All In One Map-Dot

I don’t normally get political, and I’m not now either, but the other day something wonderful occurred to me when I was at work. First of all, when I’m not writing, blogging, interviewing, and promoting, I work at a bakery inside the HyVee grocery store in my smallish town of Bloomington, Illinois. If any of you don’t know about HyVee, it’s a midwestern chain that I like to describe as the Disneyland of grocery stores. Manners are applauded and friendly customer service is the top priority above and beyond everything else. Our motto is: A helpful smile in every aisle. Not only that, we pride ourselves on having excellent, clean, and local products, and if local products aren’t available, we make the items in house. For example, we don’t receive peach turnovers from our corporate factory, yet one of our customers… just one… loves them and orders them special, so we make them from scratch.

It’s that kind of treatment that sets HyVee apart from other stores and why it is the ONLY grocery store I would ever work for.

With that said, let’s go back to my original thought. As I was slicing some artisan bread for a regular customer, I realized how amazing it was that this regular was here in Bloomington all the way from Congo, Africa.  I know this because he has an incredible accent, and deep, reverberating voice, had me asking where he was from a while back.

So as I’m helping him, I asked if his guests had gone back home to Belgium, a topic we had talked about the week before. He said, yes, and then, out of curiosity, I was prompted to look around the bakery. Here, standing before me was a customer from Africa, with friends from Belgium, one of our bakers is from Germany, another from Guatemala, a cake decorator from India, our newest employee is from the Phillipines, and I have relatives straight off the boat from Ireland with family from Korea and China. All these races, all these cultures working together, harmoniously in an area no bigger than the bottom floor of my townhouse. How fantastic is that?!

After all the turmoil, strife, and violence our country has endured over the last couple of weeks, shouldn’t we take an example from this little tiny map-dot in the middle of the United States and live and work together in peace no matter where we’re from, and what we look like? And as I close, the one thing I took away from this passing thought a few days ago, cutting bread for a man from the Congo, all of our cultures… ALL of them… are beautiful.


Extra Extra – Read All About it!

About two weeks ago I found out that Beneath the Wall was finally uploaded on Barnes & Noble’s website in all forms.  I called our local store and found that anyone can now walk off the street and order the book straight to their store.  It won’t go on the shelf though, but because of some crazy red tape that the promotional manager won’t make an effort to cut through (don’t get me started). Anyhow, the next day I searched local ways to promote my beloved first novel and came across a reviewing blog in our local online newspaper. I sent my book to Marty Morris, the reviewer. He wrote me the next day, saying he was about to set Beneath the Wall aside because it was a romance and he didn’t read romances…talk about judging a book by it’s muscle-bound, hunky cover – but he kept reading and was drawn in by my characters enough to finish the whole thing in just a weekend.  He liked it! Not only that, he went a step further and even investigated the history of female combat journalists in Vietnam.  There were a bunch and many didn’t survive the war.  Heroes in their own right.

So this week I have the privilege to be featured on The Morris Chair, today and the State Journal Register on Thursday, November 8th, 2012.

I was going to post Mr. Morris’ blog on Facebook today, but I have too many friends, family and fans that have yet to read Beneath the Wall and the review has some spoilers in it.  So if you would like to read Marty Morris’ review and have read Beneath the Wall, please feel free to check out:

And on Thursday go and check out: