The Divining Wand

Discovering authors beyond their pages…

Archive for August, 2009

Summer Vacations by Our Authors

August 31, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles

Have you ever wondered what authors do on their summer vacations? Since this is the last “official” week of the season, let’s discover how some have (or wish they had) spent their summer vacations.

Eileen Cook (Unpredictable, What Would Emma Do? YA and Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood YA, coming January 5, 2010):
“In a perfect world devoted husband and I would have rented a flat in London. In the mornings I’d head out to a cafe and get some writing done while munching tea and scones. In the afternoon we’d head over to the gardens in Kensington rent a chair and sit and read while watching people wander by. In the evening a pub with a cold beer. Sounds great doesn’t it?”

Jenny Gardiner (Sleeping with Ward Cleaver, Winging It coming March 16, 2010):
“This summer I wish I was either in Italy, or sailing in the British Virgin Islands, two of my favorite places.”

Lauren Baratz-Logsted (Crazy Beautiful YA coming September 7, 2009)
“Going on vacation! It may yet happen, but so far the economy is getting in the way. Really, at this point I’ll take almost any vacation, even a Chevy Chase/National Lampoon one with a dead body strapped to the top of the van.”

Therese Walsh (The Last Will of Moira Leahy coming October 13, 2009):
“I wish I were writing like crazy, and balancing that writing with everything else—time with my family and friends, time for self-pampering, and time to prepare for the publicity of The Last Will. Unfortunately, time is not something that can be controlled, and right now it’s going very fast.

Lara Zielin (Donut Days YA):
“Waaeeeelll, if all bets were off and I could do anything, I’d get a house in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and write, write, write surrounded by the prettiest landscape anywhere. (I love the U.P.!) “

On The Red Carpet with Debutante Joëlle Anthony

August 28, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News, Debs, Red Carpet

It’s been exciting as well as a pleasure to greet The Debutante Class of 2010 on The Red Carpet this week. And the multi-talented Deb Joëlle Anthony (Restoring Harmony YA, May 13, 2010) graces us with her presence on this final day.

TDW: My goodness, Joëlle, you look stunning! Who are you wearing?

Joëlle: You’re too kind…In my mind,Joelle I am wearing a fabulous emerald green evening dress that I knit myself after writing each day. If you saw my sweaters, you’d know this is a fantasy.

TDW: Ah but fantasy and creativity work so well together that, although this will be your debut publication, has there been another book written?

Joëlle: I have a metaphorical drawer full of manuscripts. Restoring Harmony is about my seventh novel. Some will stay buried, but I have hopes for one or two (okay, three) of the others. And I’m working on something new too, which I hope will be my next contracted book. Fingers crossed! I will hopefully know later this year.

TDW: Absolutely, fingers crossed. Have you surprised anyone by writing Restoring Harmony?

Joëlle: I’ve never done things the “normal” way. I mean, I started out my adult life as an actress, so people see me as a creative person and no one has ever really reacted to the idea of me writing a book with anything other than, “Great!” My mum’s a writer too, so it’s not like I had that experience where my family was telling me, “Oh, you should have something to fall back on!” Instead they were always really encouraging. In fact, writing is what I fell back on when I got tired of acting!

TDW: What about characters, have you based one on someone you know?

Joëlle: I’ll never tell! I’ve never done this intentionally, but there’s still time. It is true that I steal all my husband’s best lines, but you know…it’s pretty obvious to everyone that knows him that a lot of my male characters are a lot like him. At least all the cool ones. It’s no secret.

[Aside: Deb Joëlle’s husband, Victor Anthony, is both a musician and photographer. In fact, her lovely picture is courtesy of Victor’s talent.]

TDW: Knowing how important music is in your life, what five songs should be on your book’s soundtrack?

Joëlle: Funny you should ask because next week we’re going into the recording studio (by “we” I mean I will just be standing around) to record some of the music from my book. My main character, Molly, is a fiddle player and in the book she plays a variety of fiddle tunes and songs (in case you have always wondered what the difference between a tune and a song is, it’s that a song has words and a tune is simply music). Eventually, these recordings will be available for free download on my website.

The ones we will be recording are:
Peekaboo Waltz
Handsome Molly
Hard Times Come Again No More
Brianna’s Reel (written just for my book by my friend and fiddle player, Sarah Tradewell)

That’s only four, so you could add the Cowboy Waltz to the list because it’s in the book, although we don’t intend to record it.

TDW: What a wonderful bonus! Your imagination appears limitless, yet what if you couldn’t write, what would you most want to do with your life?

Joëlle: Okay, don’t freak out on me here, but I might actually like to be one of those people who do your taxes. I doubt I’d ever go so far as becoming an accountant, but filling in forms floats my boat. I also like the idea of cooking (vegetarian) professionally or possibly being a home decorator (but not all Martha Stewart…more modern).

