Thursday, April 16, 2015

Is the Grass Really Greener on the Other Side?

Today I am sharing The Senator’s Wife by Sue Miller.  She is a new author for me. I of course saw the pretty cover that screamed “Read me!”   Are you a fan of this author?


Meri is just beginning her married life in a new town.  Her husband Nathan will be a college professor at the local college.  They move in across the street from their neighbor Delia Naughton who is married to the ex-senator Tom Naughton.  Delia and Tom share a checkered past where choices were made and consequences resulted.  What are these consequences?  Meri wants to know as she carries out her pregnancy.  Both women make choices that will either encourage a relationship or destroy it.  What will the final result be?

My Thoughts:

What did I think of Sue Miller’s writing?  I thought it was okay.  I might read another of her books.  What I found most interesting in this book was the comparison made between the couples Meri and Nathan and Tom and Delia.  Who really had the ideal marriage?  How do our choices impact others?  Another how do you forgive someone who does something you determine as unthinkable?

Who hasn’t struggled with these questions?  I also mentioned the grass is always greener.  Some people may seem curious to us because they don’t fit the framework of what we expect to see in a marriage or a family.  For me what I have learned is that forgiving is not an easy process but takes time.  I find that I am like Delia with choosing how to trust those who have hurt me. 

This novel was an interesting read.  I listened to the book on audio.  Blair Brown did a great job of narrating. 



Please visit Sue Miller on her Facebook page.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

You Are Invited!

It's time to celebrate!  I want to formally invite you to raise a glass with me at the official book launch party for THE SUMMER’S END at the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston, SC on Monday, May 18th at 6:30 p.m.  Invitation attached.  We want a proper launch for the end of the Lowcountry Summer trilogy!
Imagine strolling through the Aquarium at leisure--delicious food, wine, live music and books--while getting exclusive access to all of the exhibits, including the brand new Shark Shallows, and having a chance to tour the sea turtle hospital.  We're also making a special, exciting announcement!
If you’ve needed a good excuse to take a trip to Charleston (voted America’s #1 city four consecutive years in Conde Nast Magazine), this event is the perfect opportunity! 
We've arranged for a limited number of hotel rooms to be available at the Isle of Palms and downtown Charleston at a group discount rate under the name “Mary Alice Monroe Book Party”.  We are offering this opportunity to the ARTists before the public. So if you're interested, book now.  Here’s the hotel information:
The Palms Oceanfront Hotel                                                                   Francis Marion Hotel
1126 Ocean Blvd.,                                                                                       387 King St.
Isle of Palms, SC 29451                                                                              Charleston, SC 29403
843-886-3003                                                                                               843-722-0600
Group room rates available May 15- 18                                                 Group room rates available May 17-18
Reservation deadline:  April 24th                                               Reservation deadline:  April 17th

Thank you for your continued support.   I hope you can share this amazing event with me. After all, you’ve helped make my books a tremendous success.  I look forward to seeing the wings we will give to THE SUMMER’S END!

Much love,
Mary Alice

Monday, April 13, 2015

Spotlight on Flowers of Grace by Teresa Hirst

Flowers of Grace, a novel inspired by a true story, is a heart-wrenching book club choice that one reviewer called “a tribute to love and friendship.”

Set in an upscale St. Louis boutique amid a fragile economic climate when retail customers are trading brick and mortar stores for online shopping, Flowers of Grace is a story of love and loss, friendship and forgiveness.

Still mourning a broken engagement, Grace inherits a hibiscus with a legacy she fears she will kill. Doubt in her capacity to nurture anything prompts her to bring the plant into the clothing store she manages, and the dynamic personalities of the female staff band together to help it bloom. Grace and the hibiscus blossom through a wedding and a birth, but its unexpected death pushes her to face false assumptions, opening a path for new love to appear.

The simple gift is more than a plant. When it blooms, so does she.  But when it dies, she fears love will too.

Author Bio:

Teresa Hirst grew up in the Midwest with an imagination and creativity straight from the stories she consumed in her childhood. She put away her Harriet the Spy persona to attend Brigham Young University, where she studied journalism and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications, allowing her to engage in some legitimate people watching.

Today, she observes and tells insightful stories, both real and imaginary, that characterize our emotional experience with life. Teresa lives in Minnesota with her husband and teenage children. She is a Mormon choosing faith and gratitude to cope with neuroendocrine cancer. Teresa loves sentimental movies, Sunday afternoon walks and great conversations.

Find out more about her and her books at or subscribe to her blog at Find her online where she’s active on Goodreads and Facebook and other social media.

