Tag Archives: book

Reading Break for Quilters

Song of the Storm book cover Calling all quilters. The sun is shinning, the birds are singing, it’s too hot for sewing. If you’re ready to take a sewing break and read I have the perfect book for you. SONG OF THE STORM is book three in the Stone Trilogy by Mariam Kobras.

With another captivating episode in the Jon and Naomi Stone saga, author Mariam Kobras has quilted her magic. SONG OF THE STORM,  the last (maybe) book in the Stone Trilogy continues with the real-life characters, conflict,  love and tragedy.

Life with a rock star isn’t easy, but hotel empire heiress, Naomi is determined to build a life together with her soul mate, rock star Jon Stone. Jon is just as determined. However, just as in our lives, their road to happiness is often rocky and the baggage both carry from the past, too many times,  gets in their way. Good news, that another child is on the way leads to more insecurities for both of them.

The book isn’t just about Naomi and Jon though. Their lives are intertwined with family and friends who also have issues. A subplot of the book revolves around one of those close friends, Jon’s manager Stan.

Stan has long-held a one-sided love for Naomi. When he meets Maya, he believes he’s found Naomi’s replacement. Except, happiness isn’t always easily achieved. Maya has a maturity well beyond her young age. She realizes long before Sal does that their love is not made to last. Will Stan find a lasting love? Only readers of SONG OF THE STORM, and the author of course, will know.

The reappearance of Naomi’s parents adds more tension to the story. They have little belief in their son-in-law, and often display concern for their only daughter’s safety, both physical and emotional. Given their background, and knowledge of the past, it’s easy to understand. Yet, this reader, wanted them to just love their daughter and accept her marriage. However, since that rarely happens in real life, it felt right that they continue to suspect their son-in-law and the marriage.

In the middle of all of the tension, and emotional confusion we are reminded that family, friends, and love are what is truly important when the characters are forced to deal with the real-life tragedy and drama of the September 11 attack.

Wherever you were, the emotions you felt that day will return as you are taken back to that unforgettable experience. However, Jon, Naomi, their family and friends remind us that hope and love are eternal.

SONG OF THE STORM  is a perfect read while you take a break from sewing and quilting. You can curl up on the couch under the air conditioning and continue the journey with Naomi and Jon. If you haven’t read book 1, THE DISTANT SHORE, and  book 2,  UNDER THE SAME SUN, no worries, this book stands alone. Although you WILL want to get book one and two, because you won’t be ready to let them go and you’ll want more time with them.

WARNING!! Do not read this by the pool if you are also watching young children. You will be pulled into the story and forget where you are. Leaving children unsupervised around water is not recommended. However, if  there are no children present, read and allow yourself to be whisked away.

For more reviews, or to meet Mariam herself, check out her blog at  where all the links for the blog hop can be found.

Mariam

Mother’s Day Reading Gift Ideas

Writer? Quilter? What am I? Both, and a few other descriptions also fit. As most of you know, this blog struggles to find its identity. Is it about writing? Is it about quilting? Is it about my faith?

In truth, it’s a little of all three, I just haven’t found the right formula for it yet. Today I’m sharing some great reads for you. Mother’s Day is coming, and what better gift than a book, something that will allow her to transport herself to another time, and/or place, relax and be entertained all while staying and taking care of her family. It’s the perfect gift.

Of course, shopping in the quilt store is a fantastic option. However, books are a close second. If the mother in your life doesn’t quilt, the book moves up to first place.  Here are some book ideas for  you to consider:

Devoted to Quilting (mine, imagine how it got on the list) = a collection of quilt stories. Each story includes a Bible verse and prayer, making it a perfect devotional. It is also just a fun read, and educational since each story also includes a quilting/sewing tip. You can see the picture of it on my side bar.

Devoted to Quilting 2 (mine again, surprise, surprise) – More quilt stories. This one has more quilts from friends and fewer family quilts. Otherwise it’s much like the first Devoted to Quilting.

