Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Win A Few Good Things for Mom!
Mother's Day is Sunday, May 12th
Enter to win this goodie package by Wednesday, May 1st.
 ~2 copies of the novel Three Good Things, which NYT bestselling author Susan Wiggs calls "warm, witty, and wise"
~Wire bread basket with yellow cloth napkin
~4 ceramic measuring spoons
~4 multi-colored spatulas
~3 whisks
~ 1 box of Godiva chocolates
~1 box of Chai tea
~1 Beach Pebble candle
~1 Pie Crust Shield
~1 "Dream" Stone
Rules for entry:
·         Enter to win between noon on Wednesday, April 24th, and 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1st (the “giveaway period”).
·         You must follow @wendyfrancis4 on Twitter to win.
·         You must RT the Mother's Day "A Few Good Things" giveaway tweet.
·         One winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, May 1st, and will be contacted via Twitter Direct Message for a mailing address. If  the winner does not respond within 48 hours, I reserve the right to choose another winner.
To view the book trailer for Three Good Things, please visit: Good luck! ~Wendy

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Boston Marathon: Split Time

It was a crystalline spring day in Boston, many would say the perfect day for a marathon. Clouds drifted across a brilliant blue sky while planes with banners advertising local businesses circled overhead. As my husband, son, and I made our way along I-90 to our marathon post, we watched dozens of fans parade across the bridge to the Red Sox game. Finally, it seemed spring had arrived, and with it all the hope and promise that comes with watching some 27,000 runners fulfill their dream of running the Boston Marathon.
An old college friend had flown in from Baltimore for the weekend and we’d been ribbing him about how crazy he was to put his body through 26.2 relentless miles. Still, there was something inspiring about listening to him as he mapped out his marathon strategy. He was calculating split times that would lead him to the finish line in about three and a half hours.

When our family arrived at the race’s half-way point in Wellesley, we parked and planted our collapsible chairs on the sidelines. Nicholas, our four-year-old, held a sign with our friend’s favorite mottos on it: “Don’t talk about it; BE about it!” And “Don’t quiver!” We watched the muscular wheelchair competitors zip by, soon followed by the elite women runners, and then, the elite men runners, all looking as if they’d hardly broken a sweat.
Nicholas loved the runners’ flamboyant costumes–Irish hats, tutus covering shorts, the funny man on stilts, the host of runners who had spelled out their names on their biceps, encouraging cheerleading. It was a glorious reminder of what makes the Boston marathon so special – a flock of thousands, runners and spectators alike–bound together by bonhomie, perseverance, dedication, hard work.  All are values we work hard to instill in our children, but it can be difficult to do so in the abstract. When those values come visibly to life in a throng of runners, however, it’s impossible not to be awestruck.

When our friend ran by us, we cheered like the crazy fans we were. He shouted out to Nicholas, which made my son cheer even louder. This, thankfully, is the thing Nicholas remembers most about the race.
Eventually, with the news that he’d crossed the finish line (we’d been tracking him on-line), we loaded up our chairs and headed home.  Once home, my husband and son headed to the park to toss around a baseball. It was then that I clicked on the computer, only to discover the horrific events occurring downtown. The newscasts were even more terrifying, showing the searing first images from the blasts.

I texted my husband, then raced to the park when I couldn’t reach him. Had he heard from Rodney? Like so many others, I told myself our friend was fine.  But my heart was sick with the uncertainty of not knowing what had happened to him or the hundreds of others who’d been at the finish line at that moment.
After a few frazzled minutes, we realized Rodney had sent us a text shortly after the explosions. He was OK. At home, we listened to the news while Nicholas played in another room, our hearts sinking with each fresh report.  Eventually, we learned that an eight-year-old boy was among the fatalities. It struck us breathless, as it did so many parents.

Here we’d been tracking the on-line split times of our friend, focused on a beautiful day, the triumph of spirit and sheer will. But after we got word of the explosion, it was as if time itself split in two: Before and After.  
Twenty-four hours later we got the devastating news that the mother of the boy who was killed is a dear friend of my husband’s cousin.  The tragedy seems incomprehensible. But now it feels even more real, as if it has taken up residence just down the street. And in the hours since, one heartbreaking story after another has spilled forth. So many families have been shattered by this horrific event. So many Bostonians feel a palpable pain.

