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Interview with Eileen Cook on
Her (e)Book Do or Di

February 21, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: ebooks, Interviews

[In the last four years, Eileen Cook (The Education of Hailey Kendrick YA, Unpredictable, What Would Emma Do? YA, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood YA, Fourth Grade Fairy, Gnome Invasion, and Wishes for Beginners ages 9 -11, and most recent Unraveling Isobel) has been productive and prolific, entertaining adult, YA, and middle grade readers. However, at the end of January, Eileen debuted her first ebook — and first adult novel since Unpredictable — with Do or Di available on Kindle and Smashwords.

Fun, thoughtful, and poignant, Do or Di is a refreshing reading escape. Yet it caused this Fairy Godmother to wonder how long the author had this up her sleeve? To discover, all I needed to do was ask. Enjoy!]

A laugh out loud romantic comedy, from the author of Unpredictable and Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood. Erin Callighan has given up on the idea of a fairy tale romance. Having dated her own version of the Seven Dwarves (including Grumpy and Sleepy), she’s letting go of the idea of Prince Charming and settling for Prince Good Enough. Erin’s focused on reaching her dream of having her own talk radio show, even if it means having to temporarily co-host with the annoying “Voice of Seattle”, Colin Stewart. To score points with her station manager, she agrees to be a part of the Positive Partnerships program that matches her with Diana, a troubled pre-teen who swears she’s channeling the spirit of the late Princess Diana. She’s supposed to be mentoring Diana, but the channeled princess has a lot to teach Erin about love and happily ever after endings.

TDW: When did you find the time to write thIS novel? UNPREDICTABLE, REVENGE, EMMA, EDUCATION, UNRAVELING, plus the FAIRY GODMOTHER series has kept you busy and in bookstores for for years, did you write in between these books?

E.C.: The original version of this book was written right after I completed Unpredictable. At that time the market for “chick lit” or any funny women’s fiction novels dried up and I couldn’t sell the book and I turned to writing YA. I’ve always loved this book and wanted to see it find it’s way into the world. One weekend I pulled it up on my computer and re-read it. With the growth of ebooks I knew I could put it up myself. I hired an editor to give me some feedback, polished the book and put it up. I’m so happy to see it out there on the virtual shelves.

TDW: Yet you’re established author, readers of all ages love you and would be thrilled to find an adult novel on the bookshelves?

E.C.: There’s been a lot of change in the publishing landscape. I’ve seen other authors go the indie route with books and I was curious to try it out. By self publishing the book I could set the price quite low at $2.99. Heck, that’s less than buying a latte! By having a book that is low in cost it tempts people who haven’t read my books before to give it a try and hopefully then become interested in my other books. For readers who know they like my book this becomes a way to say thank you.

TDW: For your YA novels, inspiration/backstory is taken from a “classic,” so did you follow the same pattern here?

E.C.: The inspiration for this book was a chance to tap into the fascination I had with Princess Diana. When I was young I got up at dawn to see her wedding and thought it was the most romantic story ever. As I grew up watching her marriage and eventual divorce I realized that love isn’t about fairy tales. She was such an iconic figure for women that I wanted a chance to write a character who has a connection to her. Erin in the book has given up on love and romance. She needs to discover that love, real love, isn’t always pretty, but it does last.

TDW: Astrology, magic, the supernatural and, now, channeling are elements woven into your storylines. In first glance of your books’ synopses, a reader might think you’re writing fairy tales and yet these mystical powers are actually used to support the true power of human strengths and talents. Is this the theme or end goal?

E.C.: People are fascinated with magic and the supernatural. While I agree it is fun, I want to show that the real magic in the world isn’t supernatural, it’s everyday. Real magic is how you feel when you see someone you love, how roses bloom, the sounds dogs make when they dream. We need to open our eyes and see the magical things all around us and also the power that we have to impact change in our own lives.

TDW: Where did the fresh workplace setting of a radio station come from? Was there much research needed?

E.C.; I’ve been fortunate enough to do some readings on CBC, Canada’s version of National Public Radio. The first time I went I was enthralled with the whole process, the chance to wear giant headphones, the call board the entire idea of being live. I was quite certain I would be struck with Tourette’s once the microphone went on. I ended up asking lots of questions and even took some pictures of the space on my phone. I had a sense it would end up in a book someday.

TDW: Although Do or Di is an adult novel, you wrote Diana — a YA character — in almost a co-starring role. It worked so well. Was that your initial intention?

E.C.: When I wrote the initial draft of the book Diana did not have as large of a role. Now years later I’ve written several YA books and enjoy writing teen characters. When I pulled the book out I realized that Diana had a lot to say and that her having a larger role would enhance the book and give it some balance. Erin is skeptical, but Diana represents hope. They need each other to move forward. Erin needs to rediscover the magic in her life and Diana needs to be balanced out with reality.

