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Reviews on my book – loving these!

Word cloud built around some of the key words and phrases in reviews written about The Gray Lady of Long Branch novel.
Word cloud built around some of the key words and phrases in reviews written about The Gray Lady of Long Branch novel.

I’ve got to confess… I find it weird — but very gratifying of course — to read enthusiastic reviews of The Gray Lady of Long Branch. I mean. I loved writing this book. I felt the emotions in it. I cried at the sad parts, laughed and chuckled at the humorous areas, and felt the elation and sorrow and everything in between that was depicted in this book.

So it’s with great pleasure that I’ve read reviews of others who felt those too.  Here are some of them. But one commercial announcement first: If you haven’t read the book, and these reviews compel you, feel free to purchase from the publisher at 30% off using the discount code MSBlog for whichever format you choose (and remember, it makes a great gift!).  So now, without further delay, some lovely, favorable book reviews:

“Satchell excels at drawing readers into the lives of her characters and making you care about them. The characters, and their experiences, are all easily relatable to our own stories, our own personal triumphs, challenges, and tragedies.” —  G. Robert Frazier’s Adventures in Writing

 “In these pages, you’ll meet several owners and renters who come, stay a while, and leave. … The multiple stories of the various visitors – families and renters – all narrated by the house, is the glue that holds the truly remarkable history of the house together. The people celebrate the good times, and support each other through the bad times. …I cried at the sad ending, but at the same time, was happy with the surprise circumstances of the ending. It is my pleasure to give ‘The Gray Lady of Long Branch’ 5-stars. It is a book I’d read again, and recommend to others.” — Dayna Leigh Cheser, Author

“The Gray Lady of Long Branch is a house set on the New Jersey shore in the town of Long Branch. Inside its walls, life happens – life, death, and everything in between. The house here tells its story through the stories of its inhabitants from World War II to almost the present time… The book is sweet. The simple approach to the story telling does not make these moments more or less than what they are. It simply describes them. The different scenes cycle back to some of the same characters such that you see them at different points in their lives. The book is about the small and the big moments of everyday life.  I enjoy the story for its simplicity and for its unvarnished sense of real life.” —  Memories from Books Blog

“Recommended, a nice, light, relaxing read. I read Sci-fi often enough, so I was comfortable suspending belief and listening to a house as narrator. I never saw the twist at the end coming…Bravo.” JohnChic / Library Thing

“With interesting characters and their interactions, a plotline that proceeds nicely through the years with visits to local New Jersey shore restaurants and other attractions, “The Gray Lady of Long Branch will delight New Jersey residents and former residents and those readers who love fiction of 20th century life.”Alice D. / Goodreads

“Her tone is conversational, candid and often humorous. She is proud of her appearance. She describes her observations and expresses opinions. The plot is engaging. The novel is so well written that only the Gray Lady could be the narrator. From the very beginning, it was easy to feel affection for the Gray Lady. The author takes on heavy issues, some of which are love, honesty, respect and loss. The characters are well developed and their stories easy to relate to. As for the ending: I didn’t see it coming!!! A total surprise.  I loved reading this unique and very special book. Highly recommended.” — Evie / Library Thing

“What a glorious beach read or story to read in the midst of any season when one is heartsick for the simple and timeless joys of summer vacations by the ocean’s shoreline. The sub-title of “If Walls Could Talk” is so appropriate as “The Gray Lady” shares her perspective of the history of her memories. There are stories within the overall history of the beach house and together they share not only the genealogical story of the families but are also shared within the chronological history with an American perspective. For anyone that has a history of memories at the beach with their families, this story will be a very endearing read and will also make a lovely gift to remind one of cherished times with sun, sand, and surf shared with family and friends.” — Corduroy / Library Thing

“What a beautiful read. … The gray lady saw families through their good time right along with the grief that they experienced. I really enjoyed this story and could relate to many of the events.” Joanie / Goodreads

