Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Book Treasures

Oprah does it all the time, and I'm not talking about giving to charity or taking her studio audience on great adventures. She recommends books, and oh how authors love to have her approval. It's like getting a golden ticket to the New York Times Best Sellers List.

Well, I'm not Oprah. I don't own a television network or a magazine, and when I say "I loved that book," it doesn't mean instant success for the author. 

I am however, an avid reader who devours books, and I know what I like. That is why I was intrigued when author, Sandy Humphrey, invited me to go on a blog treasure hunt involving books. My assignment (which I've altered just a touch) is to answer a few questions about my own book, A Stop in the Park, then refer you to websites where you can discover book treasures. It's then supposed to operate in a chain fashion. I accepted the assignment without the chain. I just wanted to share my six favorite books of 2012 with you, and welcomed the opportunity. 

The criteria I used when choosing my book treasures of 2012 are:

  • The book had to be written by a debut author.
  • The book hasn't spiked into the Amazon overall top 100 yet. 
  • The books I chose kept me turning the pages long after the clock on my nightstand told me to go to sleep. They flowed beautifully with clarity and magnificent writing. The characters were engaging and when I finished these books, I felt like I had lost a friend. I wanted more. I wanted a sequel.

So sit back, read about how A Stop in the Park came to be. Then, discover my "book treasure" picks for 2012.      

What is the working title of your book? 
A Stop in the Park

Where did the idea come from for the book? 
I have been an avid reader since the day I realized letters formed words and had the power to create stories. That evolved into a love of writing, especially fiction, and by the time I entered middle school I knew that one day I would write a novel. Although I started many and have written numerous short stories, I didn't achieve my goal until this past year at the age of 54. What motivated me to make my dream come true was a scene I saw while relaxing with my husband, Keith, in Dupont Circle, DC. I witnessed an upscale white male losing a series of blitz chess games to an elderly African American male.  The upscale man's wife and daughters waited impatiently as Dad and husband insisted on more games. I turned to Keith and said, "Wouldn't that be a great start for a novel?"

What genre does your book fall under? 
Contemporary Fiction.

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?  
Touching, romantic, and deeply provocative, A Stop in the Park follows the story of a man and a woman who yearn to escape the trap of the modern American Dream.

Is your book self-published or represented by an agency? 
It is self-published through CreateSpace.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  
Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd; The Help by Kathryn Stockett; Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates; For One More Day by Mitch Albom

Who or What inspired you to write this book? 
I see so many people living prescribed lives today—not lives that truly call to them or that they dream about. In the rush to get ahead and attain more and more, marriages suffer, children are ignored, fun is forgotten, and life becomes a laborious chore. I wanted to show through a story how a family deals with these issues and what they do when they realize that they are living their life all wrong.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? 
I think the romantic element. Can a lost passionate love between husband and wife be rekindled after many years of neglect? And...can people really change when situations become intolerable? 

Do you have a favorite review you would like to mention? 
Toughest question yet. From the "There needs to be more than five stars for this book," to "The writing was good, but the story was not for me," all are valuable because they allow me to learn what a reader took away from my story. The critique I breathed the biggest sigh of relief from was when I received an outstanding review from Kirkus. This gave me the confidence to forge ahead with marketing A Stop in the Park. If a reputable literary review firm like Kirkus gives a book it's nod of approval, there has to be something really good about it. After three years of working on A Stop in the Park, I was thrilled.

Now for my five favorite reads of the year with their links--true treasures that I'm glad I found among the more than 8 million books on Amazon:

And Whippoorwill Sang by Micki Peluso -  A mother’s account of the events of her family, filled with laughter, love, loss, and survival. It emphasizes how the author deals with the sudden death of her daughter after she is tragically killed in a drunk driving accident, and how she brings her family together to heal, hope and live once again. A beautifully written and engaging story.