TDW: Can we look forward to more adult novels from you in the future?

E.C.: In the process of re-working this book I realized how much I enjoyed writing for an adult audience. There will be more adult books- just as soon as I figure out what that winning idea is going to be.

To experience instant pleasure in reading Do or Di, simply download the book from Kindle or Smashwords.

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Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away three copies of Eileen Cook’s Do or Di — in a random drawing — to anyone who leaves a comment on this post by 8:59 p.m. EST tonight! The winners will be announced here on Thursday.

Guest Danielle Younge-Ullman on Inspiration

February 01, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: ebooks, Guest Posts

[Danielle Younge-Ullman debuted in July 2008 with Falling Under (do read presentation/review) — a book this Fairy Godmother described as painfully breathtaking and brutally exquisite. And it remains so in its Kindle Editon and NOOK Book format.

Today, in this guest post, the author focuses on her inspiration for the novel, and what makes the story passionately honest.]

Inspiration

It’s kind of a pretty word, a word that suggests something beautiful, like a butterfly landing on your fingertip, or a beam of sunlight bursting from the clouds.

But I was mad when I wrote FALLING UNDER. Furious, in fact. And the issues I was furious about are what sparked and drove the writing of the book.

Inspiration didn’t come to me like a butterfly, in other words, or even a beam of sunlight. More like a burning astroid, or a Mac truck.

The thing I was on about, and angry about, is what happens to kids when their parents divorce, particularly when those parents cease to function as parents, leaving the kids to navigate the world on their own…to essentially parent themselves.

Here’s a short excerpt from Chapter Sixteen that will give you an example. (My protagonist, Mara, has just been kicked out of her mother’s house.)

“The morning you arrive with your huge suitcase, Dad tries the heart-to-heart, but it’s not helpful to have him rant about what a bitch Mom is and then punch the wall beside the fridge, get hammered that night, and refuse to go to work the next day.

Certain kinds of support are worse than none at all.”

Sure, divorce is an everyday kind of tragedy these days. And yes, kids are elastic, adaptable, they survive. Sometimes they adapt so well on the surface that nobody sees how deeply and profoundly their view of the world has changed; how hurt they are, how alone they feel, how much more precarious everything seems to them, how much less they trust.

Mara, is a sensitive kid, a smart kid, a funny kid, and also a survivor. But the decisions she makes, as a result of having no stability and no parental figures she can trust or go to for guidance, are not often the best. The results are sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, often both. And Mara grows up to be a mass of contradictions and unfulfilled potential—so afraid of the world that she can barely leave her house most days, stuck in a horrible artistic and professional rut, and burdened by a past littered with disastrous romantic (and sexual) relationships.

Mara’s adult life is consistent with what studies and statistics say, which is that many of the effects of divorce become evident only when a child reaches adulthood and confronts adult relationships. These are conflicted people who’ve had to rely on themselves, and don’t necessarily know how to function in a trusting relationship. They are also (statistically) likely to be less educated, more substance-addicted, less financially stable, less emotionally and psychologically stable, more likely to marry early, more likely to divorce…and it goes on. Unfortunately these stats are true of the adult children of all divorced families, including the amicable and “good” divorces, though of course the more stability and support provided by parents, family and community, the better chances the child/grown-child has of thriving.

Think about what that means, in a society where 50% of people are getting divorced…

Now I want to be clear: I am NOT on an anti-divorce rant. There are people who shouldn’t stay together, people who can’t.

I simply wanted to tell a story that would pull people, as viscerally as possible, into Mara’s experience, so that they would understand it. I wanted to reach out to adults and young adults who have been through this and maybe wonder why they (possibly) feel screwed-up and are not coping, and let them know they’re having a normal reaction, and that they can work through it. And I wanted to reach out to parents who may have divorced, or be considering it, and give them a sense of how it might affect their children, how important it is for them to continue to provide as much stability and leadership and understanding as possible, so their kids can better cope with whatever happens.

And then, if it’s not too much to ask, I’d also like society as a whole to start doing a better job at supporting families in crisis. Because THAT would be inspiring…in the beam-of-sunlight-bursting-through-the-clouds sort of way.

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You can follow Danielle on Twitter, friend her on Facebook, and download Falling Under on your Kindle or NOOK Book.

Instant Reading Gratification:
Three ebooks at the Ready

January 24, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: ebooks, Recommendations

[Now that ereaders have become more popular than ever The Divining Wand believes that occasional recommendations of ebooks would be a welcome feature. Today, starting off the series of Instant Reading Gratification, there are two comedic novels and one timely drama. May you enjoy!]

