Love Gardening? A book to help you share your green thumb with children.


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My garden suffered drastically from an early July hailstorm, but it seems to have rebounded recently. There are blossoms on the green beans, cucumbers, pumpkins and sugar snap peas. We have already eaten the first few peppers and tomatoes.

In the summer, there is nothing I love more than getting my hands in the dirt, pulling a few weeds, and watering. The garden to me, signifies potential. It is growth and roots, all in the same square footage.

Even better than quiet time in the garden are the moments when my children join me. They always have plenty of questions. Is this a pea or a weed? When can we eat these? Why do the bees like our garden? Should I water more? Why don’t we eat the weeds?

As they ask, I answer, and our conversations drift between legumes and life. Gardens grow vegetables and relationships.

If you love gardening, here is a book for you. This picture book is wonderful to read aloud to young children who are curious about plants and encourages time together sharing common interests: Come Out to the Garden by Rick January.

Come Out To The Garden Cover“Come out to the garden,” Granny calls to Mary Louise. It’s a beautiful, sunny day, and there are vegetables to be picked and a feast to be cooked! But Mary Louise points out there are plenty of vegetables growing in the cool shade of the porch, so why go out in the sun?

Together they pick baskets of corn, beans, and other vegetables, then cook them up and make a tasty, healthy feast. Come join the rhyme and discover the reason why Granny and Mary are dozing in the sun and purring like the cat. Maybe tomorrow, you too can pick some turnips and peas!

All books by BQB and WriteLife Publishing are available on Amazon, B&N, or can be ordered from your favorite local bookstore.


Preparing for #Pitchwars – Books for Writers


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#Pitchwars has turned into one of the greatest mentored writing contests ever. It includes chats, blogs, interviews, mentors, friendships, professional advice and more.

Congratulations to contest creator, Brenda Drake, and her team of mentors and assistants. This is truly a case of writers helping writers and it is fabulous for the writing community.

If you’re considering entering #Pitchwars, (you’ll need a completed novel by the August 2nd submission date) here are a few writing books to help you polish those pages, conquer tricky plot twists and add creativity to your characters and story.

WritinginCommunityWriting in Community by Lucy Adkins and Becky Breed

Writing in Community is a book of inspiration and encouragement for writers who want to reach deep within themselves and write to their fullest potential. There is magic in a successful writing group. This book helps writers tap into that magic, and with gentle wisdom and humor, experience unprecedented breakthroughs in creativity.



CompactCompWriter’s Handbook: A Compact Comp Book by Carl Adkins

Carl Adkins calls upon his broad teaching background that includes students from high school, community college, university undergraduate and graduate writing courses to address familiar writing problems in common sense language. In other words, this sensible writer’s handbook is truly user friendly.



All books by BQB and WriteLife Publishing are available on Amazon, B&N, or can be ordered from your favorite local bookstore.


Memoirs of Worth


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thunderboltI’ve read a few memoirs recently. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen and On Writing by Stephen King. In each one, I learned about life in a separate way; a different decade, a different religion, a different part of the country. In each of these, I was completely entertained by the writing. Memoirs are a fascinating way to live in another’s shoes throughout its pages.

Here are a few memoirs I would like to share with you that will transport you into the lives of these authors:

tutu-388x600My Life in a Tutu by Jackie Madden Haugh:

Sitting in the dark once again, Jackie waited for the familiar turn of the key to signal he was home safe. It was a night like so many before, but this time anger burned within her soul.
On March 11, 2001, the life she had known was shredded through the meat grinder that is infidelity. Jackie quickly spiraled out of control into a world of depression and self-loathing.

Looking back, she began to see that this one incident wasn’t the sole cause of her demise. A life of constantly striving to be perfect left her roots in shallow soil. And a debilitating fear persistently whispered, “It’s too late for you.” Would she ever be complete if not married?

As her four children became impatient with the demise of their supermom, Jackie realized it was time to take an accounting of how she let herself fall so low—or lose her children too.

Jackie spent months delving into her past despite wanting to run away from the task. After all, true recovery requires being brutally honest with all the pieces to the puzzle; not just the pain caused, but the role she played in it too.

nerdythirtyNerdy Thirty by Wendy Townly:

Set primarily in Omaha and small towns throughout Nebraska, “Nerdy Thirty” comically recounts the author’s “nerdy” experiences in elementary school, high school, college, and her twenties, leading up to her 30th birthday. The book celebrates awkward and unusual situations she found herself in, including: camping for the first time; spending a weekend at a rodeo; masquerading for a night as Audrey Hepburn; socializing at a lesbian bar; and finding her voice as a writer.


ready-200x300Ready, Fire, Aim! by Charles Ota Heller:

Under the best conditions, being an entrepreneur can be filled with anxiety and trepidation. Throw in some challenging circumstances, and trepidation turns to downright terror. Charles Ota Heller is a Holocaust survivor who arrived in the US as a penniless thirteen-year-old who spoke two words of English. Exhibiting strength, persistence, and determination, he earned an athletic scholarship to college and obtained three degrees in engineering. He became an academic at the cutting edge of new computer technology and was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.

Over the next twenty years as CEO of technology companies and an additional twenty as an investor in, and mentor of, startup companies, Charlie experienced the joys, successes, failures, and terrors of entrepreneurship. When the FBI attempted to shut down his company on a trumped-up charge, memories of World War II and the Gestapo filled him with the terror of uncertainty. He was betrayed by a member of his management team and was deposed from leadership of the company he founded. Then he discovered that his partner in a venture capital fund was dishonest and Charlie had to fight to maintain his own reputation.

Ready, Fire, Aim is the story of his riveting journey, told as a powerful, candid, engrossing adventure that will not only entertain but will leave present and budding entrepreneurs with valuable takeaways.

motherA Mother’s Dance by Pattie Welek Hall:

How does one measure the depth of a mother’s love? Pattie never thought it possible until she experienced every mother’s worst nightmare—twice.

With all three kids in college and thriving, Pattie is excited about embarking on her new career as community relations manager at Barnes & Noble. That is, until she receives word that her nineteen-year-old son has been admitted to the Medical University of South Carolina and tagged “John Doe” after he suffered a traumatic brain injury. Now her sole concern is to get to Charleston, 250 miles away, before he takes his final breath.

Although Casey is given only twenty-four hours to live, Pattie clings to her faith and refuses to accept her son’s death sentence. During Casey’s long and arduous healing, Pattie takes a hard look at the past—the kids’ tender childhood memories, their challenging teenage years, the skeletons in the closet, and the circumstances that have formed her into who she has become. When tragedy strikes again, Pattie must make a choice—to remain stuck in her grief or to step into the life she’s meant to create.

Moving and heart-wrenching, A Mother’s Dance is a story about hope, perseverance, self-discovery, hard choices, and most importantly about love . . . the sad and the wondrous.

All books by BQB and WriteLife Publishing are available from Amazon, B&N, or can be ordered from your favorite local bookstore.