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Category Archives: of lives through books
November 28, 2011 by Mara Purl
I think as a child I probably loved Thanksgiving because of the future—it meant Christmas was coming soon! It was also a holiday I anticipated with great joy because it meant we’d go visit Grandma Dorothy. She married my step-grandfather late in life—but just in time for my sister and me to adore her. The house she shared with “Daddy Bob” was a classic New England cottage in Waterbury, Connecticut. Cape-Cod-Blue with white trim, it stood erect despite the steep street that seemed to slice under it.… Read more
November 21, 2011 by Mara Purl
Well, if Pie-In-The-Sky describes what can’t come true, perhaps “Mile High Tea” should be the new descriptor for what can. Why? Because anything Judith Briles touches actually does turn to gold. Judith was my hostess this past weekend for a gorgeous, elaborate and delightful tea at the lovely home where she and her husband, poet and editor John Maling, love to entertain.
So what do I mean by “gold”?… Read more
November 14, 2011 by Mara Purl
“Who done it?” Why do we get so caught up in solving mysteries? I have several readers—whose names I shall not divulge—who regularly e-mail me demanding to know who killed Chris, and whether she’s really dead, and when the crime will be solved! And I thought I was the only one who couldn’t sleep at night wondering about the characters of Milford-Haven!
My accomplished friend Margaret Coel has equally marvelous stories about the obsessive nature of readers and how involved they become with her characters. At our event last weekend, she recounted some of the “helpful suggestions” she receives regarding her two protagonists, and how their life-dilemmas might be solved.… Read more
November 7, 2011 by Mara Purl
Sometimes an evening with female colleagues is a rite of passage, a kind of test a woman can only pass by showing her authenticity. And sometimes a girlfriend-evening fulfills a basic need for time with those who share the same wiring.
Actually women have all kinds of ways of connecting. Sometimes the moments are brief—a quick lunch hour to catch up with a friend or get to know someone better. Other times it might be a special treat like afternoon tea—a chance to dress up and go someplace elegant, where the surroundings are inspiring enough to give us a fresh perspective.… Read more
November 1, 2011 by Mara Purl
Perhaps cracking the cover on an unknown book is something like opening the door to strange children on Halloween. “Trick or Treat” they cry. We consider it mostly an idle threat, because we know if we’ve opened the door at all, we’re going to deliver a treat, and therefore not expect to be tricked. And perhaps this is analogous to shelling out our twenty-five dollars for a hardcover book: we expect to receive a treat and we don’t expect to be tricked.
But what’s the point of fiction? Is it to trick the reader into thinking that the characters they’re reading about and the circumstances in which they find themselves are real?… Read more
October 24, 2011 by Mara Purl
A few years ago, when I was first searching for the right kind of special event for readers of my Women’s Fiction novels, I chose Afternoon Tea as the perfect thing. “Tea” seemed to signify both elegance and comfort, a chance to connect with others while taking a break from hectic schedules. And though men sometimes attend, the event itself has a feminine quality, with great attention to detail and style.
The first person I approached with this idea was my mother. A brilliant hostess, she grasped the concept instantly and offered her own home for a series of three events that I named Hospitali-Teas.… Read more
October 17, 2011 by Mara Purl
Don’t you love discovering a phrase that has embedded puns and multiple meanings? Gayle Shanks and Bob Sommer must’ve had fun when they chose this phrase as the name of their now-famous bookstore. The store itself has never changed hands, and remains in the marvelously creative and capable hands of the original owners. I had the pleasure of meeting these great folks last year at the Women Writing the West conference when they sat at my table for dinner.
My signing at their store last week was one of the highlights of my recent Phoenix-area book tour. A joint event with one of my favorite authors Donis Casey, our evening was built around my ongoing theme, “Head and Heart.” Is it with head or with heart that we write our books?… Read more
October 10, 2011 by Mara Purl
In our somewhat over-populated world (depending upon where we live), with centuries of human history behind us, it may seem that when it comes to the notion of discovering a new world, the ship sailed long ago. So if we want to experience something entirely new, get away to an undiscovered country and chart unknown waters, is our only option to pretend?
Since I write fiction, some might think I’d say yes. Yet there is both exterior and interior exploration, and my novel series explores both. On the external side—which we might also call a journey of the head—there’s plenty to engage the senses and challenge the mind.… Read more
October 3, 2011 by Mara Purl
It was a spectacular California early October Autumn day on the Central Coast: blue sky painted with whisps of cloud, sparkling water tracing the carved coastline, and just enough of a bite in the air to break out a jacket. Actually, this was a dress-up day, so the jacket was a pale silk leopard print, the skirt was leather and the shoes were high heels. Why the fancy duds? Today was High Tea in Santa Barbara, something I’d been looking forward to, something we’d planned for months.
There was an interesting twist in this plotline, however. The charity we’d been working with supports families to prevent homelessness and welfare dependency, especially in a tough economy.… Read more
September 12, 2011 by Mara Purl
Those of you who followed my recently concluded blog tour know that I wrote 50,000 words in 44 blog posts over 31 days. Whew! It was nothing if not intense. It was a fantastic virtual journey that took me all over the country and across the Atlantic, into many different worlds, some aligned with my own: writers and authors, readers and book reviewers; and some more far-flung: gardeners, PR executives, shopping mavens and travel experts.
It’s surprising how quickly a routine can establish itself. My daily schedule became: research upcoming blog host to see what his/her followers will find useful; write blog post essay; submit; answer upcoming blog questions; submit; interview blog host; write my own blog post as a thanks to the blog host.… Read more