Michelle Cox is the author of the Henrietta and Inspector Howard series as well as “Novel Notes of Local Lore,” a weekly blog dedicated to Chicago’s forgotten residents. Her books have won over 50 international awards and have been praised by Kirkus, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Elle, Redbook, Brit&Co., Popsugar, Buzzfeed, and many others.
Unbeknownst to most, Michelle hoards board games she doesn’t have time to play and is, not surprisingly, addicted to period dramas and big band music. Also, marmalade. She lives in Chicago with her husband, three children, naughty Goldendoodle and is hard at work on her latest novel.
Almost three million copies of Josie Brown’s novels are in readers’ hands. Josie is the author of the 21-novel Housewife Assassin’s Handbook series; the 8-novel Totlandia episodic series; the 3-novel Extracurricular episodic series; and the 2-novel True Hollywood Lies series; as well as The Candidate and The Baby Planner. Her novel, Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives, was optioned by producer Jerry Bruckheimer for television. Josie also moderates the “Author Provocateur” podcast.
Diane is the author of More Than, Waiting for Ethan, and Mixed Signals. She is also a marketing and corporate communications writer in the health care industry. When she’s not writing, she’s at the gym, running or playing tennis, trying to burn off the ridiculous amounts of chocolate and ice cream she eats. She and her husband Steven live in Massachusetts and dream of moving to Turks and Caicos—at least for the winter months. Diane hopes you enjoy reading her books as much as she enjoyed writing them.
Lainey Cameron is a digital nomad and author of women’s fiction. A recovering tech industry executive, her award-winning novel, The Exit Strategy, was inspired by a decade of being the only woman in the corporate boardroom. A digital nomad—meaning she picks locations around the world to live (and write) for months at a time—Lainey is an avid Instagrammer and loves to share her travel tips and insights with readers. Originally from Scotland, Lainey has a soft spot for kilts and good malt whisky.
Barbara Conrey is the USA Today Bestselling author of Nowhere Near Goodbye, published on August 4, 2020, by Red Adept Publishing. Nowhere Near Goodbye is Barbara Conrey’s debut novel. Previously, Barbara worked in the health care industry before opting for an early retirement, which lasted all of three months. She then accepted a finance position, for which she had absolutely no background, and four years later, she decided to write a book. But not about finance. Travel is her passion, along with reading, writing, hiking, and exploring antique shops. Her greatest love is Miss Molly, her rescue beagle. There are stories to be told about beagles, and Barbara hopes to incorporate some of them into her books. Barbara lives in Pennsylvania, close to family and friends.
Book Synopsis: Eve Prince is done—with college, with her mom, with guys, and with her dream of fashion design. But when her best friend goes MIA, Eve must gather together the broken threads of her life in order to search for her.
When Eve’s grandmother, Boop, a retiree dripping with Southern charm, finds out about the trip, she—desperate to see her sister, and also hoping to alleviate Eve’s growing depression—hijacks her granddaughter’s road trip. Boop knows from experience that healing Eve will require more than flirting lessons and a Garlic Festival makeover. Nevertheless, Boop is frustrated when her feeble efforts yield the same failure that her sulfur-laced sip from the Fountain of Youth wrought on her age. She knows that sharing the secret that’s haunted her for sixty years might be the one thing that will lessen Eve’s growing depression—but she also fears that if she reveals it, she’ll lose her family and her own hard-won happiness. Boop and Eve’s journey through the heart of Dixie is an unforgettable love story between a grandmother and her granddaughter.
Author Bio: Mary Helen Sheriff is the author of southern women’s fiction, Boop and Eve’s Road Trip. She is the CEO and a co-founder of Bookish Road Trip, and a blogger at “…the gift of story.” After 14 years in classrooms teaching elementary school, middle school, college, and professionals, Mary has taken a break from the classroom to focus on writing. She has an MFA from Hollins University, an MA from ODU, and a BA from UVA. She lives in Henrico County with her two children, two cats, and one husband.
Topics for discussion: Family journeys and secrets, intergenerational relationships, the power of understanding, depression, celebrating finding our best selves.
Author’s Notes: Boop and Eve’s Road Trip has earned the following recognition:
American Fiction Award Winner in the coming-of-age category
Pulpwood Queens Book Club August bonus book selection
Montaigne Medal Finalist for thought-provoking books
Book Synopsis:The Eves is a multi-generational novel portraying lives lived well and lives in transition. Filled with poignancy and humor, The Eves captures the conversations we wish we had had with our parents, if we had taken the opportunity, and the lessons we would want to impart to our children, if they were ready to listen. Told through the voice of the psychologically complex Jessica Barnet, this is her story. As the primary witness in a messy trial, she has been torn from the foundation of her existence–her connection to her children. With a partially finished doctoral degree, and incomplete renovations on her Washington, DC row house, she has let go of her ambitions and her appearance, but not her vodka or her sense of loss and guilt. When Jessica meets five diverse, determined, and sometimes ditzy old women living in a sustainable community everything and everybody changes. Through plot twists and turns that cover three continents, we learn the truth of Jessica’s life and lies just as we fall in love with the vividly drawn characters and the vibrantly described settings.
Author Bio: Grace Sammon is an entrepreneur, educator, speaker, and author. She has started and managed two for-profit and two not-for-profit companies, and she has travelled to 35 states and 8 foreign countries. Recognized in “Who’s Who in Education” and “Who’s Who in Literature,” Grace is utilizing skills built up over decades as she re-invents herself with her award-winning fourth book and debut novel, as well as with a return to one of her early loves, radio. The Eves is an intergenerational story about lives lived well and lives in transition. It is a novel that challenges each of us to ask who we want to be in the world, regardless of our age. Grace brings that quest for a good story, and a drive to keep contributing, to her new radio show and podcast, “The Storytellers.” Grace is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers’ Association (WFWA), is Director of Membership for one of the fastest growing Face Book groups “Bookish Road Trip,” and a contributing moderator of “The Write Review.” She is currently working on several anthologies and sketching out her next novel. Grace grew up on Long Island, NY and spent most of her life in the Washington, DC area. She currently lives on Florida’s west coast with her husband and a small herd of imaginary llamas.