“This was a lovely read with a chick lit feel to it… The author writes well and puts a lot into her characters and story. I enjoyed the concept of key American dates being referred to. A recommended read.” Jane / Goodreads

“I loved the book. Having an outside source telling about a family is a nice way to tell their story. Having the old Victorian home tell it is a nice alternative.  I will recommend this book to friends.”SandraCeltic / LibraryThing

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Another book review – Malcolm Gladwell’s OUTLIERS

 This was my first introduction to Malcolm Gladwell’s works and I was compelled to read it based on the theory behind it. A wonk by hobby myself, I love the idea of finding patterns those who don’t bother to look deeply below the surface might miss. This book is all about that kind of thing – patterns that could well be missed but when cobbled together, provide an aha moment about something. In this case the aha moments are there to identify a link between gigantic and known successes — be they professional Canadian Hockey players or The Beatles, or some Asian countries’ students penchant to outperformance others on standardized math tests.

The version I “read” was the unabridged audiobook read by Gladwell himself. I think hearing it in his own voice, in his own inflection was interesting, like being in a lecture hall with him right there, delivering the findings live. Be warned about considering that option, though, because it’s the kind of book you want to pick up and refer to again and again. To marvel over certain passages and certain findings and wonder at them and share them with others.

Gladwell makes an astonishing, provocative, and, dare I suggest sacrilegious (in this day and age), assertion — that a highly successful individual’s prowess is not built upon just the hard work and rugged individualism of that one person. Rather, he suggests, it is built upon the circumstances — be they the societal timing, the culture, the season, the access to resources or, even in one instance, the prejudices — in which the individual finds him or herself, that deserve the credit.

I’m taking an agnostic view on that assertion, and only suggest you listen or read this with an open mind. If you do, I think you’ll find it a highly entertaining and very interesting read with a lot to mull over once you’ve reached the end.

Cross-posted on LibraryThing and Goodreads.

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Geekgirl exposed: I’m a huge fan of Elon Musk

Source: Fast Company
Source: Fast Company

If you’ve followed me on Twitter (@MoesseArtist), you know I have tremendous admiration for Elon Musk. I don’t know when he came on my radar, but on so many levels, what he is doing and trying to do just rocks my world.

Consider:

He’s brought to market a sleek, elite electric car everyone loves, under the company name Tesla (Another icon of mine from another century).

He’s put together the talent and genius to build rockets that might someday go to Mars at costs far below the usual players and upending the space industry.

He’s behind SolarCity – the nation’s largest residential solar installer and is disrupting the energy industry in a huge way as well.

Taken alone, each of those efforts is enough to launch an individual into that rare air stratosphere of titans of industry and let’s face it, in this day and age, the U.S. is lackluster in the innovation department, to say the least.

The thing that really gets me, that shows me this guy is for real trying to build a better world, is when Elon Musk released all the Tesla Patents “in the spirit of the open source movement.”

This is how he explained it:

Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal. Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.

I don’t know about you, but to me, that move is a stunning example of a selfless desire to better the world.

I’ve just finished Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance (a geek-girl’s dream). It’s exceptionally well-written and Vance does a superb job of covering this amazing individual.  Jump over here for my review of that book . The enormity of Musk’s accomplishments is the stuff of legends and Vance does him justice.

Were you familiar with Elon Musk? What do you think about him?

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An artist’s birth in darkness. (Book Review of David Sandum’s I’ll Run.. Memoir)

A memoir about Depression and Discovering Art by TwitterArtExhibit founder David Sandum
A memoir about Depression and Discovering Art by TwitterArtExhibit founder David Sandum

Four years ago, Sweden-born painter David Sandum came onto my radar promoting his “Twitter Art Exhibit” (TAE)  It was his philanthropic idea to put out a call to artists on Twitter for small postcard-sized works he could sell to raise funds for a local nonprofit based in his hometown of Moss, Norway.

