Tag Archives | Man in the Blue Moon

Today Is The Day! Book Club Discussion for MAN IN THE BLUE MOON

Earlier this month we let y’all know about a few changes we are making to our monthly book club discussion. Instead of having smaller conversations about our featured book we decided to meet once a month (like your typical book club) and have one big online pow-wow. And today’s the day. We would love you to join us!

So grab a cup of coffee, my friends, and get cozy as we chat about Michael Morris’ acclaimed novel, MAN IN THE BLUE MOON. All participants in today’s discussion will be automatically entered to win a signed copy of the novel. (It would make a great Christmas gift).

How it’s going to work:

The actual conversation will take place on our online fourm, but feel free to share your questions on Twitter (using the #SRBookCLB hashtag) or on Facebook (tag us there as well).

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS, will be published in January 2014 by Doubleday. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.

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The Theme Song For Man In The Blue Moon

Today’s guest is Michael Morris, author of this month’s book club pick, MAN IN THE BLUE MOON | @MichaelMorrisBK

When my first novel, A Place Called Wiregrass, came out one of the first questions I was asked on a radio interview was if I had to pick a theme song for my book what would it be? I was dumbfounded. I had never thought of that before and I think I babbled on about a Loretta Lynn song. But since then, I’ve thought about that question a great deal and still consider it one of the most creative questions I’ve ever gotten about my work. Because of that question, I now always think about a theme song for my novels.

Since “The Orange Blossom Special ” is a song I always tie to Florida because the state is mentioned in the lyrics, I think it would be the perfect theme song for Man in the Blue Moon. There is hurriedness to the tempo that makes me think of Ella fighting against time to pay off the bank note and save the land that has been in her family for generations.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS, will be published in January 2014 by Doubleday. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.

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On Storytelling – Guest Post by Michael Morris

Today’s post by this month’s featured author, Michael Morris | @MichaelMorrisBk

Michael Morris

When I visit book clubs or speak at book festivals, typically the first question is “did you always want to be a writer? ” In my heart of hearts, I want to say “yes ” and tell them how I wrote my first novel when I was ten years old and how my grandmother helped me make a cover for it out of construction paper. But the truth is that I did not come from a family of readers. I came from a family of storytellers and I’ve realized that the stories I heard from childhood have influenced my work.

Like most people, I had a teacher who inspired me to write. Her name was Linda Maultsby and she taught English my junior year of high school. (My second novel, Slow Way Home, is dedicated to her.) I was a C student at best and her encouragement was the first time I was told that I could do anything well related to school. I met with the guidance counselor and decided that I would major in public relations and hopefully land a job where I could parlay writing into a vocation. In my world, writers lived in Paris, New York or if they were from the south they were eccentric alcoholics who lived in run down mansions — they were not from a small paper mill town in Florida like the place where I grew up.

Discovering writers like Lee Smith and Pat Conroy changed all of that for me. After getting that Public Relations degree from Auburn University, I would drive around in my candy red Camaro listening to NPR and thinking that I was being sophisticated. One morning on the way to work, I heard a voice that I can only describe as honey dipped. It was Lee Smith reading about a weatherman in Memphis who had washed away his rural past and now that his mother was dying, he had to come to terms with it. I went out and bought that collection of short stories — Me and My Baby View The Eclipse — and now I’ve read everything she’s written. I love her and her work. In fact, you might say that I became a literary stalker. Yes, I went to every reading that Lee did and when I finally finished my first novel, A Place Called Wiregrass, I gathered up the courage to ask her to read it. She was kind enough to take a look at it and her words of encouragement became the endorsement that is on the cover of the novel.

Man in the Blue Moon is my fourth novel and I remain a devoted fan of writers like Lee Smith and Pat Conroy. And I still love to hear storytellers too. For me, it all began in my grandparents’ house, listening to those stories that are now woven into my novels.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS, will be published in January 2014 by Doubleday. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.

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November Book Club Selection

Artist’s rendition of Ella’s land in MAN IN THE BLUE MOON.

When Pat Conroy endorses a novel we pay attention. And when that novel is a rich tale of betrayal and redemption penned by a true Southern gentleman we swoon. It seems that Conroy himself swooned a bit while reading this month’s book club selection, THE MAN IN THE BLUE MOON. This is what he had to say, “Michael Morris has been one of my favorite Southern writers. His new novel is reason for great celebration–a beautifully wrought portrayal of small-town Southern life. Buy it. Read it.”

We couldn’t agree more. Especially about the ‘buy it’ and ‘read it’ parts. And as always, it would be an honor if you read it along with us this month. We’ve devoted all of November to MAN IN THE BLUE MOON. Michael Morris will be visiting with us all month long and we’ll be chatting about the book here.

And the giveaways? Well, you don’t want to miss those either. You can enter for yourself or for a friend. All the prizes would make great Christmas gifts:

Main Giveaway–this custom-made “blue moon” necklace and earrings along with a signed copy of the novel. Leave a comment on this post to enter.

