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  • Hope Gibbs

“It’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine…it’s summertime!” -Kenny Chesney

Hey y’all, and happy June! I hope your summer is off to a great start, full of sunshine, warm breezes, sweet tea, and, of course, flowers. I FINALLY got to tend to some of "my girls" this week, and they are stunning. What joy they bring me.

It’s been a crazy month since my last blog (sorry for the delay). My days have been filled with launching Where the Grass Grows Blue into the world. I can’t tell you how many trips I’ve made to FedEx and my local post office to ship books to bloggers and mail blue “swag” to my giveaway winners (I can’t wait to do more of those). Plus, several local stores here in Nashville are carrying my book, so I’m always stopping by to see if they need more copies.

But it’s not been all work and no play for me. I was able to squeeze in a couple of trips to the beach for a little R&R, and I got to spend the day in my "Old Kentucky Home" with one of my favorite cousins. We spent the afternoon delighting in her magnificent gardens covered in her prize-winning daylilies after she showed me the proper way to place a saddle on a headstone. Then we finished off our time with a trip to Fountain Run for an open-faced pot roast sandwich for me while she gobbled up a scrumptious homemade meatloaf. What a day that was! I felt like I was living out a chapter in my book.

Needless to say, it’s been a busy few weeks, but it’s been so worth it. Especially with the great news I’m about to share with you. Over the weekend, Where the Grass Grows Blue was named a Finalist in the 2023 International Book Awards for Best New Fiction! I am absolutely over the moon and blown away by this honor. Congratulations to my fellow writers who were recognized. I definitely have some new books to add to my TBR pile.

Hope Gibb's International Book Awards Finalist

In another exciting development, Where the Grass Grows Blue was featured in Kirkus Magazine’s May 15th edition. What’s Kirkus? Founded in 1933, they review around 10,000 books per year and are considered the gold standard. Only a small percentage of books make it into the magazine, and I couldn’t be happier to be included. Click here to read the issue online.

Speaking of reviews, they are essential for authors and their books. If you like Where the Grass Grows Blue, please consider leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Any and all support is appreciated—more than you can know.

As you know, a book doesn’t sell itself. You have to promote it any way you can, and I’ve been doing just that in several different ways. One was by writing articles. I was asked to pen a few, and it turned out to be so much fun. Two of my favorites were a letter to my forty-year-old self for What Is That Book About, and about my journey of becoming a published author over fifty which was featured on Women Writers, Women’s Books.

Another way I promoted my book was by being a guest on The TufFish Show with Jen Milius, Launch Pad with Grace Sammon, and What Are You Reading? What Are You Writing with Karen Osborne, to name a few. Never say no to an opportunity is my new motto.

Another new venture for me this month turned out to be one of my favorite things—I was part of two book clubs virtually discussing my book! I loved it so much that I’ve dedicated a tab on my website just for it. If your club is interested in including Where the Grass Grows Blue in your lineup, I’d be happy to join you in person or virtually. Fill out the form here. Check out pictures from this one in Florida a few weeks ago. Love it!

Hope Gibb's Florida Book Club  Appearence

However, not everything in my life revolves around Where the Grass Grows Blue. I’m busy with my duties at Bookish Road Trip. June’s Author Take the Wheel Interview was with southern fiction writer Robert Gwaltney (check it out on BRT’s Facebook page). We discussed his fantastic book, The Cicada Tree, which I loved, and his road to publication. Click below for my review. Trust me, it’s an amazing story.

Hope's Review: The Cicada Tree by Robert Gwaltney

Finally, for my last piece of news, As you know, in May I launched a book. In June, I launched something else—a podcast! It’s called Authors Talking Bookish with co-host Donna Norman-Carbone, author of All That is Sacred, which is one of my favorite books of the year. We are two debut authors who came from different backgrounds as writers and ended up at the same publishing house, releasing our novels within three weeks of each other. Our mission is to dedicate ourselves to inspiring writers and readers by providing the road-to-publishing insights of two debut novelists who learned the hard way. We also discuss our love of books from the writer’s perspective. Click here to check out the website and be sure to follow us on Instagram. I’m thrilled to be on this journey with Donna!

Authors Talking Bookish Podcast

To wrap up this post, I’m starting a "new" feature. A friend of mine suggested I come up with a cookbook inspired by the foods of Where the Grass Grows Blue, which play an important role throughout. While this is a wonderful idea that I’m still contemplating, I thought I could take a baby step in this direction by sharing a recipe at the end of each blog post from here on out. So here we go!

Recipe ONE is from Chapter 5: American Girl—Ruby Ray’s Cucumber Salad. This is perfect for a cookout, a shrimp boil, or for dinner on a hot summer night. Enjoy!

Ruby Ray’s Cucumber Salad

2 large cucumbers, sliced with the skin on

8-10 vine-ripe tomatoes, quartered

1 Vidalia onion, sliced

1 tsp. sugar

½ cup olive oil

1 cup rice vinegar

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup ice cubes (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.

Refrigerate for a minimum of six hours, then serve.

Can be kept for up to three days.

Hope Gibb's Tomato and Cucumber Salad Recipe

Three Things I’m Obsessed With in June:

1). Ooni’s Outdoor Pizza Oven. I bought one for my husband this past Father’s Day, and we can’t stop using it. I am seeing a pizza competition happening in our house soon.

Hope Gibb's Homemade Pizza

2). Barry on HBO. Okay, I’m a little late to the game on this one, but boy did I get hooked. I binge-watched all four seasons in a two-week span. Dark, hilarious, and disturbing, I was blown away by the writing AND its stars—the amazing Bill Hader and Fonzie himself, Henry Winkler.

Hope Gibb's June Favorites: Barry on HBO

3). Crab soup. On our family vacation to Sea Island, Georgia, I couldn’t get enough of it. The best one? The Crab Trap in St. Simons Island. Unbelievable!

Hope Gibb's Favorites: Crab Soup from Sea Island, GA

So tell me about your summer! Do you want to share your own version of a tomato and cucumber salad? Comment below!

Until next time…

Hope Gibb's June 2023 wrap up


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