Author Note and topics for discussion: Let’s talk about leaving your mark on the world; the importance of conversations and telling our stories; families; relationships; aging; writing; getting published; an author’s life; and starting a new company, new radio show, and a new adventure at any age. I love book clubs, library groups, senior centers, writing classes, and so much more!
Genre: Fiction,Historical Fiction, and Book Club Fiction
Book Title and Tag Line: Sisters of the Vine
Eight Hundred Grapes meets A League of Their Own
Book Synopsis: Housewife and mother with a loving husband to take care of her – that’s all Liz, a Fifties gal, ever wanted. Over her father’s objections, she drops out of college to marry Rick, who dreams of living off the land. They buy a farm on a verdant hillside in the Hudson Valley, but can’t agree on what to plant. When they discover French-American hybrid grapes, Liz is confident they’ll be happy. Grapes are classy. As the rich soil sinks into her soul and the vines begin to thrive, the marriage grows rocky. Refusing to disappoint her father again, Liz is determined to make her marriage work… until she discovers a photograph hidden in the old barn. Faced with impossible decisions, Liz is desperate. She has a vineyard ready to harvest and no idea how to accomplish the task. Does she have the moxie to flourish? Or will she and the land turn fallow?
Book Title: The Disharmony of Silence
Book Synopsis: In 1915, jealous, bitter Rebecca Roth cuts all ties with her life-long friends, the Pearls. Eight years later, Rebecca’s son and young Lena Pearl begin keeping company in secret. Rebecca agrees to a truce when the couple marries. But the truce is fragile. Rebecca’s resentments run deep. In 2010, Carolyn Lee, fitness instructor and amateur photographer, must come to grips with the fact that her mother’s imminent death will leave her alone in the world. While preparing her childhood home for sale, she realizes for the first time that her mother’s antique brooch is identical to the one pinned to the lady’s dress in the painting hanging above the fireplace. Coincidence or connection? Carolyn is determined to find out. What she discovers has the potential to tear lives apart or to bring her the closeness and comfort she longs for. It all depends on how she handles her newfound knowledge.
Author note and topics for discussion: The strength of sisterhood, blood is not all that makes a family, publishing at an older age, networking and marketing tips, celebrating our own strengths, taking real life into fiction, inspiration, research, remaining independent later in life. What’s more fun than talking about books and writing? I’d love to join your book club, podcast, radio show, library group…we’ll have fun.
Author Bio: Linda Rosen’s books are set in the “not-too-distant past” and examine how women reinvent themselves despite obstacles thrown their way. A central theme is that blood is not all that makes a family– and they always feature a piece of jewelry! She is published by Black Rose Writing. Linda is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association and the Women’s National Book Association where she is Co-Coordinator of the Great Group Reads committee which chooses books for National Reading Group Month.
Author Bio: Saralyn Richard is the award-winning author of the Detective Parrott Mystery Series, Murder in the One Percent and A Palette for Love and Murder; and two standalone mysteries, A Murder of Principal, and Bad Blood Sisters. She’s also written the children’s book, Naughty Nana, and she’s been
a contributing author to the Bacopa Literary Review and the upcoming anthology of short stories from Encircle Publications. She served as chief editor of Burn Survivors’ Journey.
When not reading, writing, cooking, or gardening, Saralyn teaches creative writing and literature at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She’s a big supporter of the arts, local businesses, public libraries, and historic theaters. She lives in Texas with her husband, her person-in-a-dog-suit sheepdog Nana, and her Bichon Archie.
Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Readers’ Choice Award 2021
Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Readers’ Choice Award 2019
First Place in Speak Up Radio’s Firebird Awards for Mysteries 2021
Second Place in Readers’ Favorite Award for Mysteries 2020
Finalist for Silver Falchion Best Investigator 2021
Finalist for Silver Falchion Best Police Procedural 2019
Topics for discussion: The urban high school as a microcosm of society, writing fiction from one’s personal experience, writing about diverse settings, teaching creative writing to teenagers and to senior citizens. America’s wealthiest one percent, Brandywine Valley, PTSD, writing a detective series, women who write mysteries, the locked room mystery.
Writing for the young audience, collaboration between author and illustrator, the components of a children’s picture book, literacy, higher level questions, personification of animals.
Mandy Haynes has spent hours on barstools and riding in vans listening to outrageous tales from some of the best songwriters and storytellers in Nashville, Tennessee. She quit a stressful career as a pediatric cardiac sonographer to chase her dream of being a writer. She now lives the life of a beach bum on Amelia Island with her three dogs, one turtle, and a grateful liver. She is a contributing writer for Amelia Islander Magazine, Editor-in-Chief of Reading Nation Magazine, and Executive Director of the International Pulpwood Queen and Timber Guy Book Club. She’s the author of two short story collections, Walking the Wrong Way Home and Sharp as a Serpent’s Tooth Eva and Other Stories.
Topics for discussion: The importance of friendship, forgiveness, the harmful effects of gossip and rumors, and remembering what it was like to be young and innocent. “Wise as serpents, as innocent as doves.”
Author’s Notes: I love talking with readers about these characters! It never fails – we always end up laughing after we tear up just a little bit – and that’s a powerful thing.