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Category Archives: Finding treasures of the heart in books
February 13, 2012 by Mara Purl
Every journey has its especially sparkling moments, and for my Winter Western States Book Tour, this was it. Elegance and style, generosity and community, connections with old friends and new—a unifying experience for all. The setting—a historic home in the mountain canyons of Santa Barbara; the time—Valentine’s weekend; the opportunity—helping others.
I had the privilege of working with a superb charity in co-creating a fund-raiser/ friend-raiser author tea. This is truly my favorite kind of event because of its synergy—which makes it a win-win-win: for the charity, for the guests, and for the author. In this case, there’s a fourth winner: the community of Santa Barbara, which benefits so directly from the services this charity provides.… Read more
December 26, 2011 by Mara Purl
December 26th is Boxing Day with a wonderful tradition of its own. Observed in the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, it started as a day following Christmas when aristocrats, tasked with the welfare of those who worked on their estates, delivered boxes of food and gifts. In South Africa, the occasion evolved into the renamed Day of Goodwill in 1994, and in Ireland it’s called St. Stephen’s Day. The European tradition of giving gifts and money to those in need dates back to the Middle Ages.… Read more
December 19, 2011 by Mara Purl
I’ve known for a long time that there’s a connection between women and jewelry. In fact, that’s probably a connection I made at about age three. Was that when I first admired Mommy’s shiny baubles? Hmm. I think by then, I was actually asking for baubles of my own.
One of the earliest pieces to grace my collection was my very first charm bracelet. How I loved its shiny silver trinkets with their magical moving parts! Each time my parents took me someplace special, a new charm was added, until from every single link dangled a treasured memento: the Rockettes kicked up their legs all in a row; five candles poked through a birthday cake with pink enamel icing; a split oval twisted to become a heart.… Read more
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.”… Read more