Feedback from Writer’s Digest for *Are You Taking Me Home Now?: Adventures with Dad*

I received feedback from “Writer’s Digest” today for my book, Are You Taking Me Home Now?: Adventures with Dad. The feedback meant a lot to me and was encouraging. In an effort to be honest, I’m going to post everything here – all the ratings, and all of the judge’s commentary – with nothing omitted. I think the judge gave me some useful feedback.

From Judge #34, 27th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards:
***
Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”.

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5
Production Quality and Cover Design: 5
Plot and Story Appeal: 5
Character Appeal and Development: 4
Voice and Writing Style: 5

Judge’s Commentary:

What a lovely story about your dad. I enjoyed how much of a hero he was to you. I also liked how you ended your narratives with you and your dad expressing your love for each other. That was very heartwarming and rang true. You set your book up almost as though you were writing poems to him, reflecting how much he meant to you. Through your compassionate writing, you showed how important it was to keep that poetry going as he began to lose his mental faculties.

Having said that, because you brought me into your story and into your relationship with your father, I would have liked a small paragraph at the end of the book letting me know whether he’s still alive, if he’s passed, how he’s doing. You could preface it by saying, ‘At the time of this writing…’ I make this suggestion because, in the previous pages, you’d allowed me to be a part of your family and witness the deep love you had for each other. That’s why it’s important to let me (and future readers) know what happened at the end of your story. It’s a fitting close to a sweet book and an equally sweet relationship.

*Are You Taking Me Home Now?: Adventures with Dad* can be ordered through your favorite book store or ordered online through Amazon.

Ode to Black Friday

Ode to Black Friday

I do not like Black Friday, sir
I do not like the brrr, grrr, whirrr
I do not like to fight over socks,
I do not like to get crammed in a box
store, you will not see me at the Mall
I do not like it, no, not at all.
The crazy, scrambling, hunter’s race
doesn’t fit my ambling, gatherer’s pace
I like to feel, I like to sniff
I like to take my time and if
I take more time than Sally and Sam
it’s the way I shop, and it works for me, ma’am.
So you will not find me camped outside the store
You will not find me standing at dawn at the door
You will not find me wedged in the mall’s lot
or crammed in traffic, with wares newly-bought.
For I do not like Black Friday, friend.
Well, except online shopping maybe – they’ll send.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

And now a shameless plug. To order any of Karen’s books, click here.

*Are You Taking Me Home Now?: Adventures with Dad* can be ordered through your favorite book store or ordered online through Amazon.

Season of Shameless Plugs

It’s that magical marvelous magnificent season of giving – the season of shameless plugs.

So here’s what I’ve got…

My most recent book is Are You Taking Me Home Now? Adventures with Dad. Those of you who have enjoyed reading the stories of my drives with Dad will probably recognize some of the stories in this book. It has nine reviews now – all five stars!

I have two books of poems out there – A Poem Lives on My Windowsill and The Brush of Angel Wings. Here’s a poem from The Brush of Angel Wings:

Two Earthworms

I came upon two earthworms on the sidewalk today –
their noses suspended in the air, frozen by the heat
of the sun – dried out and stiff
and I reached down and plucked up the first
and carried him to the dirt.
I dug a little hole for him and covered him
with earth – a grave to bring him back to life.
Gently I used my fingers as tweezers and pulled
the second worm from the sidewalk
and lifted him to the moist soil, laid him down,
and covered him with a wet leaf.
Fare thee well, my new friends –
May you revive and spend the rest of your days
happily leaving a trail of rich earth in your wake

I am also the author of The Madcap Christian Scientist series. The first book in the series, Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist, has 32 reviews and 4.7 stars! Here’s the beginning:
:
Years ago an old boyfriend said to me, “I can’t see that Christian Science has made you any better than anyone else.”

“I know!” I said, nodding my head in complete and happy agreement, “But can you imagine what I’d be like without it?!”

He raised his eyebrows and laughed. What could he say? He was looking at a self-centered, moralistic, stubborn idealist who saw everything in terms of black and white. But I could have been worse. I believe without Christian Science I would have been worse.

Let’s get one thing clear from the start: I am not the best example of a Christian Scientist. I’m not as disciplined as I could be. I have fears and worries and doubts. I’m a little neurotic. I am the Lucy Ricardo of Christian Scientists…

***
The second book in the series is The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Middle Book. Here’s an excerpt:

At the age of 51 I went insane. I did not like it so much. But I learned a lot from it…

If somebody had tried to talk to me about mental illness before I’d had this experience, I wouldn’t have had a clue what they were going on about. Mental illness was something that happened to “other” people. Mental illness was not something a madcap Christian Scientist would ever know anything about, right?

Yeesh.
***
The third book in the series is The Madcap Christian Scientist: All Things New. Here’s an excerpt from that one:

Two years ago I would never have been able to guess where I’d be today, what I’d be doing, and what new people I would be calling my friends and colleagues. Two years ago my youngest son was close to graduating from high school, my 20-year career as a public school teacher was winding down, and I was looking for a new job and a new purpose to fill my days. Two years ago I was starting over.