TDW: Thank you Deb Joëlle, your Friday posts at this year’s Debutante Ball are certain to be filled with surprises, we’ll look forward to them. Also the free download recordings and, on May 13, 2010, your debut as a YA novelist with Restoring Harmony.

Cheers to all the new Debutantes – Emily Winslow, Sarah Pekkanen, Alicia Bessette, Maria Garcia-Kalb and Joëlle Anthony – who have joined us on The Red Carpet this week. These charming ladies are about to enter The Debutante Ball and begin waltzing on Monday. Please join them for The Ball which is the ultimate source in discovering about-to-be authors beyond their pages!

On The Red Carpet with Debutante Maria Garcia-Kalb

August 27, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News, Debs, Red Carpet

As this week on The Red Carpet with The Debutante Class of 2010 winds down, the energy level is about to rise up a notch or two when we greet Maria Garcia-Kalb (101 Ways to Torture Your Husband coming January 18, 2009).

TDW: Hello, Maria, how elegant you look on The Red Carpet.

mariaonairMaria: It’s the black, I always wear black, unless there’s an appropriate animal print.

TDW: Well you make a statement as does your book. Although it’s your first to be published, have you’ve written others.

Maria: Believe it or not, the first book I wrote is titled “Ethan’s First Words” after dealing with my son’s speech delay. Now he makes me dizzy, barely taking a breath between sentences! I’ve written several children’s books I’d like to get out there, as well as a fun tome titled “The Fat Girl’s Guide to Fabulous Clothes that Fit,” but we’ll deal with torturing husbands first. 😉

TDW: So whose reaction was the most surprising when you announced that you were being published?

Maria: My husband’s. He was THRILLED (and apparently hasn’t realized this is a man-torturing manual).

TDW: Does that mean the character examples are based on someone you know?

Maria: All the male references are based on men who have come through my life in one way or another.

Many of them are my friend’s husbands… you know who you are!

TDW: Did you need any food or drink item to help get you through the book or was it all sweet revenge?

Maria: I am addicted to “Mike and Ike’s” chewy fruity candy. I probably plowed through 50 boxes to get the manuscript completed.

TDW: You are into big numbers, aren’t you? What is it that you promised your publisher? 😉

Maria: My goal is to have a million friends and drive the Facebook administrators nuts! Go ahead. Friend me. I also have a Facebook Group for the book, so I hope everyone joins that too.

TDW: While writing the book, what did you have on in the background?

Maria: I can’t live without my iTunes playlist. My favorite jams at the time were “Shake It” by Metro Station, Katy Perry’s “Hot N Cold,” and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” The SNL skit with Justin Timberlake in those tights and heels is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

TDW: It’s been delightful, Maria, and there’s no doubt that Thursdays at The Debutante Ball will never be the same. Enjoy and have fun with it all!

And, remember, Deb Maria will be the first to be presented when 101 Ways to Torture Your Husband becomes available on January 18, 2010!

On The Red Carpet with Debutante Alicia Bessette

August 26, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News, Debs, Red Carpet

Here it is mid-week on The Red Carpet with The Debutante Class of 2010 and we’re about to meet Wednesday’s Deb, Alicica Bessette (All Come Home due Summer 2010).

TDW: Alicia, you’re just lovely. Please share what this fashion statement.

Alicia: I’m wearing what I wear most days: yoga pants; Alicia one of several soft cotton tops I’ve owned for years; and dented, scratched eyeglasses that I just haven’t gotten around to replacing. My hair is rumpled, and I’m barefoot.

TDW: Aha, going for comfort so you likely have written more than All Come Home<. Care to share what you’ve done with other unpublished books?

Alicia: There is one on the top shelf of my closet, inside a dusty manuscript box. Someday I’ll shred and recycle the old beast. But it endured a fair amount of rejection, so I figured I’d give it a little respite!

TDW: It’s a bit like an old friend, isn’t it? And, on that subject, was there a character in this novel created from someone you know?

Alicia: Very much so. In All Come Home, France, the small-town police officer, was inspired by someone I met once. She struck me as smart, tough, loyal — and just a touch odd. She was very memorable, and I couldn’t resist turning her into a character.

TDW: Did you need specific food or drink to help you through the book?

Alicia: Yes Earl Grey tea, plus organic chocolate purchased most Friday afternoons from the little shop below my apartment.

TDW: Hmm, more chocolate… But what about putting a soundtrack to your novel, can you name five songs that should be on it??

Alicia: Rose-Ellen, a 34-year-old widow, listens to heart-wrenching breakup songs by Gladys Knight and the Pips — on vinyl, on an old trash-picked record player. Within the contexts of grief and widowhood, the songs take on heightened meaning as Rose-Ellen pieces her life back together.

