The Divining Wand

Discovering authors beyond their pages…

The Divining Wand’s Summer TBR List

June 21, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: News

Dear Authors/Readers/Friends —

The summer solstice occurred in the Northern Hemisphere yesterday evening so welcome to the first full day of summer and the beginning of my vacation!

Last June this literary Fairy Godmother felt The Divining Wand had featured “the very best of the best for everyone’s enjoyment,” however the books appearing here — during the first six months of 2012 — have been even better! Please look through the archives and choose to read something that’s already been published. Honestly you’ll enjoy all of them. I did and wish I could go back and read them again for the first time!

Since that’s not possible I followed my heart, hunches, and curiosity to put together a personal summer TBR list — rather eclectic and promising:

First To-Be-Read:

~ Haole Wood {Kindle Edition] by Dee DeTarsio

~ Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

~ The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

~ Can I Get an Amen? by Sarah Healy

~ Flat-Out-Love [Kindle Edition] by Jessica Park

~ Mission to Paris by Alan Furst

~ The Innocents by Francesca Segal

~ Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon

Looking Forward To:

~ The Divorce Girl by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg (July)

~ The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway I(August)

~ Hemingway’s Girl by Erika Robuck (Advanced Reader Copy)

Curious About:

~ In the Kingdom of Men by Kim Barnes

~ An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer

~ Trapeze by Simon Mawer

~ I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert

~ Swimming to Elba by Silvia Avallone

Please stay tuned for updates. If you follow me on Twitter and/or are a friend on Facebook, I’ll be sure to comment on these titles.

Wishing you a relaxing, healthy summer complete with the best in reading….enjoy!

As ever —

Dee DeTarsio’s Valentine to Marian Keyes

February 14, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: Books, Guest Posts

[Dee DeTarsio (The Scent of Jade and ROS) wears her favorite author’s heart on her sleeve. As a result, in this Valentine’s Day guest post, Dee takes the opportunity to explain/share her feelings of “reader love.”]

This Is Dedicated to The One I Love

“To Marian Keyes – and to the Marian Keyes in every woman – that smart, funny, sad, put-upon, brave part of your soul that makes this world a brighter place.”

I am stalking Marian Keyes. She’s a Virgo, I’m a Virgo. She’s a successful internationally recognized goddess of an author, and I … well, I’ve read everything she’s ever written. I expect we would be best friends. Her most excellent Ms. Keyes is from Ireland – I love the color green. From her first book, Watermelon, (my seventh favorite fruit) to Sushi for Beginners, (I’m only up to California rolls myself) to Anybody Out There — I have loved, read, and reread every word. We are practically sisters.

Goddess Marian Keyes (pictured left) … and her doppelganger, my sister, Beezer, who I sometimes call an eejit!

There is good news on the horizon: Marian Keyes is coming out with a new book–a cookbook, (or cookery as Marian and I like to call it) Saved by Cake, to be released February 16, 2012.

“Saved by Cake” gives an extremely honest account of Marian Keyes’ recent battle with depression, and how baking has helped her. A complete novice in the kitchen, Marian decided to bake a cake for a friend and that was it – she realized that baking was what she needed to do in order to get her through each day. And so she baked, and she wrote her recipes down, and little by little the depression has started to lift, along with her sponges…With chapters on cupcakes, cheesecakes, meringues and macaroons, chocolate cakes, fruit cakes and favourite classics, Marian’s recipes are aimed firmly at beginner bakers, offering hints and tips to help along the way.

There is icing on that cake–rumor has it that Marian Keyes also has a new novel coming out this Fall–featuring the youngest Walsh sister, Helen!

Oh my gosh. I have an apron that looks almost like Marian’s. (I am such a gobshite!)

* * * * *

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.”

“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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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:


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.


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

* * * * *

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


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.

* * * * *

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?

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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.

Fictional Characters as Best Friends Forever, V

March 17, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Authors' Favorites, Profiles, Q&A

No matter the age or stage in life, a best friend forever could be made at any time and the same appears to hold true for bonding with fictional characters. Whether it’s in a children’s book or a chapter in a YA or adult novel, there are those characters who — if only real — would be chosen as our BFF.