Romance, The Spice of Life. Not mine, but I do have a story in it. This is an anthology, a collection of short stories. Like a good meal, life needs a little spice to make it amazing, and romance is the perfect spice. There are six genres included, romantic suspense, nostalgic romance, inspiration romance, paranormal romance, historical romance (ahem), and a contemporary romance. The mother in your life is sure to have a favorite genre represented, and she’ll love all the stories.

Grave Secrets, by Linda Trout. A baby disappears. A husband murdered. Sara Adams searches frantically for her infant daughter and must turn to insurance investigator Morgan Daniels. Except, Daniels is sure Sara murdered her husband. Will helping Sara find her daughter also help him prove she murdered her husband? Will helping her prove her innocence and uncover the real killer? On top of all that the man is devastatingly handsome. Sarah must be careful.


Preserving Family Legends, M. Carolyn Steele.  There was a time when family lore was passed down from one generation to the next. It was a form of entertainment as well as education for the younger family members. However, life has changed, and many of those family legends are left gathering dust in the attic of life. Carolyn’s books helps us not only find those stories, but write them in an entertaining fashion for our children and grandchildren. It must be entertaining, both for the reader and the writer, after all who wants to write, much less read, a laundry list of marriages, births, divorces, and death?

Saturday Night Cocoa Fudge, Gloria Teague. A nostalgic look of growing up in the fifties in Tennessee. Although, the setting could of been anywhere in the United States, the stories revolve more around the people and the experiences of one little girl between four and five years old. If you grew up in the fifties you’ll love this book for the memories it invokes. Because, really, who hasn’t done the “switch dance?” If you weren’t lucky enough to grow up in the fifties you’ll love this look back at a different time and way of life. Each story stands alone, and the book can be read in snatches of time if necessary. However, Gloria weaves such entertaining, and exciting tales that you’ll find yourself flipping to the next story rather than putting the book down.

Navajo Rose, Kat O’Reilly, the pen name of  Jen Nipps.  From the back of the book :

“Antiquities poachers send Native American arts’ enthusiast Paige Douglas the Navajo Rose, a stolen tribal artifact. Can she trust Ricky, her high school crush, to help her return it? For that matter, can she trust herself around him?

Detective Richard Travis is determined to help Paige return the Navajo Rose in spite of — or perhaps because of — his growing attraction to her. But can he do it while maintaining his professional integrity and reining in his libido? And what if he can’t let her go when they’re done?”

 

 

Wilda’sOutlaw, Velda Brotherton. From the back of the book:”Calder Raines and his outlaw gang may be more than Wilda Duncan bargained for. All she wants is to escape an unwanted marriage, but she finds herself in the arms of a tantalizing man whose warm kisses arouse a storm of forbidden desires. Calder never wanted to rob banks, but it’s a family tradition. When he embraces the alluring redhead, passion conquers good sense and he imagines a life he cannot have. Will Calder return her to the man she is to marry before she gets hurt? Can Wilda set things right and prevent Calder’s arrest?”


 

 


Seven Quilty Tutorials

I love scrap quilts, not scrappy quilts, scrap quilts. There is a difference. Today’s tutorial projects all use real scraps. Of course, if you don’t have scraps. You can use charms, or strip sets. Really? No scraps? Can not imagine a house without fabric scraps.

Good thing I like scrap quilts since one of my goals this year is to organize my scraps, and the best way to do that is to simply use them, in a quilt, or other project.

Most of these tutorials are from last year, or older. After all this year just started, there hasn’t been time to post many tutorials. Isn’t it nice they don’t expire and we can go back and find them later?

Remember, these tutorials are shared for your personal use. If you use them please give the original blogger credit. If you wish to make, and sell, the projects using the instructions, please check with the blogger for permission.

This first one is from Michelle at City Houses Studio and is for a scrap asterisk block.

Amy at Badskirt made an even scrappier asterisk block, she called it the Japanese-x, although to me it looks like a scrappy asterisk. What do you think?

String quilts are a popular way to shrink the scrap pile. I’ve thought about making one, but always back out. Now, thanks to Kay, from Miss Print  I have instructions.