So, All Come Home’s soundtrack would include the following hits, as performed by the great Gladys Knight and the Pips: Make Me The Woman You Come Home To; It Should Have Been Me; Letter Full Of Tears; All I Need Is Time; and Every Little Bit Hurts.

TDW: It’s no secret, after one glance at your website, that you’re a gifted musician. Is that what you would choose to do, if you couldn’t write?

Alicia: I’d travel the world either as a concert pianist or a wildlife photographer. Or maybe both.

TDW: Who knows, you may be traveling the world as an author once All Comes Home is published next summer.

Thank you, Deb Alicia. Enjoy the music of The Debutante Ball and all the “firsts” coming home to you this year!

On The Red Carpet with Debutante Sarah Pekkanen

August 25, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News, Debs, Red Carpet

In our second day on The Red Carpet with The Debutante Class of 2010 we have Tuesday’s (posting) Debutante Sarah Pekkanen (The Opposite of Me, March 2010).

TDW: Welcome, Sarah. You look glorious. Please give the details of what you are wearing.

Sarah: Thank you, but you’re too kind. Oh, no one can actually see me, can they? Sarahresiz Good. In that case, I’m wearing a size-six sleek black dress and sky-high heels. No, let’s make it a size four. My makeup is flawless, and I just had a manicure.

TDW: Perfect. Now tell us about the first book you wrote. The Opposite of Me will be your first book published, but there must be other completed works.

Sarah: My very first book was titled “Miscellaneous Tales and Poems” and I wrote it when I was about 10. I actually sent it to publishers and waited eagerly to learn when I could find it in bookstores (it has been a very, very long wait). A few years ago, my young niece borrowed one of my old Nancy Drew books and discovered, tucked between the yellowing pages, a letter I’d written on Raggedy Ann stationary asking a publisher about the fate of my story and poem collection. I’ve got that letter posted on my website, and when I went to New York to meet editors who were interested in my novel, I tucked the letter into my briefcase as a good-luck charm.

TDW: Since you’ve always wanted to be a writer, were there any surprise reactions when people heard you were writing another book?

Sarah: Well, I’ve always worked as a writer — I started at a news service right out of college — so people didn’t seem too surprised. Or maybe they were, but didn’t let on. Although I have to say my father’s shocked reaction was priceless when he read an early draft of my novel: “Hey! You might actually be able to get this thing published!”

TDW: Have you based a character in the book on someone you know, but who would never in a million years recognize themselves?

Sarah: People always think they see themselves in my novel (and occasionally get offended), but it’s fiction, people! I made it up! In fact, my book is about twin sisters who are complete opposites — and I don’t even have a sister.

TDW: Was there one food or drink item got you through this book?

Sarah: Oooh, chocolate. It gets me through everything in life! I always think there’s no problem too big for a group of girlfriends, a few bottles of wine, and some chocolate.

In fact, if I couldn’t write, I’d be the quality-control taster at the Godiva factory.

TDW: Sarah, you and Founder Deb Mia King definitely need to get together over chocolate!

Right now, though, we look forward to your dancing (especially in those heels) at The Debutante Ball every Tuesday and the March 9, 2010 release of The Opposite of Me. Enjoy the year!

On The Red Carpet with Debutante Emily Winslow

August 24, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News, Debs, Red Carpet

All this week we’ll be greeting the five about-to-become authors when their first books debut between January and August 2010. As they walk The Red Carpet into The Debutante Ball – in order of their post appearances – The Divining Wand (TDW) will ask them for comments but not introductions. They’ll begin doing that next week Monday and continue throughout the year.

This is your open invitation to attend The Ball and discover these authors beyond their pages.

TDW: Now let’s welcome Emily Winslow (The Whole World Spring 2010). Emily_Winslow Hello Emily, you look wonderful. Please tell us what you are wearing?

Emily: Sweatpants and an oversized top. I’m alternating between the bad postures of hunching over my laptop with playing on the Wii Fit.

TDW:That sounds like you’ve found the writer’s fashion, but you must be excited about your novel being published. Who was the most surprised to learn that you were about to be published?

Emily: Everyone was as supportive and wonderful as I’d hoped and expected them to be, except for one acquaintance who abruptly stopped speaking to me.

TDW: Well it’s true that The Whole World will be your publishing debut, yet what happened to the first book you wrote?

Emily: I’ve written poetry and plays, my favorites of which I printed up for my friends. “The Whole World” is my first completed novel after several false starts and a wretched novella.

TDW: What food or drink did you rely on to get you through to The End?

Emily: Coffee. The baby was waking up twice a night for most of the year I wrote “The Whole World.”

TDW: What did you have on in the background while you wrote?