Dee DeTarsio (The Scent of Jade) continues to amuse in a thoughtful way with ROS, described as:

DeTarsio’s literary talents shine with tenderness and humor as she once again takes readers into the heart of women’s lives in an unforgettable tale. Filled with friendship, love, loss, betrayal and out-of-this-world challenges that force her characters to find their place in the universe, Ros gives us the hopefully-ever-after we’re all searching for.

When a plane crashed behind Micki Cramer’s house, in San Diego, California, she kept waiting for the sirens and rescue team to show up. As the first responder, it was up to her to tug on the arm that was waving out of the broken wreckage. Holding her breath against the choking smoke, she managed to get the pilot out and carry him to safety into her backyard. He wasn’t that heavy; he was about the size of her 10-year-old nephew, who did play a lot of video games and ate nothing but Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, but still. As it turns out, he wasn’t a guy after all.

Ros, the pilot, was on a mission to find her missing brother who had crash-landed at Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. Seems she was a bad driver, too, missing her target by nearly a thousand miles and more than half a century.

If Ros can teach Micki how to use eleven percent of her brain, how can Micki help Ros?

“San Diego author Dee DeTarsio’s Ros is a charming, action-filled suspense novel…With the clock ticking, Ros is a delightful journey of two characters who each yearn to be better.” -Examiner.com

“You’ll laugh a lot when you read this book, but under the humor you’ll detect a deftly written story of the redemptive power of love and friendship.” –Carol K. Carr, author of India Black

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After spending the last few years writing YA and middle grade books, Lauren Baratz-Logsted (most recent The Twin’s Daughter and Sisters 8 complete series), the versatile and prolific author has written a light-hearted adult novel, The Bro-Magnet published in both Kindle and NOOK Book format.

The description may cause a smile and nod:

Women have been known to lament, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” For Johnny Smith, the problem is, “Always a Best Man, never a groom.” At age 33, housepainter Johnny has been Best Man eight times. The ultimate man’s man, Johnny loves the Mets, the Jets, his weekly poker game, and the hula girl lamp that hangs over his basement pool table. Johnny has the instant affection of nearly every man he meets, but one thing he doesn’t have is a woman to share his life with, and he wants that desperately. When Johnny meets District Attorney Helen Troy, he decides to renounce his bro-magnet ways in order to impress her. With the aid and advice of his friends and family, soon he’s transforming his wardrobe, buying throw pillows, ditching the hula girl lamp, getting a cat and even changing his name to the more mature-sounding John. And through it all, he’s pretending to have no interest in sports, which Helen claims to abhor. As things heat up with Helen, the questions arise: Will Johnny finally get the girl? And, if he’s successful in that pursuit, who will he be now that he’s no longer really himself? THE BRO-MAGNET is a rollicking comedic novel about what one man is willing to give up for the sake of love.

“…an absolutely charming, feel-good read. Lauren Baratz-Logsted writes genuine characters, killer comedic timing and romantic blunders that are truly something special.” ~ Romantic Times

“There are books that make you happy to be a reader. This is one of those books.” ~ Smitten With Reading

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Although Kim Arbor has answered So Why Does She Wrtie?, what does she write about in His Wife and Daughters that again can be purchased either as a Kindle Edition or a NOOK Book.

Written from past to present, the novel begins:

1988:

Trina Brath and her teenage daughters, Jill and Phoebe, lead happy and privileged lives as the wife and daughters of successful five-term California Congressman Dan Brath. But all that changes when Dan, 52, is suspected of having an affair with Lesley Chisholm, a nineteen-year-old Washington DC intern who has gone missing. Soon Dan Brath is being accused in the harsh media spotlight of not only sleeping with Lesley Chisholm, but responsible for her disappearance.

Despite Trina’s standing by her husband and insisting he is not a murderer—yet keeping the secret that he has cheated on her many times before—the incessant media scrutiny puts a strain on the family, causing their lives to go into a tailspin.

Eight months later, when Lesley mysteriously returns home safe and sound, Dan Brath’s career is over, and his family is in tatters.

TODAY:

The scandal that rocked the Brath family continues to take its toll. Amid media reports of new political sexploits almost every week, it’s a handy reference point for a gossip-hungry public. Besides her trust issues with men, Jill self-medicates with food. Phoebe leads a self-destructive life, having been estranged from the family for years. And Trina, who continues to blame Lesley Chisholm for the family’s financial and career misfortunes, maintains a codependent relationship with her husband.

To make matters worse, Lesley Chisholm is breaking her silence with a tell-all memoir—a book Trina is trying to stop—which is sure to make Dan Brath’s wife and daughters relive the trauma all over again. Will Jill, Trina and Phoebe be able to cope, heal their wounds and move on with their lives?

Told from the viewpoints of the three women, His Wife and Daughters is a moving story of how one family attempts to survive the ultimate betrayal.

