Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#Review: Yellow-billed Magpie by Nancy Schellkopf | @nanschoellkopf @iReadBookTours | #Giveaway #WomensFiction

Yellow-billed Magpie
by Nancy Schoellkopf
Paperback, 216 pages
Published August 3rd 2015
Butterfly Tree Publishing

Unlike their black-billed cousins, yellow-billed magpies are rarely found outside California’s central valley. So when they begin showing up in Samantha O’Malley’s dreams, she wonders: are they calling me home?

Disappointed by failed fertility treatments and the break-up of her marriage, Samantha returns to her home town and slips into old habits, resuming her teaching career, even hooking up with an old lover. But she also renews her friendship with Craig, the school custodian she honors as her spiritual guide. The work they do together with Samantha’s special education students will lead her to discoveries she never thought possible.

Yellow-billed Magpie is a love story, a spiritual journey, a quest to look beyond appearances to the mystical rhythms that guide the human heart.

DISCLAIMER: I was sent a copy of this book, as well as the sequel, for an honest review. Thank you to iRead Book Tours for the opportunity!

This book was much better than I expected. I thought I would feel a little out of sorts, due to the contrast of spirituality. However, it did not over take the story the way I thought. The main character has a strong sense of who she should be as well as a sense of not knowing who she is. I have a strong respect for Samantha's character for her patience and perseverance with her Special Educations class. The way the author writes is exactly what we do not see very much of in poor society. In awareness for Autism, this would be the perfect book to read. This book is about believing in one's self and pursuing purpose. 
I enjoyed reading this book. I was able to savor every detail and absorb the story without feeling overwhelmed with information or back story. It has consistent flow. The writing felt familiar to me and I like that.


Finding Companions on the Writer’s Path.

            Writing is often seen as a solitary pursuit.  Just a woman and her laptop.  And a couple of cats.  And a cup of tea and maybe a square or two of dark chocolate.
            That doesn’t sound too bad, but it’s also nice to have a few human companions on the journey with you.  Serious writers need serious writer friends to support and root for each other.

            The obvious solution is to join a “writers’group.”  But don’t join a club where you critique each other’s work.  No, my advice is to join a group that sits down and actually writes together.  Maybe everyone brings her own work or maybe someone brings a few prompts.  Then you open your notebooks or your laptops and you quietly write together.

            This type of group was popularized by a wonderful woman named Pat Schneider who founded the Amherst Writers and Artists Institute in Massachusetts.  Her method has spread all over the world.
            It’s pretty simple:  first you write together, then you take turns reading your writing aloud.  But you must remember that this is brand new baby writing—so you’re gentle.  No critiquing, only positive comments:  what you like, what was strong, and what stood out, i.e. what you remember.  The only other rule is this:  we pretend everything we write is fiction.  We’re not here to offer therapy or judge anyone’s life choices.  We’re here to celebrate the writing! 

            It’s been my experience that when people write together like this deep bonds of support develop.  It’s a lovely way to make new friends, and a happy way to live the writer’s life. 

            For more information on the Amherst method check out this links:              https://amherstwriters.info

Nancy Schoellkopf is the author of Yellow-billed Magpie, the first in her Easter Family series. Nancy has been telling stories and writing poems for many lifetimes. It goes without saying that she'd need a second income, so this time around she has happily taught amazing children in special education classes in two urban school districts in Sacramento, California. A full time writer now, she enjoys lavishing attention on her cats, her garden, and her intriguing circle of family and friends.

​Connect with the author:    Website  ~   Twitter  ~   Facebook

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