Showing posts from December, 2012

An Article, a Review, and a Wish


We interrupt this holiday respite for some breaking news...
A lovely article about my visit to the Buttonwood Book Club this past fall is featured in the Naperville Sun today. To read it, click here. We had a great discussion on a multitude of topics. It was really a wonderful evening. Big thanks to Karen Thomas (first row, left, next to me ) and all of the ladies. 

And, if that wasn't nice enough, Christmas Eve brought the best gift an author can receive — a five-star review on Amazon for A Bibliophile Christmas.
"Great book to put you in the Christmas spirit. I am now on a mission to read  more of Berner's books. I loved the characters and how they are introduced."
Okay, back to revelry.
Happy New Year, dear readers. May 2013 bring you great joy. I will see you on January 7th.

My Holiday Wish for You


May you be surrounded by people you love and who genuinely love you.
May you find joy in the small moments — silly laughter, a hug from a child.
May you find peace in all that was this past year and all that will be in 2013.
May you discover a great book, a fantastic piece of music, a wonderful movie.
May you be inspired to try something completely new. 
These are my wishes for you.
Thank you for spending time with me this year, dear readers. I am going to take the next two weeks off to hang out with my family. Bibliophilic Blather will return on Monday, January 7, 2013.
Happy Holidays, my friends.
Cheers, Karen

The Best of Flash Fiction Fridays


For the past two years, writers of all genres from all over the world have contributed wonderful tales to Flash Fiction Fridays. As my gift to you this December, here are four stand-out pieces from previous years that definitely deserve another look.


By Katrina Byrd

Mary Lyn can sit up there on the front pew dressed in all white looking like one of God’s sweet angels all she wants. We all know that she’s hell on wheels. She owns Big Mama’s, the only restaurant in Hot Cakes, MS. My sister Lerleen works for her. Says she’s loud, cusses like a sailor and she’s cheap. Won’t even pay minimum wage.  Lerleen says that Mary Lyn even dares to have a mister on the side. That’s probably why she’s at church without her husband this morning.

The light from the warm sun filtered through the stained glass windows casting an array of colors over the small building and the well dressed “Christians” inside as Rev. Scucchi lifted his large hands upward. Who ev…

Editing for Grammarphobes: Holiday Edition


Couldn't head into this week without a friendly language reminder about something that turns me from holly jolly to the nastiest of grammar grinches.

Please do not refer to the animals that pull Santa's sleigh as "reindeers." There is no such word. Reindeer is both the singular and plural form of the word.

That is all.

You are free to begin your holiday celebrations.

P.S. Attention Kindle owners! Flash Fiction Fridays contributor Eileen Granfor's Sydney's Story, a prequel to Dicken's classic A Tale of Two Cities, is free today and tomorrow.

Tolling Bells


When Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote his poem, “Christmas Bells,” his son, Charles, had been wounded in battle fighting the Civil War. Sure that Charles would die of his injuries, Longfellow penned the words that would eventually become the carol “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Fortunately for Longfellow, his son survived.

The composer, Jean Baptiste Calkin, took out the lines that referred to the Civil War when adapting Longfellow’s work to music, therefore removing the poignancy of the poet’s words and the heart of the meaning.

After the slaughter of innocents on Friday in Newtown, Connecticut, this verse rings particularly true.

And in despair I bowed my head;
 “There is no peace on earth,” I said;
 “For hate is strong,
 And mocks the song
 Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
But Longfellow, like all survivors of tragedies, ends with a message of hope, which is what we all need after yet another massacre pushes the universe out of balance, as our c…

The Best of Flash Fiction Fridays

For the past two years, writers of all genres from all over the world have contributed wonderful tales to Flash Fiction Fridays. As my gift to you this December, here are four stand-out pieces from previous years that definitely deserve another look.


Mister Courtman Heads Home  
By Jack A. Urquhart

He runs in circles, a miles-long loop through town, up into the foothills, back to where he started. As always, the last two hundred meters he takes at an arse-kicking pace —panting, arms pumping, a flat-out sprint — running for his life.

Because he is.

His wife has seen to that.

“We can’t go on this way. I’ll give you a week to decide, Mister ‘C’,” she’d said.

He’d flinched, been taken off guard by Linda’s unruffled tone, by her appearance in the kitchen at an early hour.

