Sunday Salon #Bloggiesta Edition

logo for The Sunday SalonGood morning!

Time: // 8:37 am.

The scene: // Sunny and but not as warm as it looks. We may get rain later. The weather forecaster promises a spring-like week ahead after a rather dreary return to winter last week — we even, unexpectedly, woke to snow one morning!

Listening to: // Nothing yet.

Fairest by Marissa MeyerReading: // I read Fairest by Marissa Meyer in about 24 hours, finishing last night. I’ll read anything set in that world, but it wasn’t my favorite. For me to love a book, I have to be able to root for the characters. The book about the villain of this world was never going to make me as happy as the other story lines.

Blogging about: // Bloggiesta. I’ve been updating my original to-do list post. I started strong, but I’ve been getting less and less done through the week. One distraction, kind of related, was the Day in the Life posts that Trish at Love, Laughter, and Insanity timed to go with Bloggiesta. I posted a recap of Tuesday (one of my better Bloggiesta days) and I’m still working to get around to read everyone else’s. I also posted the results of Ms. Bookish’s mini-challenge to collect a treasure trove of post ideas. Check out and tell me if you want to see any of those posts.

If, in all the excitement, you missed the British Isles Friday post, I shared photos of Buckingham Palace and Mark of Carstairs Considers shared a couple of cozy mystery reviews that sound fun.

Participating in// I’m enjoying the Verbal to Visual Classroom. I made this piece to celebrate Sunday Salon and Bloggiesta:

Illustrated Henry Wadsworth Longfellow quote

This quote by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is from the poem Morituri Salutamus delivered at the 50th anniversary of the class of 1825, Bowdoin College

What are you up to this fine Sunday?

Signature of Joy Weese Moll

Posted in Blogging, Sunday Salon | 7 Comments

My Treasure Trove of Blog Post Ideas #Bloggiesta

Bloggiesta Spring 2015Belle Wong, aka Ms. Bookish, provided Bloggiesta with a mini-challenge to create a treasure trove of blog post ideas. Check out the prize she’s offering — gorgeous art cards!

I tried three of her methods and came up with more than the dozen ideas required to meet the challenge. Here are my best 12 and the methods I used to produce them.

Brainstorm

  • A weekly pictorial report about my vegetable garden this growing season
  • A favorite quote made as an illustration
  • A description of my current writing process
  • A round-up of books about the code-breaking during World War II in England

Feed Inspiration

  • My favorite souvenirs (after books) — scarves!
  • My best books bought abroad (plus ones that weren’t worth the weight)
  • My cancer survival story
  • A round-up of books about drawing for adults

Blog Topic Generator

(I used these for inspiration and changed the suggestions to suit my topics better)

  • 15 Best blogs to follow about sketchnoting
  • Why I love visual note taking (and you should, too!)
  • How to solve the biggest problems — by reading book
  • 5 Tools every reader should be using

So, what do you think? Are any of these posts that you want to see?

Posted in Blogging | 6 Comments

A Day in the Life of a Book Blogger

Day in the Life EventTrish at Love, Laughter, and Insanity is hosting a fun event today — she asked book bloggers to record a day’s activities and share them.

I chose Tuesday — which wasn’t really a typical day because it was Bloggiesta, but it was very oriented toward my book blog so I thought it would be a fun one to examine.

6:30. Early rise because we had a plumber coming to install shut-offs. We’re doing a powder room renovation, right now, but the plumber was here to fix things in a way that our next renovation will go more smoothly.

Drew water in the bath for the toilet, cleaned the kitchen while I had water to do it, filled the electric tea kettle, and filled a couple of pots in case we needed to do a bit of washing while the water was off.

7:00. Updated the exercise, weight loss, and Beck book threads at the 3 Fat Chicks forum — my major support network for maintaining a healthy lifestyle as a recovering overeater.

Read email and checked Facebook.

8:15. Oops! It’s trash day. Took out the trash.