Emily: DVDs of the US version of “The Office.” I resisted it for years, since I loved the UK version so much. Then I watched a couple episodes on an airplane and got hooked. “The Whole World” is eerie, not funny, so it may seem a weird choice of mood. But I really feel inspired by the compassion “The Office” creators have for their characters. No one is just a buffoon or just a jerk. They’re well-rounded buffoons and jerks who make me root for them. I use multiple narrators in my work, and I aim that kind of compassion myself.

TDW: You must hope that your novel provides a wonderful reading experience, do you have a favorite one?

Emily: Yes reading A.S. Byatt’s “Possession” while disoriented by fever. Normally I wouldn’t attempt such a challenging novel while not at my best, but there were only two books within physical reach. The other one was a child’s picture book about whales, which I read first, multiple times. Finally I cracked open “Possession.” My wooziness from medication, contrasted with the urgent need to relieve the intense boredom of bedrest, combined unforgettably.

TDW: That would be unforgettable. Thank you Emily for stopping to chat and here’s to your debut year, we’ll be following and cheering you on.

A fascinating new author for you to discover at The Debutante Ball next Monday, August 31st.

Presenting Debutante Kristina Riggle and Real Life & Liars

August 21, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books

[Note: In honoring The Debutante Ball Class of 09, we’ve come full circle since Kristina Riggle — the fifth and final Deb to take her bow — did so right here on launch day of The Divining Wand. Many already know that Kristina’s Real Life & Liars is a “quiet little book” that deserves this last hurrah.]


Although The Debutante Ball will continue its 2009 season until the end of August, tomorrow — Tuesday, June 16th — Kristina Riggle will become the fifth and final member of the class to take a bow when her debut novel, Real Life & Liars, becomes available for purchase online and at bookstores everywhere.

To become aquainted with this talented writer who loves the meaningful pleasures of family, home, and Michigan, a visit to Kristina’s Bio on her website will tell you that:

“Kristina Riggle lives and writes in West Michigan. Besides her debut novel, Real Life & Liars, she has published short stories in the Cimarron Review, Literary Mama, Espresso Fiction, and elsewhere. She is also a freelance journalist writing primarily for The Grand Rapids Press, and co-editor for fiction at Literary Mama. Kristina was a full-time newspaper reporter for seven years before turning her attention to creative writing and freelancing. On Mondays, she can be found blogging at The Debutante Ball, a group blog of authors debuting in 2009. As well as writing, she enjoys reading, yoga, dabbling in (very) amateur musical theatre, and spending lots of time with her husband, two kids and dog.

“Real Life & Liars is set in Charlevoix, Michigan, a town close to Kristina’s heart as the home of her grandparents where she has visited often over the years. Some recognizable Charlevoix landmarks appear in the novel, as well as fictionalized versions of real places. The home of the Zielinski family on Dixon Avenue is based loosely on the house where her grandmother grew up.”



Approximately two months after experiencing her first goosebump moment of seeing her novel on a bookstore shelf, Kristina tells of yet another:

“My [other] goosebump moment was a woman at my book launch signing who told me, because of a scene in my novel, that she went out and scheduled a long-delayed mammogram. The fact that my scribblings motivated this woman to take charge of her health just about knocked me over. I didn’t set out to do anything noble — I just like to tell stories — but this was a wonderful bonus.”

[Next week as they bid fond farewells to their debutante status, all five authors will most certainly share personal bonuses. Do drop by The Debutante Ball for Auld Lang Syne.

And next week The Divining Wand rolls out The Red Carpet for EXCLUSIVE upclose and personal interviews with The Debutante Class of 2010 as they prepare to enter The Ball. You won’t want to miss these about-to-become authors beyond their pages…]

Presenting Debutante Katie Alender and Bad Girls Don’t Die

August 20, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books

[Note: In this farewell tribute (which continues through tomorrow) to The Debutante Class of 09, authors/friends may begin to sound familiar, particularly YA novelist Katie Alender. Deb Katie has been mentioned frequently on The Divining Wand — a site she helped to build — for several reasons, yet it’s her writing that truly earns a toast.]


Having been a daily guest at The Debutante Ball for its first two seasons, Katie Alender
shared the joy and excitement of other authors’ debuts. Yet this season Katie is a Deb and tomorrow — April 21, 2009 — will be her turn to take a bow and be celebrated when her Young Adult novel, Bad Girls Don’t Die, hits bookstore shelves or ships from your favorite online retailer.

Imagine what an added thrill this Debutante must feel by following in the tradition and legacy of the Ball’s Founders! In fact in her first post, My dog ate my pearls, by Deb Katie, she acknowledges Mia King’s Good Things and Sweet Life even before introducing herself as a “…hopeless homebody.” But please do not be fooled by Deb Katie’s self-effacing description for, in truth, she’s a multi-talented and ever-curious dynamo who brings passion to every one of her eclectic interests/loves.