With this in mind The Divining Wand wondered who the authors felt close to, and asked:

What fictional character would you choose to be your BFF and why?

And, in this final week, our authors replied:

~Stacey Ballis (Good Enough to Eat, The Spinster Sisters, Room for Improvement, the rest in Bibliography):

“Eloise. No question.”

~Eileen Cook (The Education of Hailey Kendrick YA, Unpredictable, What Would Emma Do? YA, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood YA, and Fourth Grade Fairy ages 9 – 11 coming April 19, 2011):

“There are so many great characters to choose from. How do I pick just one? I’ll go with Charlie from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory- he’s got a never ending supply of chocolate after all.”

~Dee DeTarsio (The Scent of Jade [Kindle Edition]):

“I cannot think of any better BFF than the lovely Luciana Vetra! She is the star of The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato, and I have never been so captivated by any character! She is a part-time model and full-time prostitute in 15th-century Italy with the most hilarious look at life via her inner dialogue. She is irreverent, foul-mouthed and so earthy it is a sheer joy to see what she does next. I would love to share a cup of espresso with her at a little piazza in Florence…although I am sure she would give me three reasons, Ragione Uno, Due, Tre, why I should pay and then leave her alone!”

~Beth Hoffman (Saving CeeCee Honeycutt):

“Oletta Jones (Saving CeeCee Honeycutt) for her wisdom, and Tom Wingo (The Prince of Tides) for his wit and sarcasm.”

~Judy Merrill Larsen (All the Numbers):

“I think Elizabeth Bennett would be a hoot. She’s smart and funny and sarcastic–and also, deep down, a romantic.”

~Lauren Baratz-Logsted (most recent The Twin’s Daughter YA, and middle grade addition The Sisters Eight Book 6: Petal’s Problems, The Education of Bet YA, Crazy Beautiful YA, Sisters 8 series Book 5: Marcia’s Madness):

“From my recently released novel The Twin’s Daughter, I’d pick Kit. He’s the most purely heroic character I’ve ever written.”

~Catherine McKenzie (Arranged, Spin):

“Elizabeth Bennett. Because she is awesome. And maybe I could steal Mr. Darcy from her.”

~Kristina Riggle (Real Life & Liars, The Life You’ve Imagined, and The Things We Didn’t Say coming June 28, 2011):

“Can I have all four of the Ya Yas from THE DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD? If forced to pick one I guess I’ll pick Vivi. I’d hate to be married to her, but she’d be a helluva friend. I’ve been a fan of that novel since long before my own publication.”

* * * * *

Writing Rituals, Secrets, and Superstitions, V

February 10, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles, Q&A

Yes or no? For every writer there are intangible elements — personal habits — that allow the mind to roam and find its comfort zone when the words aren’t flowing. To take a look at what some of these practices include, The Divining Wand asked its authors:

Do you have any unusual writing rituals, secrets or superstitions that always work when all else fails?

This week provides the final responses, including one from new TDW author Catherine McKenzie:

~Stacey Ballis (Good Enough to Eat, The Spinster Sisters, Room for Improvement, the rest in Bibliography):

“Never underestimate the power of a nap, particularly with the television on. The weird midday dreams that sneak in can be very inspiring. And if nothing comes, at least you are well rested.”

~Dee DeTarsio (The Scent of Jade [Kindle Edition]):

It’s “show and tell” on video.

~Tawna Fenske (Making Waves debuting August 2011, Believe It or Not in January 2012, and Let It Breathe August 2012):

“Chianti. Sangiovese. Sometimes Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.”

~Beth Hoffman (Saving CeeCee Honeycutt):

“I go for a walk in the woods.”

~ Shana Mahaffey (Sounds Like Crazy):

“I have all three. First, because I am inspired by my grandfather, Joseph McGrath, especially since on his deathbed I promised if he’d help me from the “’other side,’” I would dedicate everything I write to him. He was a writer and a coach. At the start of each day, I touch his old IBM Selectric for good writing when I begin. When I begin, I always close my eyes, imagine him there, and then start. For when I am really stuck, I keep his old sweater in my office. I will wrap it around my neck on those occasions where slogging through mud in cement shoes is easier than writing.”