Not all tutorials are for quilts or quilt blocks. Sometimes we make quilty projects. Like Kay’s tutorial for making string coasters here. After all, making enough string blocks for a full-size quilt, even a small one takes time. A lot of time. Coasters can be made much quicker. How about a string mug rug even?

Another non-quilt quilty project is this cute patchwork basket from the Pink Penguin.

If you received an e-reader for Christmas (or you plan on making that purchase) a quilted cover would be perfect. Here are two tutorials for you. The first one is from the Sometimes Crafter. It’s a cute pouch you can slip your reader into. If you don’t have an e-reader it’d be a nice little pouch to hold other items.

Clover and Violet made a different type cover. Theirs holds the reader in place and you “open” it like a book.

For even more tutorials check out FaveQuilts. They are currently offering a free e-book with twelve quilt patterns and small projects.

Have fun trying out some of these tutorials. If you use any of them, please come back and leave a link or picture. The bloggers who posted the tutorial would love to see your work too.

What are you working on this week?

Mariam Kobras- Word Scraps Create Novel- Under the Same Sun

What happens when a quilter starts writing?  Scraps of fabric make beautiful quilts, word scraps create wonderful stories. At least in the hands of former quilter, Mariam Kobras.

Mariam has gone from sewing scraps of fabric together to form a warm, comforting, cover to stitching words together to create an entertaining, enjoyable read.  Under the Same Sun, is the second in The Stone Trilogy, and follows Naomi, Jon and those close to them as they try to regain control of their lives after the shooting of Naomi. The event  affected  them all in different ways. Added to the mix is Naomi’s desperate wish to have a second child and her difficulty in conceiving.

Mariam’s characters and situations, while figments of her imagination, are real and she could be telling the story of their lives were they actual living, breathing, people instead of just “real” characters from her fertile imagination.

She expertly stitches events and feelings together to form a tapestry that one can almost reach out and touch. Her descriptions are beyond good. She writes with layers, much like a quilt.  Each sentence another stitch in the written quilt, the story.

Mariam’s beautiful sensory descriptions of each new venue allow her readers, even the most frugal of us, to feel as though we’ve traveled the world with Naomi and Jon. Whether we are dancing on a lakeshore in Geneva with them, shopping at Harrods in London or decorating her house in Brooklyn, with Naomi, we are there. We can see the area, feel the smooth wood of the Steinway or the rough cobblestone road, the local aromas waft around us, as the sounds mingle with those of our real surroundings.

Real life drama fills the book and the resolutions are satisfying and make sense.

Sometimes in reading the story I wondered, “how did she know about that?” Because a portion of my life so closely followed the happenings in the book. There are so many real life situations in the book, that most people will be able to relate to at least one of them. Even if we have no idea what it’s like to be a rock star and have more money than we could possibly need.

While Under the Same Sun is the second book in the series, it also stands alone. That is you can read it and understand who everyone is without reading The Distant Shore, but why would you want to? Reading the books are a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

And of course, Mariam needs to buy a Porsche. How can she do that if we don’t all rush out and buy both books?

I am so happy  to be a part of Mariam’s blog tour, that way I got to read the book sooner. I’d been looking forward to reading it as soon as I finished, The Distant Shore. Now, I am eager to read the final book. Oh. My. Gosh. It won’t be out until next year !

This was the sixth stop in Mariam’s Blog Hop celebrating the launch of her latest book, Under the Same Sun (Book II in the Stone Trilogy) which hit the Amazon.com bestseller list on its first day on sale!

There’s only a few left, so order yours now, then while you’re waiting you can go to our blog and click the link to read the first two chapters for free.

But first, write a comment below about this blog post for a chance to win one of three copies of Under the Same Sun (plus some pretty gosh, darn, yummy chocolate)! You can get additional chances by following Mariam at every stop on her hop and leaving comments after each post. And hey, while you’re here, why not follow this blog. You won’t regret it.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, 10/23, Mariam will be visiting Carrie Bailey.  Join us there!