Consider, for example, that she began the first draft of Bad Girls Don’t Die in 2002 and, over the next couple of years, she revised it when there was time or when inspiration hit. In 2006 Deb Katie was ready to make her statement and ended up selling the book by the end of the year. As she notes: “A lot of people say they have two “‘practice'” books hidden in a drawer. For me, this was the practice book! I just kept hammering away it it until it was good enough.”

What was so important about this story to keep Deb Katie writing? Well, although the tale has certainly evolved from its original “evil ghost” action thriller, the message has remained constant. It’s a book about strong teenage females who have their own problems and find their own solutions, doing so without being dependent and reliant on males. The author’s heroine, Alexis, figures out that she has the strength and intelligence to not only fight her own battles but to be victorious…not that it’s easy, of course.

Here a Synopsis of Bad Girls Don’t Die:

“When 15-year-old Alexis Warren suspects that her younger sister Kasey’s strange behavior is more than just angst, she thinks she can handle it on her own. But creepy parlor tricks are just the beginning, and it soon seems that Kasey may actually be living out the violent legacy of the Warrens’ gothic home. Alexis is forced to seek out the help of her arch-rival, cheerleader queen, Megan Wiley. Working together, they’re the only ones who can save Kasey. But what if the green-eyed girl isn’t even Kasey anymore?”

And here is a sensational Bad Girls Don’t Die Book Trailer

If THAT scared you, wait until you read the book! 😉 Seriously though, having read an Advanced Reader Copy, I’ll tell you that Deb Katie’s writing creates as much realistic magic as that video does, with her words conjuring up mental images that reel into scene after scene. When reading a book, especially a novel, I usually read word-by-word since that’s how the author painstakingly wrote it. But that was impossible to do with Bad Girls Don’t Die. Simply put, the book is a visual, rollercoaster ride that you cannot stop…nor do you want to!

In subtle and not so subtle ways, the plot revolves around how everyone has a personal battle to conquer. For Alexis the battle was loneliness and she convinced herself she simply didn’t belong. Does that sound like teenage angst? It might have been except the author doesn’t allow her heroine to wallow. Instead Alexis rationalizes that the reasons she had to act out were good enough to justify her actions. No this is not a bad girl, but she is defensive and judgmental. And confronting that underlying issue provides her with greater strength, understanding as well as — most importantly –trust.

Ironically, Deb Katie accepts and embraces the fact that readers will judge her book from their own POV and she addresses this in the January 20, 2009 post, The magic of someone else’s eyes, by Deb Katie. What a terrific, optimistic perspective! And what a smart move to seek out her target audience online, provide them with ARCS, and have them review the novel. Visit the writer’s Reviews page to read Praise for Bad Girls Don’t Die, most from teen literary sites!

While delighted with these reviews, this writer has been surprised that readers have literally been scared by the story and “consider the ending to be a bit of a twist.” After all it was never her intention to write a mystery. What Deb Katie did want her writing to do was…remind people that things aren’t always what they seem. And if knowing that makes one teen be nice to another teen somewhere on the other side of the country, what a difference for those two young adults and possibly their futures.

Also Bad Girls Don’t Die is rated PG — a conscious commitment on the author’s part to avoid the issues of sex, drugs, and cell phone tapes. She knows that a lot of teens are dealing with these subjects, but there may be just as many who don’t deal with those things every single day. Why then add to the media hype, especially when Alexis has more than enough to contend with?

Layered with honest and revealing intimacy, this “ghost story” novel exposes one teen’s demon(s). Yet as innocent as it is scary, the author’s empathetic writing comes down to trusting and protecting the people we care about most. Of course you can gift Bad Girls Don’t Die to your daughter, niece, babysitter AND don’t forget yourself. For you will not only be entertained by Debutante Katie Alender, you also will likely remember the importance of listening to young adults — something to cherish and enjoy!


Having had a book published this year is a dream come true for Katie Alender and her fellow Debs, but what about next year and the next dream? Well this is what Katie shares:

“My next dream, aside from finishing book 2 and having it be well-received, is to really settle into the life of a writer. Right now, I still feel like I’m playing at it, to some degree. I want to really make my office into my ideal space, learn how to manage my time better, and continue to devote attention to treating my body better through diet and exercise. I’ve had the experience in the past of shutting down every other aspect of my life to get a book written, and I can see clearly that it’s not ideal or sustainable to live that way. So I’m going to be pursuing balance–between writing, marketing, staying in touch with family and friends, managing my household (and myself)! I have a feeling this little dream will be one of those lifelong tasks.”

Presenting Debutante Eve Brown-Waite and First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria

August 19, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books, Uncategorized

[Note: It’s mid-week of the continuing celebration for The Debutante Class of 09 and it’s time to spotlight Eve Brown-Waite’s adventurous memoir which debuted in April.]