~Catherine McKenzie (Arranged, Spin):

“Nope. I use many things depending on the day. A certain song. A certain place. And to crib from James Frey: When all else fails, I turn to Dylan. And when Dylan fails, I call it a day.”

~Keetha DePriest Mosley [formerly Reed] (Culinary Kudzu: Recollections & Recipes from Growing Up Southern, More Culinary Kudzu: Recollections & Recipes from Growing Up Southern:

“At one time I would have found this infuriating advice but the one thing that always, no matter what, always works, is writing. Sometimes I take a break from the project I’m working on to do something different, such as write a letter to a favorite teacher or an ode to caramel. I remind myself that playing with words is fun, that writing is fun. Writing something – anything! – helps jolt anything loose that has me hung up: doubts, that evil internal editor, or just a thorny plot snafu.”

~Ivy Pochoda (The Art of Disappearing):

“I stare at my bookshelves.”

~Kristina Riggle (Real Life & Liars and The Life You’ve Imagined, and The Things We Didn’t Say coming June 28, 2011):

“I’m not the least bit superstitious about my writing, but I have been known to switch from the keyboard to writing longhand on paper when I’m really stuck. Not so much a secret or a ritual, but it’s a little trick that jumpstarts a sluggish brain somehow.”

~Lori Roy (Bent Road coming March 31, 2011):

“I have no secrets or superstitions, but I do drink green tea whenever I write, and I generally write with my feet propped up on my desk.”

~Kim Stagliano (All I Can Handle: I’m No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism):

“I prefer to write on an old laptop while propped up on pillows on my bed.”

~Leah Stewart (Husband and Wife, The Myth of You and Me, Body of a Girl):

“I change my surroundings–go from my office to a coffee shop, say–and switch from the computer to pen and paper.”

~Therese Walsh (The Last Will of Moira Leahy):

“Yes, to never, ever talk about my secret rituals. Just kidding. I don’t really have any—unless lucky pencils count. For The Last Will of Moira Leahy, I used a whole box of natural pencils by Focus (#2s, of course). For my current project, I’ve been using angular soft-to-the-touch pencils by Dixon . When I feel stuck in my manuscript, I almost always transition to pencil and paper to work through the problem.”

* * * * *

Announcement: The winners of Lauren Baratz-Logsted’s The Twin’s Daughter are EJ Knapp and Heather. And the winner of the Sisters 8 Series, including Petal’s Problems is Megan. Congratulations!

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

Dee DeTarsio and The Scent of Jade

January 10, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books

Without question Dee DeTarsio is a visual writer who has a gift for creating vivid images through her choice of words. In her guest post, she refers to her style of writing as Tell A Vision and Dee’s debut ebook novel, The Scent of Jade [Kindle Edition], showcases her talent in a romantic adventure tale.

Inspired as well as motivated by her husband’s challenge to create women’s fiction that was truly adventurous, the author began with the “what if” scenario of a woman on a resort vacation, what could possibly go wrong? Dee personally hates camping, is afraid of the dark, likes a full stomach, and her coffee hot, so she literally turned the tables on her protagonist Julie, making her as uncomfortable as possible. The result evolved into Romancing the Stone meets Survivor and the following synopsis:

When an ancient jade relic that holds secrets to global warming ends up in the hands of a not-so-perfect heroine, she is thrust in a fish-out-of-water adventure, lost in the Costa Rican rainforest.

“Romancing The Stone” meets “Survivor” for Julie Fraser, who was minding her own business, living her life as snug as a bug in a rut in San Diego, California. As the least adventurous person she knows, Julie finally whooped it up one day to jet off and surprise her husband, who was on a business trip in Costa Rica. Reeling from the discovery that her husband wasn’t who she thought he was, she accidentally steals an ancient artifact and is chased through the wilds of the rainforest, not knowing where to turn, literally, or whom to trust. She knew she should have stayed home.

Can a monkey, a blonde Juan, a foreign scientist, a mysterious ‘love potion’ and the jade stone itself (that may hold secrets to global warming), help Julie on her mission to find and forgive her husband?

The stolen idol catapults her on a quest, as she discovers truths along the way about herself and her place in the universe. The Scent of Jade is creative and unique with surprising twists–in turn suspenseful and heartbreaking, combining humor and romance to reach the payoff ending. Original characters keep the pages turning.