“Although sensational and devastating, HIS WIFE AND DAUGHTERS is a quiet little novel about real people. …And what they do and say may stun, annoy, or simply amaze you to wonder: How could they or how could they not?

Kim Arbor holds love and loyalty to the ultimate test in this timely book!” ~ Larramie

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ATTENTION: Three Wishes the collaborative true story of three friends’ journey to motherhood (see presentation/review) is officially out in paperback today.

AND

Book Giveaway: In celebration of release day for Sarah McCoy’s The Baker’s Daughter, The Divining Wand will give away one copy of the book — in a random drawing — to anyone who leaves a comment on this post by 11:59 EST tonight! The winner will be announced here on Thursday.

New ebooks from TDW Authors

April 28, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: ebooks

Although so many print books are releasing this winter/spring season, The Divining Wand also has authors offering new selections for Kindle readers. Please consider the following that could be yours in a minute.

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Dee DeTarsio (The Scent of Jade [Kindle Edition]) is at her best with a second novel, The Kitchen Shrink.

From TV writer Dee DeTarsio, a new novel featuring the humor, vulnerability, honesty and flaws of a suburban heroine…

If your life is a mess, your house could probably use a makeover, too. Welcome to the behind-the-scenes world of reality TV in The Kitchen Shrink:

“My kids smoke dope, my ex is one,
I said ‘nope’ when I wanted to run…
Into your arms…And feel your lucky charms…”

When did Lisby Shaw’s life turn into a country music song? Probably when her best friend signed her up for the debut of the new reality TV show, The Kitchen Shrink, for the ultimate life and home makeover! Unable to squirm out of this “it will be fun” opportunity, Lisby tries to juggle her upstairs-behind-the-scenes-life with her downstairs-in-front-of-the-camera persona, where everything she says and does can and will be used against her.

Hopefully, the show doesn’t find out about her fling with that hunky carpenter. Or that she and her friend smoked hootch she found in her daughter’s room. Lisby cannot believe what a freak show her life has become. At least no one knows about her crush on Sam, Sam, the Cameraman…

Lisby tries to find her way as the TV cameras capture her every move, zooming in on drama with her kids, her ex, her mom and her best friend. Stay tuned for Lisby’s extreme close-up as she becomes a jilted laughingstock on national TV. All is lost…or is it?

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Karen McQuestion (A Scattered Life, Easily Amused, Celia and the Fairies for ages 7 – 11) released two YA novels, Favorite and Life on Hold, on April 1, 2011.

Five years have passed since Angie Favorite’s mother, Laura, disappeared without a trace, and Angie still hasn’t recovered. Sure, things look normal on the surface—she goes to school, works her summer job, and argues with her older brother Jason—but she can’t shake the feeling that Laura didn’t leave by choice. Angie’s dad does the best he can, but his work as a musician keeps him on the road and away from home, where it’s up to Angie’s grandmother to keep an eye on the kids. She can’t be with them all the time, though, and she can’t help Angie when she is snatched from a mall parking lot by Scott Bittner. The girl narrowly escapes, and Bittner is arrested, but he takes his life in jail before he can offer an explanation for his crime. When his mother contacts Angie, begging forgiveness on her son’s behalf, the girl agrees to meet with her in hopes of finding answers to the seemingly random attack. But when she arrives at the massive Bittner estate, she is overcome by an unshakeable sense of foreboding….

Fifteen-year-old Rae Maddox’s mom, Gina, is a big fan of fresh starts. Gina thinks of them as an adventure, but for Rae, each move is just one more friend lost, one more chance to feel like an outsider. But when they arrive in Wisconsin, Gina promises to stay put until Rae graduates. Cautiously optimistic, she wades into the social whirl at Whitman High School, making a few friends and even earning a chance at love. But when the vice principal pairs her with fellow newbie Allison Daly, Rae’s tentative happiness is jeopardized. It seems Allison was orphaned after her parents died in a suspicious house fire, leaving their daughter to bounce between relatives’ homes. When a sleepover at Rae’s house goes terribly wrong, Rae sees a troubling side of Allison—and learns a few secrets about her own mother in the process. Suddenly Rae is at risk of losing everything and everyone she cares about—unless she steps up and takes charge of her life once and for all.

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Wendy Nelson Tokunaga’s (Midori By Moonlight, Love in Translation) first e-book, Marriage in Translation: Foreign Wife, Japanese Husband, debuted on Kindle a few weeks ago.

Read interviews with 14 Western women who speak candidly about the challenges in making cross-cultural marriages work both inside and outside Japan, and the joys and frustrations of adapting to a different culture.

Please note that 50 percent of proceeds for the month of April go to Japan Relief and there are still three days to purchase the ebook while making a contribution.

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Announcement: The winners of The Violets of March by Sarah Jio are Kaye and Janel. Congratulations!

Please email diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address and your book will be sent out promptly.