Bookin' It

So Many Books. So Little Time. Let's Review!

As you can see, THOR is still hanging around here…

…WITH his Mighty Hammer! Therefore, I feel fully entitled to present yet another silly Thor’s Day Joke!
(This one’s a groaner, I know.)


Guess What Day It Is? THOR’S DAY!

And so the God of Thunder and All Things Badassery presents…another silly joke! Just…because! :D


Wednesday Author Interview: Evelyne Holingue

Chronicles from Chateau Moines

BI: Today, I’m very happy to welcome Children’s and Young Adult writer, Evelyne Holingue. Evelyne, so nice to have you here. Let’s get the ball rolling by you telling us a bit about how you became a writer. When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career? 

EH: When I was a child I was very shy and was afraid to talk to people. Books gave me the friends I longed to have without having to ask for anything. I learned almost everything from a book. I think that most people who love to read write also. I wrote when I was a kid. Poems mostly but also a short novel for my sister, completely inspired by the Famous Five, my favorite books when I was really young. I lived in a small town and had no idea how books were made and this was fascinating to me. By the time I moved to Paris as a student, I had decided to work in the publishing business. As soon as I started to work full time I wrote less. I wonder if I would have been writing had I stayed in France. 

My move to the US was a huge change for me. Language, culture, work…

Everything was new and I had to reinvent myself. My challenges were colossal since it’s in English, the language of my adoptive country, that I chose to write. I started to submit to editors at huge publishing houses. Retrospectively it was too soon and I wasn’t ready, but in the early 2000s everyone took time to respond to your snail mail and I got several encouraging letters. 

I also joined SCBWI (Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators) and attended local conferences whenever I could. Because of my husband’s job we’ve often moved. This has been an added challenge. But meanwhile I got a few small breaks. Magazines, radio, contests were a good way for me to compare my skills to other writers. 

My writing was improving when the publishing business exploded with many new options, the result of so many new communication tools. I decided to go Indie when the quality of the publishing tools became better and when being independently published ceased to be a despaired act and became a personal choice. 

It was a great experience and no doubt that the years my husband and I spent in the publishing business helped us when it came to choosing the font and the paper. My husband was behind the formatting for the printed book and e-book. I hired a copy-editor who had worked for publishing companies in the past. 

I started to blog several years ago but I mostly kept my blog for discipline and didn’t actively seek a readership. 

For my second novel, things are different: 

  1. My manuscript went far enough in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel and I received encouraging reviews that pushed me to revise.
  2. I hired a designer for the book cover.
  3. I’ve now developed a larger readership through my blog, especially after one of my posts was Freshly Pressed on WordPress.
  4. I have also established good relationships with other writers and bloggers and this community will help me to get more visibility. This interview, for example, was suggested by my good friend Stella Tarakson, all the way from Australia. Who would have thought only a few years ago that writers would so easily be in touch across continents? 

BI: Great story, Evelyne! Tell me, have you been inspired by any particular authors, past or present, and what is it about their work that impresses you, or moves you? 

EH: Like everyone else I have favorite writers and genres. The authors I admire are way beyond my league so I would never compare myself to any of them. I’m still growing … 

Just a few of my favorite authors in children’s literature: Lois Lowry, Gordon Korman, Gary Schmidt, Jacqueline Woodson, Margaret Patterson Haddix, and Judy Blume.

Some of my favorite YA authors: A.S. King, M.T Anderson, Laurie Halse Anderson, Markus Zusak, Sherman Alexie, Veronica Roth, Ned Vizzini, and like everyone else John Green, although for some reason I much prefer Looking for Alaska, his first novel, to The Fault in Our Stars, his latest. 

A few of my favorite authors for adult’s literature are Francine Prose, Joyce Carol Oates, Anita Shreve, Jhumpa Lahiri, and John Irving. I am impressed by these writers’ ability to write several novels that are distinct from each other and so distinct from other writers’ work that I can easily identify them as soon as I open one of their novels. Finding my own voice, either within me or through my characters, is my most important goal and my most difficult challenge. 

Regularly I like to pick a book from a writer I don’t know. This summer, among many other books, I read Out of Reach by Carrie Arcos and Road Rash by Mark Huntley Parson. Totally different topics for these two YA novels, but a believable set of characters and a sincere voice in both of them. Great reads.   

