The Reading Corner Newsletter

October 2020

Hello readers! As we spin deeper into fall, I hope you’re able to carve out time for balance from the 24/7 news cycle by getting out into nature, spending time with loved ones, and diving into the world of reading.

A recent Pew Research poll revealed:

  • 26% of those who had read a book in the past 12 months said that what they enjoyed most was learning, gaining knowledge, and discovering information.
  • 15% cited the pleasures of escaping reality, becoming immersed in another world, and the enjoyment they got from using their imaginations.
  • 12% said they liked the entertainment value of reading, the drama of good stories, the suspense of watching a good plot unfold.
  • 12% said they enjoyed relaxing while reading and having quiet time.
  • 6% liked the variety of topics they could access via reading and how they could find books that particularly interested them.
  • 4% said they enjoy finding spiritual enrichment through reading and expanding their worldview.
  • 3% said they like being mentally challenged by books.
  • 2% cited the physical properties of books – their feel and smell – as a primary pleasure.

In short, there is little else I would rather do than read. Over the past weekend, while fogged in out on Polaris in the San Juan Islands, I spent three days reading and researching and writing, although Michael and I got in a couple of lovely walks and a rousing game of Scrabble.

Literary Contests and Awards:

Answer Creek has garnered its first award! The novel is one of four finalists in the 2020 Arizona Authors Association Literary Contest, with the winner announced in November. It’s award season, so over the next few months, I’ll be applying to multiple literary contests—fingers crossed for Ada Weeks!

I’ve also just finished judging a regional literary contest. Over a two-week period, I adjudged a dozen unpublished novels and wrote lengthy critiques. Then the hard part: ranking them. I’ll look forward to hearing how the entries fared later this fall when results are announced.

New Manuscript:

Happy to mark the halfway point in my new manuscript. I’m working on subplots now, including fleshing out a bevy of interesting secondary characters: a Shakespeare-quoting hobo, a spinster schoolteacher pining over lost love, a judgmental sister-in-law, and an aging fortune teller who saves Ruby’s life (and that’s not even getting into the myriad hotel guests that come to stay at Jericho Roadhouse). Like any author will tell you, these characters are as real to me as anyone I know.


If you’re free tonight (Oct. 15th), tune in at 7 p.m. PST for a live conversation with author Shelley Blanton-Stroud at Capital Books in Sacramento. Go to Capital Books at to log on to the virtual event (if you miss it, the event will be recorded and online later this month).

There are also new links to recent events on my Media webpage. I loved the organic conversation sponsored by Peregrine Book Company in Prescott, AZ and enjoyed the camaraderie and conversation during the panel discussion sponsored by Sacramento Public Library.

I’ll have two more live events in November (11/5 and 11/12), so stay tuned.

Recent 5-Star reads:

Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott
Pilgrimage to Eternity: From Canterbury to Rome in Search of a Faith, Timothy Egan
The Library Book, Susan Orlean
Poetic License: A Memoir, Gretchen Cherington

There’s Always a Prize Question:

There isn’t a winner this month because everyone that entered is either a past winner and asked not to be included in drawing or a family member.

Here are a couple of names suggested for Ruby’s son’s dog:

  • Buster
  • Zaro
  • Roger
  • Mutt
  • Dawg
  • Brownie

For the next few months, I’ll be asking the question, “What Would Ruby Do?” in certain circumstances in my new novel.

in a Starbucks gift card by answering this question: What Ruby would do/say/act if confronted with a verbally abusive co-worker? I can’t wait to hear your responses.

By the time my next newsletter comes out, Election Day will have come and gone. All I can say is: VOTE. It’s a right and a privilege denied to far too many for far too long. Use this opportunity and get out on Nov. 3 to make your voice heard.

Until next month, stay safe and healthy and Happy Reading!


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