I.O.U. Sex by  Sandra Nachlinger and Sandra Allen - A fantastic entertaining read. Here's part of the description from Amazon: "When June, Kiki, and Peggy graduated from high school, all of them were still virgins. After all, they were good girls. Years later, when the three women read June’s diary from their senior year, they joke about the sexual frustration they caused their steady boyfriends back then. That’s when Kiki makes a startling statement. “When you think about it, and I’m only trying to be fair, we owe those guys sex.” With bawdy jabs and tipsy laughter, they vow to track down their old boyfriends and just DO IT. Lives intertwined, the three friends share their quests with sexy, poignant, and sometimes hilarious results." 

An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff and Alex Trensniowiski - The true story of an 11-year-old panhandler, a busy sales executive, and an unlikely meeting with destiny. Absolutely superb! You will not be able to put this heartwarming book down.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey - I was swept away by this novel. It is the story of a middle age couple living in Alaska who never were able to have children. One evening they create a daughter out of snow who  disappears during the night. She does, however, return as a mysterious real child. A true adult fairy tale!

The Twelve Rooms of the Nile by Enid Shomer  - If you feel like taking a trip to Egypt in the 1800's for a riveting adventure, read this book. Gillian Gill, author of Nightingales says,   “I could not imagine it: Gustave Flaubert and Florence Nightingale as friends, almost as lovers! Step by step, detail by detail, Shomer constructs the story of how a man and a woman with nothing in common but genius, one French, one English, one steeped in cynicism, one drowning in despair, could meet on the Nile in 1850, talk, write, hold hands, and see into each other’s souls. As brilliantly sensual as it is finely psychological, this novel is a tour de force of twenty-first century storytelling.”

And of course, the author who asked me to take part in this book treasure hunt, Sandra Humphrey. Sandra writes inspirational books about people who make their dreams come true, people who overcome great obstacles to achieve greatness, and character books for children. Please check all of them out at:

Do you have a favorite book treasure? Please share in the comment section. Thanks and happy reading! 


  1. Peggy, thanks for the thoughtful recommendations of your favorite 2012 books. as for me, I started the year reading "The Hunger Games," and was amazed how much I loved it and immediately read the rest of the trilogy. Another standout read for me this year was "Still Alice."

    1. Believe it or not, I haven't read either of those books yet, but they are both on my "to read" list. I saw the movie, "Hunger Games" and loved it.

  2. Peggy, I've bought A Stop in the Park and can hardly wait to read it! I loved Micki's book and, by the end of the book, I definitely felt part of her family. I began Sandy's book at the doctor's office yesterday while I was waiting for my husband's cataract surgery and I absolutely love it so far! I'll have to check out your other three choices as well and thanks so much for joining the blog hop!

    1. There are so many book treasures and these are just six of them. I was mesmerized by all of them. I love when a book makes me forget my real world for awhile.

  3. Thank you so much for including I.O.U. SEX among your five top favorites! My co-author and I are deeply honored, and especially delighted to be among such esteemed authors.
    If I made a list of my top five (and I just might!) A STOP IN THE PARK would definitely be on that list. I'd also include AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG.

  4. I have read Micki's and Peggy's books, which are both great reads...two totally different stories but both powerful in purpose! Sandy, yours is definitely next on my list:>)

    1. Thanks Sharla. I was going to include "Remembering" but focused more on "story" books. I have received several likes for your book of poetry on Goodreads. People love it!

  5. Peggy, what a wonderful post! I'm sure that your book will be a success! I have read Micki's book, and of course, loved it. I have the Sandy's book, IOU Sex, I just have to find the time to read it. The snow child sure sounds intriguing! Thanks for the post, I enjoyed all your answers!

  6. What a great post and what fantastic recommendations!! I really enjoyed this! Thank you very much for sharing!

  7. Hi Peggy,
    Congratulations once again, Lady. I already have your book and it is already at the top of my list as a must read.
    I like all of your suggestions also.