Check our blog for the full calendar and more details!

about the author: Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Mariam lived in Brazil and Saudi Arabia with her parents as a child before they decided to settle in Germany. She attended school there and studied American Literature and Psychology at Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen, where she met her husband. She lives in Hamburg, Germany, with her husband, two sons and  two cats.

Join Mariam on Facebook,  her blog, and her publisher’s website.

I am linking up with The Nester during the month of October and posting about one subject each day (more or less). My subject is “scraps”.  Check out her website for other blogs writing on the subject of their choice.

Blog Hop

I’m baaaaaaaack.

I know I’ve been MIA this week, I had planned to take the entire week off and not blog until Monday, March 19. This week was supposed to be devoted to building a website, and making this blog look nicer, and better represent me. Since I’m not having much luck on either front and, Michele/Mishka is doing it again, organizing a blog  hop, I’m back sooner than planned.

This Hop is especially nice because it celebrates St. Patrick’s Day. As a child I wasn’t fond of this day. However, as an adult I’ve come to enjoy the day and celebrate the greenness of the month.

I had so much fun on the last blog hop, met some great people, made new friends, and Michele does an outstanding job organizing these events. Naturally, when I learned she had another one in the works I wanted to participate. When she’s not working on blog hops, she maintains the Quilting Gallery site which includes so much more than I can list. If you’ve never been to her site, please check it out.

For my part in the hop, I will be offering a set of five quilted postcards, as well as a copy of my book. Your choice, print or an E-copy. All you have to do is follow this blog, simple. The post cards aren’t made yet, but I’ll come back and post a picture of them once they’re finished. The book, of course, is ready to go.

All you have to do is sign up to follow me, if you’re already a follower, just leave me a note in the comments to let me know and I’ll add your name to the pot. All new followers will have their name added. You can find the rest of the partying bloggers here. Have fun, and good luck.

Three Tips for Improved Blogs

In a never-ending search for ways to be more active online I’m devoting March to my blog. Each Monday I’ll look at suggestions and ways improving our blogs to help strengthen my writing platform. After all, that’s supposed to be the idea, have a good solid platform and people will find the books. Uh-huh. We’ll see. Last month I worked on my Twitter account. This month it’s blogging.

The goals are to blog consistently, and increase my readership. I’ll let you know at the end of the month how well it worked.

Today, I have 3 suggestions for a good blog.

  1. Find an area and stick with it. Yeeeah, this is a case of do as I suggest and not as I do. I can’t seem to stay in one area with my blog.
  •  I’m a writer, so I blog about writing, but I don’t feel experienced enough to only  blog about writing.
  • I’m a quilter, remember. my book is a collection of quilt stories. Again, not an expert quilter, and don’t want to just blog about quilting.
  • Then there’s my faith, inspirational, uplifting comments and ideas I want to share.

However, experts on blogging suggest we bloggers find and stick with one market.  While I haven’t been able to follow that advice, I do follow bloggers in each of those categories that do stick to one subject.

Writing bloggers like Duolit , who have a blog  for independent published authors, but I find it helpful. When I want to learn about book marketing, I check out their blog.

Quilting bloggers like, Kim at Kim’s Crafty Apple,  I know when I go to her blog there will be information on quilting in some form. Sure I learn a little about her life, but mostly I learn about quilting.

Inspirational bloggers like, Karen Jordan at Telling the Stories that Matter the Most. I know if I’m hurting, or want to be uplifted Karen is sure to have a story that will help.

This is why ‘experts’ encourage us to find an area and stick with it when we blog. Although, that is good advice, I’ve never been known to do what was best. Maybe it’s the latent rebel in me.

I’m not alone, there are other bloggers who cover a variety of subject. Bloggers like Amy Shojai’s Blog, Bling, Bitches, & Blood. Or Hilary at The Smitten Image, then there’s Carol at Ruminations of a Red Dirt Hussy.