BI: A lot of great names, there. And one of my favorite women’s contemporary writers, too, Anita Shreve. I want to know more…what genres do you read most often for pleasure…those books you gravitate toward the minute you walk into a bookstore? 

EH: Reading is so much part of my life that I can’t imagine spending a day without a book. For children and YA I favor historical fiction, contemporary and dystopia. For adults I like contemporary the most. In both categories, a book that deals with the consequences of our messy and also good relationships will always attract me. I love people and their stories. 

BI: For me, even in Urban Fantasy, it always comes back to the relationship, so I agree with you on that, for sure. Do you have a dedicated workspace, and are you consistent with the amount of time you spend writing each day? 

EH: I like to sit at a table when I type and I have my own desk. If I’m away from home, I carry a notebook and pens and almost always my extra light computer. I write every day but not always with the same speed or satisfaction. Until this fall I always had children living at home, so my time was really arranged around my four children’s schedules. For the first time ever, it will be my husband and I together and I’m looking forward to waking up early and write. Morning is my most productive time. 

BI: I can’t even imagine writing with four children in the house. My cats and dachshunds are more interruption than I want when I’m trying to write! Do you use visual aids, like Inspiration Boards/Photos or maps of your book’s setting? What reference books or other material do you consult most frequently as you write? 

EH: I used to consult the American/French dictionary a lot for obvious reasons. Now I tend to Google more often. I should return to this dictionary habit because I always got so much more information and always reliable, too. 

My two novels have a French setting and France is a map etched on my mind. I don’t need visuals to conjure images of my home country. For different settings, I would definitely look for information, clip pictures and articles. 

BI: When you have an idea for a new book, do you sit down and start typing, or do you start with an outline, and figure out all the major plot points first? In other words, is your working style structured and organized, or more organic and free flowing? 

EH: I usually write without much planning, although I always know the beginning and the end of any story I start. I wrote my new novel Chronicles from Château Moines this way but I took notes for each of the characters in the dystopia novel I’m drafting now because each character has a back-story that will play an important role later on. I also sketched a time outline. 

BI: I find I get totally lost if I don’t have good character bios, dates, etc, mapped out ahead, and added to as new characters crop up. It’s hard to keep all that straight, isn’t it? Now, something I always like to know about the reading habits of authors…do you prefer eBooks, or print? Why? 

EH: I still prefer printed book, by far. The smell of paper, the sound of a turned page, and the weight of a book in my bag are things I love. I like to buy myself a new book when many women like a new pair of shoes, but I also like second hand books. I imagine who read the book I just bought and why they didn’t keep it. When I found a coffee stain or a highlighted word in a used book I feel like I’m sharing something in common with someone I don’t know. E-books are very convenient when I travel and this is the only reason why I buy them.  

BI: Time to tell us about the books have you published, and where we can buy them. 

EH: I have independently published two novels:


Trapped in Paris is a novel for readers from 12 and up. 

Chronicles from Château Moine   (pictured at the top of the page) is a novel for readers from 8 to 12.

Both books are available on Amazon and can be ordered from any bookstore. 

BI: These both sound charming and interesting. I’m definitely planning to check them out. Are you currently working on a new book? When do you expect it to be available? 

EH: Yes, I am working on three projects. One is a memoir (I don’t like this word much but didn’t find another one) based on my mother’s journey in the USA and how through my children and their American education I acquired the language and culture of my adoptive country. 

The second one is a YA novel, and the third is a collection of stories with the United States for common setting. The stories will be written in French. The ‘memoir’ will probably my next published book. 

BI: Finally, I always like to know what authors think is the best thing about being a writer? The worst? 

EH: Over the last years I’ve tried to stop writing a few times because it’s freaking hard. My attempts didn’t last more than two weeks. That’s the best thing about being a writer. That’s also the worst.

Thank you so much, Evelyne. It’s been great learning about you and your books. All the best wishes for much continued pleasure and success from your writing! 

