Thursday, August 14, 2014

Author Spotlight: Paige Strickland

Today's Author Spotlight features Paige Strickland, author of a new, intriguing memoir Akin to the Truth.


Paige Adams Strickland, a teacher and writer from Cincinnati, Ohio, is married with two daughters. Her first book, Akin to the Truth: A Memoir of Adoption and Identity, is about growing up in the 1960s-80s (Baby-Scoop Era) and searching for her first identity. It is also the story of her adoptive family and in particular her father’s struggles to figure out his place in the world while Paige strives to find hers. After hours she enjoys family and friends, pets, reading, Zumba ™ Fitness, gardening and baseball.
Akin to the Truth is Paige’s own memoir about her adoptionIn 1961, adoption was still one of those private and taboo topics. Not much identifying information was provided for adoptive families or for birth parents by the agencies. In Ohio, records were sealed forever. Adoptees and birth mothers were supposed to be thankful for the adoptive family and never look back. Adoptive parents thought their deal was signed and sealed.

As a child and teenager, growing up adopted was like a Scarlet Letter "A" if anyone ever found out the truth. At least, that's the way author, Paige Strickland felt as she muddled through social situations and other interpersonal relations. She always loved her adoptive family, but realized she wanted not just more, but what other "regular born" people had: real roots, accurate health history and authentic family lore. She wanted freedom from shame, more dignity, authenticity and a full identity.

Then, through random chance, a local TV talk show in 1987 revealed that certain records were open if you were born before 1964 in the state of Ohio, and the author's life would never be the same after that program.

During her quest, (pre computer), for her identity, her adoptive father struggled with his own self image and sense of belonging, so both father and daughter embarked on separate and unique parallel missions to find what was missing in their lives.

This is the story of how being adopted affected Paige growing up in the 1960s, 70s and early 80s. It shows how one adoptee has embraced and learned to view family more globally. She tells the saga of a loving but dysfunctional family of both blood and choice, trying to cope with typical and not so typical life alterations during the decades of social revolution and free love. She learns that the most fascinating family stories are discovered by those passionate enough to question and search.

Paperback: 285 Pages
Publisher: Idealized Apps, LLC (September 8, 2013)
ASIN: B00F28TM86
Twitter Hashtag: #AkinStrickland

Akin to the Truth is available on Amazon as an e-book: Akin to the Truth
Additional Notes: Akin to the Truth has been featured by memoirists Kathleen Pooler ( and Mary Gottschalk. Back in October, Angie’s Diary ( gave a promo and Paige received recognition from Sonia Marsh ( Mariette Williams at Those Four Little Words provided a feature this spring ( and most recently, Dayton, OH adoptee and writer, Lynn Grubb, feature Akin to the Truth and reviewed it on her site, Lost Daughters. In Paige’s hometown, radio DJ, Jeanine Coyle from WGRR 103.5 had Paige live on the air speaking to a local book group about Akin to the Truth.
Chapter 14 from Akin to the Truth came in 3rd place out of 200 entries and was featured on the scinti website in 2010 ( Adoptive parent and blogger, Jane Ballback also featured the same story on her site in 2012 (!

Finding Paige online:
Akin to the Truth Website -

 Review by Crystal Otto:

Though I enjoy reading memoir, Akin to the Truth doesn’t read like your typical memoir. Author, Paige Strickland does a fabulous job of storytelling and doesn’t miss a single detail or emotion as she introduces you to her life. This is not just a story about her adoption; this is an interesting and entertaining glimpse into the life of a resilient and strong author. I’m sure Strickland will find her voice again in future publications. She is a talented author and storyteller.

Strickland keeps your attention through and through. It’s hard to imagine she had ever kept her adoption a secret as she vividly tells the entire tale in Akin to the Truth. The emotions conveyed in Strickland’s writing are incredibly real to the reader. For example you aren’t just reading about her fear and jubilation about having siblings, you get goose bumps and your heart rate races right along with her. Akin to the Truth is expertly written as the reader is drawn into Strickland’s real life!

Strickland describes her family so expertly; she brings the characters to life with such grace and beauty (particularly her grandmothers). Such descriptions and detail brought Akin to the Truth to life for me as a reader. As I read, I found myself drawn into her story but became increasingly curious about my own family. How will my oldest (a girl) describe my relationship with my sons (the two youngest)? I look at things a little differently now and I’m more cautious about my children’s feelings and how they might view my relationship with their siblings. In particular, Strickland describes her brother as her mother’s clone and that stopped me in my tracks. As an only child, I guess I was oblivious to this emotional side of siblings. I think it’s a testament to Strickland’s writing ability being able to draw me into her book while also drawing me into my own life and looking at things a bit differently.

Reviewer, Crystal Otto, is a church musician, business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Reedsville, Wisconsin with her husband, three young children (Carmen 7, Andre 6, Breccan 8 months), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, and over 200 Holsteins. You can find Crystal blogging and reviewing books and all sorts of other stuff at:


If you ever had a summer love,
 savored sweet memories of summers gone by
 or basked in the fading light of the setting sun,
this a short story for you!

$0.99 for Kindle and Nook 

Get it before the sun goes down on the summer of 2014!
$0.99 for Kindle and Nook 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Sunset Orange Crush

Sunset Orange Crush, a short story, goes on sale today, August 1st, for $0.99 Kindle and Nook (available for Kindle app and Nook app on your tablet)!!!

