I hope you'll enjoy the new issue of Story Lines, in which I've shared recommendations on novels and articles I think you'll enjoy, highlights of my online book tour for Breaking and Holding, a progress report on my second novel, and its protagonist's recipe for the World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies!
In addition to book reviews, my online book tour included author interviews and guest posts on four notable book blogs. Here are things you may not know about Breaking and Holding, writing groups, my next novel, and me(!)--including the funniest thing that happened at a book signing.
A WRITING GROUP THAT WORKS. One writing group. Four years together. Six women working in different genres. And since August 2016: three novels sold for publication; a non-fiction book deal signed with a major university press; two essays and two short stories published; and a memoir now in submission to agents. Here are my thoughts on what makes a writing group a success. More...
FIVE THINGS YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT BREAKING AND HOLDING. Why the novel has been called The Great Gatsby meets Madmen, why the setting is 1978, why you don't want to watch a tennis match with the author, and more.
AUTHOR Q & A. Learn which 1978 songs I'd choose for the novel's soundtrack and the first place I would take Savannah visitors. More...
AUTHOR Q & A - LAUREN K. DENTON'S "BOOKISH PEOPLE" BLOG. What am I working on now? What books have I recently read and loved? What's the funniest thing that happened to me at a book signing? Find out!
The itinerary was packed: sixteen destinations in less than thirty days. But this book tour for Breaking and Holding required no travel, hotel stays, or time away from home. Instead, the tour stops were book blogs that featured reviews of the novel or author interviews and guest posts. Sample the review highlights here or click an image for the entire review.
Breaking and Holding is heartbreaking and tragic and steamy and sweet...But this wasn’t a light and easy-breezy (beach) read for me. With a dysfunctional marriage, addiction, secrets, and abuse plus a tender and sweet romance, friendship, longing, and hope, the author made me care about the characters...Until the very last pages, I had no idea how things would turn out...I also really enjoyed her style of writing. It was whip-smart, at times funny, and for a book with so much romance, it never veered into cheesy or saccharine for me.-- Lauren K. Denton
Breaking and Holding was intense, romantic and compelling, but I found myself more interested in the time frame it took place. From a women’s perspective, the 1970s were a very tumultuous time, a time of introspection and growth...I took away a story of a young woman breaking free, finding her unique spirit and ultimately her truth. We should all be so blessed. -- Cindy Roesel
The relationships of family and friends, the absence of family and friends, age and stage and love and money and needs and secrets with the backdrop of Kiawah Island and the tennis circuit make Breaking and Holding engaging, thought provoking and a juicy, quick read. -- Jennifer Blankfein
I felt the constant thrum of pressure and awaited the approaching train wreck; I...was intrigued about just what the specific antecedent would be that would trip the bomb and blow the track. There were multiple instances I thought the fuse was lit and was bracing for the explosion, but oh – what a sly and clever minx Ms. Fogarty is, she fooled me more than once. The storyline was cleverly constructed and smartly written. Judy Fogarty has made a stunning debut. -- "Empress DJ"
A tale of love, madness, tennis, and breaking free...I loved Lynn and rallied behind Tricia and there was no way I could put the book down until I found out how their stories would end! -- Becky LeJeune
The author does an amazing job at establishing another time and place. I loved the 1970's island setting. -- "Birdhouse Books"
Fogarty has created a set of deeply flawed, broken characters who must make peace with their own pasts in order to move forward...Each has to decide when the tipping point is and when to take a chance and go to the net for match point. -- Serena
If you're like me -- always looking for a great new read -- here are a few novels I consider sure-fire!
From the 10th Savannah Book Festival. On Saturday, 2/18, from 9:00 to 5:00, I heard talented authors speak in some of our historic city's most beautiful churches, museums and theaters. Dorothea Benton Frank delighted. Tess Gerritsen fascinated. Tama Janowitz endeared. Gerald Marzorati inspired. (So what if 60 isn't the new 40! It's a great time to find a new passion, work hard and improve!) Paulette Jiles made my fingers itch for my Kindle to finish News of the World. But far and away, the day belonged to Yaa Gyasi, who quietly held her audience in the palm of her hand. Like Colson Whitehead, who spoke Friday night, she spoke of the importance of history that is not manipulated but true, and how it should inform our lives and hearts today.
From Nancy Brandon. Nancy is a member of my writing group, the Savannah Scribes, and I had the pleasure of reading her novel as it was written. Set in Vidalia, Georgia in the early 1930s, Show Me a Kindness is rich in colorful, period details. As gentle, confused Marthanne Hendrix and Oma, her feisty second personality(!), lead a chorus of great characters through the story, you'll find it sings from start to finish. Show yourself a kindness and order this one today.
A New Favorite. My "Top Ten of All Time" list is always in flux, and Elizabeth Strout's My Name is Lucy Barton caused the latest shift. More? Here's my review.