From the cover of her memoir, Debutante Eve Brown-Waite’s “eye” peeks out from behind the jungle foliage of either a Latin American, Asian or African country, and one can only imagine what she has seen. Perhaps it’s something exotic, dangerous, or yet another test of daily survival during her years in the Peace Corps? But tomorrow — April 14, 2009 — readers throughout America can follow her journeys when they pick up and purchase First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria: How a Peace Corps Poster Boy Won My Heart and a Third World Adventure Changed My Life. And yes, that’s correct, it all began in her quest for love…well, sort of.

By reading (and you know you will) the brief bio, on the back flap of the book’s dust jacket, you’ll learn:

“Eve Brown-Waite was a finalist for both an Iowa Review Award and a Glimmer Train Award, and the first runner up for the 2008 New Millennium Writings Award for stories she wrote about her time abroad. She lives with her husband and two children in Massachusetts.”

You’d like to learn more, wouldn’t you? Well, to immediately know and love Deb Eve, all you have to do is read her September 5, 2008 Debutante Ball post, Last One Out … or Eve in a Nutshell. This writer with the large and engaging personality may only be 5′ 2″ but TRUST that most of her is all heart.

Since Deb Eve has written a memoir — which she has told us is all true and funny –, the backstory of what inspired and/or motivated her to write the book should be obvious. However it’s the December 5, 2008 post, Do the Dictionary and Thesaurus Count? OR My Love Letter to Anne Lamott, by Deb Eve that explain the real reasons. Hmm, a book that changed her writing…what could reading First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria do for you? Here’s the Synopsis:

From Booklist
“College graduate Eve is looking for a meaningful endeavor and settles on the Peace Corps. Though she’s not sure a life without creature comforts is for her, she is certain of one thing: John, the Peace Corps recruiter, is the guy for her. The couple faces a two-year separation when Eve receives a placement in Ecuador. Reluctantly, Eve leaves John and heads to South America where, after a time, she finds her niche reuniting lost children with their families—until a coworker’s rape brings up traumatic memories for her and she’s sent back home. Though her stint in the Peace Corps is over, a future with John means a life less ordinary, and soon after their marriage he accepts a job with CARE in Uganda. Once there, Eve finds the people welcoming but the lack of amenities—the power is turned on for only three hours at night—and the persistent insect population daunting. With an appealing, down-to-earth voice, Brown-Waite chronicles her adventures abroad in an accessible, humorous tone sure to appeal to armchair travelers.”

And the literary trade journal, Kirkus Review says:
“A laugh-out-loud debut . . . a refreshing voice . . . As revealing as it is entertaining.”

Why not test such high praise out right now by reading, Chapter One In the Beginning (There Was John).

Now how’s that for a tease? Deb Eve “hooks” us without even leaving home! A few weeks ago, though, she finally shared a few of her adventures by writing: “One of my sweetest and most fulfilling memories of living abroad – and specifically in northern Uganda – was finally mastering the art of cooking – fine meals – up in the bush.” To be truly amazed, read the entire post, The Real Reason, by Deb Eve.

It’s the fun in life that this memoirist seeks out, just visit her website and click The Author to learn:

“We had a saying in the Peace Corps: “‘If you go to Latin America, you’ll come back fomenting revolution; If you go to Asia, you’ll come back spiritually enlightened; And if you go to Africa, you’ll come back laughing.'” All of which begs the question: what happens if you go to Antarctica? Well, I can’t answer that question. But I can tell you what happened to that wacky girl who graduated (after only five and a half years) from the State University of New York College at Oneonta (school cheer: “‘Give me an O; Give me an N; Give me a beer!'”). She went to Latin America, Asia and Africa, and she came back a weird amalgam of Che Guevara, Mother Teresa and Erma Bombeck! She also came back with malaria and roundworms. But at least she’s never alone!

“For seven years, I lived in Ecuador, Uganda and Uzbekistan – sometimes with the Peace Corps, sometimes with CARE, and sometimes just following my big, brave, do-gooder husband around the world. I am neither big nor brave, but that doesn’t seem to stop me from going to some pretty far-out places and getting into some pretty dicey predicaments (or jail or someone else’s civil war). I live in Western Massachusetts now (with the guy I call “‘St. John'” cause he hates when I refer to him as “‘the live organ donor,'” and with the two kids we made with stuff we had lying around the house). Being back in the states hasn’t stopped me from writing about life in the rest of the world – and it hasn’t necessarily kept me out of trouble (or jail) either.”

So what does Deb Eve hope to accomplish — in addition to entertaining you — with First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria? After much serious thought, she shared her purpose in the recent post, Calling All Angels, by Deb Eve. And for anyone who didn’t click the linked “How much good can a do-gooder do with one good book?,” here are the writer’s Causes.

Almost ready to head on over to your local bookstore or order First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria online. Eve Brown-Waite will take you places that even she never dreamed of going, but she did and those experiences changed her life. And, while merely reading about her adventures likely won’t change your life, it could very well change your perspective on living in this world…enjoy!


