Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Guest Post & Giveaway ~ Sally Goldenbaum


Thanks so much for the invitation to drop by today, Lori. I feel a bit like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland—I’m late. I’m late, for a very important date! But the best part about readers (and those with wonderful blogs like Lori’s Reading Corner) is that they are kind and understanding.

And that’s one of the important reasons why I love to write…because of readers.

Okay, I know. That sounds simplistic. But it’s really more than the fact books need to be read. Readers are critical to my whole writing process. And here are four reasons why:

1.      Readers keep me honest. I write about a group of friends who live on Cape Ann, north of Boston. I live in Kansas. And although I spend as much time as possible on Cape Ann, my readers fill in on the fine points I sometimes miss. For example, when I named a Seaside Harbor pier “Pelican Pier,” an astute reader quickly wrote that no self-respecting Pelican would dip into those chilly waters. They much prefer Florida. (To maintain my honor, I researched it and discovered there was a sighting of a brown pelican on Cape Ann years ago—so I wrote a scene in the next book that explained the naming of the pier—Birdie’s first husband had spotted the pelican, and thought it would add a touch of humor to name the pier after it.) Thank you, wonderful reader, not only for the correction, but for giving me a nice side story for Moon Spinners!

2.      Readers remind me that I’m not alone. Big chunks of writing are in solitary confinement, and on days when I keep the aluminum siding salesmen on the phone because I am desperate for someone to talk to, readers provide a much-preferred alternative. Not that we necessarily talk. But emails fill that lonely gap and convince me that there are other living, breathing souls out there.

3.      Readers HELP me, help my characters, and help my books. For example, I’ve received wonderful notes from generous reader-knitters who have shared the charities for which they knit. And the seaside knitters have jumped right in, providing hats for head huggers and blanket squares for knit-a-square. And readers share their projects with me, sending photos and tips to add into the Seaside Knitters’ Thursday night session.

In The Wedding Shawl, my most recent mystery, I had access to an amazing shawl pattern, knit by a talented PhD student who let me share it with everyone. It became Izzy’s wedding shawl, knit for her by her three closest friends.

And one more thing—at this very moment, one very talented designer is creating a beautiful pattern for Birdie’s granddaughter’s sweater. It will occupy Nell’s fingers throughout the next year’s Seaside Knitters mystery. Generous readers. Talented designers.

4.      And last, but definitely not least, readers make me want to open up my computer every morning. They inspire me by letting me share in their amazing and unique lives. For example, Louise wrote that during a long convalescence from a serious illness, books became her companions during the long days in bed—the knitters helped her heal. And an Arizona grandmother who is helping raise her granddaughter, wrote that she shares the mysteries with her Mya, and then, together, they knit the patterns and send me photos of Mya modeling them.

And finally, there is my dear reader-friend in Florida who wrote: “The anniversary of my husband’s death will be in early June, and I’ll remember him in some special way with my family.

But one thing I know I’ll do, is that I’ll spend a bit of the day on my back porch or down at the seashore…thinking of my Johnny. And I’ll relish the rest of Moon Spinners while I’m there.”

And that’s why I love and need readers. Every single one of them. That’s why I write.

Thank you so much, Lori. And a thank you to all your 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 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....

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Sally's latest book ~ 

The Wedding Shawl: A Seaside Knitters Mystery 

Izzy Chambers is about to get married, but much remains to be done. Then the wedding plans get complicated when the wedding party's hair stylist begins missing appointments. When she's found dead, things really begin to unravel. Rumors circulate about the stylist's past and her connection to an unsolved murder years ago.

All the Seaside Knitters really know is they must rally to find some answers, so Izzy can don the wedding shawl they're surprising her with- and replace the whispers about town with wedding bells.

Thanks to the author, I have one (1) copy of  The Wedding Shawl: A Seaside Knitters Mysteryto give away.

GIVEAWAY Rules for entering:

* This contest is open to residents of USA only.
* Please complete the form below - do not leave information in the comments - it will not count.
* One entry per person. Duplicate entries will be deleted.
* The contest will end on May 31st at 11:59PM EST; 1 winner 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.

Other books by Sally ~