It’s seven days until Christmas and I just might be ready on time. Maybe. What a whirlwind my life has been! The Christmas cards have been mailed. Most of the shopping is done and most of the gift wrapping is done. All the packages have been sent or delivered. Cookies are baked and packed. Today was the Sunday School pageant and it was lovely. I visited two sick aunts who are in nursing homes, two hours away, last Friday. Another aunt passed away last week, I made a condolence visit to my cousins in upstate New York. Whew! As if that’s not enough, all the promos I had to do for my new novel, Pressure Cooker Christmas, have been great but really put me under a lot of pressure. Ironic, huh?
Anne Holliday interviewed me for Bradford’s WESB’s Liveline. Click on this site: http://wesb.com/liveline-ondemand/ and go to Nov.30, 2017, and you will hear my interview about the NOT a cookbook, Pressure Cooker Christmas.
I was interviewed at State College’s WPSU by Intern Adison Haley Godfrey, graduate student, on Dec. 8. It’s all fun but exhausting.
On December 15, I did an impromptu interview at WWCH radio in Clarion PA. I stopped to donate three copies for the station to do call-in giveaways and they insisted on a quick interview to go with the call-ins.
My apologies for the formatting of the reviews I copied and pasted to this blog. It makes the blog appear much longer than it really is!
Pressure Cooker Christmas feedback and reviews have been outstanding.
Pressure Cooker Christmas Reviews:
Click: http://www.writeradvice.com/hooked-on-books to read Blynn Goodwin’s review, scroll down to the last review on the page. It’s worth it.
“Pressure Cooker Christmas is a charming Christmas story of a large extended family who
celebrates the holiday together. It is
centered around a mother who wants to make Christmas perfect until the
pressures of real life affect the family. Choices are made, love is given, and
families unite while finding the true meaning of love, family, forgiveness,
resiliency, and the hope of Christmas.
This book makes you think of your own holiday expectations and the
pressures women can put on themselves to have that Norman Rockwell portrait of
the perfect family, while living in an imperfect world. It is a great read for Christmas or any
season of one’s life.”
Deborah Tippett, Ph.D., Professor, Meredith College,
“Ann McCauley’s done it again! In Pressure
Cooker Christmas, ‘tis the season of flu, family feuds, cookies and
crackling wit. Just as our heroine
Marlene gets her Scrooge-ish husband through one Christmas event, she has to
manage another. Then a real disaster
strikes. But she makes it through with
grit, determination and gingerbread.”
D Ferrara, writer, editor, screenwriter and publisher
“McCauley takes readers on a
behind-the-scenes tour of a seemingly-Christmas letter-perfect family and reminds
us the true joy of the season doesn’t lie in to-do lists and obligations, but
in the simple pleasures of togetherness.”
Heather Harlen, author of Shame, Shame, I Know Your Name
“Pressure Cooker Christmas may hold a holiday theme, but it’s
safe to say that it is like no other Christmas book. In fact, even the
protagonist admits this possibility in her reflections about the
quickly-approaching holiday: “I
promised myself this Christmas would be different. But already my life felt
like a runaway train, and it was only the day after Thanksgiving.”
For one thing, Christmas efforts and
traditions don’t feel as joyful to Marlene as they should be… Where is her holiday spirit hiding? As
dysfunction, family ties, and pressure ramps up, readers are treated to a solid
description of very different perspectives about the holidays dosed with a warm
set of dreams that neatly juxtaposes the challenges leading up to Christmas
Day. The dialogue is crisp and involving, different characters’ perspectives
are nicely laid out, and the challenges of the season are outlined using a
blend of quirky observation and involving insights.
It’s the twelve days of Christmas
with a big difference. Readers who enjoy holiday stories with angst added into
the mix will find Pressure Cooker
Christmas a fine tale offering more realistic twists and turns than most,
tempering idealism with despair and adding an injection of warmth just when one
comes to believe that all may be lost, this particular holiday season. It’s a
holiday read like no other, especially recommended for women’s fiction
enthusiasts and served up as a satisfyingly realistic contrast to the usual
sanguine Christmas story.”