The genius behind the successful TAE was a very simple, resource-light idea: broadcast the call to artists only on Twitter with a link to David’s blog, which offered more details about the charity organization and specs for artists’ entries. That first exhibit garnered works from around the world – a total of 264 postcards were sent from artists in 24 countries. It raised the money to buy 221 new children’s books for the Moss public library.

Cut to March 2014, when his Twitter Art Exhibit took the Orlando art community by storm. This time, there were more than 600 participating artists and the event raised $7,050 for the Center for Contemporary Dance Special Needs Program in Winter Park, Florida. Orlando is a short drive from my home and studio, so I not only contributed a pair of works to the cause, but attended opening night to meet David and his lovely wife, as well as the other directors of the growing organization and TAE fans and fellow artists from around the country and abroad as well.

After connecting my face with my twitter handle (@MoesseArtist), David learned about my first book – Empty Sky – and we discussed writing and publishing. He’s about to launch his own book and I daresay it is one very important work, because of its content and the person he is.

Though born in Sweden, David came to the States to attend college. Upon graduation, he was about to return to Scandinavia, he became deeply depressed. The condition defined his life for many years thereafter and he was hospitalized and institutionalized and spent more than a decade in therapy. David took to art as a form of therapy and in 2002 had his first exhibit.

He tells his story in a gritty memoir written about the healing process, the artists who inspired him  and how art ultimately saved him. I am a tightwad but have purchased an advance copy of the book  I’ll Run Till the Sun Goes Down: A Memoir About Depression & Discovering Art  because I was blown away by the advance chapter I was sent to read and review, and I know that David has jumped through a tremendous number of hoops to gain copyright permission to include 40+ images of the works of some of the artists he references in his tome. We’re talking Van Gogh here, people!

Speaking of Van Gogh, I’m an admitted latecomer to art and may be off base, but I think his brushwork reflects a strong influence from Van Gogh and Edvard Munch. See for yourself by checking out examples of his earlier works at this blog post by James Day. For more information about David’s book and to preorder it, visit his Publisher’s author page.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Leave a comment here or tweet about this post using the hashtag #SandumPreorder will receive a 20% off coupon code for an autographed copy of I’ll Run Till the Sun Goes Down AND all those who preorder a book will be entered into a drawing for a signed, limited-edition etching (below) by the artist/author himself entitled “Writing My Memoir.” A total of 10 will be given away.

Etching by artist/author David Sandum entitled "Writing my Memoir"
Etching by artist/author David Sandum entitled “Writing my Memoir”

 

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Jazzed about this wonderful review of my upcoming book!

Gray Lady of Long Branch book cover front and spine
The Gray Lady of Long Branch (Four Pillars) Fiction, 283 pages, ISBN: ISBN: 978-0-9857093-8-9

Disclaimer: The reviewer now writes fiction and has a terrific blog for writers on which he reviews books, dissects the writing life and more. But in my former life as a journalist, Gary was my editor. He notes that at the end of the review, so read it for yourself and see what you think.  If you’d like the short version, here are the Cliff Notes:

In this case, Satchell’s novel focuses on the lives of those coming and going at a grand Victorian beach house in New Jersey. Built in the 1910s, the house serves as the unique setting and narrator (yes, narrator!) of more than a dozen vignettes within its walls, taking readers on an emotional journey through time. The stories relive milestones in the lives of the DiStefano family who owns the house, friends, and visitors who rent the house for weekend getaways or vacations.

The stories are often warm and uplifting, and sometimes sad. Satchell excels at drawing readers into the lives of her characters and making you care about them. The characters, and their experiences, are all easily relatable to our own stories, our own personal triumphs, challenges, and tragedies.

And in case you can’t suspend your disbelief that a house can act as a narrator, stick with it. All will be made clear in the end.

Satchell has always had a knack for telling stories in a compassionate way and for letting the passions of her characters define them, and that skill is evident here. Prior to crafting fictional stories as a novelist, she chronicled real-life stories as a reporter for The Tennessean in Nashville and other area newspapers.