From 2016. Belatedly, here are my hands-down favorites from last year. They include: Novels I thought I would love and did: Fates and Furies; The Goldfinch. Those that surprised and captivated me: Big Little Lies, The Mating Life. Novels that took my breath away: The Yellow Birds; Everything I Never Told You. Something charming: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Something chilling: In Wilderness (on my Kindle, so not pictured). My choice for the year's best: Commonwealth.
if you have recommendations, I'd love to hear from you. Comment here or Connect with me by clicking on the tab above. Happy Reading!
Early on January 1, I sat beside my Christmas Book Tree with a good cup of coffee and my seldom used journal. For many hours and pages my consciousness streamed with gratitude, peace and optimism, out of which -- damnit! -- resolutions arose. Far too many. I knew as I wrote them that I'd need a spreadsheet to keep them straight, and worse, that I'd create one. (I did.) A week later, I wondered if I should have set intentions instead, for human-being instead of human-doing. Two weeks later, I longed for mini-goals, so easy to achieve (floss one tooth daily!) that you can't help exceeding them (lowers and uppers too!). Now, 24 days into 2017, I'm relaxing my white-knuckled grip on the new year's steering wheel. I'm pondering "Advice from some Old People". I'm setting an intention to be kind (my favorite thing to be). Daily, I'm going to ask the question Martin Luther King, Jr. called life's most urgent one: What am I doing for others? And I'm going to remind myself that each day is another first serve, as in tennis, and another opportunity, as Buddha taught us, to be born again and do what matters most.
Friday, 1/27/2017, Women's Tennis Weekend, Kiawah Island Golf and Tennis Resort, Kiawah Island, South Carolina. 4:00-5:00 pm, Sip and Shop; 6:30-8:30, Reception, The Sanctuary Hotel.
Thursday, 2/9/2017, Meet the Author Series, Sun City Hilton Head, Bluffton, South Carolina. Pinckney Hall, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
February/March - ONLINE BOOK TOUR - 2/16/2017-3/24/2017 - 15 Tour Stops on Book Blogs and Writing Blogs. All will feature Breaking and Holding through book reviews, author interviews and Q&As, or guest blog posts. See the detailed schedule from TLC Book Tours and come along!
Saturday, 3/25/2017, Dahlonega Literary Festival, Dahlonega, Georgia. 9:00 am - 4:30 pm, Historic Downtown Dahlonega.
Monday, 3/21/2017, Book Signing. Nevermore Books, 702 Craven Street, Beaufort, South Carolina. Time tba.
BOOK CLUB APPEARANCES
The Landings on Skidaway Island, Savannah, Georgia
Renegade Readers, Savannah, Georgia
Rodgers and Hammerstein weren't writing Christmas songs in 1959, but "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music has flown like "wild geese with the moon on their wings" to a high place in the holiday repertoire. Listening to several renditions--nearly 100 artists have recorded it--has inspired this list of favorite Christmas things. I hope you'll find something here to create, enjoy or give this season.
FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE.
Christmas with Dino is a classic, right down to the white socks and loafers. My favorite song? "Baby, It's Cold Outside." Songs of Angels offers 29 traditional carols, all sung a capella, with the late Robert Shaw conducting his chamber singers.
It's delicious and easy. (You can't mess it up!) I bake as many as six for the Fogarty Christmas gathering. A few brothers-in-law and nephews like to take an entire pie home! Pecans and chocolate chips, obviously. Secret ingredient? 2 tablespoons of bourbon! Recipe.
A BOOKWORM'S CHRISTMAS TREE.
I'm hardly an artsy/craftsy type, but this project was great fun. My first attempt looked like the misshapen mountain in Close Encounter of the Third Kind, but I persevered and think I did okay. All of my family's favorites books are in there......... somewhere.
BOOKS ABOUT GIVING.
I'd love to see Congratulations, by the Way - Some Thoughts on Kindness as required reading for the human race. I've read this gem by George Saunders countless times and never without tears. It's just that moving. Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree? Perfect for children and grown-ups too. And O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi is available in many gorgeous illustrated editions, like this one by Lisbeth Zwerger. My copy was a long ago gift from Mike's mom, but it's still in print. (I checked to be sure.)
And don't forget BREAKING AND HOLDING, my 1970s love story sure to warm a heart. (Or a winter night!)
You won't find these under a tree or in brown paper packages tied up with string, but love, joy, peace, friends and family are the favorites I love best.
Sincere Wishes for a Wonderful Holiday Season from our home to yours.
At the BB&T Atlanta Open I gave John Isner a copy of Breaking and Holding, and bookmarked 201 -- the scene that is set at the University of Georgia in Athens, where he was an outstanding college player. John is 6'9" tall. I'm 5'2". What a pair!
On Thursday, August 25th, I spoke to a group of 125 women at the Ladies Day Luncheon of the Winston-Salem Open professional tennis tournament. Afterward, I was pleased to sign copies of Breaking and Holding and to get to know them. I hope you'll enjoy my remarks.