For every author the first time they see their book on a bookstore shelf brings on a goosebump moment, however there are other such moments and Deb Eve agrees:

“It was an entire year of goosebumps. A year of goosebumps and frustrations in a funny way. But one of the goosebumpiest, most joyful moments had to be on the evening of my book release event – the big one in my hometown. It started with a window FULL of my books in the local bookstore. What a thrill! Then two and a half hours of people LINING THE STORE waiting to get my autograph! People kept asking if my hand was getting cramped. But the honest truth was, I could have happily signed books forever! I really felt like a celebrity as John and I walked down the street to my party. I had flowers and balloons and people were waving and cheering. Then we walked into the party and my jaw dropped. Everyone stood up and applauded as I walked in. I was absolutely speechless (and that does not happen very often for me!). I felt like a superstar. St. John took the stage and said the sweetest things and then I had to speak. I talked about why I had felt compelled all these years to write the book. Why I just couldn’t give up. Why I HAD to share the story of where I’d lived, what I’d seen and how I knew we really all were connected. And people cried! They actually cried. And then lined up to buy some more books! We sold 186 books that night. It was the most amazing evening of my life.”

[There are goosebbumps galore too for Deb Founder Tish Cohen who announced hat “film rights to Inside Out Girl sold to producers Steven Pearl (Untraceable, The Baster) and Rosalie Swedlin, with the wildly talented Allison Burnett (Fame, Untraceable, Autumn in New York, Feast of Love) adapting for film” with Tish herself signed on as consulting producer! Congratulations Tish!!!

Presenting Debutante Meredith Cole with Posed for Murder

August 18, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books

[Note: In continuing to spotlight The Debutante Class of 09, today our attention focuses on Meredith Cole’s mystery debut published in February.]


Debutante Meredith Cole — an established filmmaker, screenwriter and director of two feature films (“Floating”and “Achilles’ Love”) — will add novelist to her credits when her mystery, Posed for Murder, is released tomorrow, February 17th. And, although there are no authors’ early praises on the book’s front cover, there is a gold seal that reads: “Winner of the Malice Domestic Best Traditional First Mystery Competition.” In other words, this book is already a winner, just as its author is.

Introducing herself in the September 3, 2008 post, White Gloves and Waltzing, by Deb Meredith, she writes:

“My name is Meredith Cole and I’m delighted to be a debutante at last. I begged my mother when I was twelve to let me go to Cotillion and learn how to waltz. I thought it would be like going to a ball in a Jane Austen novel, complete with a fabulous dress and white gloves. But my mother, a college professor, had no interest in paying for me to learn to be a “‘lady.'” So now I can never remember where the forks go when I set the table (something I’m sure they covered in the first lesson).

“I live in New York City with my husband, my 4-year-old son, and my two cats. I try to swim everyday (I wrote a short story called “‘Exercise is Murder'” set at my pool for the June 2008 issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine). I also love to go on long walks, entertain friends, eat dessert, and play cards (my family has cutthroat Pounce tournaments where there is no mercy for anyone of any age).

“I began my career as a filmmaker, and directed two feature films (“‘Floating'” and “‘Achilles’ Love'”) when I was in my twenties. I wrote a lot of screenplays that are still sitting in a drawer, but the birth of my son forced me to reevaluate my career. I wanted to spend time with my baby without completely abandoning my creativity. Since I love to read novels, it seemed natural to write one myself.

“I found the inspiration for my mystery in the vibrant arts community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I made my heroine, Lydia McKenzie, a fine art photographer. In her photographs, she recreates historic murder scenes using her friends as models. And when she finally achieves her dream of having a show of her work in a New York gallery, Lydia discovers to her horror that someone is killing her models just like her photographs.

“My book POSED FOR MURDER will be released in February 2009 by St. Martin’s Press, and I’m hard at work writing the next book in the series. I’m looking forward to blogging this year with such a talented group, and celebrating everyone’s exciting debut. Now – what time do we waltz again?”

Did you catch the fact that Posed for Murder is the first in a series? And that means, for readers of any genre, tomorrow launches not only a debut novelist but a new character to follow as well. As an amateur detective, could Lydia McKenzie become the 21st century’s Miss Jane Marple? It’s certainly possible considering this admission in the December 3, 2008 post, The Books that Made Me a Writer by Deb Meredith.

Yet wanting to write a mysery novel and actually writing one that was (very) good enough to be published proved a learning proces for even Deb Meredith. In an interview at Jungle Red Writers blog, the January 21, 2009 post, Meet Meredith Cole allowed the author to describe her backstory:

“I’ve always loved to read, and mysteries have been some of my favorite books. So I used some of my downtime during my pregnancy to write a mystery with a setting that was dear to my heart—my artist neighborhood in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I made my sleuth, Lydia McKenzie, a photographer since I’ve done enough photography to know my way around a camera, and crafted a plot I thought was downright entertaining. The trouble was I spent pages and pages giving the backstory of my characters before all the entertaining stuff kicked in. Needless to say, no one was particularly interested in my first novel.