 Please visit  Teresa  on her Website, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google +
Flowers of Grace--perfect for Spring and Mother’s Day.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Inspiration from Anywhere! By Ekta R. Garg

Sometimes inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of places. 
Last year the kids and my husband and I were watching reruns on a Saturday afternoon of a popular 1980s sitcom. In one of the episodes a character announces his intention to bury a time capsule in the backyard and open it in 25 years, all in the name of proving how much he loves his wife. The show wound to its expected conclusion, but the idea of the time capsule stuck with me.

 I mulled the idea of a container used to preserve precious objects. What would happen, I thought, if the person who buried it couldn’t open it? What if someone else found that time capsule and then had to figure out what the contents meant?   

This small brushstroke of inspiration provided me with the sketch of the second story in my first book, Two for the Heart.
I write short stories and have begun publishing them in serial format. I named the series “Stories in Pairs”, and each book contains two stories. Both stories share a theme, which you find out from the title, and a link, which you discover after reading the stories.

The first book of the series, Two for the Heart, offers readers two stories about the power of love and how far it can take us if we let it lead. That’s the theme. The link comes from a character mentioned in passing in the first story, called “The Proposal”, becoming the main character in the second story, called “Remembrance”.

In “Remembrance” two sisters reunite after 11 years apart. They don’t want to have anything to do with one another, yet circumstances force them to come face to face. One of them suffers from temporary amnesia—my “time capsule” from the sitcom. While a person’s memory and a time capsule may differ, they perform the same function: they both hold items of importance. When a person loses access to either, the consequences can alter a life in drastic ways.

Of course I didn’t come up with the idea of temporary amnesia right away. That idea came after several brainstorming sessions and several story drafts. I knew from the beginning, however, that I needed to write a story about losing access to something precious and how that loss would affect my characters. After going back and forth with my editor on the story (in which she shook her head a lot and I scuffed the ground with my foot and tried to argue weakly why I really needed to keep the story elements that weren’t working) I finally published “Remembrance”.

Give yourself a lot of leeway when an idea catches your imagination. Just because it doesn’t work with a current work-in-progress doesn’t mean it won’t work in the future. Jot it down, either in a physical notebook or in a document on your favorite word processor. Then play what should be a writer’s favorite game—What if.

Keep playing it until you answer every story question, big or small, and don’t accept the first or even the second or third answers you find. Those answers are the ones that everyone expects and that have probably been done before, dozens of times over. Keep asking the question until you astound yourself. When you astound yourself, you’ll be more likely to amaze your readers. And when you get to that point of astonishment, that’s when you start writing.

Since the start of her publishing career in 2005 Ekta has edited and written about everything from health care to home improvement to Hindi films. She has worked for: The Portland Physician Scribe, Portland, Oregon's premier medical newspaper; show magazines for home tours organized by the Portland Home Builders Association;; The Bollywood Ticket; The International Indian; and the annual anthologies published by the Avondale Inkslingers, based in Avondale, Arizona.

In 2011 Ekta stepped off the ledge and became a freelancer. She edits short stories and novels for other writers, contributing to their writing dreams. She is also a part-time editor for aois21, and she reviews books for her own book review blog as well as NetGalley, TypeReel, and

Prairie Sky Publishing serves as the publishing arm of Ekta's professional writing blog, The Write Edge ( When she's not writing, Ekta is a domestic engineer--known in the vernacular as "a housewife." She's married, has two energetic daughters who keep her running, and she divides her time between keeping house and fulfilling her writing dreams.

Please reach Ekta Garg on Twitter, Facebook, Blog, and Goodreads.

To Purchase:  



Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Prequel to The White Queen

Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory tells the story of Jacquetta the mother of the White Queen.  Janet Mcteer did a fabulous job of portraying Lady Rivers in the White Queen series on Starz in the US.  What is her story?  How did the War of the Roses (Cousins War) start?


Lady Rivers story begins with meeting the prisoner Joan of Arc.  Jacquetta makes an interesting discovery that she is a descendant of Melusina which means that she has second sight.  Then Jacquetta is given in marriage to Duke of Bedford who primarily wants her for her skills.  Is she able to perform successfully?  What will she do when he dies?  Richard Woodville has known Jacquetta from the beginning of her marriage to the Duke of Bedford.   She takes a drastic step and marries Richard Woodville.  Will they be punished for marrying after the death of her first husband?  When Jacquetta is asked to go fetch Margaret of Anjou she is once again asked to use her skills again.  A friendship develops with the Queen of England.  Will the consequences increase as the years lead towards the Cousins War?

My Thoughts: 

I could not wait to read this novel after seeing The White Queen on Starz!  The one question I had was how did the Cousins War begin?  I found the answer in this novel.  I often find when reading a Philippa Gregory novel that I need to refer to a timeline to understand the players involved.  The characters are beautifully crafted.    The story is researched well to create an interesting plot! 

I always wonder how Ms. Gregory does it!



Please visit Philippa Gregory on her Facebook page, Twitter, and her Website.