Royal Airs by Sharon Shinn8:30. Ate breakfast while reading Royal Airs by Sharon Shinn on my phone. Usually, I have three books going — print ones at the table and in the bath, plus one on my phone for wherever. But, this renovation project is kind of stressful so I keep going back to Sharon Shinn, an author I find incredibly calming.

9:00. Promoted the Readers’ Workout post by tweeting to participants. While I was there I tweeted for #Bloggiesta the links of two bloggers who are looking for input on their new meme ideas:

9:30. Added a new member to the ever-growing mailing list for the Community for Understanding and Hope (CFUH) Book Group — I usually call it the Diversity Book Club on this blog for clarity.

10:00 – 3:00. Writing Bee! Writing Bee is the name that a friend and I have given to a twice-weekly virtual writing date that we’ve been doing for several years now. Most of the time I write, natch, during the Writing Bee. But, for Bloggiesta, I spent the time doing blog and social media chores. Since a platform is a vital component of a modern writing career, we consider those tasks fair game for our Writing Bees.

Bloggiesta Spring 201510:00. Commented on ten more Bloggiesta sign-up posts, including Florinda’s at the 3 R’s Blog where I learned about the Day in the Life project. Visited bloggers who commented on my blog in the first 24 hours or so of Bloggiesta.

11:30. Found the three e-books lurking in my email and downloaded them to the appropriate devices where they might actually get read. Made note of them on a Trello board to prompt the reading and help me schedule deadlines. (I’ve been using Trello since the beginning of the year, so I’m really looking forward to the mini-challenge on Trello put together by Kassiah at Pretty Sassy Cool.) This was all messy and awkward because I don’t deal with e-books enough to be very comfortable with my devices or the apps. But I got there!

12:07. The water’s back on! Fixed and ate lunch.

12:45. Found the four review requests lurking in my email. Most review requests get deleted immediately. Any request that remains held some interest for me. I decided to remove two, request the third, and sign up for a tour of the fourth.

2:00. Distracted by a long conversation with Rick, a friend of ours who came by to look at the plumbing and powder room, and the contractor working on the powder room. But, we decided how we wanted the tile laid out so it wasn’t a wasted distraction.

2:30. Archived and deleted old emails related to the blog and tracked down the winner of my most recent giveaway who hadn’t responded to the original email.

3:00. Writing Bee was over, but I wanted to make up for the time I spent chatting, so I completed Suey’s mini-challenge on Twitter by trying out Twubs. To test it, fully, of course, I had to chat a bit with other people who were hanging out on the #Bloggiesta hashtag.

3:30.  Took a break, ate a snack, and cleaned the kitchen with more than the normal amount of appreciation for running water.

3:50. Revised the CFUH schedule to accommodate two leaders who wanted to swap months. Sent the updated schedule to the mailing list. Requested the next book for myself from the library.

4:00. Updated my Bloggiesta list. Completed the Pin Your Author Interviews mini-challenge hosted by Lindsay from Nighttime Reading Center. Here’s my new Author Interview Pinterest board.

4:30. Commented on 10 more Bloggiesta sign-up posts.

4:50. Fixed supper so that it would be ready in time for the Bloggiesta Twitter chat.

6:00. Ate supper while watching the Twitter chat fly by and participating a little.

7:00. Cleared out all the tweet notifications in email and handled the few true emails immersed among them.

Once Upon a Time Season 37:20-8:00. Did strength-training and stretching while watching Once Upon a Time via Netflix on my computer.

8:00. Snack and reading break.

8:30. Wrote a plan for Wednesday, for tasks and food.

9:00. Commented on the remaining Bloggiesta sign-up posts.

10:00. Read a bit and went to bed.

That was my day! How was yours?

Signature of Joy Weese Moll

 

 

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A Glimpse of Buckingham Palace #BriFri #Photos

British Isles Friday logoWelcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British-themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!


After our day at the Science Museum learning about steam engines and computers, we took a second walk through St. James’s Park. This time, I guided us toward Buckingham Palace. We weren’t interested in the crowds surrounding the Changing of the Guard, but I did want to see the place!