Evelyne Holingue

I was born in France and left Paris for California with my husband and our young baby in December 1990. I thought that I would manage with the little English I had learned in school but realized within a day that I wasn’t fluent! So I had to learn and because I’ve always loved books I started to read exclusively in English. The books I borrowed, the stories I read, first to my baby and later to her siblings as well, triggered my desire to write in English one day.

Besides reading and writing I love the outdoors very much. In fact whenever I can, I am outside. This is where you’ll find me reading and writing, but also hiking, gardening, or canoeing when in Maine. I also love music very much and although I don’t sing well, I love to sing the songs I play when I drive or clean my home. In my second novel I share my love for music through songs and musicians I like and admire.

 Buy Evelyne’s books here:
Trapped In Paris
Chronicles from Château Moines

Find Evelyne on Social Media here:










Catchin’ Up!

Slow But Steady Wins The Race…Right?

Wow, the last few weeks have gone by in a blur, and I’m still far behind, try as I might. My inner tortoise is beating the crap outta that wily hare! I’ve had bad news (an injured back that’s almost well and foot problems that might entail yet another steel pin), good news (my first novel, Wake-Robin Ridge, made the Amazon Top 100 Best Sellers list in Fiction/Ghosts, and just regular news (hangin’ in there pretty well for an ol’ granny like myself).

This week, I’ve gotten a ton of stuff done, even though I’m not caught up yet. I finished my draft of A Boy Named Rabbit (the sequel to Wake-Robin Ridge), and it is now in edit, and hopefully will be released next month. I’m four chapters into Hunter, the sequel to Swamp Ghosts, and on schedule for a release date early next year. My last medical procedures proved I’m still cancer-free, so dancing around about that. Or I would be, if it weren’t for that foot issue mentioned above. My friends and family are all doing well, and my daughter, SIL, and grandbaby, Kaelen, are coming to see us Sunday for a week’s visit. So, Life is good, and I’m a happy camper, looking forward to catching up to that rascally hare any day now.

One of the best things that’s happened is that the marvelous Captain Jeanne Bell, my inspiration for Maggie Devlin’s character in Swamp Ghosts, has said she’d like to do a Meet The Author cruise on her beautiful boat, The Naiad. I hope we are able to make that happen, because, hello? Cruising down the river with a bunch of book lovers? What could be better? Captain Jeanne has also told several local places about my book, and there just might be a few stores who want to carry it in the future, along with a chance or two to do a presentation here and there. Very exciting! Cross your fingers for me that some of these things work out.

My new blog, The Write Stuff, is off to a good start, and I’m hoping it will build membership and participation quickly over the next few months. If you are looking for a very friendly place to hang out with fellow writers, please stop by and follow along with us. We’d love to meet you, share resources with you, and help you promote your work.

In the words of Little Rabbit (from my latest book), “Ain’t that somethin’? Ain’t that just somethin’!”

Monday Giveaway: Thieftaker by D. B. Jackson


Busy, busy, busy today. Just finished up the draft of my last chapter in  A Boy Named Rabbit, and ready to start the editing process, plus work on Hunter. Got company coming in a few days, and still nursing an injured back. Lots to do, and short on time. But isn’t that always the way?

Nevertheless, a blog must go on! And Monday is Giveaway Day. I’m just finishing up the third book in D. B. Jackson’s Thieftaker Chronicles, and I have enjoyed it so much, I thought I’d giveaway a download of the first book, Thieftaker. This is a story of magic, both the good kind, and the dark kind, set in Boston during early, pre-Revolutionary War times. I love the mix of Colonial Urban Fantasy and real figures from history, slowly turning against the rule of the Crown.

If you think you’d be interested in this one, be the first to email me at and ask for it. That’s it. No tricks, no gimmicks. Just ask…but be fast! I’m not even going to set a time limit today. Do it now, if you want to win. :)


What Are You Reading?