The Scent of Jade spins its story with wit and wisdom, drawing those who love mystery, suspense, romance and adventure. While there are no vampires, readers are invited to enjoy the intrigue…

And now for Dee’s lush video that artfully captures the storyline:

(If the video isn’t visible, please watch it here.)

Kindle’s Amazon Customer Reviews are glowing and the author appears to have found her niche in the romantic adventure genre. Usually, when women’s fiction is described as “fun,” it’s more than likely to be classified as “chicklit.” However The Scent of Jade takes readers outside of their comfort zone just enough to make the novel a plausible fantasy escape rather than “fluff.”

In other words, there’s nothing predictable about Dee DeTarsio’s entertainment of almost non-stop action combined with the detailed description of the rain forest/jungle and the determined, yet haplessly human Julie. Yet how did the author successfully “show” rather than “tell” with her words and what of her research? Dee says:

“I love great big fat juicy adjectives, from the sounds they make to the smells they make me think about. Being a television writer forces me to write to video, and I think that it is an automatic translation to the life around me and right into the stories I tell…matching words to pictures!

“Our planned research trip to Costa Rica was actually derailed–so I had to rely on details from travels to Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean for my tropical sensations. I had done a lot of preparation for our trip, and just continued my research. I love the history and mystique of Costa Rica and didn’t really feel like I had a choice setting it anyplace else, because of the story I wanted to incorporate with the jade stone.”

About the jade stone….Dee confirms that there’s actually one that has been in her husband’s family for years. Although the stone doesn’t have a carved face, it’s a beautiful, heavy piece that appears in the video. She also admits that it served as another inspiration for her storyline and helped prompt her extensive research.

“I love ancient civilizations and history and have always been fascinated imagining myself living back then (although I’m sure I wouldn’t have survived.). I watched several documentaries and read all I could get my hands on about Costa Rica, South America, Mesoamerica and Mayans. Imagine the first person who picked up a stick and scratched out symbols to communicate. The bonus of having a carved jade god worshipped by early civilizations kind of began to feel real!

“I wrote THE SCENT OF JADE in about 8 months. I lived and breathed it, researching probably every day I wrote, to feel the full flavor. The universe did seem to provide clues along the way to help enrich the story.”

And “real” — in regards to environmental description and historical legend — is very close to the way one feels about The Scent of Jade. Also to be fair, yet not critical, there were definitely passages where I felt as though I was reading a screenplay. The novel simply reels off in your mind with its quirky characters, exotic location, a legendary idol, and more.

Indeed Dee is working on the screenplay, paring down the novel to 120 pages or approximately half of the book’s page count. Talented and ambitious, this self-published author appears destined to do it all and that’s why, if you have a Kindle, it is highly recommended that you purchase The Scent of Jade [Kindle Edition]. For less than a dollar, the ebook is a ticket to escape to a tropical locale, enjoy a feel good romantic adventure, and become part of what is certain to be a “happily ever after” story — that being Dee DeTarsio’s success!

Book Giveaway: For those readers who have Kindles, The Divining Wand will honor the first 10 comments — left on this post until Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. EST. — with a download of The Scent of Jade.

Guest Dee DeTarsio on Tell A Vision

January 04, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Guest Posts

[Dee DeTarsio (The Scent of Jade [Kindle Edition]), a television writer and formerly a news producer, grew up loving the visual home entertainment medium. In today’s guest post she explains how what she watches/sees on TV influences her novel storytelling.]

Tell A Vision

Though some in my family would place me on Team Eeyore, I believe in magic, happily-ever-after and the 7th sense: hope. My favorite TV shows used to be reruns of Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, up to and including Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, and, if you haven’t discovered The Wizards of Waverly Place yet, two wands up.

I also love the magic known as HGTV–a new kitchen in 30 minutes? Voila! And as for the fairy-tale ending possibilities of House Hunters, International…A Votre Sante! (The enchantment just doesn’t get much better than watching someone with a $1.2 million budget discover a crumbling 17th century 500-square-foot three-story-house with room for only a single-sized bed, kitschy rooster fabric curtained kitchen cupboards, that does include a wee washing machine in the bathroom, with nary a dryer in site.)

I love TV and it loves me! While I concede that I will probably never fulfill my childhood dream of writing for a soap opera, (I ended up as a news producer instead… ‘If it’s news to you, it’s news to us’…) I am eternally inspired by what I watch.

Don’t get me wrong–books offer way more satisfaction than television–isn’t reading the 8th sense? (If you’ve noticed, I’ve not mentioned the 6th sense–that’s because, spoiler alert, try as I might, and I do, everyone else on the planet has more ESP than me.)

My debut eNovel, THE SCENT OF JADE, grew out of a suggestion by my husband who said “women sure do think a lot.” I may not have spoken to him for a day or so after that, but the result was a hybrid chick-lit action/adventure novel that follows a woman lost in the Costa Rican rainforest with an ancient idol that may hold secrets to global warming. There are no car chases, explosions or dead guys, however, the protagonist does get shot at, there are no strappy sandals, and there is SEX. I issue an invitation to all the XYs out there to come on over to the pink side–you don’t know what you’re missing.

“It ain’t art unless it makes the air,” was a favorite quote of an executive producer I worked with. His underlying message was that while we have the responsibility to polish our “art” and make it the best it can be, does it exist without being viewed…or in writers’ cases, read? That challenge helped focus my efforts.

From One Live To Live to the Amazing Race, brilliant cliffhangers keep us intrigued and entertained…just like fiction. Even in reality shows like Survivor, producers are the authors of suspense: amping up the conflict and drama. Storytelling a vision invites the audience, through whatever medium, to stay tuned for the good stuff…coming up. I don’t always succeed but I try to keep that in mind during scenes and chapter endings. Living through my character’s quest, I really don’t want to give readers a place to stop. Stieg Larsson can pull off the ‘ol ‘He made a cup of coffee and went to bed.’ chapter endings, but I can’t! I’m a Virgo–it’s against my nature to plow right through a scene and stop at an awkward spot, but sometimes, that’s just what the story needs.

“Oh, yeah, I surprised him alright…” which I’m pretty sure I stole right off of One Life to Live, hopefully reads as a better page turner than “I’ll think about it in the morning.”

Watching eye-spinning amounts of TV is just another venue for receiving hints from the universe. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

* * * * *

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away two copies of Eileen Cook’s The Education of Hailey Kendrick in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post, Eileen Cook and The Education of Hailey Kendrick. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. EST with the winners to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to see if you’re a winner.

From: Readers/Friends
To: TDW Authors/Friends

Holiday Greetings!

December 22, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Reader's Holiday Greetings

[During this Season of giving and sharing, The Divining Wand’s readers would like to thank their authors/friends for this past year and wish them Holiday Greetings. The next few weeks will feature universal as well as personal nods to writers who share with us throughout the year. Happy Holidays!]

Seasoned Greetings to Melissa Senate
–author of The Love Goddess’ Cooking School!

Dear Melissa,

After devouring your delicious new novel, and inhaling each and every ingredient of your recipes, (that I’ll never be able to recreate, but a girl can dream, can’t she?) I wanted to share my favorite winter cookies–that I believe earn me invites to holiday parties.

Ginger Krinkle Cookies

As I dug out the brown sugar-stained recipe card my mom typed out on an old Olivetti typewriter hundreds of batches ago, I realize I start baking with a happy memory. I love making Ginger Krinkles almost as much as eating them! Almost.

2/3 Cup vegetable oil 2 tsp. baking soda
1 Cup granulated sugar 1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg 1 tsp. cinnamon
4 Tablespoons Molasses 1 tsp. ginger
2 Cups flour additional 1/2 cup granulated sugar for dipping

Mix oil and sugar, add egg and beat. Stir in molasses. Sift dry ingredients together and add to mixture. Drop spoonful of dough into sugar and form balls. Bake at 350 degrees on ungreased cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes.


Dee DeTarsio

The Revealing of Dee DeTarsio

December 07, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles, Q&A

After experiencing only tepid mainstream publishing success, Dee DeTarsio decided to publish two of her novels as ebooks on And, since it first appeared for purchase online, The Scent of Jade [Kindle Edition] has enjoyed a fast-growing, international fan base.

