Sunday, March 15, 2015

Toasts, The Perfect Words to Celebrate Every Occasion by June Cotner and Nancy Tupper Ling


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                    Contact: Brenda Knight, 510-845-8000

Life’s Special Moments Deserve Special Words

For nearly 20 years, June Cotner has been the go-to for blessings, housewarmings, new babies, graces and all of life's rites of passage. Here, she joins forces with award-winning poet and author Nancy Tupper Ling to find the right words for every event. Toasts: The Perfect Words to Celebrate Every Occasion is the essential reference for any milestone where one needs to raise a glass. Organized by category and containing many original toasts written just for this book, this timely tome contains sayings famous and profound, suitable and sentimental. Covering births, weddings, graduations, and other events both major and minor, co-authors Cotner and Ling also provide inspirations for how this wonderful gesture can add meaning to life's special moments. 

Here’s a poem by Patricia Crandall, author of numerous stories, poems and books.

Outside, the snow
is wintry bright.
Inside, my heart’s
a warm delight.
Be My Valentine.

The selections in Toasts are inspiring, reflective, uplifting, and sometimes humorous. Beyond standard categories such as Weddings or Anniversaries, the authors have included useful toasting sections such as Adventure, Business Events, Housewarming, and Class Reunions, as well as a selection of toasts for each of the major holidays.

The confidence and inspiration to make the perfect toast can be found within this collection of diverse and imaginative selections, and may be used along with “A Guide to Toasting,” a helpful how-to in the beginning of the book. A well-crafted toast can be delivered by anyone, for any occasion. All it takes is sincerity, planning, and a little bit of personalization. Learn the key elements that can make your toast successful, along with the perfect words to say.

About the Authors:
June Cotner is the author or editor of 31 books, including the best-selling Graces. June’s latest love and avocation is giving presentations on “Adopting Prisoner-Trained Shelter Dogs.” A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, June is the mother of two grown children and lives in Poulsbo, WA, with her husband. Her hobbies include yoga, hiking, and playing with her two grandchildren. For more information, please visit June’s website at

Nancy Tupper Ling is the winner of the prestigious Writer's Digest Grand Prize and the Pat Parnell Poetry Award. She draws her inspiration from the multicultural background of her family and the interwoven fabric of familial culture. The author of Double Happiness Box, and My Sister, Alicia May, she lives in Walpole, MA.

The Perfect Words to Celebrate Every Occasion
By June Cotner and Nancy Tupper Ling
ISBN: 978-1-936740-85-7
Trade Paper, $16.95
5.5” x 6.5”, 264 pages
Publishing on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2014
Brenda Knight,, 510-845-8000

Sunday, March 8, 2015

ROMANCING THE VINES by Catherine MacDonald

Francesca Bernard is a vintner in the Sonoma Valley who just can’t seem to perfect her wine, her finances, and her love life. She finds herself torn between the man she lives with and the man she loves. A letter arrives from a long-lost cousin encouraging her to travel to Italy to uncover the secret to her wine and her heart. Tension is tight around the vineyard, so she leaps at the chance. Once in Italy, her cousin notices Francesca’s torment and convinces her to visit the local seer, who is known to help lost souls. The old woman propels her back through time on a heart-pounding quest where she visits three lives where her survival was in jeopardy. Armed with the secrets and truths, she finally understands how the love, lust, and revenge they have endured for centuries holds the answers to her present survival.

Magna gathered Francesca’s hand into her own cool gnarled ones and stroked them lightly. “Listen dearie. No one is allowing you to remain innocent and stuck on the wheel of life and death for eternity, but yourself. Even though the mind forgets, the soul remembers. Hopefully by examining these lifetimes you will understand the truth. You are responsible for the life you have—no one else.”


1. Give us a brief synopsis of your latest work.   Romancing the Vines is the sequel to Season of the Vineyard. It completes the saga of Francesca, Enrico, and Giancarlo. Francesca is a vintner who just can’t seem to perfect her wine, her finances, and her love life. On a visit to Italy, Francesca is propelled back through time on a heart-pounding quest where she visits three lives in which her survival was in jeopardy. Armed with the secrets and truths, Francesca finally understands who the love, lust, and revenge the three of them have endured for centuries hold the answers to her present survival.
2. What got you into writing? As a former school teacher and English major, I’ve always loved the written word. I’m one of those people who continually have her head stuck in a book or my Kindle. I started writing when I was a child, but it never took off until my own children were older and I had the “room of my own”.
3. What genres do you like to read and write? I like to read juicy novels with characters I’d like to sit down and chat with. I enjoy writing historical fiction, contemporary fiction, and spiritual fiction. When the story idea appears in my mind, it’s my job to chip away to find the story. Sometimes it takes awhile to flush out the characters and plot.
4. What is your process for developing characters? Do you people watch and base characters off of what you see? Or are your characters complete figments of your imagination? I love people watching. It’s where I find some of my best characters. Sometimes I create a character like I would a recipe—a little bit of this and a little bit of that, stir it together, and look at what you’ve created.
5.  Do you have any works in mind that you’ve not yet written? If so, what are they? I have an entire drawer full of notebooks containing sketches of stories. Currently, I am working on a novel set in 1923 in the era of speakeasies, the mob, and illegal alcohol.
6.  What inspired you to write your most recent story? I had readers ask for the sequel for Seasons of the Vineyard, so I wrote Romancing the Vines. The current story I’m working on came from research during Prohibition in my city. Did you know Reno was one of the wettest cities during Prohibition and it was controlled by a mob? No, well I didn’t either until I started my research.
7.  Where can potential readers find your work? I am on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. You can visit my website for links:

8.  Where can readers connect with you socially online? My website and blog:  There you will find links to twitter and facebook.


Catherine MacDonald writes about vibrant, brave, strong, and hardy women. Growing up in Sacramento, California her library card was her passport, and the books she read were her adventures.
Always fascinated by the written word, after college Catherine took her keen love of books to the classroom for twenty-five years.
Catherine uses her dreams, visions, and experiences to create her multi-layered themes of love, relationships, and spirituality.
She is the proud mother of two grown children (and son-in-law) and nana to three wonderful grandchildren.
She lives in a cozy house filled with books, Lulu the labradoodle, and her husband Paul. She invites you to read her books and enter her characters' lives.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Shifting Winds (a poem by Patricia Crandall)

In winter
the lake
forms a solid mass
while snow blankets
the cold
isolating aquatic life
until springtime.
Winds will shift, nudging
the dark season
beyond in time.

Chances are You Will Want to Come to New York City

In 1958 Her streets were paved in yellow brick leading to Fifth Avenue and 42 nd  Street. You might have seen a zealous couple dance-walkin...