A day late, and a dollar short, as they say, but you’ll have to excuse me. A bad back has kept me away from my computer more than I like, so I’m running behind on everything. But another thing they say is, “better late than never,” right? So here’s Friday’s What Are You Reading post. For better or worse. And that’s entirely enough old sayings for one morning. :)

I’m well into D. B. Jackson’s 3rd book of the Thieftaker Chronicles, A Plunder of Souls, and enjoying it nearly as much as the first two. I won’t say it is the best urban fantasy ever, but I will say that Jackson’s mixing of real historical characters from the pre-Revolutionary days of early America, is deft, and a great deal of fun. (Not to be confused with “daft,” which is more what I am on any given day.) I really enjoy our conjurer, Ethan Kaille, as he tries to solve yet another magical assault on the city of Boston, while mixing it up a bit with the likes of Samuel Adams and other names from history. I’ll be reviewing this one in detail later, for sure.

Now it’s your turn, as always. What are you reading this week? Also as always, inquiring minds wanna know.


Thor’s Day Joke #2


Thor’s Day Joke #1

Yep…it’s that day again…THOR’S DAY! So, here’s your first joke of the day!
Subtle, maybe…but I like it! :)


Wednesday Guest Blogger: Vanessa Finaughty

Eye abstract background

Instead of our regular Author Interview today, I’d like to introduce my first guest blogger, Vanessa Finaughty. Vanessa is in the middle of a blog tour, and has taken the time to answer some questions about her new series. Hope you enjoy finding out why you should love Lashlor Leaflin . I confess, I’m intrigued.

5 Reasons to Love Wizard of Ends’ Main Character, Lashlor Leaflin

Wizard of Ends is the fast-paced fantasy adventure series in which Lashlor Leaflin is the main character. Lashlor is one of the author’s favourite characters across all her books, and here are five reasons for you to love him too: Read more…

Monday GiveAway: The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire

The Winter Long
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Sorry to be so late with this, but it’s been one of those days. Since I pretty much finished with the last two series, I thought I’d throw out a fairly new release: The Winter Long, the latest Toby Daye book. This is one of my very favorite series, with excellent world-building, and featuring just about every Celtic legend you can imagine in Toby’s world of the Fae. If you’ve read earlier books, you’ll know what I mean. And if you haven’t, you need to, before reading this one, but you can save it until you’re caught up. First person to email me at and request this will receive a free download from amazon. Ready, set, email!

The Winter Long

Just A Friday Night Smile!


Voodoo Lulu

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater


My Rating: About 50…or Maybe 60…of 5!

After re-reading The Raven Boys, Book 1 of the Raven Cycle, I remembered all over again why I love Maggie Stiefvater’s writing.

After reading The Dream Thieves, Book 2 of the Raven Cycle, I have decided that I want to BE Maggie Stiefvater when I grow up.

There are no words to convey how powerful and moving her writing is. And I know a LOT of words. Just none that do the job adequately.

I enjoyed her Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. It was sweet, and spooky, and an unusual take on werewolves. I LOVED The Scorpio Races, a dark, hauntingly beautiful tale of young love, unfolding on the backs of the capaill uisce, or water horses of Celtic legend. But the first two books of the Raven Cycle are simply beyond my ability to explain. With lyrical precision, and dark imagery, Stiefvater creates a cast of characters unlike any I’ve ever encountered. The four Raven Boys are a disparate, yet tightly bonded, group of young men who attend Aglionby Academy. They are at once admirable, flawed, driven by needs too complicated to explain here, and made alternately strong and weak by those same needs.

And then there’s Blue, the non-magic girl in a house filled with seers and diviners, and whose gift is amplifying the magic of others. Once Blue becomes part of the group of Raven Boys, things change in so many unexpected ways, it would be hard to keep up, without the skillful plotting of the author. Her lyrical turns of phrase aren’t the only thing at work here, though to be sure, it’s her writing that makes the tale as powerful as it is. Her story line is terrific, but her words are positively inspired. As I said in an earlier post, Stiefvater  can lay open a character’s soul more efficiently than a boning knife, and often, with equally painful results. Her words left me gasping more than once, because, quite simply, her writing has a kick like a mule.

I can’t recommend this series highly enough. Hands down, the best two books I’ve read in several years, and I’m counting the days until I can read the last book, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, coming October 21.

The Dream Thieves

Book Signings? Love ‘em? Hate ‘em?


Any writers here who’d like to respond to this on The Write Stuff?

