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  • Hope Gibbs

Happy March!

Can you believe it’s March already? I’m so excited! Everywhere I look, I’m reminded that spring is just around the corner. Or is it? Here in Tennessee, we know not to put the horse before the cart, so to speak. Mother Nature likes to give us one last blast of winter before she finally calls it a day. She loves her little meteorological twists. One day it’s eighty, not a cloud in the sky and the next the temperature is plummeting into the low twenties with a chance of snow. Occasionally she throws in a tornado watch just to keep us on our toes.


February flew by in the blink of an eye. It was quite the month. First, I had the pleasure of interviewing the amazing Paper Lantern Writers for Bookish Road Trip’s Author Take the Wheel. We discussed their fascinating anthology, UNLOCKED. If you haven’t had the chance, go to BRT’s Facebook page and become a member today. It’s easy and FREE. Join our community of over 5,000 bibliophiles who love to read and travel. On March 9, at 1:00 EST, I will interview Kerry Anne King. I’m really excited for this one.


When I wasn’t busy with Bookish Road Trip, I focused on creating author pages on Goodreads, BookBub, and Amazon. One of the best ways to help out writers, other than reading books, is to leave reviews and follow them. It means the world. Click on these links so we can connect.



I also snuck away for a mini-vacation with my husband to one of my favorite places on earth—Sea Island, Georgia. Nothing inspires me to write more than the sounds of waves crashing against the shoreline. Each day, I had the most beautiful "office" to work in. Of course, my little writing partner, Harley, was right by my side. Well, more like laying on top of me.



But that wasn’t my only trip of the month. I was lucky to return to my old Kentucky home to watch my Wildcats play in Rupp Arena. That was certainly a highlight of February. Though the outcome wasn’t what I’d hoped for, it was a magical night. No matter what, my blood runs blue.

Hope Gibbs Kentucky Wildcats

In between it all, I found time to read four marvelous books. Below, you will find links to my reviews. I also had the honor of reading an ARC (advanced reader copy) of a debut book, ALL THAT IS SACRED, that’s coming out in June 2023 by the remarkable Donna N. Carbone. In a few weeks, I will post my review. Watch out for this novel! I can tell you that it will be one of my favorite reads of 2023.


Enough about February, let’s move forward and talk about spring. As I’ve mentioned in my previous blogs, this is my favorite time of the year. I love everything about this season. The trees, the NCAA Basketball Tournament (go Cats!), St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, and of course the flowers. My darling buttercups—yes, I know they're technically daffodils—have begun to bloom everywhere! I adore them so much that it’s mentioned several times in my debut women’s fiction novel, WHERE THE GRASS GROWS BLUE.


"There’s nothing more determined in the world than a buttercup," Penny’s beloved late grandmother used to tell her. "They bloom in spite of their circumstances. Rain or shine, snow or heat, they refuse to wilt before their time. In a world full of impatiens, be a buttercup instead."


Hope Gibbs Buttercup Flowers

WHERE THE GRASS GROWS BLUE will be released on May 16, 2023. It will be available in paperback, e-book, and audio. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. You can pre-order it today! Click here and it will direct you to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Google Play, and Rakuten Kobo. WHERE THE GRASS GROWS BLUE is one woman’s journey to either accept her turbulent past by embracing the power of forgiveness or risk losing a second chance at love in a small Kentucky town. It’s a quintessential southern experience full of complex family dynamics, lifelong friendships, and a complicated love affair that spans twenty years. And did I mention food? It’s full of savory cuisine, playing a huge role in Penny Crenshaw’s experience in Kentucky.


One of her favorite treats from her time in the Bluegrass State, and the one thing she cannot resist, is from her second cousin by marriage, Gracie Belle. Her FAMOUS Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake.


"Usually, Penny possesses the fortitude to be able to resist unnecessary calories when tempted, but this time, she cannot stop herself. Digging into the buttery concoction, she’s met with juicy, fresh blueberries bursting with tartness in her mouth. The hint of lemon is a nice twist and the perfect complement to the mounds of sugar her cousin by marriage has put into it. Closing her eyes, she savors every last morsel, even licking her fingers so as to not leave a speck of it behind."


On Saturday, March 4th, it’s National Pound Cake Day! Did you know there was such a thing? To celebrate, I thought I would share Gracie Belle’s recipe with you. I think you’ll find it as irresistible as Penny does. Enjoy!


GRACIE BELLE’S FAMOUS BLUEBERRY LEMON POUND CAKE

Cake

3 cups of all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. lemon zest

2 ½ cups granulated sugar

6 eggs

1 cup sour cream

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 ½ tsp. lemon extract

2 cups fresh blueberries

1 Tbsp. flour


Glaze

1 ½ cup of confectioner’s sugar

¼ cup of lemon juice

2 Tbsp. milk

½ lemon, zested


Cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda, and lemon zest. Set aside. Mix sour cream, butter, and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Add half of the flour mixture to the sugar & butter. Mix until combined, then add half of the sour cream mixture. Repeat. Add lemon juice and extract. Add blueberries into a bowl with 1 Tbsp of flour, then fold into the cake batter. Pour into a greased pound cake pan. Bake for one hour and fifteen minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.


Glaze: Mix sugar, milk and lemon juice together, then drizzle over cake.


Hope Gibbs Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake

Finally, three things I was obsessed with in the month of February:


1). The Menu. This movie is twisted, original, and "delicious." It’s a must-see for 2023! I’ve watched it twice already. Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Judith Light—this cast is so talented. The writing left me in awe. WOW!


2). Georgia peel-and-eat shrimp at Fiddler’s in St. Simons Island, Georgia. I could eat my weight in them. Cocktail sauce, melted butter, and a side of hush puppies. I can think of nothing better. I’m dreaming of my next meal there.


3). "Flowers" by Miley Cyrus. I dare you to listen to it and not sing along. It’s been stuck in my head for weeks!


March Book Recommendations: (click the tabs!)

IMPROBABLY YOURS by Kerry Anne King

NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO PANIC by Kevin Wilson

WHEN IN ROME by Sarah Adams

UNLOCKED by Paper Lantern Writers


Until next time…


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