Good Deeds Week March 30th – April 5th

Welcome to my weekly roundup of my year long challenge to do one Good deed a day for a year. This challenge began back in April 2013 and is still going strong, I’m now entering my final few weeks. My inspiration came from reading “A Year of Doing Good” by Judith O’Reilly. Here is what I’ve been up to this week.

Good deeds

March 30th – Last night we changed our clocks in line with British Summertime, so I’m a bit late this morning. It’s also Mother’s Day, so I’ve been giving and receiving gifts as all Mothers should.

March 31st – A really busy day today. I’ve just done my morning at school. Now the April Issue of Fleet Life has just dropped through my door, so I’ve written a draft ready to coincide with the online version. http://www.fleetlife.org.uk click on the online directory and fins me on page 18. This months books are;

Please Call Me Derek by Mac Black

The Medea Complex by Rachel Florence Roberts

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Calculated by R.S. Novelle

Spirit Warriors by D.E.L Connor

It’s also my first month writing book reviews for Fleet Life’s sister magazine The Elvetham Heath Directory. http://www.ehd.org.uk, again click on the online directory and find me on page. This months featured books are different to Fleet Life although I will mix and match on occasions.

The Dating Game by Susan Buchanan

Greening of a Heart by Stepheny Houghtlin

Red Clay and Roses by S.K. Nicholls

The Griffin’s Boy by Julia Hughes

The Black Hours by Alison Williams.

With my A to Z Challenge starting tomorrow too, I’m sending out reminders to authors whose books are featuring in the first week. I want it to be a good give and take, I promote their books and they promote me.

April 1st – It’s here the first Day of the April A to Z blogging challenge with well over 1900 bloggers signed up this year it’s going to be huge. I’ve been all over the place visiting blogs and writing comments. My own challenge started with A World Apart by Camelia Miron Skiba. Catch up with posts in my Challenge round-up post, or from the A to Z page at the top of this blog.  The sun has finally burnt off the morning fog so now I’m off out in to the garden for a bit of one on one with nature after all my computing.

April 2nd – Online versions of both local magazines made it up on the internet today, so posted my pieces about them and let all the authors know. Having an absolute blast with the A to Z challenge, I can’t believe how many people are coming to my blog it is fantastic. Today’s book was Boot Camp Bride by Lizzie Lamb, Lizzie helped promote the post with her Facebook group of friends which I really appreciated. My slideshow on the sidebar is getting plenty of attention and good comments which is great to hear, have been helping a couple of people out with setting up their own gallery.

April 3rd – Met a friend for coffee in town and caught up with all her news. Went out this evening with more friends and took a birthday present with me for one of them whose birthday is in the next few days. Today’s book on the A to Z Challenge was Coronado’s Treasure by Randy Mixter. I’m thrilled to see lots of re-tweeting going on from other authors who will be taking part in my challenge and from followers of my blog, thanks everyone it means a lot.

April 4th – It’s a Derek Day today on the A to Z with Derek’s Revenge by Mac Black and a plug for the whole series. Went to the local market this morning, met a friend who has offered to pick us up in a few weeks time to attend a party. My Good deeds are mainly internet bound this week, visiting lots of blogs and leaving comments, tweeting and sharing posts. Finished reading Chill Factor by Rachel Caine and left a review on Goodreads.

April 5th – Everlasting by Candace Knoebel is the book for letter E in the A to Z today. Went for a quick walk this afternoon and picked up some litter. Am reading the second book in the Wardstone Chronicles, The Spook’s Curse, by Joseph Delaney, finished it late last evening and posted my review on Goodreads.

April Issue of Elvetham Heath Directory

This is my first month writing book reviews for Fleet Life’s sister magazine The Elvetham Heath Directory. For an online edition go to http://www.ehd.org.uk, click on the online directory and find me on page 6. This months featured books are different to Fleet Life although I will mix and match on occasions.

April EHD

 

The Dating Game by Susan Buchanan

Greening of a Heart by Stepheny Houghtlin

Red Clay and Roses by S.K. Nicholls

The Griffin’s Boy by Julia Hughes

The Black Hours by Alison Williams.

Good Deeds Week 23rd February – 1st March

Welcome to my weekly roundup of my year long challenge to do one Good deed a day for a year. This challenge began back in April 2013 and is still going strong. My inspiration came from reading “A Year of Doing Good” by Judith O’Reilly. Here is what I’ve been up to this week.

