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Photo by Anne Woodard

     I was the guest of Jane’s Readers Club tonight at RiverRead Books. The evening started with a review of Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs. It was fun being an author sitting among a group of readers telling what they thought of a story, what the author was trying to accomplish and whether they found her successful. I imagined what it would be like if the group was discussing my novel, and what I was trying to accomplish with A Sudden Gift of Fate and whether they found my effort successful.
     After their discussion, I spoke about the selection of Finger Lakes wines Jane had set out for a sampling, telling them the history of wine grapes in New York and what I’d learned about the wine industry while researching the book. After they sampled two Rieslings, a dry and semi-dry, then I read from the novel and answered their questions about writing it. One woman, Donna, had a similar background, Syracuse U. art grad, loved music, thought of combining the two into designing record album covers. Small world!
     I found out that Jane’s husband grew up on Italy Hill, one of the locales in the novel! Even smaller world!
     It was a delightful evening made all the cozier by its great location, the always fabulous RiverRead!

roseofclare_labelFinished, finally, tweaking the novel’s manuscript late, late last night. Once the cover is completed and the proof approved, the novel will be available at local bookstores, gift shops and on Amazon.com. I’ll announce details of the launch, to be held at RiverRead Books in downtown Binghamton, when the date is set.
     I love how a novel becomes a tapestry of all the people and things you encounter. This novel, as an example, would not have been written if not for the kindness of my great aunt Mary Reilly O’Keefe who let us stay at her cottage on Keuka Lake every summer.
     Over the years I have spoken with many people involved in the Finger Lakes Wine industry. When it came time to write this novel though, Vinny and Kim Aliperti of Billsboro Winery (he’s also the winemaker for Atwater Estate Vineyards), were very generous with their time in answering detailed questions I had about the day-to-day operations.
     As for the scenes set in Ireland, I owe much gratitude (míle buíochas— a thousand thanks) to the very talented Irish author/blogger Eddie Stack whom I met through Amazon.com. Here’s a delightful twist of fate — Eddie also happens to be from Ennistymon, County Clare, the hometown of a main character in the novel, Fergal Griffin. He patiently translated expressions into colloquial Clare-speak and explained the details of terrain to match what I’d remembered from my last trip there. Up da banner, Eddie!
     Finishing touches added to the story were influenced by the great community of Finger Lakes Wine Region promoters, winemakers, tasting room guides and critics found on Twitter. Follow the #flx, #flwine and #flxcrush hashtags for quite a learning experience about one of the most beautiful regions on earth. (Not the least bit biased.) Wondering if your favorite FLX winery is on Twitter? Check this great list on Ithacork blog.
     This concept of a novel as a tapestry of your life reminds me of a saying on the sweatshirt I received for Christmas a couple of years ago:

Careful, or you’ll end up in my novel.

     Consider yerself warned….

book jacket

$20
Available NOW at my e-store (Amazon.com),
Amazon.com;
Barnes & Noble;
Powell's Books
What readers are saying:
"This endearing foursome, that so many readers of the first book fell in love with, face new challenges with Irish wit and a generally upbeat outlook on life. They're a group of friends that anyone would want to hang out with."
"After finishing it, I kept thinking of the characters and wondered how they were doing. I had to remind myself they weren't real and had to let them go..."
"I couldn't put it down."
"Pure dead brilliant!"

The Prequel

book jacket

Buy it @ my E-store; Amazon.com; and Powell's Books.

Cost: $20

The story

Irish couple Fergal and Brídgeen Griffin get an intriguing wedding gift: the chance to manage a Finger Lakes winery. When they move to Keuka Lake from Queens, see the rundown winery and meet its surly winemaker, they realize it will be quite a challenge getting from grapevine to bottle.
Meanwhile their friends Maeve and Andy face a challenge of their own, separation as he pursues experimental therapy for his paraplegia.
As the two couples face the challenges ahead, will they be able to keep hope alive?

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A Sudden Gift of Fate: Sequel to the novel The Cyber Miracles

Podcast Interviews

* Listen to my interview with Bill Jaker on his WSKG radio show, "Off the Page" here.
* Listen to my 10/21/2009 interview with Morgen McLaughlin on her BlogTalk Radio show, "Finger Lakes Wine Talk" here.

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