Five Stars for A SUMMER IN EUROPE

A Summer in Europe

A Sum­mer in Europe

It’s been three years since I read this book, but I remem­ber it fond­ly, so obvi­ous­ly, it was mem­o­rable. At the time I reviewed it this way:

This is a sim­ple sto­ry told in a won­der­ful and com­plex style. It’s long, but there isn’t an extra word any­where. The author, Mar­i­lyn Brant, leads the read­er in a jour­ney through Europe with Gwen­dolyn Reese and a group of Amer­i­can and British tourists. You know how you see descrip­tion of tourist spots and your eyes tend to jump, or glaze over? NOT in this book, because each descrip­tion is so ingrained with emo­tions that the very street (or canal) becomes an inte­gral piece of the sto­ry. Now, that’s writ­ing tal­ent! At the bot­tom, it’s a romance, but also a ‘com­ing-of-age’ (at thir­ty!). And def­i­nite­ly a sto­ry of adven­ture, mys­tery, every-day-life, age differences—but that’s what I brought to it. Maybe you will bring some­thing else.”

Okay, I loved this book. And so did almost all of those who reviewed it on Goodreads.

One of my favorite reviews starts this way: “Oh this book is like sit­ting in the sun in the mid­dle of a Roman piaz­za while eat­ing a big scoop of gela­to. It’s love­ly and some­thing to be savored. Just about the only thing I did­n’t like about this book is that Gwen got to go to Europe for a month and I did­n’t. Yeah, I’m pret­ty jeal­ous of this fic­tion­al char­ac­ter!”

I dis­cov­ered this review­er is Meg and she’s a book blog­ger. I had to look up her blog. It’s one I want to fol­low.

Anoth­er review by Mere­deth (anoth­er book blog­ger) starts this way: a”*yawns and stretch­es* Sor­ry, please excuse my sleepi­ness, I’ve just returned from a fan­tas­tic sojourn in Europe and I’m just a teen­sy bit jet-lagged…

“Dur­ing the sum­mer she turns thir­ty, Gwen­dolyn Reese – an unso­phis­ti­cat­ed and inhib­it­ed mid­dle school math teacher that pas­sion­ate­ly loves lis­ten­ing to musi­cal sound­tracks – expects to be try­ing on wed­ding dress­es, pick­ing out flow­ers, and plan­ning a wed­ding with her boyfriend of two years. But instead she is being shang­haied by her aun­t’s S & M Club (S for Sudoku, M for Mahjongg – had you shocked there for a moment, did­n’t I?) to trav­el on their five week tour of Europe.”
That’s two blogs I want to fol­low. Per­haps you will too.

Free e‑book—A KNUCKLEHEAD IN 1920s ALASKA

A Knucklehead in 1920s AlaskaEvery Thurs­day I post some­thing I find inter­est­ing, hop­ing you will too. So, today’s inter­est­ing bit is about tomorrow—which is when one of my e‑books goes free for five days.

File it under both his­to­ry and mys­tery. The his­to­ry part is easy. The book is one I wrote with my father from audio tapes he gave me quite a few years ago about going to Alas­ka to earn col­lege mon­ey.  He was nine­teen, a hot-head­ed kid who did­n’t want to take any guff. Of course, guff is often what one gets from an employ­er, so he had a lot of dif­fer­ent jobs. He failed to blow him­self up car­ry­ing dyna­mite. He failed to drown when he and a horse end­ed up under the ice in a near-freez­ing riv­er. He even man­aged to sur­vive danc­ing with what they referred to as “a woman on the line” when her boyfriend showed up. In fact, after I heard my father’s adven­tures, I real­ized that it’s a mar­vel I was ever born. That’s the his­to­ry part.

The mys­tery part is at the tail end of this book, sort of a Thank You for reading—a reprint of my first short mys­tery, “Yes­ter­day’s News” pub­lished in Future’s Mys­te­ri­ous Mys­tery Mag­a­zine sev­er­al years ago.

A Knuck­le­head in 1920s Alas­ka e‑book is avail­able for Kin­dle. The free dates are Feb­ru­ary 27 through March 3, 2015. Do read and enjoy!

Mon­day, I’ll be back here, but I’ll be vis­it­ing Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers too.

A New e‑book

Two years ago I pub­lished A KNUCKLEHEAD IN 1920s ALASKA, aA Knucklehead in 1920s Alaska mem­oir of my father’s expe­ri­ences when he went to Alas­ka hop­ing to earn mon­ey for col­lege expens­es. I’ve now pub­lished it as a Kin­dle e‑book.

Here’s the blurb: At age eighty-eight, William (Bill) Collins record­ed his adven­tures as a young man who trav­eled to Alas­ka to earn mon­ey for col­lege. In the 1920s he found adven­ture, but not much mon­ey work­ing in the rail­road yards, in mines, as a pearl div­er (dish­wash­er), and any­thing else between.

Dur­ing three sum­mers and one win­ter, Bill sur­vived hunger, earth­quake, stomp­ing cari­bou, and ici­cle frost. He learned about stopes, sluice box­es, pow­der smoke, and the Fes­ti­val of the Mid­night Sun. He found friends who would face a bear for him and ene­mies eager to knife him or smash him with a twen­ty-pound sledge. Bill had one lucky day and more than a few real­ly bad days.

This is the sto­ry of one hot-head­ed young man deter­mined to earn his own way. In his own words, he was a true knuck­le­head.

~ ~ ~

I’ve includ­ed a bonus short mys­tery at the end, “Yes­ter­day’s News,” pre­vi­ous­ly pub­lished by Futures Mys­te­ri­ous Anthol­o­gy Mag­a­zine. Even bet­ter, the entire e‑book is free for those who pur­chase, or have already pur­chased, the paper­back from Ama­zon.

Now for a ques­tion: Do you know any inter­est­ing sto­ries from your par­ents or grand­par­ents that your chil­dren might be inter­est­ed in?

And anoth­er ques­tion: Have you ever con­sid­ered telling that sto­ry to a wider audi­ence?

And a hint: Those were the ques­tions I asked myself a few years ago, and with a bit of encour­age­ment, this was my answer.