Yes, Boston is strong. Yes, the city is resilient. Yes, the authorities will find the culprits.  As Bostonians, we will help each other as we always do; we will lace up our running sneakers and keep going. We will try our darnedest not to quiver. But countless families have been irrevocably broken. And for that, our collective hearts are aching, our sorrow infinite.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I'm excited to share the news that THREE GOOD THINGS has gone international!
Polish rights have just sold.
In other news today, I hope you'll check out my humble (and humbling) thoughts about being a first-time author on today's Huffington Post. Please share, comment, tweet, etc. Thank you!~Wendy

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Thanks to the Racine  Journal Times in Wisconsin for featuring Three Good Things in its "Local Authors" section today! Here's the link:

For those visiting the site for the first time, please check out the book trailer for Three Good Things. Thanks!
Here's what Jen at had to say about the book recently:

"When real characters come to life like in this book, it reminds me why I love reading so much: reading about people I would love to meet in real life and learning more about myself by meeting them."

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Top 10 Favorite Books. . .For Kids

Spring at last! Or at least it finally feels that way in Boston. I love to see the crocuses blooming, the kids hunting for Easter eggs, neighbors coming out of hibernation to say hello. As anyone in these parts will tell you, it's been a long winter. And while I'm tempted to blog about any number of things on my spring "to-do" list (e.g. writing the next novel; organizing my closet; alphabetizing my recipe box for once), I'm much more excited to share a favorite books list with you all.

Not a list of my favorite books -- but my four-year-old's favorites -- because lately, my friends and I have been sharing books that have been hits with our kids. Granted, it's a random selection: some are classics, others less well-known.There are so many wonderful stories available, old and new. What are some of your children's favorites? Please comment and add titles below so we can share with other parents!

1. Pirates Don't Change Diapers (by Melinda Long & David Shannon). Any of the David books would be a hit in our house, but the humor in this one is irresistible. The title says it all.

2. Mrs. Brown Went to Town (by Wong Herbert Yee). The silly rhymes and watercolor illustrations bring this outlandish story to life. When Mrs. Brown lands in the hospital after a biking accident, the animals in her barn move into her house and have a party.

3. The Kettles Get New Clothes (by Dayle Ann Dodds; illustrated by Jill McElmurry) The fashionable Monsieur Pip grows increasingly frustrated as he tries to outfit the unassuming Kettles. The French exclamations peppered throughout, the colorful illustrations, and the smiling baby Kettle, who seems to be the only one who shares Monsieur Pip's sense of style, will keep your child laughing.

4. The Berenstain Bears and the Big Road Race (by Stan & Jan Berenstain). A classic that we've been reading together since my son was two. The memorable rhymes are favorites. It's a good book for your youngster to "read" to you after having read it several hundred times before!

5. And the Rain Came Down (also by David Shannon). Beautifully illustrated, this story follows a cast of characters who are grumpy until, that is, the sun comes out.

6. The Lion and the Mouse (by Jerry Pinkney). This Caldecott winner that's based on the Aesop's fable has no words but my son loves to "read" the story to us.

7. Sammy the Seal (by Syd Hoff). I like this book and Hoff's Danny and the Dinosaur almost as much as I adore the Frog and Toad books (though my four-year-old has yet to warm to Frog & Toad). In Sammy the Seal, Sammy ventures out of the zoo for a trip to the city, where a seal can get into a lot of trouble.

8. Hop on Pop (by Dr. Seuss). The silly rhymes of Dr. Seuss never get old. A fun book that belongs on any beginning reader's list, at least to my mind. (One Fish, Two Fish and Green Eggs And Ham come in a close second and third).

9. A Day at the Airport (by Richard Scarry). A good book for traveling, but also a wonderful picture book for kids who are eager for information about the world around them. And what kid isn't?
10.Brady Brady and the Great Rink (and other books by Mary Shaw and Chuck Temple). Nicholas happens to be a hockey nut, so when I stumbled upon this series in a hockey store, I knew I'd hit gold. The books feature the escapades of a little boy named Brady who likes to sleep with his hockey helmet on. Perfect for aspiring hockey players. :)