It was scary. It was exhilarating. It was absolutely awesome!
***
To find any of these books you can go to my Amazon Author Page.

 

New Review!

I got a new review on Goodreads for Are You Taking Me Home Now?: Adventures with Dad and I just have to share – this one meant a lot to me:

Nikki writes: “Once again, Ms. Terrell takes the reader on a journey through her life. The glimpses and stories of what it is like taking care of the people who raised you are stories that bring hope, a few tears, and a whole lot of love. Through reading Ms. Terrell’s adventures with her 100 year old father, we see the love they have for each other, and the strength this season of life requires.The book offers hope, humor, love, compassion, tenderness and family.”

adventures with dad book cover

Latest book!

*Becoming* by Michelle Obama

Becoming touched my heart. It made me cry, it made me laugh, and it made me remember the pride I felt in America when we came together to make something amazing happen. In an odd way, reading Becoming – a book that recounts the author’s past – renews my hope in the future. I figure if Americans can come together to elect Barack Obama for our president, we have the potential to do great things in the future, too.

Michelle Obama is a wonderful writer – a natural. Reading her book feels like sitting down at the dining room table with her and talking with her about the things that women friends talk about when they’re together – the experiences of being a daughter, a wife, a mother, and a career woman – and how we juggle all of that.

I feel like I know Michelle Obama now. Like she’s a friend. I’m so glad she’s taken the time to write Becoming and to define, herself, who she is – rather than to give that power to others.

***

“I confessed then to the Queen that my feet were hurting. She confessed that hers hurt, too. We looked at each other then with identical expressions, like, *When is all this standing around with world leaders going to finally wrap up?* And with this, she busted out with a fully charming laugh.

“Forget that she sometimes wore a diamond crown and that I’d flown to London on the presidential jet; we were just two tired ladies oppressed by our shoes.”
– Michelle Obama, Becoming

“That was how we talked about bullies. When I was a kid, it was easy to grasp: Bullies were scared people hiding inside scary people.”
– Michelle Obama, Becoming

“Everyone on earth, they’d tell us, was carrying around an unseen history, and that alone deserved some tolerance.”
– Michelle Obama, Becoming

“I’ve been lucky enough now in my life to meet all sorts of extraordinary and accomplished people… What I’ve learned is this: All of them have had doubters. Some continue to have roaring, stadium-sized collections of critics and naysayers who will shout *I told you so* at every little misstep or mistake. The noise doesn’t go away, but the most successful people I know have figured out how to live with it, to lean on the people who believe in them, and to push onward with their goals.”
– Michelle Obama, Becoming

“You had only to look around at the faces in the room to know that despite their strengths these girls would need to work hard to be seen…I knew they’d have to push back against the stereotypes that would get put on them, all the ways they’d be defined before they’d had a chance to define themselves. They’d need to fight the invisibility that comes with being poor, female, and of color. They’d have to work to find their voices and not be diminished, to keep themselves from getting beaten down. They would have to work just to learn.

“But their faces were hopeful, and now so was I. For me it was a strange, quiet revelation: They were me, as I’d once been. And I was them, as they could be. The energy I felt thrumming in that school had nothing to do with obstacles. It was the power of nine hundred girls striving.”
– Michelle Obama, Becoming

“One day in San Antonio, Texas, I noticed a minor commotion in the hallway of the military hospital I was visiting. Nurses shuffled urgently in and out of the room I was about to enter. ‘He won’t stay in bed,’ I heard someone whisper. Inside, I found a broad-shouldered young man from rural Texas who had multiple injuries and whose body had been severely burned. He was in clear agony, tearing off the bedsheets and trying to slide his feet to the floor.

“It took us a minute to understand what he was doing. Despite his pain, he was trying to stand up and salute the wife of his commander in chief.”
– Michelle Obama, Becoming

“I was getting worn out, not physically, but emotionally. The punches hurt, even if I understood that they had little to do with who I really was as a person. It was as if there were some cartoon version of me out there wreaking havoc, a woman I kept hearing about but didn’t know – a too-tall, too-forceful, ready-to-emasculate Godzilla of a political wife named Michelle Obama.”
– Michelle Obama, Becoming

“I was used to it by now – his devotion to the never-finished task of governing. For years, the girls and I had shared Barack with his constituents, and now there were more than 300 million of them. Leaving him alone in the Treaty Room at night, I wondered sometimes if they had any sense of how lucky they were.

“The last bit of work he did, usually at some hour past midnight, was to read letters from American citizens… He read letters from soldiers. From prison inmates. From cancer patients struggling to pay health-care premiums and from people who’d lost their homes to foreclosure. From gay people who hoped to be able to legally marry and from Republicans who felt he was ruining the country. From moms, grandfathers, and young children. He read letters from people who appreciated what he did and from others who wanted to let him know he was an idiot.