Good deeds

February 23rd – Finished reading a Flawed Perfection by Cassandra Giovanni today and wrote a review ready to coincide with the book release on March 7th. Happily agreed to read and review another book, Sarah’s Survival Guide by author Cynthia Harrison, I have previously enjoyed reading several of her books.

February 24th – The children are back at school today, so my Good Deed is ticked off with a morning helping out at school. Good Deed received; Mac Black’s book Derek’s In trouble arrived in the post today, can’t wait to get started on it.

February 25th – Have had a great 2 days on the blog giving and receiving Good Deeds. It started on Monday when I posted my review of Red Clay and Roses by S.K.Nicholls http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-4Ge and went on to today with her taking part as our guest author. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-4Hp I have had so much positive feedback about the review and the interview it has been lovely. On top of that I’ve helped spread the word about the book far and wide and I know it has lead to some readers buying the book. Finished another book today, this one was part of the new HarlequinE box set Shivers books, Legacy of Darkness by Jane Godman. My review and author interview will be posted here on the blog at the end of March.

February 26th – Have just written a book review for Sarah’s Survival Guide, it will appear on the blog later in March, started my next book Saving Our Pennys by Roy Dimond and Jeff Leitch. Just 5 letters to fill in my A to Z challenge, 2 of which I have authors interested in, but just need their confirmation.

February 27th – Having just finished reading Saving Our Pennys by Roy Dimond and Jeff Leitch. I needed to get out in to the sunshine and spend some time reflecting on the lessons I had learnt from the book. Do you ever read something that really makes to stop and think? So off I went for a walk, I like to leave all technology behind when I go out like this and just be at peace. Picked up litter along my route. Good Deeds received: Had virtual coffee with a blogging friend and she helped me out on a few technical issues.

February 28th – Am reading  Mac Black’s book Derek’s In trouble and having a good chuckle along the way. Left a big tip for my hairdresser today who worked wonders with an unruly mop of hair. Accepted 3 more books for review; Judas Goat – The Kennet Narrow Boat Mystery by Patrick Brigham, and two from Roy Dimond; The singing Bowl and The Rubicon effect.

March 1st – Have been feeling guilty, guilt is bad! I have contacted several authors about taking part in my A to Z challenge, lots of them have been wonderful and sent me back information quickly and efficiently. I had an author I had contacted by Twitter back in January who said yes, then when I sent out more messages they just got re-tweeted instead of read and replied. I’ve since let another author have the slot and the first one RT’s many of my daily tweets, but lost his chance. Today I sent him an apology by tweet. What else can I do?

Finished and reviewed Mac Black’s book Derek’s In trouble and the lovely Mac has offered to send me the third book in the series. There were so many great characters continuing the mayhem in Derek’s life, I’m still chuckling now remembering Granny Wisdom in her wheelie bin and 4 drunken men trying to climb over a high wired fence in the middle of the night. The afternoon was lovely and sunny and I spent it in the garden, a small good deed involved weeding the shared garden pathway.

Filled another letter on my A to Z challenge. Just letters Q and X to find books for, am hoping authors of the letters U and Y will send me the details I need this week. It’s been a good week.

Guest Author S.K. Nicholls

Today our guest is S.K. Nicholls, author of yesterday’s book “Red Clay and Roses”. You can check out my review of the book here. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-4Ge

S. K. Nicholls

Let’s find out more about Susan and her writing.

1)  Where is your home town?

I was born in LaGrange, Georgia, USA, and lived in the surrounding area while bringing up my own children.

2)  How long have you been writing?

I first had a short story published when I was seventeen and in high school. I put writing aside while focused on my nursing career. Upon retirement in 2011, I picked it up again. A visit to my father in 2012 stirred up an old story from my youth that I still wanted to tell. So I set myself to writing it down.

3)  What key element inspired this book?

Based on a true story, it was finding the ledger in 1992 that truly propelled the development of the story, but there is something more. So many have this image of the Deep South as one of little old white ladies sitting on the front porch swing sipping mint juleps. Life and reality was more harsh than that for most people, especially the African Americans. I have mixed race grandchildren. I presented the world historically as it truly was for many. There was hardship, dilemma, and many secrets kept. We are more open and accepting now. I don’t want to see us go back there. We learn from history how to move forward.

4)  Did you have to do a lot of research or did you interview people too?

The octogenarians were interviewed, and my father who is seventy five. An enormous amount of research went into the book to assure its historical accuracy. All of the events and setting locations are very real, and had to be researched.

5)  I’m not sure what “Jim Crow Law” was, can you tell us more?