2.  Have a schedule. Even if your blog, like mine, zigzags all over the place, have a posting schedule. This will allow your readers to have an idea of when you will post what.I try to do that:

  • Monday is for writers, currently it’s marketing, but that could change.
  • Wednesday is God’s word, that’s still a work in progress. I started one way which didn’t work, so am looking for what will work for me.
  • Friday is Five Minute Friday, where I write for five minutes, no editing, no second guessing, and link up with others at The Gypsy Mama.
  • Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays are supposed to be for quilting, again, a work in progress.
  • Sundays are silent, I post pictures.

3.  Be consistent. Right. Another case of do as I suggest and not as I do. Once we have a schedule, we need to stick with it. Again, it makes it easier for our readers. Also, having a consistent time to post helps them. Some like to post in the late evening, others prefer posting in the early morning, or maybe the afternoon, depending on their real life schedule. So far, my posting time has been horribly erratic.

Now you know what I’m not doing, that I should be doing. How about you? Do you follow any of these rules, or do you break them? Why? Do you have other “rules” you follow that helps keep your blog active? Please share with us.

 

 

The Christmas Blessing

Saturday is about sharing here at Patchwork Lives. At least that’s the idea. The goal is to share information about anything quilty.Today however, I’m sharing a personal story (another unusual thing for me.) It’s also a bit longer than normal.

The Christmas Blessing

For a variety of reasons, Friday night, long after dark, I was several miles from my house and in dire need of gas. I exited off the interstate and traveled along the old highway for a few miles, sure there would be a gas station on the road.

I was right, two in fact. I pulled into the first one, two lonely pumps, one marked out of order, and a small building, in need of a paint job.  The clerk on duty was barely visible through a window almost blocked with merchandise. As I pulled up to the next pump my eye caught the bright sign of the second store up the road a little. I bit my lip considering, that station looked more prosperous, and had better light. Still, the tank was empty and there was gas right here. Nothing looked dangerous, although there wouldn’t be a large selection of items inside, all I really wanted was gas. The decision made, I stopped at the tank and went in to prepay for my purchase.

Once inside, I found a clean, if crowded store and the woman working the night shift was friendly.

In fact, with  little encouragement she told me some of her recent problems. Her husband died a few months back (oh, how I could relate), two of her children had been involved in vehicle-destroying accidents in recent months. One child totaled her car, the other car was repairable, although the cost was extensive. Luckily no one was seriously injured The financial burden for this mother however, was extensive.

Thursday had been the funeral of her best friend. Last week she’d returned to a flooded home, thanks to her water heater developing a leak. She had to use the store’s credit to purchase a new one, her savings had gone to help her children get usable vehicles. Buying on credit, of course made the water heater more expensive. After cleaning the water damage, and replacing the water heater she began preparing for Christmas, This was to be a special Christmas for her son who would be leaving for Afghanistan next year, shortly after the birth of his first child.

However, those plans were changed when her home heating system quit. Repairing her heating, will take time and money. Christmas is now, one of her children will now host the family for the holiday. The Christmas dinner will wait until after five, when the store/station closes and she’s able to join her family.

Listening to her, my heart wanted to help her. How? I knew listening was helping, just being able to say the words, even if no one had a solution often helps. But, I wanted to do more.

I listened to her closing remarks, “The Bible says God will not give you more than you can handle. But, I think He has this time. I don’t know if I could take any more.” She said, looking outside as though hoping God would appear and fix her problems. Her words gave me the answer.

“Do you enjoy reading?” I asked her.

Her eyes widened, probably surprised at the question, but she nodded  that she did.

I practically skipped out the door to put the gas in my car. After fueling the car, I returned to the store with a copy of my book, which I signed to her.

“Maybe some of the stories in here will make  you smile.” I said when I handed her the book. “I hope next year is a good year for you.”

Before getting back in the car, I looked back at the store. Through the small clearing in the window I could see her looking at the book. I don’t know if she read it, or if it brightened her day, I hope it did. She certainly added to my day allowing me be her listener.

The long dark drive back to my house was a much easier drive than I’d anticipated. Helping someone else had blessed me beyond measure.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR.