Wednesday, November 27, 2013

And the Winner is.....

...NOT ME!

The winners for the Chicago Writers Association 2013 Book of the Year were announced, and unfortunately for me The Bunco Club was not chosen =(

While, I was semi-sad for about three whole seconds, I reminded myself what an incredible honor it was for my first book, The Bunco Club, to be one of three books chosen as a finalist for the Book of the Year Award.

My congratulations goes to the winner!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

An Evening at Mt. Carmel

The Jingle and Mingle Market at Mt. Carmel this past Thursday, where I was selling, signing, and talking up The Bunco Club, was a bit of a walk down memory lane for me. Ten years ago my son graduated high school from there. For the four years that Rob went to Mt. Carmel, I was a very involved Mom, and had the pleasure of meeting many, many other Moms that were equally involved in their sons education. Happily, several familiar faces were at the Jingle Mingle and we had fun reconnecting.

I was able to snag a few of them for photos, but missed the Kodak Moment opportunity with so many other wonderful Alumni Moms.
Mary and Erin
Lori, Lu, and Marcie
Overview of the Market from my booth in the gym

MC Mother's Club still doesn't do anything without a lot of food and wine! Another friend and Alumni Mom, Mary, is in this photo--wish I knew how to add an arrow pointing to her.
Sales of The Bunco Club were quite brisk during the three hours of the Market, and the networking was remarkable. If everything works out and comes through, I'll be doing a book talk/sales/reading at the Evergreen Park Library sometime in Jan/Feb (they already have Jennifer Chiaverini and Lisa Gardner scheduled sometime in those months, too!); the Mt. Carmel Bunco Night on Friday, January 24; and appearances at about 4-5 book clubs.

NOTE: If you have never been to a Bunco fundraiser and want to experience a fun/wild night, the Mt. Carmel Bunco Night is a must!

Thanks to all who purchased a book or chatted with me at the Jingle Mingle. It's always fun to go back to 64th and Dante and see familiar smiling faces.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Busy and Slightly Crazy Week!

It's November, and on Monday we started the week with an inch of snow. Today, Sunday, only six days later, the temps started in the 60s and we had tornadoes raging through the upper part of Illinois. At one point, my husband, cat, and I holed up in the closet under our stairs while the sirens warned the village to take cover.
Bob holding a confused Wrinkles in our closet, where we sat on coolers and waited out the worst part of the storm

I spent a wonderful evening reconnecting with Sharon Swidler, a friend from grad school at SIU. She  had four pieces in a show at the Christopher Art Gallery, Prairie State College, Chicago Heights, Illinois. We hadn't seen each other for many years and had a great discussion about art. Congratulations, Sharon--so good to see you!
With Sharon Swidler and art work--The Diary Series.

There was a Sewing Expo just a few miles from my home this past weekend. I took a few hours to investigate if I might want to be a vendor there next year. The most fun thing that happened was running into a couple of The Bunco Club readers. We chatted for a while and they asked to take a picture with me.
Thanks Barb and Debbie for making my day!
The owner of Vogue Fabrics made a really cool and fun looking vest from 100 zippers. They were selling bags of 50 zippers for $7.00. Yes, I bought a bag! Thinking of making a purse from them. What do you think?

My favorite quilt of the show--of course, it's made with 30's reproduction fabric.

Paula Kmetty, the owner of Top Self Quilts in Frankfort, Illinois, invited me to give a talk about The Bunco Club at her quilt shop on Thursday, December 12, at 6 PM. She wrote a fun article about how we met, and shared it on the front page of her newsletter! Thanks, Paula--I'm looking forward to talking about, selling, and signing my book in your wonderful quilt shop.

With Paula Kmetty, owner of Top Shelf Quilts

I met up with a group of good friends and quilters for dinner at The Cottage on Dixie in Homewood, Illinois. The food was fabulous, and we had a fun evening with a lot of laughs.

Kathy, Geri, Karen, Mary, Sandy, and seated is Moe

Moe enjoys her double chocolaty dessert
Sandy with a BIG glass of wine!

