Jan Stafford Kellis

Bookworms Anonymous Volume Two: Win a FREE copy!


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        Bookworms Anonymous Volume Two by Jan Stafford Kellis



          Bookworms Anonymous Volume Two

          by Jan Stafford Kellis


            Giveaway ends February 28, 2014.
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Stand and Deliver

Stand and Deliver

Stand and Deliver: The Dale Carnegie Method to Public Speaking by The Dale Carnegie OrganizationMy rating: 3 of 5 stars One of my irrational fears is public speaking.  I’m not sure exactly what sort of calamity will occur if I say the wrong word or (horrors) can’t find the word…

Accidental Genius

Accidental Genius

Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content by Mark LevyMy rating: 4 of 5 stars This book contains many valuable ideas and methods for generating ideas painlessly, and how to keep those ideas organized in a ‘thought inventory’ on the computer.  It’s slanted toward business…

The Flight of Gemma Hardy

The Flight of Gemma Hardy

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot LiveseyMy rating: 4 of 5 stars This is the tale of the indomitable Gemma Hardy, a twice-orphaned girl whose inner fortitude carries her through a life populated with many cruel characters and a few very kind ones.  As a young ten-year-old girl, she…

It’s Here! A Pocketful of Light

A Pocketful of Light is available on Amazon.com and in local stores. So exciting! The reviews so far have been favorable and I’ve been working hard handing out review copies to local stores and awaiting their reactions.

Check it out today and see if you’re inspired to travel to Italy!

Historical Event at Bookworms Anonymous

I just returned home from the monthly Bookworms Anonymous meeting and I’m proud to announce we had a historical event at the meeting: THREE books were granted the Bookworms Anonymous Stamp of Approval, and we voted to further categorize the award-winning books so we can have several lists of similar-style books. So far, the categories are: High Literature, Mainstream Literature, Historical Fiction, Non-Fiction and Fluff.

The books we stamped tonight, and their respective categories, are:
This book was granted the Stamp of Approval for a few reasons:
1. It’s by Anna Quindlen, one of the few authors we read that require no book review. When someone has a new Anna Quindlen book to pass around, we simply hold it aloft and say in a singsong voice: “It’s the new Anna Quinnnnd-lennnn,” and everyone reaches for it.
2. This particular AQ book caused everyone reading it to gasp aloud at a certain juncture. If you’ve read it, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I can’t say anymore about it.
3. We are all mothers and this book is a heart wrenching tale of motherhood and the worst fears realized.
4. It has an attractive cover. Superficial, I know, but nonetheless important when deciding whether or not to buy or read a book (unless, as mentioned above, it’s written by Anna Quindlen).
5. Every Last One, by Anna Quindlen (yes, I like her name and feel obliged to keep mentioning it) was granted the Bookworms Stamp of Approval in the Mainstream Literature category.

This book was granted the Bookworms Stamp of Approval mainly for its vocabulary and the well developed, complicated characters who populate the book.

Keep a dictionary  handy when reading this tome–even a reader with an unnaturally large vocabulary will need to reference at least two words. The writing is rich and distinguished and the speediest reader will find themselves halting mid-paragraph to reflect on a well worded passage or enjoy a turn of phrase.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Murel Barbery, was granted the Bookworms Stamp of Approval in the High Literature category (this category features highly intellectual themes and/or superior vocabulary).

This is the book that precluded the need for Stamp of Approval categories, and the first book in the Fluff category.

It’s a story about a family in the Pacific northwest with three children, all with shades of green for names: Olive, Forest and Jade. The mother is experiencing a midlife crisis and handles it by painting pictures of withered raisins enjoying various human pursuits such as sunbathing and shopping. Forest is living in the wilderness in a primitive shelter and Jade frequently provides food and clothing for him.

It’s a light, engaging story perfect for sandwiching between two heavier subjects populated with delightful characters and funny incidents.