It turns out, getting a good photo of Buckingham Palace is very difficult, especially with the rapidly changing English light. I’m guessing that early morning might work better than nearly sunset.

Buckingham Palace, London

Buckingham Palace with the Victoria Memorial in front

The Victoria Memorial, London

The Victoria Memorial, featuring a statue of Queen Victoria and topped by a golden Winged Victory

Flag over Buckingham Palace

The Union Jack told us that the Queen was not in residence (she was on her annual summer holiday at Balmoral). If she were in residence, the flag would be the Royal Standard.

Do you have any tips for photographing Buckingham Palace? Are there iconic sites you’ve been to that seemed impossible to capture on film?



Posted in British Isles Friday | 1 Comment

Going out like a lion #ReadersWorkouts

Readers' workouts

banner designed by Isi

Welcome to Readers’ Workouts, the weekly event where book lovers share workout stories, goals, successes, and challenges.

I’m still right on track for finishing my goals this month — I’ve done 990 of 1300 minutes of exercise, 6 of 8 strength-training sessions, and 18 of 21 days with 8000 steps or more. It’s a good thing I’m on track because we’re going to have some challenging spring weather over the next few days — rain followed by some cooler temperatures. I may need to follow some of my winter routines again.

How are you doing with your exercise goals in March?

For Readers’ Workouts, talk about your fitness activities on your blog (feel free to grab the logo) and link to your post below or join us in the comments! Be sure to visit the other participants to see how we all did.



Posted in Readers' Workouts | 8 Comments

My Bloggiesta Plan

Bloggiesta Spring 2015I’m so excited for the first-ever week-long Bloggiesta! Bloggiesta is a fun working party to make our blogs all nice and spiffy — spring-cleaning for the website.

In case you didn’t see it earlier, I’m running a mini-challenge for this Bloggiesta about Making Memes. Check it out! I have a very low-commitment level to join, so if you’ve ever wanted to have a good think about whether or not you want to host a meme, this is the perfect opportunity!

The Bloggiesta folks organized the Twitter chats for each day by a theme, so I’m going to follow the same themes to organize my goals this week.

Here’s the plan:

Sunday — Preparation. This is my standard list of what I do at the beginning of Bloggiesta.

Monday — PEOPLE.

  • Comment on Bloggiesta sign-up posts
  • Complete a people-oriented mini-challenge  Estella’s Revenge feed reader challenge
  • Look into nReply and other comment notifiers to put on my blog On hold while I decide about JetPack which might do the job for me
  • Think about how to establish a habit of replying to all comments on my blog
  • Look into Feedly
  • Think about how to establish a habit of reading blogs more regularly
  • 3pm Central Time: participate in Twitter chat on Comments and Followers

Tuesday — E-PRESENCE.

  • Complete a social media mini-challenge Suey’s Twitter Chat Tutorial
  • Catch up on Google Plus.
  • Think about how to establish a habit of using Google Plus more
  • Clean up all emails that are related to my blog
  • Reorganize my Pinterest boards
  • Think about how to make better use of Pinterest Lindsay’s Pin Your Author Interviews
  • Clean up my Twitter follows
  • 6pm Central Time: participate in Twitter chat on Social Media

Wednesday — DISPLAY.

  • Complete a display-oriented mini-challenge
  • Clean up my Categories
  • Update the Health Books page
  • Set up a Books Read page
  • 11am Central Time: participate in Twitter chat on layout

Thursday — REVIEWS.

  • Complete a mini-challenge about blog posts
  • Write all out-standing reviews
  • Draft other future posts
  • (no Twitter chat for me on Thursday because I’ll be learning about Witnessing Whiteness at a community meeting)

Friday — ORGANIZE.