“After fifteen years, I think that’s long enough.”

Clearly she’d been standing there a while, watching him lace up his shoes, waiting to be noticed.

“Enough time to get your priorities—‘straight’?”

Impossible to ign…

Classic Christmas Lit


As you know, my series The Bibliophiles delves into the lives of suburban classics book club members. In the first two novels, they have discussed such masterpieces as Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, As You Like It, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Tales, and The Scarlet Letter.

Here are a few of favorite classic holiday reads I was reminded of when creating the Books and Baubles: Holiday Tales for Your E-reader blog with Karen Cantwell.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: This quintessential holiday story is still as relevant today as it was when Dickens wrote it in 1843. Although there are many wonderful screen adaptations, nothing beats reading the novella. Besides, you would miss out on such great prose and gorgeous descriptions as the ones below.

"External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its p…

The Best Gift


My youngest son turns thirteen today. He is intelligent, self-driven, hilarious, and wonderful, all qualities he was born with, so I may brag about him free of any bravado or reflection upon my parenting skills. I am very lucky and privileged to be his mother.
I remember the happiness of bringing him home from the hospital. Our little family was finally complete! Feeding him by the light of the Christmas tree. Reading holiday tales as he cooed, cuddling into his blanket. Wrapping presents next to him as he sat, all cozy in his baby seat, Barbra Streisand’s Christmas album playing softly in the background.
I was never so content.
It might have been because I had finally stopping throwing up as I had done every day for the past nine months due to morning sickness, but I think it really was that I was getting to know my Danny, this child who would continually surprise me. This child to whom I go now for a different perspective when I need an opinion. This c…

The Best of Flash Fiction Fridays


For the past two years, writers of all genres from all over the world have contributed wonderful tales to Flash Fiction Fridays. As my gift to you this December, here are four stand-out pieces from previous years that definitely deserve another look.


Three and a Half Minutes 
By Jules Carey

Molly had run out of ideas. She kept smacking him, over and over, pounding her little son’s back. Was he turning blue? No, it hadn’t been that long. Had it? She wished for someone to be there who knew what the hell to do. Nothing she did worked.

Bang! Bang! Bang!

She had heard that the brain could only last four minutes without oxygen. How long had it been? The panic in her chest distorted time, making it difficult for her to track. Ten minutes? An hour? Couldn’t be or the paramedics would have arrived already.

Wouldn’t they?

Molly feared something would break if she kept hitting him so hard, but the desire to free his airway outweighed any other concern. She cou…

Running to Stand Still


Here is a piece I wrote for the Until My Soul Gets It Right (The Bibliophiles: Book Two) blog tour this past fall. It originally appeared on a great blog, Empty Nest. I thought it was particularly apropos for this time of year.

The other day, I was listening to U2’s masterpiece, “The Joshua Tree,” which I hadn’t heard in quite some time. Lately, most of the music in the house has belonged to my sons, but now with one off for his freshman year at college and the other back in junior high, I can once again reclaim the soundtrack of my days.

The song “Running to Stand Still” came on, and I paused to listen, struck by that simple, yet powerful phrase.

Running to stand still.

How many of us are guilty of that? Of going and going and going in hopes of someday being able to finally relax and breathe a bit?

There is always so much to do, an overwhelming list of grocery shopping, working, holidays/parties, exercising, laundry, paying the bills, cleaning, or running…

Need Holiday Gift Ideas?


Good Monday morning, everyone. Why the chipper greeting, you ask? Crazy as this may seem, it is going to be 68°F today in Chicagoland — on December 3rd! Despite a bit of early-morning fog, it should be a great day.

With the calendar turning to December this past weekend, many people have plunged into Christmas shopping. Obviously, my answer to this is simple — books. However, I am mindful that not everyone shares my bibliophilic passion.

Having been at this Christmas shopping thing for a good many years now, I am offering some gift suggestions on Karen Cantwell's and my new blog, Books and Baubles: Holiday Tales for Your E-Reader. Karen and I put our heads together and brainstormed a few unique and fun presents I'm sure everyone on your list will love. To read the post, click here.

Hope this makes your holiday shopping a little easier.

While you are there, don't forget to stop by our giveaway page. One grand prize winner will receive an amazon…