeting her former best friend from high school by chance. She then realizes that her family is just as important as her work and that she needs to create more of a balance. In the following excerpt, she explains to her old friend how she is evolving.

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“What’s this? Miss Independence let you make her lunch!” said Adele with a smirk after the teens  had departed.

Eve laughed. “I beat her to it. Greg and I got up and went for a run together, something we hadn’t  done in what seems like a long time. When we got back, while Greg was frying eggs, I made the  sandwiches and put them in the fridge so they’d be all ready to go. I half expected Julie to be  mad, but she surprised me by giving me a hug and thanking me.”

“That’s great.”

“I’m planning to make Jan’s meatloaf recipe tonight. Everyone loved it when I made it before. Jan  gave me a couple of other recipes I’m going to try.”

“You’re becoming quite the chef, aren’t you?”

Eve sighed. “Lately, I’ve been too busy writing and marketing my books, and I haven’t been paying a  lot of attention to my family. That’s about to change.”

“You just finished a book. Won’t that be a problem when you start your next one?”

“Not if I don’t make it one,” said Eve. “I just need to establish some priorities. My agent and  publisher aren’t too demanding. As long as I can produce a book a year, they’re happy.”

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So, where does this conversation take place? Who are the departing teens, and where are they going? Is Adelle the former best friend from high school, and what ruined their friendship? Why would Julie be mad at her mother for making her a peanut butter sandwich? Who’s Jan? Read The Red Dress and find out.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, my latest book, 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.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

Memoir Pays Tribute to Country Music Icon #Thursday Book Feature

Me & Patsy Kickin’ Up Dust: My Friendship with Patsy Cline

by Loretta Lynn

Foreword written by Dolly Partton

Copyright 2020

 

What Amazon Says

 

Me & Patsy Kickin’ Up Dust shares the “important and inspiring” (Miranda Lambert) never-before-told complete story of the remarkable relationship between country music icons Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn.

Loretta Lynn and the late Patsy Cline are legends–country icons and sisters of the heart. For the first time ever Loretta tells their story: a celebration of their music and their relationship up until Patsy’s tragic and untimely death.

Full of laughter and tears, this eye-opening, heartwarming memoir paints a picture of two stubborn, spirited country gals who’d be damned if they’d let men or convention tell them how to be. Set in the heady streets of the 1960s South, this nostalgia ride shows how Nashville blossomed into the city of music it is today. Tender and fierce, Me & Patsy Kickin’ Up Dust is an up-close-and-personal portrait of a friendship that defined a generation and changed country music indelibly–and a meditation on love, loss and legacy.

 

My Thoughts

 

In this book, not only does Loretta talk about her friendship with Patsy, she also tells part of her story after Patsy’s death, explaining how Patsy inspired her after she passed. The Audible version is narrated by Loretta’s daughter, Patsy Lynn Russell, who was born after Patsy’s death and named after her. Patsy does an excellent job. I felt as if Loretta, not her daughter, was telling me her story. I almost cried at the end when Loretta says that if you listen to Patsy Cline’s songs, she’s singing them just for you.

Well, Patsy Cline was singing just for me and my late husband Bill. Her rendition of “True Love” was on the cassette of love songs Bill sent me after he proposed. You can learn more about that by reading My Ideal Partner.

Meanwhile, if you like Loretta Lynn’s or Patsy Cline’s music, I encourage you to read Loretta’s touching tribute. Then, see how many of Patsy’s songs you can find on Amazon Music or other such services.

***

By the way, if you use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, my latest book, The Red Dress, is now available on the site. Click here to download the book.

 

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.

 

TMI Tuesday June 9 2020

Here are my answers to this week’s questions. After you read them, you’ll find out how to participate.

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  1. What is your phone screensaver at the moment? I don’t have a smart phone, but I have a pretty smart candy bar phone. It doesn’t have a screen saver.
  2. What is currently on your playlist? (list top 5) The top five songs on my playlist are: “I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You” from The Mask of Zorro, “I Could Fall in Love” by Celina, “Oh Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison, “Through the Eyes of Love,” the theme from Ice Castles by Melissa Manchester, and “True Love by Patsy Cline. These were all included on a cassette of love songs my late husband Bill sent me after he proposed. You can read more about that in My Ideal Partner.
  3. What are your last three internet searches? While working on a review of Me and Patsy Kickin’ Up Dust, I searched for pages about Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, and Dolly Parton. My review of this book will go live here Thursday. So, stay tuned.
  4. What is your favorite sandwich filling? I love tuna salad but don’t eat it often. I don’t always want to take time to make it and don’t go out often, thanks to the pandemic, although some restaurants are opening now. Not many of them have tuna salad sandwiches on their menus.
  5. What is one staple item all men should own? Razor blades. If I had a dollar for every time Bill’s chin was stubbly, especially after he had his strokes and couldn’t shave on his own…

Bonus: If you couldn’t be convicted of any one type of crime, what criminal charge would you like to be immune to? I’m a goodie two-shoes. I don’t kill. I don’t steal. I don’t do drugs. I don’t even jaywalk if I can help it. So, if I commit a crime, I deserve to be punished.

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Now, it’s your turn. To learn how to play TMI Tuesday, click here. Alternatively, you can answer any or all the questions in the comment field below. Any way you do it, I look forward to reading what you have to say. 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.