Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Guest Author: Holly Jacobs

Please welcome guest author Holly Jacobs who has a new, December Superromance out now, HOMECOMING DAY and she's a novice basket weaver, too! She's having a contest giving away a basket she's made. Here's Holly ...

Thanks for inviting me to visit today, Ladies!

I’m pretty sure most readers aren’t surprised to discover that writers are readers, too...generally they’re readers first! I can't remember a time I didn't read. My first book love-affair was with The Hobbit. To be honest, all my first crushes were on characters from books. Aragorn in LOTR, Lazarus Long in Heinlein's works. I grew up in books. As an adult, I was the kindergarten story lady for years, even after all my kids had moved up in grades. There was something so exciting about seeing the kids fall into a story. Most years we all read our first big-kid chapter book together.

I can't fathom a life without books.

I guess that's why I touch on the idea of functional illiteracy in this month’s SuperRomance, Homecoming Day. JT, the high school freshman in the book, can read. It's difficult and ponderous for her, but she can do it...she just can't do it well and that impacts her school performance and her self-esteem. And it goes without saying that she has never read for pleasure.

My hero and heroine come together because of her and they work with her. The better she reads, the more her grades improve, the more she opens up.

Now, I'm going to confess, I think I rushed the JT's reading progress. I don't think most kids who have difficulty reading can overcome their problems in just a few months of one-on-one work. But hey, I'm writing fiction and there were a few time constraints, so let's just agree that she's an anomaly and did improve that quickly. What I don't think I exaggerated was the idea that one person can make a difference in someone else's life. That having someone care about you can alter the course you take.

And I'm totally certain that I didn't exaggerate the notion that reading can enrich your life and open new ideas and vistas. So many writers helped raise me. When I felt lost, they helped me find myself. I wouldn't be who I am today without those authors in my past.

Laura, the heroine of Homecoming Day, is a teacher. I have so many family members who teach and I know what a rare and wonderful breed of person they are! And the hero, Seth Keller (whose brother, Zac, was the hero in last year’s Unexcepted Gifts), is a cop. Now, I love cops...actually one cop in particular. My husband is a police Captain, and two brothers are also police officers. So I do think police officers make great heroes, even if they’re not saving the world, but are saving a few kids.

Both Laura and Seth have suffered a devastating loss. They need to heal before they can fall in love. My blurb for this book, as I wrote it, was, Life Gives Second Chances...Sometimes So Does Love! I hope you enjoy their story...that you enjoy READING their story.

See how I did that? I circled back to reading...literacy! Yeah, I’m that good! LOL Let’s talk books that made an impact on you. Is there a particular book you can remember reading when you were young...something that still stays with you?

Holly
http://www.hollyjacobs.com/

PS. According to National Right to Read Foundation, “42 million American adults can't read at all; 50 million are unable to read at a higher level that is expected of a fourth or fifth grader. 20% of high school seniors can be classified as being functionally illiterate at the time they graduate.” (My heart breaks over these numbers!)

PPS. I’m having a contest to celebrate the release of this book. I need to preface the contest info by saying I’m a VERY novice basketweaver. And a number of friends and readers asked me to give one away, so I am!

To enter, just share a favorite Christmas memory...something that gives you that warm glow of homecoming and family. That’s all it takes. (Of course, I do hope you’ll purchase a copy of Homecoming Day, too! LOL) You can find out more at http://www.hollyjacobs.com/contest.html

23 comments:

Helen Brenna said...

Hey Holly and thanks again for coming! The book sounds like a wonderfully heartwarming holiday book!

You mentioned The Hobbit and that was a really important book for me, too. Even earlier than that, though, were the Nancy Drew books. Went through them like candy. Even the Hardy boys. Then came CS Lewis's Tales of Narnia. OMG, I'm not sure I was truly alive before that series!

Then, of course, there were all the Harlequins! LOL

HollyJacobs said...

Helen, I grew up between the covers of books. Tolkien...well, he really helped shape the woman I grew into. And read Lewis and Nancy Drew, too. Not so much the Hardy Boys, but I did love Trixie Belden! My youngest asked me to find her a copy because she loved the series, too and wants one of her own. I can't tell you how much it meant that to me! The idea of passing on that love of reading and books!

Thanks for the invitation, Helen!

Holly

Keri Ford said...

I remember reading TALES OF A FIFTH GRADE NOTHING. I think that was my first "big book".

In K, I remember sounding out and finally spitting out the word "butterfly" I think it was the first word I read all by myself, cause my teacher was way excited that I got it. :)

HollyJacobs said...

Keri,

I didn't read TALES when I was a kid, but I read it to my kids. Reading to them...those are sweet memories! And I love when one of them reads a book and insists I need to read it right away!

Butterfly is a great first word...there's a certain delightful imagery in that!

Holly

Cindy Gerard said...

Hi Holly and welcome to the Top down
Those statistics are frightening ... and very sad. So love that you've tackled that topic in your book. Sounds like a great read!
And what fun - basket weaving. I dabbled in pottery a few years back. LOVED it, had a little aptitude for it but just ran out of free time. I miss it terribly so I hope you continue to enjoy your basket weaving!

HollyJacobs said...

Cindy, I really want to do pottery next! So cool that you've done it!