Go ahead, start reading…

Frontier Vacation

I’m on vacation with my family right now, in the temperate rain forest of the Alaskan frontier. We’re visiting my aunt and uncle and witnessing their day-to-day lives, learning about their plumbing and electrical systems (there are 2 and 3, respectively) and gaining a greater appreciation for indoor plumbing and hot showers (we have hot showers here, but they require more effort than the one we’re used to). It’s a fabulous vacation from society, and a great place to learn about supporting oneself via gardening, fishing and trapping (crabs) and relying less on stores and other people.

My aunt’s place is comprised of several buildings: the Main Lodge where eating and sleeping takes place, the Powder Room, the Commissary where the refrigerator and some equipment is stored, the Workshop where my uncle does his woodworking and the Power Shed where the battery bank and freezer are situated. There’s also a garden of generous proportion ready to provide enough vegetables to feed all of us, and enough to can and prepare for the coming winter.

Did I mention the meals? We’ve enjoyed gourmet meals for dinner every evening: marinated salmon cooked on the grill; halibut served with cream sauce; tossed salads, garden potatoes, brown rice, homemade biscuits and jam, French toast. The offerings here rival any self-respecting high-end restaurant and at least 75% of the ingredients for each meal originated on the property or in the sea out front.

Since we arrived three days ago my husband has fished twice and brought home enough fish to see them through a month of winter meals. What a fabulous, mentally restful and physically tiring retreat!  I haven’t been here in 29 years–hopefully I’ll return before another 29 pass.

Mid-Year Resolutions

The challenge of maintaining a blog seems to be overwhelming–why else would I keep neglecting it for random stretches of time? A mid-year resolution might be prudent, might renew my dedication and commitment and provide motivation to continue posting blog entries. I hereby resolve to post something coherent, a minimum of one paragraph (don’t want to get carried away and fail right out of the gate) at least once a week.

At the moment I’m mired in a new job and still covering the old one; the new one is a traditionally male job, and I’m the first female at my company, aged 70 years (the company, not me) to hold this position. There are many extra challenges for a woman holding a “man’s” job, and there are many graces.  It seems bizarre and amazing that I now have a job requiring a shower at the end of the day rather than the beginning, and a job that involves math, design, working with the public and working alone.

I’m also dreaming of writing my third book rather than working on it because all of my mental energy has been directed into my job. We leave  Saturday morning for Alaska, spending the first week with my Aunt in the wilderness, and I’m planning to finish the book there, situated on her beach watching the tide come in and go out. My second book should hit the Amazon shelves within a day or two of this post.

Please stay tuned for my next post, in which I will reveal the new job and the progress of my writing project.

Saturday Book Signing

Saturday Book Signing

 Stop by Saturday between noon and 3pm at Safe Harbor Books in Cedarville, MI.

 I’ll have several copies of my book available as well as some of my signature bookmarks, designed to go with the book but fun and useful even on their own.

Can I Blame the Time Change?

Ever since we sprang forward last Sunday, the chaos factor in my life increased tenfold.

It all started with a phone call late in the evening from a close relative, freshly beaten and hiding in her yard, having been locked out of the house by her live-in boyfriend. My husband and I rushed to her aid, called the police, and spent the night sitting up talking, planning, reassuring the victim and keeping each other from returning to the house and retaliating on her behalf.

Monday I worked ten hours so I could leave work early on Tuesday to take my relative in to replace her driver’s license, clothing and personal care items, and assuage her sense of despair.

By Wednesday my husband and I had conferred and agreed to use our recently received tax refund to give her a “do-over”, and presented her with the option of travelling to Alaska (this isn’t as random as it seems–we have all kinds of cousins, aunts and uncles there) and seeking a summer job.

On Thursday I made the travel arrangements: $1500 later, we have a concrete plan and an excited passenger, ready for take off next Thursday morning. Assuming she receives her photo ID in the mail by then, as she’ll need it to board the plane…

Next week will be similarly hectic, as I have a speaking engagement Wednesday evening, an airport drop off at 5am Thursday morning, and I’m flying to Europe Friday afternoon!

I can’t help but wonder if we didn’t observe daylight savings time, maybe the whole world wouldn’t have lost its balance.