Weather Report, August 31





The idea behind this monthly feature is to allow newer followers to the blog to check out previous books they might have missed. This month, we will revisit “Turnstiles,”by Andrea Raine;  “Betrayal,” by Sharon Brownlie; “How Not to Avoid Jet Lag,” by Joshua Brown;  “Caught,” by Deirdre Thurston and “Thirty Perfect Days” by Claudia Taller.

Time coverSEPTEMBER 4-7:


Anthony Motavato’s life was shattered forever on the morning of April 19, 1995 when he lost his beautiful daughter. Unable to cope with his new reality, Anthony left town and has drifted on the lonely fringes of alcoholism in the years since the tragedy. Realizing his time is short, Anthony finally returns home to face the family he left behind. As he tries to regain his faith and make peace with the people that still love him, he is pulled into the tapestry of lies surrounding the deadliest act of domestic terrorism on United States soil. The only way he can find the forgiveness he seeks is by reliving it all over again. Oklahoma Ghost Dance takes you into the darkest places of imagination. From a plot born within the ashes of the Waco massacre, it slowly untangles historic events surrounding the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing. Jeff Wilson, author of the highly acclaimed novel, Queen Anne’s Revenge, weaves a haunting story of love, heartbreak and redemption.


And who doesn’t love a good ghost story? Writes Cheryl, a writer from Pittsburgh: “Most people, whether they believe in ghosts or not, are curious about them. Whispers in the Attic poses the questions and offers the answers to anyone who has ever wondered what  happens when the spirit world and the natural world collide.”

A lifelong student of the paranormal, Cheryl put 15 years of research into this novel.


Last week, I decided to try an experiment. I contacted all the writers who have been – or will soon be – featured on the Snowflakes in a Blizzard blog and asked them the last three or four books they’ve read (almost everyone provided four).

I did this not because those of you out there are necessarily interested in our literary tastes, but more to make a point.

For what intrigued me was that the 22 writers who responded came up with 85 books, and only one duplication — Betsy Ashton’s “Mad Max: Unintended Consequences.” Both writers who read that have the same publisher as Betsy, Koehler Books.

As a further disclaimer, Kate Sebeny and I are reading each other’s novels.

Beyond those instances, the reading material was all over the map (and, in the case of Charlotte Harris Rees, all over map literature).

Except for a few other books done by Snowflakes writers that showed up on the list, I found only six authors with whom I was familiar and just five books I’d read. And I’m someone who has already been through 95 books this year (I keep track, which probably means I need a life).

Here’s the thing – I guarantee if you asked a similar group of people about the last four movies they’ve seen, TV shows they’ve watched or songs they’ve listened to, there would be a lot more duplication.

This further convinces me that most people buy books for the book itself, not the author. Sure, there are a handful of writers, the John Grishams and Danielle Steeles and Stephen Kings of the world – who have huge followings. Others develop their own niche.

Still, this poll tells me that the public taste in books is much more omnivorous than in any of the other creative areas. At Snowflakes in a Blizzard, that’s what we’re trying to get across – an author might be unknown and his or her book far down the Amazon sales rankings, but it can still be a great book.

Here were the responses:

Tom Bentley, author of “Think Like a Writer”: “Across a Hundred Mountains,” by Reyna Grande; “The Round House,” by Louise Erdrich; “Let’s Get Digital,” by David Gaughran and “Letters from Hawaii,” by Mark Twain.

Barbara Trainin Blank, author of “What To Do About Mama?”  “The English Girl,” by Daniel Silva; “In the Middle of Ally,” by Michael Oren; “The Anne Boleyn Collection,” by Claire Ridgway,” amd “Round Up the Usual Suspects: The Making of Casablanca,” by Aljean Harmatz.

Marianne Bohr, author of “Gap Year Girl”:  “The Nightingale,”  by Kristen Hannah; “Me Before You,”  by JoJo Moyes; 3. “This is Where I Leave Yopu,” by Jonathan Tropper, and “A Cup of Redemption,” by Carole Bumpus.

Nicki Brandon, author of “The Solarbus Legacy”: “The Big Picture,” by Douglas Kennedy; “The Girl on the Train,” by Paula Hawkins; “Island Dogs: A Caribbean Tale,” by BM Simpson and “Turnstiles,” by Andrea McKenzie Raine.

Joe Broadmeadow, author of “Collision Course.”: “Passport to the Cosmos,” by John E. Mack; “A Scourge of Vipers,” by Bruce DeSilva; “The Starlight Club: Goodfellas, Mob Guys and Hitmen,” by Joe Corso,” and “A Lion Among Men,” by Gregory Maguire.

Andrea Brunais, author of “Mercedes Wore Black”: “Moloka’i” by Alan Brennert;  “Blue Horses” by Mary Oliver; “The Island” by Victoria Hislop and “Thank You for Being Such a Pain” by Mark I. Rosen.

Susan Coryell, author of “Beneath the Stones”: “All the Light We Cannot See,” by Anthony Doerr; “Hannah’s Dream,” by Diane Hammond; “Loving Frank,” by Nancy Horan, and “This is the Story of a Happy Marriasge,” by Ann Patchett.