The novel is described in this one sentence:

“Romancing The Stone” meets “Survivor” in this delightfully quirky novel from television producer and writer, Dee DeTarsio! 

And has earned no less than five star customer reviews, such as the following:

5.0 out of 5 stars London UK. WOW !!! I loved it
I downloaded this book onto my i-phone amazon kindle and found myself mesmerized and hooked to the book. I was walking into lamp-posts, jay walking etc….

5.0 out of 5 stars A reader from Paris, France
This is the kind of book that one can not stop reading once started.
A book read with intense pleasure, which will make you laugh out loud

5.0 out of 5 stars Facebook e-book of the year 2010
Please tell your friends and family to read this book! It is Guaranteed to boost your immune system for the long winter ahead!

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Excellent story. After reading Dee’s first book I was not surprised that this was just as great. Story line was very good and kept you on your toes not to mention very humorous…

5.0 out of 5 stars Love! Romance!! Adventure!!!
….an exotic escapade through the dense jungles of Costa Rica grounded by the affable adorable Julie who unwittingly manages to jolt the reader out of the comfort of suburbia…

Now what author wouldn’t love reader praise like that?

The Divining Wand has scheduled a presentation/review of The Scent of Jade for Monday, January 10, 2011 however, in the meantime, let’s meet the author through her “official” bio:

Dee DeTarsio is a television writer living in San Diego, California, with her husband, John, a Director of Photography. She is the indentured servant of their two children, Tyler and Gianna. She is writing a screenplay for The Scent of Jade, and is working on her next novel, Ros.

And now let’s get to know Dee much better, upclose and personal:

Q: How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A: Haiku would work so much better for me.

Q: What is your motto or maxim?
A: Why work when you can read?

Q: How would you describe perfect happiness?
A: Malted milk balls, cup of espresso (from Roma), 80 degrees outside, new book from Marian Keyes…

Q: What’s your greatest fear?
A: Tornadoes

Q: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A: Roma, Hotel Smeraldo, being yelled at by front desk clerk, Walter, but that’s another story…

Q: With whom in history do you most identify?
A: Samantha Stevens

Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: Melinda Gates

Q: What are your most overused words or phrases?
A: I wish I was more like Melinda Gates.

Q: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: Speaking fluent Italian

Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: My kids sometimes text me when they don’t even need anything.

Q: What’s your greatest flaw?
A: I’m a Virgo, (so it’s really not my fault) which makes me hypercritical (for which I take no responsibility).

Q: What’s your best quality?
A: I never met a silence I couldn’t fill.

Q: What do you regret most?
A: My ability to try to fill silences.

Q: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A: Hmm, I guess you’re not reading this closely: Melinda Gates.

Q: What trait is most noticeable about you?
A: I’m fly like a G6 and am often accused of misunderstanding current slang.

Q: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: Scarlett O’Hara

Q: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A: Scarlett O’Hara

Q: If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: There’s no athlete I really want to meet; but I am dying to meet Tina Fey, and I would say “Of course, I would love to be your personal assistant.”

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: Sarah Palin

Q: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A: Reading

Q: What’s your fantasy profession?
A: Yoga instructor (with accompanying flexibility)

Q: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: Flexibility, kindness, humor

Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: Popcorn

Q: What are your 5 favorite songs?
A: How about the 5 favorite artists I’m listening to right now on my iPod Shuffle:
Dean Martin
Katy Perry

Q: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A: (Cliche Alert:) Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Green Darkness, Anya Seton
Shining Through, Susan Isaacs
Captains and The Kings, Taylor Caldwell
The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory
The Botticelli Secret, Marina Fiorato
Anything by Marian Keyes
(Oops, I’m a writer not an accountant!)

Clever, quirky, and multi-talented, ebook novelist Dee DeTarsio is definitely a new author you want to friend on Facebook. And then you can say, you knew her when….

* * * * *

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away two copies of Alice Eve Cohen’s What I Thought I Knew: A Memoir in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post, Alice Eve Cohen and What I Thought I Knew: A Memoir. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is Wednesday, December 8, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. EST with the winners to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to see if you’re a winner.