The Jim Crow laws were racial segregation laws enacted between 1876 and 1965 in the United States at the state and local level. They mandated de jure racial segregation in all public facilities in Southern states of the former Confederacy, with, starting in 1890, a separate but equal status for African Americans. The separation in practice led to conditions for African Americans that tended to be inferior to those provided for white Americans systematizing a number of economic, educational and social disadvantages, and leading to prejudice and severe racism. Even though these laws were declared unconstitutional in 1965, many communities continued the segregation long into the seventies.

South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina were the Confederate states, and Kentucky was provisional.

Some examples of Jim Crow laws were; the segregation of public schools, public places (swimming pools, doctors and dentists offices), and public transportation, and the segregation of restrooms, clothing stores, restaurants, and drinking fountains for whites and blacks. The U.S. military was also segregated.

“Jump Jim Crow” was a song-and-dance caricature of blacks performed by white actors painted in blackface. That is believed to be where the name Jim Crow law for this collection of state laws came from.

6) Nathan took part in several campaigns for Civil Rights, can you tell the readers about some of them.

The Freedom Rides were a campaign for blacks to assert themselves in avoiding discrimination practices. The black men would ride in the whites only passenger cars on trains. Other black men would ride in the black cars in case there was trouble, which there often was, as the white passengers rebelled and fought. Many blacks were arrested and beaten for their actions.

The Sit-Ins were started by black university students who would sit down in whites only dining establishments for the same reasons and with the same outcomes.

There were many protests, marches and demonstrations, like Bloody Sunday, some peaceful and some not so, where blacks were joined by liberal minded whites who championed the causes of Civil Right.

7) Sybil faced her own demons when she became pregnant, but she dealt with the situation as best she could. Do you think she made the right decision?

For her, it was right, but I did feel she should have been honest with Nathan, to at least let him know about the pregnancy, yet I can understand why she didn’t. Althea, Bonnie Jean and Sybil all found different ways to deal with an unplanned pregnancy. Who am I to decide what was best or right for any of them?

8) When Trent was sent to prison, Sybil faced several hardships, which was worst do you think?

I think the difficulties she ran into with trying to manage her business were the hardest for her, because she had put so much of herself into its success.

9) Which part of the book was your favourite and why?

I don’t know if I have a favourite part. I liked different parts for different reasons. I liked how Ms. Bea’s character developed. I liked Moses’ stories and his character…but then, these were real people I had met in my own life. The entire story demonstrated the sacrifices that real people made in order to attempt to achieve social progress. These were common ordinary people, who were deeply affected by politics on a micro-level. The very end, in the conclusion, has special meaning to me personally as it conveys a hope for future generations. Sybil and her family are my family.

10) I would describe your book as a window in history for readers to enjoy rather than a book with a massively pleasing commercial content, am I correct?

I did not write Red Clay and Roses with marketing in mind. I wrote the story passionately from my heart based on real life events. I did not deviate from what actually occurred in order to make a more sellable story. It is a fictionalized true story. Outside the realm of genre fiction, it is a niche read.

Red Clay and Roses

Find a copy on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Thank you Susan for being our guest today.

Red Clay and Roses by S.K.Nicholls

Red Clay and RosesRed Clay and Roses by S.K. Nicholls

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Red Clay and Roses steps back in history to Georgia and the deep south at a time where people struggled to survive and where changes to segregation and inequality faced fierce resistance.

The stories within are written around an old accounting ledger, found many years later, after it was hidden away. Hannah Schmidt pieces together the events and lives of the characters who were associated with The Good Doctor. She interviews relatives and follows leads from which she tells the reader of the everyday lives of a group of people whose destinies became entangled. There is passion, love, fear and survival written over several decades during which the American nation was forced to change laws and move into a new direction.

We meet the Good Doctor who ran a double accounting system and provided a much needed, but illegal, abortion service. Mrs Bea, his wife, who was left alone after he died to face her own guilt about what the doctor did. Moses and his family are the black help who live in a shack on the Good Doctors land. The Good Doctor goes on to sponsor Nathan, Moses’ son, through school and sets him up to train as a doctor. Then there is Sybil, a young, independent white women who wants to start her own business running a salon in town.

The lives of the characters show some great hardships. There was such prejudice and fear of stepping over the acceptable line. This book is like a window in time which lets us peek at history in the making.

Find a copy on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads

S.K.Nicholls will be our guest on the blog tomorrow, do come back and read more about her and her book.