I'll be spending the next few days preparing for the Jingle and Mingle Holiday Bizarre at Mount Carmel High School in Chicago on Thursday, November 21. I'm looking forward to going back to MC as an alumni Mom, where my son spent his four years of high school. What a great school!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Recap of Galena Show

I had a wonderful time last weekend meeting quilters, readers, and selling my book at the Fall Quilt and Fiber Arts Show in Galena, Illinois.
My sister-in-law and brother surprised me when they showed up all the way from Racine, Wisconsin! They brought a delicious authentic Kringle for us to snack on. Thanks Liz and Bob, it was fun to see you!

Brother Bob, Liz, Karen, Husband Bob--So many Bob's!

View from the event.
Overview of the show from my booth.

Owner's of Quilter's Haven in Rockford, Illinois.
Alana and Cathy

I enjoyed meeting these ladies! I regret that I didn't get their names, but they were from Des Moines, Iowa. They each bought a book for themselves and then three more for Christmas gifts! Thanks, Des Moines ladies =)

Check out these unique hand made felted about warm! Susan Brusch of Heirloom Mittens is from Galena, Illinois.
Heirloom Mittens
 I met Aleta Stoler, the owner of Froebe Fibers, and we discover that we are neighbors! Froebe Fibers is located in Flossmoor, Illinois--just a couple of towns over from where I live. For all you local knitting peeps out there, Aleta has yummy hand died yarns. She is also involved with two local knitting groups, and is knowledgeable and sharing about all things knit! What a fun person. 
A must for knitters

And My favorite quilt of the show...
Pieced an quilted in the 1940s in Lincoln, Missouri, this Stars with Prairie Point Binding was truly spectacular.
Thanks to all the readers and quilters who stopped by my booth, and those that purchased my book. I feel fortunate to be able to meet so many wonderful people when I am a vendor at these shows.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

2013 Fall Quilt & Fiber Arts Show, Galena, Illinois

With only days left until the opening of the Fall Quilt & Fiber Arts Show in Galena, Illinois, I've started my packing/organizing process for a three day show of book signings and sales. I'm really looking forward to spending time among quilters and quilt lovers in beautiful Galena.

Thinking about a fall color getaway this weekend? It's not going to get any better than Galena...and you can see some amazing quilts to boot! There will be over 100 quilts on display.

November 8th,  2013 – November 10th, 2013
$5.00 admission for two days
115 South Bench Street, Galena, IL
Turner Hall
Participating Vendors:
Cottage Rose, A Quilt Shop, Marion IA
Karen DeWitt, Author of  The Bunco Club
Dubuque Sewing & Vacuum, Dubuque IA
The Fabric Stasher, Tipton, IA
Forest Mills Quilt Shop, Postville, IA
Froebe Fibers, Flossmoor, IL
Heirloom Mittens-Susan Brusch, Galena IL
Phat 1/4s, Galena, IL
Pins & Pieces Quilt Shop, Darlington WI
Quilter’s Haven, Rockford IL
R.AmyDesign Co., Jewelry, Galena IL
Village Crafters, Tomahawk WI

If you've read my book or know me, you're aware that I'm a bit of a history buff. So here's an historic note about Galena: Galena was the residence of Ulysses S. Grant and eight other Civil War generals.

File:Galena Illinois skyline.JPG
Downtown Galena--Does it get any prettier than this?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Meet Toneal Jackson, "The Queen of Multitasking"

I had the pleasure of meeting Toneal Jackson a few months ago when she was a on a panel discussing the pros and cons of traditional versus independent-publishing. I boldly walked up to her that day, introduced myself, and suggested we might do a "trade"...I'd interview her for my blog and she would consider me for an interview on her Inspirational Talk Show. Yikes--I still can't believe I had the nerve to do that! But she has graciously answered my questions, and will be in touch with me about an interview for her show.