“He read all of it, seeing it as part of the responsibility that came with the oath. He had a hard and lonely job – the hardest and loneliest in the world, it often seemed to me – but he knew that he had an obligation to stay open, to shut nothing out. While the rest of us slept, he took down the fences and let everything inside.”
– Michelle Obama, Becoming

 

Bounteous Books to Be Had

Books! Books! Bounteous books!
Bounteous books to be had!
Books by Xander, books by friends,
books by me, books by Dad!
Books about climbs
books full of prose
books full of poems –
you want some of those? 🙂

For those of you wondering what to buy your family and friends for Christmas this year, might I offer these suggestions?

My friend, Constance Mears, published a wonderful book this year called The Bumbling Mystic’s Obituary. Here’s my review for it:
I laughed out loud, I cried – *The Bumbling Mystic* touched my heart and filled my soul. Mears has a way with words – she’s poetic and funny – but more important than her skill as a writer is the way she uses the tools of her craft to help the reader look at life with a new perspective and see the possibilities in front of each of us.

She writes “Clearly I was missing the point in my choice of occupation: I liked the military, except for the killing; I liked missionary work, except for proselytizing; I liked homemaking, except for being married. I wanted to be a martyr, without the gruesome end.” And as she finds her purpose in life, she comes to realize that the “Universe was not only aware of my plan, but was enthusiastically playing along.”

Connie Mears’s book is a joy to read. I would recommend it to anyone in need of inspiration. And who isn’t, right?

Xander Terrell’s book of poems, Dream Voyage, can be purchased through Amazon. Songbird writes: “If only fear could fuel a rocket” – wonderful philosophizing and musings from a young poet. Both my kids and I enjoyed this collection.”

Here’s one of the poems from Xander’s book –

Where Happiness Lives

Golden lights
and the deepest shadows.
Smiling faces illuminated by life.
A commodity where I come from.
An inherent condition here.
Where joy runs rampant,
like that one naked man who,
in the presence of a police officer,
streaked across the town in the wake
of the city-wide party,
the officer laughing in mutual enjoyment
before calling the man by his first name,
as a friend and a neighbor,
to get his shit together.
– Xander Terrell

xanders-book-cover-dream-voyage

Dad (Dee Molenaar) has several books on the market Memoirs of a Dinosaur Mountaineer, his award-winning The Challenge of Rainier, and Mountains Don’t Care, But We Do.

BookCoverPreview - Memoirs of a Dinosaur Mountaineer

And I added another book to the market with Are You Taking Me Home Now?: Adventures with Dad. (Are You Taking Me Home Now? has eight reviews now – all five stars! And may I offer my sincere appreciation to anyone who takes the time to write a review – it means an awfully lot to an author to know her book has ventured forth and made contact with another human being.) Are You Taking Me Home Now? is about my adventures with Dad in the year and a half since Mom died. I wrote another book, Finding the Rainbows, that chronicles my adventures with both Mom and Dad during the year after they’d moved from the family homestead to a retirement home near me.

adventures with dad book cover

Latest book!

I also have two books of poetry on the market: The Brush of Angel Wingsand A Poem Lives on My Windowsill. Here’s one of the poems from The Brush of Angel Wings:

Two Earthworms

I came upon two earthworms on the sidewalk today –
their noses suspended in the air, frozen by the heat
of the sun – dried out and stiff
and I reached down and plucked up the first
and carried him to the dirt.
I dug a little hole for him and covered him
with earth – a grave to bring him back to life.
Gently I used my fingers as tweezers and pulled
the second worm from the sidewalk
and lifted him to the moist soil, laid him down,
and covered him with a wet leaf.
Fare thee well, my new friends –
May you revive and spend the rest of your days
happily leaving a trail of rich earth in your wake

The_Brush_of_Angel_W_Cover_for_Kindle

The four books in the “Madcap Christian Scientist” series can be found on Amazon or purchased through your favorite book store.  The first book in the series is Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist; The second book is The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Middle Book; Book number three is The Madcap Christian Scientist: All Things New; and the final book in the series is The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Christmas Book.

book covers 2016

Whew! Okay. I think that’s it. For now. 🙂

Happy gift-shopping!

– Karen

 

First Ever Book-Signing Event!

Had my first-ever book-signing event last weekend. I’d never done a book-signing before. I don’t think I’d ever even BEEN to a book-signing before.  And the only reason I had a book-signing was because other people had suggested I do it – and had sort of swept me up in their energy and enthusiasm. I had a blast!

I had friends who stepped up and decorated and brought food. Another dear friend gave me free use of the Blanchard Chapel for the event – the church Edward R. Murrow had attended as a young boy. And the people who braved a grey, rain-soaked day to come to the chapel brought their beautiful natures with them and filled the church with laughter, love, and life. It was cozy in there. Candlelight and flowers and a rocking chair in the front for me to sit in while I read.

And on the way back, Dad holding my hand…

IMG_3715

Link to Are You Taking Me Home Now?:Adventures with Dad – and look! I’ve got seven five star reviews now! 🙂