  • Complete an organization mini-challenge Two, actually: a Treasure Trove of Post Ideas offered by Ms. Bookish and the mini-challenge on Trello by Kassiah at Pretty Sassy Cool
  • Finish the Books Read page if I didn’t get it done on Wednesday
  • Work on new habits for G+, Pinterest, email, and blog-reading
  • 8pm Central Time: participate in Twitter chat on organization

Saturday — BOOKS and READING.

  • Complete a mini-challenge about books and reading
  • Consider how I’m doing on my 2015 challenges and plan to make progress
  • Read something Fairest by Marissa Meyer
  • (No Twitter chat for me on Saturday because I’ll be attending a family gathering, an early Easter celebration to accommodate a college student on spring break)

Sunday — FEEDBACK and FREE FOR ALL.

  • Complete a mini-challenge that looks like fun
  • Investigate plug-ins that might help my site’s speed, security, or SEO
  • 2pm Central Time: participate in “free for all” Twitter chat

If I get even half of all that done, it will be a very good week! Are you joining the Bloggiesta party?

Signature of Joy Weese Moll

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Making Memes — a Spring 2015 Bloggiesta Mini Challenge

Bloggiesta Spring 2015Welcome to the Making Memes Mini-Challenge of Bloggiesta Spring 2015!

If this is the first you’re hearing of Bloggiesta, learn about this fun event for spiffing up your blog at the Sign Up post.

If you’re here to participate in the Making Memes Mini-Challenge, let’s get started! I wrote a Making Memes post last spring for Armchair BEA about how I started the two memes at Joy’s Book Blog, Readers’ Workouts and British Isles Friday. Today is less about my experience and more about how you can do it, too!

master list book blogging memesIntroducing Memes

The word “meme” has several uses on the internet. The meme we’re exploring today is a regular event on a blog where a host blog invites bloggers to link up posts with related content. These events are also called “link-ups” or “link parties.” Most frequently, link parties are held every week on the same day, but they can also be monthly or every other week.

Tanya at GirlXOXO has been maintaining a Master List of Book Blogging Memes — check them out!

Considering Memes

Participating in memes is a great way to generate content for your blog and to make connections with other bloggers. Hosting a meme has the same advantages on a larger scale — just like the difference between going to a party and planning one yourself.

British Isles Friday logoThe most compelling reason to start a meme is because you want to share and encourage a particular type of content. Make sure that you’re really excited about it because you’ll need to generate posts week after week. When you’re participating in memes, it’s no big deal to skip a week or more. When you’re hosting, people count on you to be there so skipping a week isn’t an option. Even for vacations you’ll want to pre-schedule posts or get a participant to be a guest host for that week.

The most common question I get when people are considering starting a meme is “What if I throw a link party and no one shows up?” My advice is to start a meme that is so important or so fun for you that you don’t mind if there are weeks when you’re partying by yourself. It’s rare for Readers’ Workouts or British Isles Friday to have zero participants, but it happens occasionally. Even one participant makes me happy because that’s enough for a conversation. Just when I think the meme is dying for lack of interest, I’ll get six participants some week. There’s no rhyme or reason to when a meme gets low or high participation, so don’t drive yourself crazy about it.

Planning a Meme

If those considerations didn’t scare you off, here’s what you need to know to get started:

new Weekend Cooking logoYour theme. Check Tanya’s Master List of Book Blogging Memes to make sure your idea isn’t already being done and as inspiration for new ideas. Some memes require advance planning. Life of a Blogger, for example, sets up a prompt each week ahead of time so bloggers know what topic to write about. Other memes are organized around a theme that doesn’t change from week to week, like Wondrous Words Wednesday or Weekend Cooking.

Your day. Again, the Master List will be helpful. If you know that many of your blog readers participate in Mailbox Monday and Friday Finds, you’ll probably want to choose a different day of the week for your meme.

Your location. Some memes, like Booking Through Thursday, have a separate website, keeping things neat and tidy. Most memes, though, are at the host’s blog. Memes can drive traffic, so if you care about that, put the meme on the site where you want the most readers.