I'm so excited to share with you my new short story! I hope you enjoy it. I hope you share it with your friends. And, I thank all of you for your helpful comments so far and all your support.

Just for you, my loyal blog readers, here's a free glimpse of the first few pages. 

Happy reading!

a short story
by Audry Fryer

            Dry sand sifts through my fingers, slipping away like the years since I last walked this beach. 
It is early August. While this time of year has held no special meaning for the majority of my life, recently it took on  greater significance.  One year ago, I marched into the kitchen of a trendy Beverly Hills restaurant, grabbed a prep knife and pinned a note displaying these three words, “I quit, Ali.”  I went back to my apartment that echoed with emptiness ever since my ex-boyfriend left with all his belongings and half of mine.  Determined to leave California far behind, I packed up every last bit of what I had left.  My imagination took me to far flung destinations, France, Mexico, Tahiti, South Africa.  I had saved enough money to take me anywhere I wanted to go. The possibilities invigorated my sense of freedom. All I needed was a compass to point me in the correct direction.
In my enthusiasm for adventure, I grabbed for a box wedged in the back of my closet and perched high on a shelf.  It proved heavier than I expected.  I tried to keep my balance and almost succeeded, almost. Its contents spilled in an avalanche across my hard wood floors.  I heard a high pitched clink; the unmistakable, dreadful sound of shattering glass.   I sifted through the mess catching the tip of my finger on a shard. I recoiled both from the pain and from the recognition of what I had broken. I knew as I cleaned up the bits of glass mixed with a pile of sand that I wouldn’t be heading to an exotic location, but to here, Lewes, Delaware. 

The last of the sand escapes through my parted fingers with a small amount pooled in my palm.  I rub my hands together leaving a few coarse grains clinging to my skin. I try to brush them away on the cotton fabric of my cover-up with little success. I should know better. There’s always a little bit of sand that follows you home, in the bottom of your beach bag, in the cuff of your shorts or plastered to your flip-flops. Memories cling to the corners of your mind like that, too.
“Do I know you?” an older woman, robust in size, asks as she approaches me.
I turn and look at the woman to see if she is someone recognizable.  She gives me a warm smile sheltered by her wide brimmed hat.  Her white cover-up billows, a cloud in the breeze.  I shake my head and say, “I think you may have me confused with someone else.”
“Oh, I’m sorry dear,” the woman says.  “I was hoping you were the young lady I so enjoyed speaking with the last few summers.  I’ve been worried about her.  Last time I saw her, she was very sick.”  The woman motions with her hand around her head and whispers, “she was wearing a scarf.  Most unfortunate.”
“Oh, how sad,” I say. The vision of this young woman stricken with illness, most likely cancer, appears so clearly in my mind. It is as if I can see her standing on the shore, gazing at the surf with the sea breeze whipping the scarf on her head like one of those hurricane warning flags.
“Well, you have a good day,” the woman says.
“Oh, uh, you too,” I reply. 
The woman nods and continues down the slope of the dune. She shifts her weight carefully. Her progress is slow and cautious. I watch her with an acute interest. Maybe I’m worried she will fall. Maybe it’s something else.  For whatever reason, my attention remains on this woman when she glances back at me. Embarrassed, I wave at her. She doesn’t seem to notice my awkward attempt at levity. Instead, she says, “I hope you find what you lost.” 
The woman turns, almost as if she hadn’t said anything at all. I wonder if I imagined it. I think about running after her and telling her I hadn’t been searching for anything in the sand that I might have lost. Had I? 
I carry this question in my thoughts as my focus drifts away from the woman and meanders across the hills and valleys of the massive sand dune that compromises the lower tip of Delaware, a place referred to as The Point in Cape Henlopen State Park.  My gaze pauses at the short lighthouse that punctuates the dune’s end. Maybe I am searching for one thing.  But, I’m not sure I could ever recapture the magic of that summer.

It was in my last days of innocence that my parents rented the seaside cottage for the summer.  That fall I would be heading off to culinary school and part of me knew that my whole life was on the cusp of changing irreversibly.  I had these next ten weeks to savor.  And did I ever, like a syrupy sweet salt water taffy, the kind that you could pull into long delightfully sticky strands and spend the better part of an hour devouring.
My first impression of Leah had been how her golden sunshine hair curled around her face as she pedaled past me on her bike. “Follow me,” she simply said. I remember obeying her orders though we never formerly met, hopping onto my own bike and following in her wake.  We rode across the sleepy coastal town known less for its history of being “The first town in the first state” than for its ferry destination linking it to the New Jersey Cape.  We entered the state park and ditched our bikes here at The Point.  We talked, we laughed and a friendship like no other I’ve ever had before or after was created.  We became inseparable and to our delight, people often wondered if we were twins.  While my hair had deeper amber tones than Leah’s and my skin tanned easily while Leah’s preferred to burn, our statures and our mannerisms matched with an uncanny similarity.  I tugged my ear whenever I was nervous, so did Leah.  I made up my own lyrics when I couldn’t remember the words to a song, so did Leah. I loved black licorice flavored salt water taffy, so did Leah. I had a crush on the boy who worked at his uncle’s bait and tackle shop for the summer, so did Leah. 

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