Book Club Giveaway–a signed copy of MAN IN THE BLUE MOON. Participate in our online discussion to enter.

Blog Network Giveaway–Packs of six white linen, embossed panel note cards with an artist’s interpretation of Ella’s land in MAN IN THE BLUE MOON (see painting above).   Each card is titled and signed by the artist, Melanie Morris, wife of the author:  www.melaniemorrisart.com. (All members of our blog network  that to link their reviews below are automatically entered for this giveaway)

About the book:

“He’s a gambler at best. A con artist at worst,” her aunt had said of the handlebar-mustached man who snatched Ella Wallace from her dreams of studying art in France. Eighteen years later, he has disappeared, leaving Ella saddled with debt and struggling to support three sons.

While World War I rages through Europe, Ella begins her own battle to keep the mystical Florida land that has been in her family for generations from the hands of an unscrupulous banker. A mysterious man who arrives at Ella’s door in an unconventional way convinces her he can help, and a tenuous trust begins.

But when the battle for Ella’s land intensifies, the town’s suspicion of her visitor surges, and it’s soon apparent he is as haunted by his past as Ella is terrified of her future. As the two realities collide, hypocrisy and murder shake the coastal town of Apalachicola, jeopardizing everything Ella has fought so desperately to save.

In a riveting portrait of turn-of-the-century Florida, acclaimed author Michael Morris weaves an unforgettable drama of love and loyalty, betrayal and redemption.

Read the first chapter here.

Michael Morris is a Southern Book Critics Circle Award finalist and the author of the acclaimed novels A Place Called Wiregrass, a Christy Award Winner, and Slow Way Home, named one of the best novels of the year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A Florida native, he now lives with his wife in Alabama.



About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS, will be published in January 2014 by Doubleday. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.

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Literary First Love – Michael Morris

Today’s post by author, Michael Morris | @MichaelMorrisBK

“My wound is geography. It is also my anchorage, my port of call. “

Twenty-three years after stumbling across The Prince of Tides at the library in my hometown of Perry, Florida, I can still recite the opening lines by heart. It is a novel that I love to revisit.

My mom and I fled an abusive household and took refuge with my grandparents. While my mom went back to school to learn a trade to support us, my grandparents went to work on me. They gave me unconditional love, a sense of where I come from and a love of storytelling.

I did not grow up in a family of readers. The Prince of Tides is one of the first novels I read that was not mandatory for school. The suffering of the characters and their secrets of abuse spoke to me, as did the coastal landscape which becomes a character itself in the novel. For me, the heart of the novel is the complexity of the human experience and the hope for redemption. Tom Wingo begins a journey to New York, believing that he will help his sister who has attempted suicide. He ends up freeing the demons of his own past.

Like many writers I had a high school English teacher who encouraged me to write. It was the first time I’d been told I could do anything well related to academics. So I decided that I would major in public relations and write press releases and video scripts — believing that writers lived in New York or Paris or if they were from the South they were eccentric alcoholics who lived in run down mansions. That really was my world view. Pat Conroy helped to change all of that.

The Prince of Tides presented real characters in a time and place I knew well. While I’m not from South Carolina, I am from the Panhandle of Florida and the beautiful scenes of marsh, shrimp boats and the rhythm of coastal tides were my world. So too were the hurts and hopes of the people in his novel. Reading it for that very first time, I felt that I had finally found art that was accessible.

It would take me another ten years until I started writing my own stories — stories inspired by ones I heard as a child in my grandparent’s living room.   But The Prince of Tides first introduced me the power of connecting emotions to beautiful writing, mystical settings and unforgettable characters.

Michael’s latest novel is MAN IN THE BLUE MOON and we’re giving away two copies today! Just leave a comment on this post if you’d like to be entered in the drawing.

“He’s a gambler at best, a con artist at worst, ” her aunt had said of the handlebar-mustached man who snatched Ella Wallace away from her dreams of studying art in France. Eighteen years later, that man has disappeared, leaving Ella alone and struggling to support her three sons.

While the world is embroiled in World War I, Ella fights her own personal battle to keep the mystical Florida land that has been in her family for generations from the hands of an unscrupulous banker. When a mysterious man arrives at Ella’s door in an unconventional way, he convinces her that he can help her avoid foreclosure, and a tenuous trust begins.

But as the fight for Ella’s land intensifies, it becomes evident that things are not as they appear. Hypocrisy and murder soon shake the coastal town of Apalachicola and jeopardize Ella’s family.

Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides, has this to say about Man in the Blue Moon: “Michael Morris has been one of my favorite Southern writers. His new novel is reason for great celebration–a beautifully wrought portrayal of small-town Southern life. Buy it. Read it.”

Michael Morris is a Southern Book Circle Award finalist and the author of the acclaimed novels A Place Called Wiregrass (a Christy Award winner) and Slow Way Home, named one of the best novels of the year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A Florida native, he now lives with his wife in Alabama.

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About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS, will be published in January 2014 by Doubleday. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.

read more