Your tool. Some memes collect links in the comments, but most use a tool to gather all the links into a list.

I use Mister Linky. I got started with it during the spring 2012 Bloggiesta with this mini challenge. The free version was fine for the beginning. With the free version, you get to have only one list open at a time — so last week’s link party had to be closed before the new one could be opened. For $5 a year, I was able to get a Silver membership that allows for unlimited link lists to be open at the same time. That was helpful when I wanted to pre-schedule posts during a vacation and it also made it possible to host two different link parties in one week.

Top Ten TuesdayAnother popular tool for book bloggers is InLinkz. See last week’s Top Ten Tuesday for an example of how that looks. The user interface on InLinkz appears to be prettier and easier than Mister Linky and there’s a free version to get you started. Upgrades, though, cost a bit more at InLinkz.

Your logo. As you can see from the examples used to decorate this post, logos can be simple or complicated. Some memes don’t have logos, but most do. Your participants will appreciate having a graphic to add to their posts and they make your meme easy to advertise on social media. Many meme logos are 200 x 200 pixels, but you can make yours a little larger in one dimension or another for something a little different.

Promoting Memes

Before the First Party. You can just throw open the doors and see who shows up, but you’ll get more participants the first week if you give people some warning. I got British Isles Friday off to a good start with a post soliciting input about the idea during last spring’s Bloggiesta. Several bloggers helped me shape the idea and, then, graciously showed up for my first week.

Reminders. Each Tuesday and Friday, I tweet a link to this week’s Readers’ Workouts or British Isles Friday post on Twitter with the @handle of people who have participated in these memes in the past. Other memes set up an email newsletter that goes out when the meme is up and running — I would imagine this would be particularly effective for those memes that run less frequently than once a week.

Comment on all posts. Comments encourage bloggers to participate in your meme again. Not commenting on the participating posts is as impolite as a host ignoring a party guest. This rule can be waived if your participant list gets too numerous, of course. By then, you’ve probably built a community where participants are commenting on each other’s posts, so you can keep the energy high by commenting on a few posts each week, making sure that you’re getting around to most of the blogs every month or two.

Follow-up. Some meme hosts post all the participant links on a site like Pinterest or Google Plus. By tagging participants on those sites, they will get a notice, reminding them that they might want to think about a post for the next week’s gathering.

Completing the Challenge

Are you interested in starting a meme? Try one of these challenge levels:

Toe Dipper. Act as if you’re going to start a meme and choose your theme, day, and location. Write a post about your idea or share it in the comments to solicit input from the Bloggiesta community.

Cautious Optimist. Take your idea a step farther by choosing a link list tool and designing your logo. Share in a post or the comments so we can admire your preparation.

Super Star. Given that this Bloggiesta is a week long, there may be a few people who get their memes up and running. Congratulations! Let us know in the comments so we can all join in your link party.

Questions? Comments? Problems?

Signature of Joy Weese MollLet me know what you’re thinking, where things are going wrong, and how I, or the Bloggiesta community, can help you set up your meme. We can talk in the comments or shoot me an email (all three of my names at yahoo.com) or tweet (@joyweesemoll).

Posted in Blogging, Events | 16 Comments

Computers, Models, Clocks at the Science Museum, London #BriFri #Photos

British Isles Friday logoWelcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British-themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!


Last week, I posted photos of the steam engines at the Science Museum in London, but there are many more displays. Here are some of the others we visited.

Computers. My heroine in college as a baby computer programmer was Lady Ada Lovelace, often considered the first programmer because she designed algorithms for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine. So, it was a real thrill for me to see some of Charles Babbage’s early machines. I’d seen drawings — I didn’t realize that there were extant examples of his work.

Analytical Engine by Charles Babbage, Science Museum, London

The Analytical Engine was never completed. Here’s the portion of the Analytical Engine that was finished when Charles Babbage died. According to the sign, it “would have been over 4 metres tall and 6 metres long, and probably powered by steam.