“But I loved my characters, and, since I’m incredibly persistent and stubborn, I came up with another book idea for them that was even more closely tied to my characters. This time Lydia is having a gallery show of her murder recreation photographs, and she finds out that someone is killing her models just like her photos in POSED FOR MURDER. I began to shop the book around and I also entered it into the St. Martin’s/Malice Domestic competition in October 2006.

“While I was waiting to hear back from the competition, Lydia still wouldn’t get out of my head. So I wrote a couple of short stories featuring her and her neighbors and friends. One called “Out in the Cold” ended up in the anthology MURDER NEW YORK STYLE, and the other, “Exercise is Murder,” was in Ellery Queen Magazine’s Department of First Stories in June 2008.

“In February 2007, I found out from my judge that I was a finalist. I was incredibly excited but I was also knew I had to be realistic. Only one book out of all the hundreds written and entered could win. So no one was more shocked than I when I got a call from Ruth Cavin, an editor at St. Martin’s Press, telling me that I had won…”

Now mystery novels are difficult to review, after all any slip of a detail could give away the entire plot, but there is this brief Synopsis:

“In POSED FOR MURDER, Lydia McKenzie, an edgy art photographer who recreates murder scenes in a film noir style, finally achieves her
dream of putting her art on display. That night, Williamsburg homicide cops find the model of one of her photographs murdered, her body arranged in the same fashion as one of Lydia’s photographs. When another of her models disappears, Lydia is determined to protect her friends and find the killer using everything she’s learned in her day job as an assistant to a team of private eyes. But time is running out because the killer pictures her as his next victim.”

And what about Lydia McKenzie, what’s she like? Deb Meredith parcels out bits and pieces of her protagonist, allowing us to get to know Lydia clue by clue beginning with the October 29, 2008 post Fighting back against fear by Deb Meredith, where the author states:

“We all have moments of pulse pounding fear in our lives that are forever seared into our brains. Thank God I’ve never mugged, or raped, but I’ve been terrified. Mind-numbingly terrified. And I’ve been angry at injustices and everything that make us afraid. That’s probably why I like to read and write mysteries. In a mystery, there may be violence and murder, but in the end all is resolved. The bad guys pay and the innocent get justice. Not at all like real life.

“Growing up in the country, I didn’t have a lot of exposure to the “‘mean streets.'” But knowing that I was going to move to a city, I took a self-defense class in college. In Posed for Murder, I have Lydia McKenzie take a self-defense class because the experience was important to me, and I wanted to write about it.We all have moments of pulse pounding fear in our lives that are forever seared into our brains. Thank God I’ve never mugged, or raped, but I’ve been terrified. Mind-numbingly terrified. And I’ve been angry at injustices and everything that make us afraid. That’s probably why I like to read and write mysteries. In a mystery, there may be violence and murder, but in the end all is resolved. The bad guys pay and the innocent get justice. Not at all like real life.”

From the nitty-gritty of Lydia, there are then parts of her behavior told in What’s your sign? By Deb Meredith on November 19, 2008.

Why I’d Rather Take the Subway by Deb Meredith posted December 10, 2008 describes the differences between the writer and her main character, while January 14, 2008 My Secret Sweet Tooth, by Deb Meredith provides more Lydia revelations.

However the piece de resistance — and probably what you’ve be wondering about — was only told this past week (on February 11, 2009) in Putting Passion on the Page, by Deb Meredith. Hmm, and now there are two mysteries — the one the novel revolves around and Lydia’s love life. To discover the truth about both, “You’ll have to read the book.” as Debutante Meredith Cole suggests.

Posed for Murder hits bookstore shelves tomorrow and, although mysteries are a great read any time of the year, there something about curling up with a “whodunnit” on a cold winter’s night…enjoy!


Despite what many readers and “daydreaming” hope-to-be authors might think having a book published will not change one’s life. Glamour, wealth and fame are bestowed on a very few but every author is changed by that life experience. Six months since her debut, here’s how Meredith feels:

“Since I became a published author, I have become much more self confident. During my book tour, I’ve had to speak in front of lots of groups, get interviewed on television and radio, and navigate strange new cities on my own. None of it was easy, but after each event, I’ve felt more prepared to deal with the new and unexpected. And the self-assurance has also extended to my writing. I’ve taken a book from start to finish, written the next book in the series, written newspaper articles and press releases, and posted a blog every week on the Debutante Ball for a year. I’m not really intimidated by the blank page–or the blank screen anymore. And that feels wonderful.”

How wonderful indeed!