Monday, November 22, 2010

Guest Post & Giveaway ~ A Holiday Yarn by Sally Goldenbaum


I love readers.
And I love hearing from readers.
And here’s why:

First, when I’m in the middle of a book and the only person I’ve talked to for weeks (besides my spouse and a writing friend) is the barista at my neighborhood coffee shop, readers convince me I’m not really dead and that there are living, breathing souls out there. That’s a good thing.

And second, readers are living souls who actually love new books. So when I go into a bookstore and am so absolutely overwhelmed that I want to turn and run—and my brain is being pummeled with the thought that the world cannot possibly need one more book, readers convince me that, yes, indeed, it does. Or at least some wonderful readers do.

Third, readers help keep me honest and exact in my writing. They graciously point it out when I take a tad too much leeway with a colloquialism or do damage to a Massachusetts saying.

And finally, readers let me share in their amazing and unique lives. And sometimes that’s missing when the writing life narrows your world during those stretches of imagining and writing.

And I love that. I love knowing that someone was born on Cape Ann, MA, where my Seaside Knitting series is set, and hasn’t been back for years and years, but reading one of the mysteries allowed her a quick visit, to feel the sand and salt air—albeit through print (but certainly less expensive than an airline ticket from California or Arizona would have been).

I love that a reader will take the time to tell me that in Massachusetts no one ever refers to a grocery store bag as a “sack.” It’s always “bag,” they tell me, and that’s all the knitters carry now—whether it’s brown paper or cloth.

Another conscientious reader graciously pointed out that Pelican Pier, which anchors the harbor in the fictitious town of Sea Harbor, was misnamed. “There are no pelicans this far north,” sweet Caren wisely wrote. Shamefaced, I admitted I must have been so taken by the alliteration, that I didn’t stop to think that any self-respecting pelican would prefer the warmer Florida waters. But not to be totally undone, a little research revealed that years ago a brown pelican had been spotted off the waters of Cape Ann. One. And in the next book, Moon Spinners, Birdie Favazza—the oldest of the Seaside Knitters—explains to her friends that her dearly departed husband Sonny was one of the ‘spotters’ of that misdirected pelican, and when Sonny donated the pier to the town, he insisted it be called Pelican Pier, a tongue-in-cheek reference to his spotting. (Ah, the wonderful world of writing fiction. It allows one to make right all the wrongs in the world—or, at the least, in an author’s books.)

Then there was M.K., a reader from Missouri, who felt a shiver run down her spine, she said, by the mention of a fishermen, Joey Palazolla, who was swept away to sea in Patterns in the Sand. She said he had the same name as a little round “Pillsbury-type” boy who had a crush on her in second grade. And she was never nice to him, she wrote with dismay, and wondered if I knew the real one … and where he might have ended up? Maybe she could get in touch with him? I didn’t, but we discovered we actually did know some of the same people in that crazy six-degrees of separation way, though Joey, sadly, wasn’t among them.

I loved hearing from a reader in Maine who claimed that filling her hospital bed stand with cozy mysteries helped her through a lingering illness with her sense of humor intact.

And a reader in Florida, a gracious lovely woman, has become an email friend. She has shared her husband’s illness and dying with me in the most amazing, thoughtful, and even uplifting way over the months. A truly amazing woman from whom I’ve learned so much.

Writing the Seaside Knitters Mystery Series has meant many things to me. But at the very top of the long list are the people with whom these four women knitters have brought me in contact. Readers.
Amazing readers.

Sally's Bio ~ 

I am quite inept at writing about my life--it's been a very nice one so far, but in the repeating it may sound a bit tedious. So I will hit the highlights and offer you a very speedy read.
I was born in Manitowoc, Wisc, a small city on the shores of Lake Michigan where my father was a shipbuilder. We spent summers baking on Lake Michigan (before the days of sun alerts) and enjoyed the perks that growing up in a small town provides. I went to high school in Green Bay, Wisc, a boarder in an all-girls academy, just like my sister, mother and her seven sisters before her had done.

College was Fontbonne in St. Louis, and graduate school (philosophy) was Indiana U in Bloomington where I met my husband. In between all of that I was a Catholic nun for several years. A checkered past, to be sure.


has always been a part of my life, from fictionalizing my diary when I was a teen to working in public television in Pittsburgh, Pa, to teaching philosophy, to editing a bioethics journal. I always wrote. And in the back of my head was the novel I'd write someday. But it didn't happen until one day when I was sitting in a sandbox in a park, watching my children play. I was new to Kansas CIty, looking for company. There was another mother there, Adrienne Staff, a transplanted New Yorker. And as those things go, the ex-nun and nice Jewish girl from New York  glommed on to each other and discovered we not only liked one other a lot, but we both had a burning desire to write. And so we did. Together. We found a wonderful agent and published (some together, some alone) 25 to 30 novels.

Though Adrienne went on to other things, I started writing mysteries some 10 years later, again inspired and helped along by a life-time friend, this time Nancy Pickard (See "Sally's Porch" for Nancy's mug shot).

My life today...

After lots of years of writing early in the morning before heading out to my editing job in a publishing house, I now have the wonderful luxury of writing full-time--sitting on my porch or in a coffee shop or library. Or tootling off to Cape Ann (where the seaside knitters series is set) to research new adventures for the knitters, and in between, to visit my daughter Aria, her husband John--and Luke and Ruby—who live in Gloucester on Cape Ann.

My son Todd lives in California with his wife, Laila, and Danny, our youngest, is here in Kansas City with Claudia and their two sons, Atticus and Julian. It's a lovely time of life for Don and me, filled with the joy four grandchildren bring--and their parents and our children and spouses are pretty terrific people as well. Photos on the right are the lights of our life (from top to bottom): Atticus Sage, Ruby Jane, Luke Robert, and Julian James.

And that's all she wrote....for now....

Lori—thanks for inviting me to stop by. Your blog is a warm and friendly place. All I need is a cup of cinnamon tea!

Visit Sally's Website
Friend her on Facebook
Check out her blog ~  Sally's Porch
Contact Sally

Her latest book (available NOW) ~

A Holiday Yarn: A Seaside Knitters Mystery

A special event in the national bestselling mystery series! Craft away the holiday season with the Seaside Knitters.

With the Seaside Knitters' help, Mary Pisano converts her charming inherited home into a B&B. Her first week is booked by her very own family, in town to discuss their grandfather's will. She's hoping the tranquility of the setting will smooth over ill feelings among family members. But when her cousin Pam-a Sea Harbor, Massachusetts, native-is found murdered, she realizes she was dead wrong...

With the holiday cheer severely disrupted, Mary relies on the Seaside Knitters to set things right. They gladly offer their skill for unraveling crime, but it'll take all their crafty know-how to unravel this deadly tangle. 

Sally's other books ~ 


Thanks to Penguin, I have two (2) copies of this book to give away.

GIVEAWAY  Rules for entering:

  • This contest is open to residents of USA  residents only!
  • Please complete the form below - do not leave information in the comments - it will not count.
  • The contest will end on December 6, 2010 at 11:59PM EST; 2 winners will be selected and contacted thereafter.
  • Once the winner is contacted, they will have 48 hours to respond to my email or another winner will be chosen (make sure to check your spam filters!).
  • Book will be shipped directly from the publisher.