Punch cards for the Analytical Engine by Charles Babbage, Science Museum, London

According to the sign, “The Analytical Engine would have been programmed using punched cards, an idea Babbage took from looms used to weave patterned cloth.” These remind me of the punch cards for my dad’s computer at work and my first programming class.

Rick got a kick out of seeing the first computer he worked on in a display case at a museum.

PDP-8 minicomputer, Science Museum, London

The PDP-8 Minicomputer. The oldest computer I worked on in college was the next generation, the PDP-11.

Science in the 18th Century. The King George III collection of scientific instruments was very helpful in our understanding of the scientific revolution and how it filtered out to the middle class, making the steam engine revolution possible. It became fashionable to attend scientific lectures with demonstrations, even for women. The wealthy, like King George III, collected models and instruments. Of course, they were made beautiful as well as functional for that purpose.

Model of Newcomen Engine, Science Museum, London

Rick (reflected) examining a model of a Newcomen steam engine.

Measuring Time. Also fitting into our fascination with 18th century science, the clock and watch exhibit built on the experience we had at Greenwich the day before.

Measuring Time exhibit, Science Museum, London

From the sign, “Accurate timekeeping was highly prized, attracting the finest craftsmen. Clock- and watchmakers pioneered precision in manufacture and an understanding of materials that underpinnned engineering. Early craftsmen, labouring in small domestic workshops, learned to subdivide production into separate specialised tasks — inventing mass production before the factory system.”

More photos of our trip to the Science Museum and other sites in England are in my Flickr photostream.



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Do the Work! by Steven Pressfield #BookReview

Book: Do the Work : Overcome Resistance and get out of your own way by Steven Pressfield
Genre: Nonfiction
Publisher: The Domino Project
Publication date: 2011
Pages: 98

Source: From the publicist

Do the Work! by Steven Pressfield

Do the Work! by Steven Pressfield — an unconventional cover with no title or author. It’s a drawing by Vincent Van Gogh.

Summary: Do the Work! carries on the message of The War of Art, the book that was the New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge read along selection that we discussed in three parts:

The War of Art introduced the concept of Resistance as the force that keeps us from our creative work. The first book provided tools for combating Resistance. In Do the Work!, we examine how Resistance dogs us each step of the way while completing a creative project along with specific advice about how to handle each of its different guises.

Thoughts: If you have a shelf-full of writing books, like I do, but haven’t written that much (also like me — although I seem to have had a break-through at the beginning of 2015, knock on wood), then Do the Work! might help you apply what you already know to do the job at hand.

Start with structure. An early discussion in the book reminded me of Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder, The Writer’s Journey by Chris Vogler, and Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. Whether you rely on these more complicated structure approaches or stick with the simple Three-Act Structure advocated by Pressfield, any project begins with structuring the idea in order to get past the tyranny of the blank page.

Do the first draft fast. Pressfield puts it as “One rule for first full working drafts: get them done ASAP.” Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird advised writing lousy first drafts.  To Chris Baty, the inventor of NaNoWriMo and author of No Plot? No Problem!, a month is the right amount of time to spend on a bad first draft of a novel. Somewhere in here is when the creative person gets to experience the other force of nature, the one opposing Resistance, Assistance:

A work-in-progress generates its own energy field. You, the artist or entrepreneur, are pouring love into the work; you are suffusing it with passion and intention and hope. This is serious juju. The universe responds to this. It has no choice. p. 44

Step back and reflect. Pressfield calls a “team meeting” with himself twice a week to take higher-level look at the project:

Pause and reflect. “What is this project about?” What is its theme?” “Is every element serving that theme?” p. 48

Be prepared for the Big Crash.

The Big Crash is so predictable, across all fields of enterprise, that we can practically set our watches by it. p. 72

The solution is 2-fold:

1. The problem is not us. The problem is the problem.
2. Work the problem. p. 78

Ship. This is Seth Godin’s big thing (no accident that he’s the force behind The Domino Project that published Do the Work!). The project isn’t done until we’ve risked utter failure and complete success and everything in between. None of that happens if we don’t ship.