Anyone who has read my novel, The Bunco Club, knows that family and motherhood is important to me and my book. I sense that Toneal has similar priorities about family. I am impressed with all that Toneal has accomplished and continues to achieve. Talk about a busy woman wearing a lot of different hats AND doing it well!

Thank you, Toneal, for hanging out on my blog with me!

You are an award winning author with six published books (very impressive). Briefly tell us about them.
With my first book, Pleasing Your Partner: A Spiritual Guide to H.A.P.P.I.N.E.S.S., I ranked #3 as the 2011 National Black Book Festival's Best New Author. It discusses issues that hinder relationships, and employs the acronym to provide solutions.

Four Girls: A Lot of Choices is a children's book that discusses the trials and smiles of parenthood.

It's A Way to Say It All: Volumes 1& 2: How to Communicate with Your Partner, and Kids provide effective communication techniques to overcome barriers these relationships can present. 

Inspiration from A.B.O.V.E. employs a combination of personal narrative and poetry used to teach its readers how to transform any situation into an opportunity for personal growth. It was awarded the Silver Medal in the 2013 Readers' Favorite International Book Awards.

Four Girls Learn Their Colors is a rhyming tale that teaches children how to differentiate between primary and secondary colors.

What inspired you to write your first book?
It was divine inspiration. At the time I wrote this book, so many individuals were going through difficulties in their relationships. Typically, I provide counseling sessions; this book gives much of the advice I would normally tell my clients.

Not only are you an author, you are also a licensed evangelist & youth leader, a motivational speaker, a radio personality, an educator, and last, but certainly not least, a wife and mother. With such a full-plate, how do you find or make time to write?
I love everything that I do, so I just find a way to make the necessary adjustments. Most of the time, I don't even think about all that I do - I just do it; thinking about it takes more energy than actual execution. It may be the reason why many refer to me as "The Queen of Multitasking"!

Who designed your book cover(s) and how do you feel about them?
I designed all of my covers but one. Overall, I like them.

What is the name of your radio show, when is it aired, and what is its mission? Do you have a favorite/memorable show that you can share with us?
My show, Inspirational Talk with Toneal, airs Tuesdays at noon on Blog Talk Radio. Its mission is to promote inspirational leaders with positive messages that will encourage and empower others. This is my third season, and I have enjoyed all my guests; no, I don't really have a favorite.

Do you have any projects on which you are currently working?
Yes, right now I'm working on my first collaboration project with Dominique Wilkins. She's Out. I'm In is the best of both worlds; it provides entertaining relationship scenarios with real solutions. It will be available in time for the holidays!
What do your plans for future projects include?
On November 15th, I am officially launching my business, Authors Promoting Success. It not only provides a literary support group, but it also offers an array of professional and promotional services to assist authors build, brand, and boost their business. For more information, please visit:
Authors Promoting Success

Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice is to follow your heart. Determine what you want to accomplish in this industry, and do all you can to make those dreams come true. Finally, don't be afraid to align yourself with others. So many authors feel as though they can succeed on their own. You will find, as my organizational mantra states, "We are better together"!

What do you do for downtime or me-time (hobbies, etc)?
I am a HUGE NBA fan. Now that basketball season has started, mostly all of my spare time is spent watching a game!

Do you have a website, blog, Twitter, or Facebook Page that you’d like to share so people can connect with you and learn more about you and your books?
Sure; anyone looking to connect with me can either find me on LinkedIn; friend me on Facebook ; follow me on Twitter @tjmonique; or visit my website:

Thank you, Toneal for agreeing to be a guest on my blog and for being an inspiration to so many people.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fun Fun Fun

I'm having so much fun with this book and meeting such wonderful people. This beautiful showgirl (and I mean drop-dead-gorgeous) was as nice as could be. I wish I had asked her name...she was from the Ukraine but had no hint of any accent. A big thank you to my new-best-friend for posing with my book and chatting it up with me!

I surprised my hubby with an over-nighter at Jumer's Casino in the Quad Cities for his birthday. Happy Birthday, always we're having way too much fun!!