D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Reviews
Charming novel about the joys and travails of
an ordinary and not so ordinary Christmas. The O’Malley family lives in north
central or north western Pennsylvania, the parents, Marlene and Bob, are
getting on in years and starting to wonder about what will happen with their
three kids. One son, finally sober after being kicked around by the bottle for
many years, lives above their garage and seems fundamentally unable to make a
living, though he is a good man and father himself. A daughter lives in Atlanta
and is in the midst of a divorce from her philandering husband. Another
daughter lives locally, and is pregnant.
This is a
well told story about the pressures and realities and happiness of a busy
family during the holiday season. Big things happen, but they flow from the
small events of a life well lived. The lead character Marlene, is particularly
well written, and the family events, and the yule tide happenings, all are seen
through her eyes. Her love for Christmas, her husband Bob’s lack of interest in
Christmas, and Marlene’s inability to say no her family or anyone else seeking
assistance makes for an interesting and challenging dynamic. Highly recommended
for fans of Christmas stories and family novels. It was amazing.
GOODREADS, Oct 20, 2017, Terje Fokstuen, CA. attorney, *Five Star Review
… Ann McCauley’s writing is honest and suspenseful, but peppered with her humor. The protagonists reputation of being a rock, an anchor for everyone in time of trouble, is in danger of crumbling.
More than the usual Christmas story of magic, the reader is plunged into the realistic holiday flurry that mothers and grandmothers get into when they set high standards for themselves… Unlike any other Christmas novels…
Joan Martin, Book Reviewer, Baytown News, Baytown, Texas
I thought this story would strike a chord with readers, that this unexplored slant on Christmas could well be a universal theme. Reader feedback has been amazing, women I don’t even know, come up to me and say, “How did you know that about me? I loved your book, I felt like it was about me and my family!”
Sales have been strong and though it will soon be packed mostly away until next fall, Pressure Cooker Christmas will be an Evergreen Novel that comes back year after year as it continues to pick up steam.
I reviewed a novel, Maureen, for Story Circle: http://www.storycirclebookreviews.org/reviews/maureen.shtml
I’ve read several books in the last two months, I read the first six on my new Kindle, while traveling:
THE STORYTELLER by Jodi Picoult. Historical Fiction. About the holocaust and its effect on two families in the proceeding generations. Excellent!
After the Lie by Kerry Fisher. Historical fiction set after post WW2 in rural England and Ireland. Excellent!
The Silent Wife by Kerry Fisher. Historical fiction set in England post WW2. Another excellent well told story.
The Letter by Kathryn Hughes. Historical fiction set in England before and during WW2. Amazing story, I wanted to get inside the pages and help the victims of the writer’s sometimes cruel imagination. Excellent!
The Secret by Kathryn Hughes. Historical Fiction set in England. Compelling family secrets become revealed decades later, after a trauma. Great story, likable characters, another excellent read!
Kuchen Up a Killing, (The Schnitzel Haus Mysteries Book 1), by Lauren Nichols. Set in small town near fictional elk reserve, loveable well developed characters and plot twists to keep the reader wanting more. Excellent story.
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. Magical Fiction. Our book club’s choice for January. I read it early since one of the girls had finished the library copy. I quickly read it and returned it to the library. It was exciting and well written though not my cup of tea!
I AM THE MESSENGER by Markus Zusak. Present day, Australia. Protagonist/narrator is a 19 year old male cab driver. At times hilarious. Very different from Zusak’s first novel, The Book Thief. But nonetheless a pretty good book.
The Whip, by Karen Kondazin. Historical fiction. Based on a real person, Charley Parkhursts, was an orphan, suffered terrible loss as a young mother and wife. While seeking revenge, she shifted her gender to survive the lawless west in the late 1800s as a stage coach driver. Based on a true story. Excellent well written story.
I read a few others but not worth mentioning. Remember I only write about the good books I have read.
Movies we have seen:
Murder on the Orient Express, I know some reviews have not been I kind to it, but we loved it and wouldn’t mind seeing it again.
SW8, The Last Jedi was not exactly our cup of tea, but was well acted and engaging. Lots of special effects. I’m quite sure there will be a SW9!
Love is All You Need, Pierce Brosnan co-starred in this sometimes subtitled Danish film we rented from Netflicks. It was a sweet movie that made us feel happy. I recommend it to you if your are looking for a fun sweet movie.
We are also enjoying Season 5 of Longmire from Netflicks. And, of course, this time of year, Christmas movies galore!
Till next time, keep reading my friends!