Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sullie Saves the Seas by Goffinet McLaren

A few years ago when I was teaching a workshop entitled “Navigating the Publishing Highway,” I met Goffinet McLaren. This adorable lady with the charming Irish accent was beyond passionate about an idea for a book that could be entertaining, but most importantly, would eliminate the cobwebs from our minds regarding the tragedy befalling our oceans and the endangered wildlife within.

Goffinet was and is a fearless activist for a noble cause, and she would indeed follow through and accomplish her publishing goal. Sullie Saves the Seas, with its clever text and illustrations, was born as a result of Goffinet’s efforts to preserve marine life and clean up our beaches.

My Review:

Author and Pawleys Island, SC resident, Goffinet McLaren, is on a mission to raise awareness about the negative impact and results of plastic pollution that is so prevalent in our society today.

Until they are presented with the facts, most people do not even realize that, at alarming rates, plastic ingestion is harming and killing our ocean wildlife.

Although Sullie Saves the Seas is targeted at educating children, the powerful message it conveys is a subtle warning to adults as well.

Written from Sullie the Seagull's point of view and featuring his bird friends of the Secret Society, this book tells the story of beach litter and presents the startling revelation of the proven existence of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an enormous collection of plastic waste that threatens the ocean environment and its inhabitants. While it tells a compelling tale, it also offers a complete list of suggestions for eliminating as much plastic waste from our world as possible.

You will want to obtain a copy of Sullie Saves the Seas for your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews so they will understand these critical issues, but please take the time to read it for yourself--for the benefit of our planet!

Book Description

When Sullie the Seagull,  Goffinet McLaren`s new super-hero, sees that  plastic pollution is destroying his precious Turtle Beach, he calls his friends to action.

Sullie and his Secret Society of birds create a fun filled, exciting, adventure that takes aim at specific thoughtless humans who are causing environmental damage to the beach and to Sullie`s ocean pals. Sullie decides to show these humans just what it is like to have cigarette butts, old fireworks, and plastic bags, littered in their homes and yards.

Chapter by chapter, Sullie`s clever schemes deliver a delightful tale that you will enjoy sharing with your children and friends.

McLaren`s story targets 8 – 12 year olds, but kids of all ages will laugh with, learn from, and love a savvy seagull`s schemes to save his ocean.

Sullie is the new global icon for clean oceans! Visit                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

About the Author

Born and raised in the small town of Carrickfergus, on the water’s edge in Northern Ireland, a young Goffinet was already aware that caring for the ocean and its inhabitants was just as vital as blood flowing through her veins.

Her 1979 move to the United States and 2006 relocation to the South Carolina coast set the stage for her ardent advocacy of a cleaner sea and litter-free beaches.

Goffinet’s husband Ian and son Moutray share her enthusiasm and are two of her most supportive fans.

We will be hearing more from the feisty Goffinet McLaren as she prepares to publish a book based on her fascinating family history and continues her quest to raise awareness about plastic pollution via Sullie Saves the Seas.

Looking for a summer read? An inspirational novel filled with mystery and family relationships partially set in Pawleys Island, SC and Cape May, NJ, Never Say Perfect by Mary Anne Benedetto (that's me) will keep you turning the pages to the last written word.

See for links to all formats including print, Nook and Kindle.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Vivaldi's Muse by Sarah Bruce Kelly


Several years ago, I participated in a local Independent Author Book Festival and was delighted to meet Sarah Bruce Kelly, with whom I shared a table. During the lulls of typical down time, we chatted and discovered that we have much in common. We traded books and became mutual fans and supporters of our works.

My review of Kelly’s Vivaldi’s Muse offers a peek into the subject matter that you can anticipate devouring:

Annina Giro is a spunky, young girl who knows exactly what she wants--to be a famous opera singer. She is enduring life with an emotionally detached mother and a father who doesn't know what to do after his wife abruptly leaves, and circumstances beyond his control are sending his business spiraling into a disastrous state. Fragile Annina is destined to study music in Venice upon the offer to be sponsored by the ill-intentioned, wealthy Duke of Massa Carrara.

Thus begins her struggle to survive and even excel in the highly competitive world of Italian opera. By the hand of Providence, she is finally able to begin her musical training under Antonio Vivaldi, renowned maestro and Priest. Their twenty-some year platonic (only they know for certain) relationship was the topic of rumors and gossip throughout the opera community and beyond. Could Annina ever find love when she compared every man she met to her beloved mentor, Antonio Vivaldi?

Sarah Bruce Kelly tells this fascinating story following extensive research on the characters and the subject matter. She transports us back to 18th century Italy in such a descriptive manner, the reader can easily feel like a casual observer positioned directly into the sidelines of the setting. Highly recommended!

Book Description

VIVALDI'S MUSE is an award-winning historical novel based on over a decade of ground-breaking research by music historian/author Sarah Bruce Kelly. The story reveals the truth about the intriguing and mysterious relationship of priest/composer Antonio Vivaldi and his famous "Muse" Anna Girò.

Summary by Sarah Bruce Kelly

Set in early 18th-century Venice, Vivaldi’s Muse explores the life of Anna “Annina” Girò, Antonio Vivaldi’s longtime protégée. Annina first falls under the spell of the fiery and intriguing prete rosso (red-haired priest) at a young age, when Vivaldi is resident composer at the court of Mantua, her hometown. Stifled by the problems of her dysfunctional family, she has long dreamed of pursuing operatic stardom, and her attraction to the enchanting Venetian maestro soon becomes inseparable from that dream.

She eventually joins him in Venice, but her road to theatrical success is rife with obstacles such as malicious rival singers, disparaging impresarios, and unscrupulous noble patrons. Rumors about the nature of Annina's relationship with her beloved mentor, Vivaldi, abound and lead to dire problems yet, ironically, draw them closer together. But her growing guilt about her secret longing for him, complicated by her inherent fears of rejection and abandonment, threaten to poison their relationship from within. In the end she discovers that their love for each other has grown into something that transcends their personal relationship¾ and she finds true love when she least expects it.
About the Author

Sarah Bruce Kelly is a professional musician and scholar of music history. She holds Masters degrees in Liberal Arts and Music and is the author of two previous historical novels: The Red Priest’s Annina and Jazz Girl. She lives on the South Carolina Coast with her husband, Frank, and teaches Latin, Italian and Fine Arts at a private school and local university.
Sarah Bruce Kelly
Visit with Sarah at and take some time to absorb this story of Italian musical history!

Just a special note: If you are intrigued by all things Italy, you may want to travel with four non-Italian speaking female tourists on an unguided tour of Italy by reading From Italy with Love & Limoncello. Visit for links to all formats including print, Kindle and Nook. You will walk every step of the journey beside us!

I'll be seeing you soon with another awesome book recommendation and review!!

Mary Anne