More than just the right word or a stunning plot twist, what every writer wants most is a reader. Especially as a first-time novelist, I'm grateful for every one of you who has read Breaking and Holding since its publication on August 2nd. I also appreciate those who have taken the time to rank or review the novel on Amazon or Goodreads. (If you haven't yet, please do.)
I hope you've enjoyed Breaking and Holding and would love to hear from you. Just use the connect tab on my website, visit my Facebook page, or tweet me at @judyfogarty.com. I promise to respond. I'd love to speak to your book club too—in person or by Skype.
Meanwhile, here a few of my favorites lines from reviews of Breaking and Holding.
Extreme book hangover. I couldn't get this book out of my head for days!!!
A smart summer read. A swift page-turner.
This book grabbed me from the first sentence...It's the perfect beach read.
As heartbreaking as it is soulful.
Five stars for an excellent book and "chewing my nails up to the end" kind of love story.
Be prepared to have your heart bumped and torn and pieced together along the way. It's just that good.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Brianne Halverson, email@example.com, 646.283.5817
Against the backdrop of the 1970s and the golden age of tennis, a stunning debut novel explores the folly of the human heart.
Breaking and Holding
By Judy Fogarty
On Sale: August 2, 2016
Patricia Curren’s search for independence begins in the summer of 1978, when she finds an unfamiliar black pearl button in the bed she shares with her controlling husband, Jack. When the chance arises for her to escape to Kiawah Island in the South Carolina Lowcountry for the season, she settles in for solitude and self-discovery. But an impulsive decision to take a tennis lesson from Terry Sloan, a collegiate player trying to turn pro, sends her summer top-spinning toward danger.
Patricia and Terry are an unlikely pairing. She is quiet and scholarly, buried in beloved books. He is competitive, sometimes brash, and severely dyslexic. But they find in each other the courage to overcome the crippling insecurities that have plagued them since childhood, and their summer fling begins a slow burn to obsession and love that can’t let go. When their affair is discovered by single, career-minded Lynn Hewitt, Jack’s assistant and Patricia’s closest confidant, it takes every bit of strategy and strength Lynn possesses to hold things together, as she struggles to protect them all from impending disaster come Labor Day—when Jack expects Patricia to return to their life together in New York City.
In Breaking and Holding as long-held secrets are finally revealed, advantages shift from one player to another and new alliances are formed in a match that holds you breathless until the very end.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The idea for Judy Fogarty’s debut novel, Breaking and Holding, took root many years ago, when Judy’s love for the game of tennis first blossomed during those heady days of rivalry between Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. With tennis, she fell hard not only for the athleticism and competition but also for the language of the sport—love, fault, double fault, break, hold—words that lent themselves ideally to a story of obsession, betrayal and, ultimately, triumph.
The dramatic arc of tennis mirrored the passionate play of classical music that Judy studied at the University of Illinois, where she earned a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Literature. It led her to work as a marketing director for private golf and tennis communities, including The Landings on Skidaway Island in her native Savannah, Georgia, and Berkeley Hall and Callawassie Island in the Hilton Head, South Carolina area. A devoted—some might say, “rowdy,”—tennis fan, she lives, writes, reads and runs on the historic Isle of Hope in Savannah. She is happily at work on her second novel and enjoys the invaluable support of her husband, Mike, and children, Colin and Sara Jane.
Author website: www.judyfogarty.com
On Sale: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Available in: Paperback, $10.55;
How do you introduce your debut novel to over 1,000 ideal readers while raising $1000 for a worthy nonprofit organization? On June 13th and 14th, I found a way.
On those dates, The USTA Georgia Tennis League State Championship (age groups 55 & Over and 65 & Over) was held in Savannah at several venues. At The Franklin Creek Tennis Center at The Landings Club, I orchestrated a raffle and donated all proceeds to Special Pops. The raffle prize, with a retail value of $600, featured tennis wear, gear, and an Advance Reading Copy of Breaking and Holding.
Special Pops (Special Populations) Tennis is dedicated to enriching the lives and well-being of individuals with intellectual challenges through active participation in tennis exercise drills, instructional clinics, tournament play, and accompanying social interaction. Special Pops originated in Atlanta in the early 1990s and was expanded to Savannah in 2010, where it became affiliated with the Savannah Area Tennis Association (SATA). Anyone interested in supporting Special Pops should note the contacts listed below.
For the raffle, I sold over 600 tickets, including the winning one to Marceline Preston of the Preston-SATA team, which plays out of Bacon Park. I also gave each of the 600 purchasers a Breaking and Holding bookmark. Hopefully it will remind them that my novel, set against a backdrop of the 1970s and the Golden Age of Tennis, is available for pre-order now and scheduled for publication on August 2nd.
I'm proud to have raised $1000 for Special Pops, and I'm excited about the pre-orders rolling in. Thanks to all donors -- and to my future readers.
To support Special Pops, please contact: Doug Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Ralph Ferrone @RKFerrone@gmail.com.