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

I’m planning to do my first book signing at a library in a little town south of Orlando, in January. I have no idea what to expect, but I wanted to get some experience with the idea, and thought it would be a good place to start. (Plus they invited me! :D ) Have any of you done signings? Can you share any of your experiences with us? I know Evelyn Cullet & Ned Hickson have, so I hope they’ll pop in here, but how about the rest of you? And if you haven’t done any yourself, have you gone to any for other authors you’d like to tell us about? Caitlin? Anyone?(Caitlin, I’d love to share your photo with Ilona Andrews, if you wouldn’t mind.)

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Sunday Night Giggle, Just Because.


Introducing Ned Hickson


Check out Ned’s Intro on The Write Stuff!

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

I’m so happy to have my cyber-friend, Ned Hickson, joining us here on The Write Stuff. Ned is a funny, funny man, and an all-around nice guy. If you don’t follow Ned, you really should. He makes me, and a whole lot of other people, laugh every day! I decided to use Ned’s About Me page, entitled Let Me Explain Myself,  as his intro, because it’s far funnier than anything I would come up with.

Ned Hickson is an editor and humor columnist for the Siuslaw News,
a small Oregon newspaper where the motto is:
Your dependable source for local news. Twice weekly. Unless we lose count.

After graduating from high school in Florence, Ore. in 1984, Ned moved to Dallas,Texas, where he found groundbreaking work as a bus boy. He eventually made his way into the kitchen and was promoted to corporate chef for L&N Seafood…

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Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

 magicbreakssmallMy Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

I’ve said it before, and I’ll no doubt say it again, the husband and wife writing team that goes by the name of Ilona Andrews simply can’t write a bad book. Only varying degrees of good. And this one has managed to vary its way up even higher than the last installment of the series. More action, more drama, more revenge (and so richly deserved), more sturm und drang between Kate, who is finally coming into some major, kick-butt powers, and His Furriness, Curran, the Beast Lord.

The title alone hinted there were about to be some important changes in the story line, and of course, the preceding book set us up for just that. I don’t do reviews that recap plots, so I won’t tell you what things are about to happen, but I will tell you that the dastardly Hugh D’Ambray shows himself once again, in full-on Evil Villain Mode, and the biggest, baddest of them all follows suit. Oh, my. The things that Roland can command are…well, just as awful as you might imagine. Kate and Curran have their work cut out for them, and the choices they make by the end of the book are surprising, but perfect for this time and place in their story.

Personally, I hope to see some of these changes be temporary, but whether they are or not, the story is fantastic, and the two of them, as always, so much fun. They really are doing just what they have to do, and taking names while they’re at it. (And don’t let anyone tell you that the book smacks of the end of the series. In my opinion, it blatantly set us up for the next installment, and left no doubt in my mind that their Happily Ever After hadn’t arrived yet.)

And one more thing. This book includes a Character List in the beginning, to describe each of the man characters in the books to date. I really loved having that reference. It also had a recap of the story line, cleverly told in a way that worked as part of the book. Both of these things were fun, and meant I didn’t have to skim through the last book to refresh my memory of where each character fit into the plot. Genius! I wish this type of thing were in the front of every long-running series out there, because my head is overcrowded, for sure.

In summation, when I read the first book, Magic Bites, I thought, okay, pretty good. Definitely has possibilities. Now, after reading Book 7, I thought, holy moly! It doesn’t get much better than this. My recommendation? If you are already a fan, but haven’t read this one yet, what are you waiting for? You should fix that now! And if you haven’t yet been introduced to the world of Kate Daniels, read that first book, enjoy it for what it is, and know that it gets better and better in each succeeding one.

Magic Breaks


What Are You Reading Today?


It’s that time again…time to tell the world what you are reading. I’ll go first, shall I? :)

I just finished Book 2 of The Raven Cycle, The Dream Thieves, by Maggie Stiefvater, and will soon be doing a review on that. Assuming I can find the words to describe how powerful her writing is. She astounds me. I’m on the opening page, literally, of the final Rachel Morgan/The Hollows book, Kim Harrison’s The Witch With No Name. Been holding off on it for a couple of weeks, because I really hate to see the series end. I also have reviews coming up for Magic Breaks (Ilona Andrews), and The Winter Long (Seanan McGuire. Not to give away too much, but all of these rated 5 stars with me, so I can’t wait to get the reviews up for you.