I just noticed that Do the Work! stopped reminding of me of other books after step 2. No wonder I’ve been good at structures and fast first drafts, but very poor on the follow-through. I never identified the steps that came after the first draft!

Appeal: For writers and other creative types who benefit from understanding the process from start to ship.

Nonfiction 2015Challenges: Do the Work! is my fifth book for the Nonfiction Reading Challenge of 2015.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

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Reluctantly Charmed by Ellie O’Neill #BookReview #StPatricksDay #Photos

Book: Reluctantly Charmed by Ellie O’Neill
Genre: Magical realism
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication date: 2014 (in Australia), today in the US!
Pages: 392

Source: Accepted an offered copy from the publisher

Reluctantly Charmed by Ellie O'Neill

A “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!” sort of novel

Summary: Kate McDaid, office drone in Dublin, receives an odd bequest and request. She stands to inherit the estate of a woman who has been dead for over a hundred years, but only if she publishes “The Seven Steps,” messages to modern Celts from ancient fairies. Fairies!? Who believes in fairies anymore? More people, it turns out, than Kate imagines. Maybe the modern world needs fairies, but what do fairies need from the modern world?

Thoughts: This was the perfect book for St. Patick’s Day reading! Much of Reluctantly Charmed takes place in Dublin, a city that I loved visiting in 2012. But we also get a nice bit in an idyllic Irish village, because it would hardly be the perfect St. Patrick’s Day book without that.

I got a special kick out of the descriptions of Dublin that reminded me of our visit.

The offices are on the top floor of a building in the financial district of Dublin. If this were any other city, F&P would be at a dizzying height, including wobbly knees and shortness of breath, but not in Dublin, where the hand of God rests firmly on the skyline to stop it from getting too proud. Modesty is a much-respected Dublin trait, in the people and in the city. p. 4

photo from our River Liffey Cruise

Samuel Beckett Bridge (designed by Santiago Calatrava) and Dublin skyline, taken through the sunroof of the boat during a rainy day cruise on the River Liffey

My bike was my trusted steed: I cycled everywhere. I wasn’t a Lycra-clad cyclist, more like a spinning-around-like-a-whisk-in-a-bowl, leisurely, A-to-B pedaler. It was the easiest way to get around Dublin–everywhere is within a three-mile radius and flat. p. 12

We took the Hop-On, Hop-Off buss to The Royal Hospital Kilmainham to see the gardens. And, then, got impatient for the bus and walked back to our hotel. As Kate says in the book, it's just not that far.

We took the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus to The Royal Hospital Kilmainham to see the garden. And, then, got impatient for the bus and walked back to our hotel. As Kate points out in Reluctantly Charmed, it’s just not that far.

We described the city as “human-scaled” and felt very comfortable in it.

In one scene, Kate met her parents at the Shelbourne Hotel. We stayed there a couple of nights while we were in Dublin. So, I know exactly where she sat with her parents from this description:

My parents were lounging in a window seat in the bar. Dad was dressed in a brown woolen shirt I didn’t recognize. His arm was casually draped over the back of the couch, and Mam was bent forward, talking on the phone with a look of concentration on her face. p. 80

Grace Kelly Salad, Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin

Grace Kelly Salad, Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin. We had several memorable salads in Ireland — this was the first.

Appeal: Reluctantly Charmed is great fun for St. Patrick’s Day. It will appeal any time of the year to Celtophiles and fairy fans.

Reviews: Two of my favorite blogs were on a blog tour for Reluctantly Charmed last fall. Check out the review and guest post about Irish fairies at Book’d Out and the review and Q&A at Sam Still Reading. We also get the fun, from their posts, of comparing the Australian cover with the US cover that is on my post. I think I like the US cover better, but that might be only because it’s so evocative for St. Patrick’s Day.

What are you doing for fun this St. Patrick’s Day?

Signature of Joy Weese Moll

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