Book Club Christmas Brunch 2014

We’ve been having our book club brunch at Debbie D’s house for 15 years now because she always throws a great party! Since I’ve written before about Debbie D’s beautiful tables, I thought I’d add this year’s. Another gorgeous year:

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Instead of chargers she used scrapbook paper with a pretty gold-on-white pattern. (So clever and cute!) And she had such a pretty pop of red with her party favors of cellophane-wrapped homemade cookies.

I also love that wood centerpiece down the table, which she said she made (stained, cut) herself. What a great idea to give everything a little lift and to keep plates and dishes from knocking over candles and such. That might be my DIY for 2015. …

I also have to show off this cute mimosa bar Deb set up in her kitchen for when everyone arrived:

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And this little cutie wasn’t part of the decor, but she sure added some adorableness to the whole Christmas scene. This is book-club-friend Carrie’s little baby, Baby Viv, who has been coming to book club since her birth!


We do our book club brunch as a potluck; Debbie served raisin-bread strata with sausage, while guests added green salad with cranberries and feta; a potato dish; appetizers (including a really yummy green-olive tapanade with cranberries); and so much dessert. It was all so delicious. I brought a lemon loaf and a pumpkin-spice loaf that I’ve been making for me and my youngest son. (He’s declared it “the pumpkin thing I can’t stop eating.”)

Our book club Christmas brunch is such a great celebration, with such a warm and wonderful group of women — one of the season’s highlights for me, for sure!

Join Me for the ‘Red Bikini Book Club’!

Book club graphic

I’d love for you all to join me for a fun online event Friday, Sept. 19 — a book-club discussion of “The Red Bikini”! I’ll ask you questions about the book (from “What do you think all the strawberries meant?” to fun things like “What was your favorite line of Fin’s?”), and you can ask me anything you want about writing it.

Come see what others answer and ask!

This event is two weeks away, so you have plenty of time to read the book, re-read the book, or get a friend to read the book and join us. I can’t wait to chat with you all!

P.S. The event goes from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., but you don’t have to be available the whole time — just come jump in any time you like, even if only for 15 minutes!

P.P.S. If you can’t attend the event at all on Friday, but you’re interested in what everyone says, click “join” anyway, and you’ll still get all the questions with links to the answers, which you can then peruse later in your own time.

To join and get more info, click here.

(And thank you to Carli Krueger for the adorable event graphic! — Isn’t it cute?)


‘The Red Bikini’ Surprise Launch Party: How it Went Down …

Red Bikini cake! So — holy cow, my friends surprised me with a RED BIKINI surprise launch party shortly after the book was launched! And I was truly surprised!

It was thrown by my friend Barbara, from the book club. Barbara and I actually go way back – we went to high school together, she a year younger than me – but we reconnected in our mid-20s because we kept going to the same parties of a mutual friend, and we decided to start a book club together. Over the 15 years of the book club, we’ve become better and better friends. Barbara actually went to my first Romance Writers of America (RWA) meeting with me when I decided I wanted to try my hand at writing romance novels in about 2006. (Even though she has no interest in RWA herself!) She’s always been the most supportive and encouraging friend.

So she planned it and then sort of had to involve my husband when it came time to the details. Now I say this all love and respect, but I use the words “had to” because my sweet hubby is THE WORST at keeping surprises. … Continue reading

Our 2014 Book Club List!

Nothing like realizing in … uh … MAY … that you’ve never published your book club list that you meant to publish in January. … (No one’s ever accused me of being too punctual).

But here it is, our book club’s big list for the year:

Have you read any of these?

  • Jan — Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (Robin Sloan)
  • Feb — Flight Behavior (Barbara Kingsolver)
  • Mar — Life After Life (Kate Atkinson)
  • Apr — The Fault in Our Stars (John Green)
  • May — Care of the Soul (Thomas Moore)
  • July — The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt)
  • Aug — The Sweet Life in Paris (David Lebovitz)
  • Sept — The Sun King (Nancy Mitford)
  • Oct — A Piece of My Mind (JAMA)
  • Nov — The Last Runaway (Tracy Chevalier)
  • Dec — Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern)
  • Jan 2015 — The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Díaz)

Have you read any of these? What’s on your reading list this year?

Here’s our 2013 book club list.
Here’s our 2012 book club list.
Here’s our 2011 book club list.
Here’s our 2010 book club list.
Here’s our 2009 book club list.
And here’s how we come up with our book club list each year.

What Was Your Favorite Book of 2012?

Yikes, I’m way behind on my blogging. It’s already April, and I’m still in January mode, asking what your favorite book was in 2012! But I really want to know — Do you remember what your fave was?

Here’s what I read last year. I’d love to hear your comments on any of these! My fave is at the end (had to mull it over!).

I put links to any from my friends and fellow Firebirds! :

* Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop TalkingSusan Cain. Wow. This was really a life-altering book. It was a recommendation from Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project) on Facebook. And I couldn’t resist the title. I was going to buy it for my Kindle, but I’m still unsure of how borrowing works on the Kindle, plus I knew right away I’d want to lend it to my son Ricky, so I ended up driving out to Barnes and Noble one night and buying it in hardcopy. And then I bought a second one and had it shipped to Ricky, so he could keep his own copy! It’s EXCELLENT. Truly a must-read for all introverts who have felt like outcasts in some way, and even for the extroverts who love them! It will help you understand yourself, or understand each other. And it really makes introverts feel like they’re not as weird as they thought they were. Very validating.  Continue reading

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