Now it’s YOUR turn! What’s new on your Kindle, or your reading table? As always, inquiring minds wanna know, so share! I’ll be taking notes, here.

Introducing Aimee Easterling


Aimee Easterling’s Shiftless is on sale. Read the details here.

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

I’m very happy to have Aimee join our group. She’s published several books, and has learned a lot of marketing tricks that can help us all, especially those of us who are self-published but struggle with the concept of self-marketing. I know you’ll enjoy reading Aimee’s future posts, and today’s introduction to her work includes the fact that her novel Shiftless is on sale through the weekend. I’ve read this one, and it’s a fun YA Urban Fantasy, with an unusual take on werewolves.See my reviewhere.

Take it away, Aimee!


A huge thank-you to Marcia for giving me this opportunity to share with her readers!  I’ve promised her a more marketing-related post in the near future since I’ve spent a few years figuring out a lot of tricks relating to the world of pricing, promotions, covers, and more.  So feel free to leave a comment if you’re…

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Thor’s Day Joke #3

One last bedtime giggle! Sweet Dreams!


Introducing Evelyn Cullet


Sharing Another Author Intro from The Write Stuff

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

The Write Stuff is very happy to introduce another new member of the group, mystery writer Evelyn Cullet. I hope Evelyn will share some of her experience with us over the weeks ahead, and I can’t wait for everyone to get to know her better. I also hope you’ll all check out her newest book. (And don’t forget to reblog, Tweet, and Facebook all of our Author Introductions! Thanks!)

10-14-2009 09;30;45pm (3)
Evelyn Cullet

Evelyn Cullet has been an aspiring author since high school when she wrote short stories. She began her first novel while attending college later in life, and while working in the offices of a major soft drink company. After college, she continued taking writing classes. Now, with an early retirement, she finally has the chance to do what she loves best: write full time. As a life-long mystery buff, she was a former member of the Agatha Christie Society, and is…

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Thor’s Day Joke #2


Guess What? It’s THOR’S DAY again!

Time for some Thor’s Day jokes, though I’m not sure why I decided the God of Thunder and other things Badassery was a good choice for Joke Day. I reckon I just wanted an excuse to say and/or think about Thor at least once a week. Today, I thought about him so hard, my blog header changed! Hahaha.  I’m going to be out for a while, heading to the High Banks Marina and a visit with the good Captain Jeanne Bell, my inspiration for the character of Maggie Devlin in Swamp Ghosts. Captain Jeanne was so helpful to me when I was researching what it would be like to run an eco-tour boat on the St. Johns River, that I can’t thank her enough. But I can take her an autographed copy of my book, and let others know that going on one of her tours is a great way to spend a couple of hours on a beautiful day.

I’m leaving you with something to make you smile, and when I return, I’m sure I’ll have some more for ya. Have a great day!

When Pelicans Go Bad





Originally posted on leaf and twig:

her majesty
saves a place for me
while holding up the sky

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Love checking out Callum’s poetry from time to time. Enjoy!

Originally posted on Callum McLaughlin:

Though my words may often hide
behind the wall of my locked lips,
it’s the pen wrapped beneath these fingers
tasked with freeing my truest thoughts.
Overcome me with your valiant shouts,
I dare you.
It’s when my mind is read it truly roars.

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Introducing Patti (PJ) Fiala


Meet PJ Fiala on The Write Stuff

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

NOTE: So happy to meet Patti! She has sent me a lot of good stuff to share with you guys, and I hope you’ll pass it along via your own blogs, Twitter, or Facebook–however you want to get the word out. Patti will do the same for you, I’m sure, when you have news to share.

Patti Fiala

PJ Fiala

I was born in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri named Bridgeton. During my time in Missouri, I explored the Ozarks, swam in the Mississippi River, and played kickball and endless games of hide and seek with the neighborhood kids. Spending summers in Kentucky with my grandmother, Ruth, are the fondest childhood memories for me.

At the age of thirteen, my family moved to Wisconsin to learn to farm. Yes, learn to farm! That was interesting. Taking city kids and throwing them on a farm with twenty-eight cows purchased from the humane…

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