As for literacy, I speak a lot in schools, and it's always so sad to hear from kids who have never read for pleasure. I can't imagine a life without books!

Linda Henderson said...

The first big book I can remember reading is Heidi, I loved that book. I bought it for both my daughters when they were young. As far as Christmas memories, I'm going to relate a funny one. About 5 years ago my son-in-law received an awful cd from his aunt for Christmas. My other daugher was laughing about it so much and got such a kick out of it that my son-in-law gave it to her the next year. This started the giving of the cd for every holiday. Valentines Day, Fathers Day, Mothers Day, Halloween, you never knew when it was going to show up. They've even given it as a present from their kids so the unsuspecting person wouldn't fear opening their gift. My oldest daughter has it right now and it's a given that she will find some way to give it to her sister or brother-in-law for Christmas. And then it will begin again for next year.

HollyJacobs said...

Linda, I love the reappearing CD gift!! One of my kids received a one-size-fits-all shirt from a relative. It was very green and the odd waffling of the material was not very flattering...no matter what your size. We all passed it around like your CD for years! Uh, no one ever wore it! Do you all play the CD?

I loved Heidi, btw. I have two sequels somewhere...Heidi's Grows Up and Heidi's Children, I think were the titles.

Holly

LSUReader said...

I remember staying up late as a teenager and going to Midnight Mass for the first time with my sister. It was so beautiful. Thanks for a fun column.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Welcome, Holly!

I'm getting 2 copies of this book. Stocking stuffer for my daughter, who wants to be a police officer--passed the post test last spring and will complete her BS this spring. She works for county probation dept now. At the moment there isn't a lot of hiring going on in this field as much as we need good cops.

Same with teachers. The second copy is for me. I've been a reading teacher. Had to add the Reading Consultant credential to my resume when I was teaching jr high and high school English because I had so many students who had trouble reading.

I could go on and on about this--maybe I'll do a blog post--but I'll just say thank you for writing a book with this theme. Our books can do so much in addition to entertaining. Not that entertaining isn't enough, but I want that bonus--a little enlightenment.

HollyJacobs said...

Thanks, LSU!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Kathleen, Congrats to your daughter!! Not only is my dh a cop, but two of my brothers are as well. It's a great career, and I think all three have made the world a better place because of the job they did.

And I love teachers. Not only do I have a lot of friends and family who teach, but I've had some teachers who've made such a huge impact on my life. My childhood development teacher, Mrs. Lorei, was more than a teacher...she was a good friend! And still is. And then there was Ms. Mac. She wasn't a friend. She pushed me and on more than one occasion kicked my butt, but she taught me so much about literature. She died in a tragic accident, and I feel sorry for all the kids who missed having her in their lives!

Anyway, thanks!

Holly

lois greiman said...

Thanks for joining us, Holly. And best of luck with your beautiful holiday book.

HollyJacobs said...

Thank you so much, Lois! I always love getting to come hang out with you all!!

Holly

Michele Hauf said...

Welcome, Holly!

I read a lot of non-fiction natural history and liked to browse through encyclopedias when I was a kid. But I do recall The Velveteen Rabbit as being a stand-out read for me (especially the pictures). :-)

Christie Ridgway said...

Hi, Holly! So many books influenced me. I was a huge reader as a kid (and now). I remember The Wolves of Willoughby Chase & The Hobbit & Mara, Daugher of the Nile. Seventeenth Summer (sigh) and then Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart as I moved out of the children's shelves at the library. Then I discovered Georgette Heyer all on my own (my mom had steered me to romantic suspense as she is a mystery lover) and I discovered the romance genre... Such wonderful books and such good times found within them.

HollyJacobs said...

Michele, I loved the Velveteen Rabbit...that idea of being real when your furs been rubbed off.

Christie, It's so cool to find out how many people were touched by the Hobbit...I'm so jazzed about the upcoming movie!!

Linda Henderson said...

No Holly, nobody is allowed to open it up. I would tell you what it is, but I don't want to offend anyone who might like them.

HollyJacobs said...

Linda,

LOL I think the fact it's unopened makes the 'tradition' of passing it around cuter!

Holly

PS. Thanks again for the invitation and the fun day of visiting, everyone!

Dina said...

for me its the memories of my girls when they were little and their faces lighting up on Christmas mourning. :)

HollyJacobs said...

Dina, Oh, those expressions!!

When my older kids were little, we had a large front staircase that led into the living room. I'd make the kids wait there, while their dad and I ran down, turned on the tree (and made coffee) before they could come down. I loved their expressions when they came down, saw all the presents, and Santa's offerings (he didn't wrap his gifts at our house, so they were always obvious). They're sweet memories.

Holly

catslady said...

I couldn't get on yesterday - glad it's working for me now.

Books have always been my lifesaver. My Christmas memory that includes that is when my father-in-law sent my two young children a book for Christmas - The Littlest Angel. It is now a tradition that I read it every year (even though my girls are grown). The first thing they do is get me a box of kleenex because I end up sobbing every year. It is such a touching story.

HollyJacobs said...

Catslady,

Isn't that the story with a little angel who gives someone her wings and is left behind? I remember my grandmother reading me that one! What a lovely memory, and even if it's not the same book, you've given me a happy memory, too!

Holly