Summer Reading List

Written by Heide Brandes in the June 2013 Issue

The long sunny days of summer are approaching, and whether you are headed to the beach or lounging at home, Oklahoma has a host of authors that can fill your summer reading list.

Nugget & Fang

by Tammi Sauer

Tammi SauerTammi never planned to be a children’s book author. She planned to be a third-grade teacher, but after a teacher pulled her aside after class to tell her she had magic in her words and should write, Tammi changed her future. “Knowing she believed in me made me believe in myself,” said Tammi.

Now with ten books out and six more under contract, Sauer unveils her latest children’s novel, Nugget & Fang. “Some-times when I am trying to come up with a new picture book idea, I will think about a particular setting and ask myself the question, ‘What can go wrong here?’ That’s how Nugget & Fang got its start,” Tammi said. “When I was brainstorming about possible problems in the ocean, I immediately thought of sharks. I decided that a good problem would be for a shark and a minnow to be unlikely best friends.”

In the deep ocean, tiny Nugget and big, toothy Fang get along swimmingly—until Nugget’s first day of minnow school. There Nugget learns that minnows are supposed to be afraid of sharks! “I love knowing that something I’ve created can make a difference in someone’s life. I get wonderful emails and letters from parents that let me know one of my books is their child’s favorite bedtime story,” said Tammi. “I also receive lots of fan mail from kids. Sometimes kids let me know that when they grow up, they want to be an author, too.”

Tammi’s books can be found at Best of Books, Full Circle Bookstore, Barnes & Noble, and at amazon.com or hmhbooks.com/nuggetandfang.

Something New

by Malena Lott

Malena LottMalena’s fourth book, Something New, is her first to be set in Oklahoma City. A touching story about three generations of women from a prestigious family who are living together under one roof in a downtown Oklahoma City loft. This heartwarming and funny story tackles issues like grief, dementia, finding one’s true self and, of course, love.

“The glue of the family is the grand-mother who has dementia and thinks she’s a 20-something stage diva for the play ‘Princess and the Pauper,’” said Malena. “For Maeve, her long lost pauper was her co-star, and the story revolves around the family trying to find her long lost love.”

But even through that, the other characters are going through their own self-discovery. Bess, Maeve’s daughter, is struggling through a tough divorce; Kelly, the eldest granddaughter, has a secret of her own that could threaten her own chances for love; and Gwen, the youngest, is the star of a reality show called “Luxe Weddings.”

 “Each character has a secret that comes into the spotlight,” Malena said. “It was difficult to write from four different viewpoints. Every character is going through a personal revival and the story is about how love and romance are ageless. That’s what I hope people come away with—knowing it’s never too late.”

For information on Malena’s latest book, visit her website at malenalott.com.

Life is a Yo-Yo

by Penny Stephenson, aka Merry Weatherbee


Merry WeatherbeeIn the midst of the oil bust in the 1980s, when families throughout Oklahoma were suffering from layoffs and lost jobs, a merry soul was born.

Penny Stephenson saw first-hand how life could change in an instant, but that no matter how bad things got, faith and a positive attitude could keep your head above water. As she started writing rhyming poems while observing life, she noticed a unique character being born.

Merry Weatherbee is a life observer. A little bit mother, a little bit country matron, a little bit housewife, Merry is able to discover joy and lessons in even the most mundane aspects of life, like grocery shopping, driving with your spouse or doing laundry. “I wanted to give hope and give people the strength to ride it out and have faith that God is watching out for us,” Penny said. “I wanted people to find merry moments in the mundane. A merry heart is good medicine.”

But beyond the book, Merry Weatherbee also likes to speak. A popular speaker for women’s groups, non-profits, churches and more. Penny dons the character of Merry to share her observations of life and humor with others.

“It’s a merry ministry,” she said. “I want people to read the book, learn to look on the bright side and to have brightness in Christ.”

Her book can be ordered through the publisher at tatepublishing.com/bookstore or by visiting barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com or target.com. For Penny’s speaking services, visit merryweatherbee.com.

The Scrapbooks

by Cathryn Redfearn

Cathryn RedfearnFor years, Cathryn has had a story in her head that begged to be put to paper. After her children grew up, Cathryn finally felt she had to write the mystery that had taken root. What resulted was The Scrapbooks, a mystery novel set in 1960s Oklahoma City. “This story just flowed out of my head. I wrote every single day and would have to tear myself away. Some days I wrote for eight hours straight,” said Cathryn, who finished the book a year ago.

Slated to be released in June through Amazon and Kindle, The Scrapbooks explores what happens to a young daughter whose mother has disappeared. With an undying curiosity, 12-year-old Calley Hill searches for answers following her mother’s disappearance, but discovers a haunting family secret. She begins to learn about trust, doubts and the secrets that families keep.

“It’s a story of family and trust… a generational story,” said Cathryn. “There are times in the book where Calley feels she can’t trust what the adults are telling her. This book will appeal to Baby Boomers, because it takes place in the 1960s, and Southerners will like it because it’s written in that Southern vernacular. Older children also like it because of the character of Calley.”

The title stems from the scrapbooks an old lady keeps at a private nursing home that may hold the key to the mystery. For Cathryn, the story itself leaves the reader thinking about the importance of family and trust.

For more information or to purchase the book in mid-June, visit amazon.com.

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