Tag Archives: book clubs

My novel is the pick for this month’s GET ARTSY BOOK CLUB!

I am excited to announce that my novel One Brave Thing has been chosen as the next book for the ‘Get Artsy Book Club’

I have been a member of this book club as a reader for a few months now. I was drawn to the ‘Get Artsy Book Club’ because, well, I love books! More than that, the name of Allyson’s business, Determined to Shine, also resonated with me. I have been telling myself to ‘shine’ a lot recently, so the word caught my eye right away. I took it as a sign that this was something that would benefit me, and I am so glad that I did! I love the books we have read so far.

Reading the books and doing the projects as part of the ‘Get Artsy Book Club‘ have helped me gain new insight and inspiration in my own life.

I also have discovered a new art form – artist trading cards – and they are so much fun to make! Allyson gives clear, step by step video directions that make it easy to create these unique and fun art forms.

So again, I am very excited that my book, One Brave Thing, was chosen as the next book for the ‘Get Artsy Book Club‘ to read! If you have already read (or want to read!) my novel and would like to participate in this unique book club this month, click here to sign up. You can sign up for one month for $15, or multiple months for a discounted price. NOTE: This is Allyson’s book club and all the information about the club and pricing is on her website.

Included in the book club are questions for reflection based on the book, art projects (easy! you can do them!), and a live book chat together online.

So I hope you’ll sign up for the club this month and join me in reading the book, making some art and some new friends, and discussing the themes of One Brave Thing together!

Need to get the book? Click on the title to order your copy of One Brave Thing!

Thank you! Please share this post with anyone you think would be interested! I look forward to discussing the book and creating with you!



The BRAVE Interview #15 October 2017: Allyson Bright

This month, we are meeting Allyson Bright!


  1. WHO are you? I’m 36. An artist, a woman in love, a widow, a crafter, a teacher, and a seeker of joy. I live in Wisconsin with my boyfriend, TJ, and my Beagle, Gracie.
  1. WHAT is your One Brave Thing?  It’s hard to pick just one – honestly, it’s been a journey. I was 32 when my husband died by suicide. After that, I found that I had to face new fears and learn how to create a new life for myself.About nine months after he passed, I went away for a week by myself. I was having trouble trusting my own decisions and I knew I needed to leave my comfort zone in order to move forward. The trip was transformational and ultimately led to my decision to leave my home in Iowa and move to Wisconsin for a fresh start.  Art journaling and crafting were such a vital part of my healing process, and I really wanted to share that with others. My ultimate brave thing was to leave my day job in order to start a business teaching art classes and offering coaching services. 
  1. WHEN did you do it? I started my company, Determined to Shine, about 18 months ago. It’s been a bit of a crazy journey, to be sure. But without a doubt, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.
  1. WHERE did it occur? Right here in Madison, Wisconsin.
  1. HOW did you make it happen? One step at a time! Determined to Shine has grown into so much – weekend retreats, several online workshops, and even one-on-one coaching services. Sometimes it can seem like all of that happened at once, but it’s been a gradual process. For those looking to make a career change – don’t let the size of the task overwhelm you! Pick apart each task into small chunks, and just get started.
  1. WHY did you do it? The idea for Determined to Shine had been in my mind for several years. Ultimately, I realized I was just going to have to take a leap and be willing to fail. I didn’t want to wake up in three more years and still be talking about it. Taking that leap was terrifying, and I had to build my plan along the way. But everything that’s worth anything is scary. Determined to Shine has brought so much joy into my life and the lives of others – I can’t imagine what life would be like if I hadn’t done that one brave thing. 

Thank you, Allyson, for sharing your brave story with us!

Allyson is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Scrapbook Projects Illustrated.

You can find Allyson’s FREE online class here: 30 days of Art Journaling. I have taken this class myself and I enjoyed it very much. I highly recommend all of Allyson’s classes. Find them all here: http://www.determinedtoshine.net/

Check out Allyson’s online book club: Get Artsy Book Club

Click here to find out more (act fast! It’s almost time for this!) about Allyson’s Determined to Shine Fall Retreat!

Read the other BRAVE interviews here: https://kwrites.com/?s=The+BRAVE+Interview

If YOU would like to be interviewed for this series about something brave you have done in your life, email me at kmcwrites@gmail.com!

Susan Conley at Kennebooks

Susan Conley recently came to Kennebooks to read from her book, The Foremost Good Fortune. Susan is a Mainer, raised in Woolwich. In addition to being a great writer, she is also a great reader. Maybe this is because (as we learned in her talk) Susan is a poetry teacher, and when she reads passages from her book aloud, in her slow, sing-song-y sort of way of drawing out the syllables, the consonant sounds…it makes her book sound like poetry. Could this manner of speech perhaps be connected to her learning to speak Mandarin?

 I also learned that hula hooping and badminton are “huge” in China.  That she was involved in the founding of The Children’s Room.

“Memoir is all about honesty,” Susan says, and further states that “you feel it when it’s not (honest).”  This is why, after her writers group read her earlier drafts of this book they basically asked her, “Where are you in this?” and she ultimately rewrote so that she was now “showing up” on the page. “You’ve got to take us to those places,” her writing friend said, of “emotional complexity” that were lacking in the earlier work. Oh and of course, I learned the significance of the title of the book.


Susan started writing her book, was diagnosed with cancer, then started writing it all over again. A different book. This book. She says she told her story in the present tense in the book and thinks of it as a love letter to her sons, who she hopes will read it one day.

Finally, The best thing that I learned is that Susan has been cancer-free for three years.

Susan may be back at Kennebooks in March as part of the Maine Women Write Book Club. Consider joining! The first meeting is slated for mid-October at the time of this writing. Call (207-967-6136) or email Ann (ann@kennebooks.com) at Kennebooks for more information. Hope to see you there!

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Book clubs

First meeting of our book club!

Our book club’s first meeting was  at Mike’s Clam Shack in Wells.

What we have in common:

1. We are a group of six local women. We ranged in age from 34 (but looks like 28 was the consensus!) to mid fifties. 

2. All of us knew somebody but none of us knew everybody (except one!) before we met that night. 

3. We are all married. 

What we do not have in common is this: our taste in books. I picked the book for the first sesson: Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg, a book that I loved by an author that I love. The book chosen for the next meeting is Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane…’nuf said. 

What is good about having divergent taste in books is that we will all, at one time or another, be forced (gently!) out of our collective comfort zones for the reading and discussion of the book that we would not ourselves have chosen, the book we would not have read otherwise.  So, we will also have this in common too. 🙂 

Only one of us had the foresight to actually bring the book to the meeting, which was much appreciated (especially when it came time to take a picture). She also marked some passages off to discuss, which added a lot to the discussion and made me wish that I had done the same! (note to self: bring book and mark off passages of next book for next meeting). 

I generally find it easier to deal with a book toward which I don’t automatically gravitate by listening to it on audio. Your local library is a good resource for finding your book club books on CD’s (or, of course, in print), if money is tight, or if you just don’t want to spend a lot of money on a book that you will only read once. Annie’s Book Stop is another great local resource for used books. Interested in starting your own book club? Find some ideas here

Next, we are thinking about naming the book club… 

Are any of you in a book club? What are you reading now? Have you named your book club?