Diane Fanning, author of “Scandal in the Secret City”:  “Fear of Dying,” by Erica Jong; “Atomic Lobster,” by Tom Dorsey; “Gathering Prey,” by John Sanford and “Mother Tongue,” by Bill Bryson.

Holland Haiis, author of “Consciously Connecting” “The Devil in the White City,” by Erik Larson; “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” by Carson McCullers, and “The Four Agreements,” by Don Miguel Ruiz.

Melinda Inman, author of “Refuge”: “The Salvation of Jeffrey Lapin,” by Summer Kinard; 2. “The Day of Atonement,” by David DeSilva; 3. “Max Max: Unintended Consequences,” by Betsy Ashton.

Darrell Laurant, author of “The Kudzu Kid.” “Daring,” by Gail Sheehy, “The Black Ice,” by Michael Connelly,” “Sailor’s Delight,” by Malcom Torres and “the Last Best Thing,” by Kate Sebeny.

Liz Long, author of “A Reaper Made”: “Enchanted Heart,”by Mindy Ruiz; “The Demon Trapper’s Daughter,” by Jana Oliver, “Taste,” by Cambria Herbert and “Free to Fall,” by Lauren Miller.

John Maberry, author of “Waiting for Westmoreland”: “Blood Run, by Leah Ruth Robinson; “Pearseus Bundle (Pearseus 1-3)” by Nicholas C Rossis; “Waking the Buddha,” by Clark Strand and “Snow Falling on Cedars” by David Guterson

Diana Paul, author of “Things Unsaid“:  “Mr. Bridge” (Evan S. Connell), “Mrs. Bridge” (also E.S. Connell), “Everything I Never Told You” (Celeste Ng), and “Hysterical: Anna Freud’s Story.” (Rebecca Coffey).

Andrea McKenzie Raine, author of “Turnstiles.”  “The Girl on the Train,” by Paul Hawkins; “Amatore’s Restaurant,” by James Sillwood; “Poems,” by Emily Dickinson and “Whispers in the Attic,” by Cheryl Alsippi.

Charlotte Harris Rees, author of “Did Ancient Chinese Explore America?”: “Mapping the Chinese and Islamic Worlds,” by Hyunhee Park; “Mysteries of the Marco Polo Maps,” by Benjamin Olshin; “A History of the World in 12 Maps,” by Jerry Brotton and “A book of Old Maps,” by Fite and Freeman.

Karen Rivello, author of “The Other Side of Midnight“: “Plain Jane: Brunettes Beware,” by Cristyn West; “She’s Not There,” by Maria Madison; “Dead Wood,” by Dani Amore and Dan Ames and “Shunned no More,” by Christina McKnight.

Dean Robertson, author of “Looking for Lydia, Looking for God”: “Buried Giant,” by Kazuo Ishiquro; “Revelations: Visions, Prophecy and Politics in the book of Revelations,” by Elaine Pagels; “For the Time Being,” by Annie Dillard and “Max Max: Unintendent Consequences,” by Betsy Ashton.

Kate Sebeny, author of “The Last Best Thing”: “The Poor Man’s Guide to Suicide,” by Andrew Armacost; 2. “Knitting,” by Anne Bartlett; “A Flatland Fable,” by Joe Coomer and “The Kudzu Kid,” by Darrell Laurant.

Tara Shields, author of “Into Shadow”:Ethan’s Secret,” by Patrick Hodges; “Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper,” by J.L. Bryan; “Unseen,” by Stephanie Erickson and “Zodiac Lives,” by Rhode D’Ettore.

Brian Simpson, author of “Island Dogs”: “The Stone Cutter,” by Camilla Läckberg; “Killing Patton,” by Bill O’Reilly; “Dharma Bums,” by Jack Kerrouac, and “A Thousand Splendid Suns,” by Kahled Hosseini.

Ryan Jo Summers, author of “When Clouds Gather”: “One of the Few,” by Jason B. Ladd; “A Heart Mended,” by Jesse Salisbury; “Arms of an Angel,” by Patricia Bond and “Turkmen Captives,” by Susan Williamson.

Deirdre Thurston, author of “Caught”:  “The Turning,” by Tim Winton; “The Children Act,” by Ian McEwan; “The Snow Child,” by Eowyn LeMay, and “If One Speaks Not of Remarkable Things,” by Jon McGregor.


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Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

2 thoughts on “Weather Report, August 31”

  1. I am curious if these people have varied interests in the other arts as well? Do they listen to Mozart and Charlie Daniels? Do they have prints hanging on their walls of Van Gogh and Andy Warhol’s works? Quite an eclectic mix. Thanks for the post!


    1. Yes, interesting thought, Cheryl. I have an eclectic mix of art in my home from a Stanley Palmer (famous NZ artist), my own paintings, my son’s paintings and drawings, alongside Jackson Pollock and other contemporary artists. I also have a mix of art nouveau, art deco and modern pieces alongside antique Chinese furniture. Our homes will all be dressed in our individual personalities.


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