Tag Archives: book shopping

The gift of reading

Holiday shoppers who visit craft fairs are a different breed than those who storm the halls of malls; Authors can capitalize on that reality.

Fall 2015 St. Matt 3Fair shoppers don’t come armed with an idea of exactly what they need to get, and they don’t wear walking shoes because they know they’ll be traversing miles of floor. They’re there to browse and get inspired.  Like with retail stores, they may end up spending money on themselves when they intended to attack their gift lists. But their justification for making impulse buys allows them to feel less guilty. I will never again see this item that’s perfect so I HAVE to buy it NOW.

Those of us hawking books can take advantage of the art-and-crafts set of mind. Mom and I try to hand a card that explains the books’ plots out to anyone whose eye we can catch. The reason we do this is that we know many people are hesitant to spend money on a book when they came to look for crafts. If they are readers or they know readers, however, they eventually glance down at the card, take in a few words, move onto other booths, then glance down again and again until they eventually end up reading most of what’s on that card. We’ve noted that many of our buyers are people who return to our specific table on purpose, and the two most common phrases we hear are:

“I just couldn’t imagine anything more perfect for my friend than a gift set of mystery/romance books by the original author.”


“I decided to treat myself.”

Like all the vendors there at the fair who have spent countless hours creating their jewelry, photography or sewn goods, what Mom and I offer is the same: our passion. We love to read and we know others do as well, and we’re proud of what we’ve created.

This holiday season, we are aiming to get our fourth book in people’s hands. It’s the first that isn’t part of the Fate Series. Instead, it’s a gift possibility: Holiday Connections. Mom’s creative juices started with a theme: 12 different U.S. holidays. Then, in her usual manner, characters invaded her thoughts and the stories began to flow:

Easter: A little girl believes she will perish on this holy Sundayfinal cover

Fourth of July: A mail order bride wants to be a U.S. citizen

Thanksgiving: A mom disappears before the turkey can be served only to reappear exactly a year later

Stay tuned to this blog for an update on where and when the book will be out.

In the meantime, if you have children on your shopping list (and who doesn’t!), my little sister Allyn Stotz is offering what is my own personal favorite of her stories, The Color of Love, at a discounted price this month. It’s about a little boy and his mom who go through a series of adventures on a magic carpet trying to find what color best represents love. Write her at for details.


Genilee Swope Parente


Posted by on October 14, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Shopping for an escape

Because I’m a senior and I cannot drive, I’ve had to find other ways to get out. I watch a lot of television, and in the last few years, I’ve done most of my shopping with QVC. I don’t mean to be a commercial, but I must say I am very happy with most of what I get; once in a while I send something back, but the quality of their goods has been excellent. As with any shopping bag with bookskind of shopping, I have lots of days when I can force myself to be practical and not give in to the many temptations I see.  Then there are those days I like everything I see and finally give in and purchase something.  That’s the kind of day I’m having today.  I vowed I wouldn’t spend any money unless I found a Christmas present; but I gave in and bought something for myself!  It’s practical and something I will really use, but I spent some money when I vowed I wouldn’t.  Such is the life of those who love to shop. Everything looks so good on the models, even the larger ones. Shopping is a way we use our imagination, put those clothes on us and dream.

We do the same thing when we shop for a good book.  We look for the color (which is the cover); we notice the style (the print of the book) and we often seek out the design company or the designer (the author).

When you come across the books Genilee and I have written, you’ll see vivid covers, not bright or gaudy, but rich in color and hinting at what is in the book (the way lace might hint at what’s beneath); the style of our books is appealing (Spectacle has chosen easy to read and large type). As for the designers (us), we are still getting to the point where you might recognize us by name. We hope what you’ll learn to associate with that name is entertaining reading. In no way do we consider what we do coming up with deep, provoking or controversial literature.  We see ourselves as writers of “moments of escape,” which we both have shopped for when we read.  Our books are the kind you love to curl up with in a chair in front of the fireplace to lose yourself fully for a few hours in someone else’s life.

Genilee is working hard at getting the third book polished for the publisher’s last reading, while I am trying to produce book four in the Sam Osborne series. The book Genilee’s immersed in—Fate of the Violet Eyes—sees Sam, our detective, falling in love.  I hope you become as absorbed in the characters of the kidnapper and his victim as I was in writing this book.  Meanwhile, I am almost done writing book four, which includes some suggestions made by audiences in a series of book talks we held at various communities.  I already wrote a fifth book, but I put it aside for a while because it doesn’t satisfy me.  Sometimes you just have to put aside something that bothers you—like that dress or that shirt that’s almost good enough. And when you’re shopping QVC, sometimes you have to send it back for a different one or one that fits better.

We hope, of course, that you come across our engaging Fate series in your shopping and decide to try us on. But in the meantime, let me give you a little exercise we do in our book talks (the same exercise that has resulted in including details from communities where we talk into book four).

I often start a book with just a name, then I begin visualizing details for the character and go on to what actions the person might take and end up formulating plots around those details. I thought I’d give you a new name and see what you come up with. I’m looking for things such as age, appearance, personality, job, desires, motivation—give me anything that comes to mind.  If we get some replies as comments, I’ll share with you what I have come up with myself.

Here goes, close your eyes and visualize this person: CHRISTELLA CORTEZ

Have some fun with it!

F. Sharon Swope


Posted by on October 3, 2014 in Uncategorized


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