The Divining Wand

Discovering authors beyond their pages…

Happy Holidays from Greg Logsted, Tish Cohen, and Sarah Pekkanen

December 23, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Authors' Holidays

The best part of the season is the time spent at home creating memories…it’s what these authors share.


Greg’s Family Christmas Tree

GregThis is actually very embarrassing for me to admit but in the nature of the season and full disclosure I’ll come clean and reveal a bit about growing up in a completely dysfunctional family and one of the incredibly odd Christmas traditions we used to follow.

One cold night before Christmas, it could be a few days before or even a couple weeks, there was never any real rhyme or reason to the date, my dad would grab some rope, change into some old clothes and I’d join him in his ancient commuter car. After receiving some encouraging last words from my mother and brother, the two of us would set off into the darkness heading into town.

We’d drive the back streets throughout the town, looking for signs, patrolling empty parking lots, searching, hunting, the anticipation building.

At one point my dad would spot something and quietly ask, “Is that one over there?”

I’d look into the darkness, straining to see any movement, any dark tall forms. “Nah, that’s nothing. Want to try behind the church?”

“Might as well.”

The church was always hit or miss.Sometimes we’d get lucky. More often than not it was just another dark parking lot.

Eventually we’d be slowly driving down some quiet unexplored road, the car moving slowing, both of us growing tired, the car’s worn shocks gently rocking us like we were sailing across some great sea, when one of us would spot something and exclaim, “Look, over there!”

Two men, sometimes more would be huddled around a fire burning in a steel drum, cold hands extended over the flames, finding warmth in this primitive manner.

My dad would glance my way. “You remembered the rope, right?”

I’d spit out, “Of course.” Like I was replying to the world’s most idiotic question.

He’d accelerate the car, the excitement overtaking us. We’d cruise across the last parking lot, or last field, wherever it was that we’d finally found our prey.

My dad would pull the car as close as possible. Sometimes the men would look up in alarm and then we’d know we’d driven a little too close, but generally we managed to not draw too much attention to ourselves.

When we got out of the car, my dad would always mutter, “Let me do the talking.”

We’d approach the men. My dad would smile and extend his hand, negotiate and usually compromise before making a final decision.

Later we’d triumphantly tie our trophy to the roof of our car and parade it through the dark streets, back to our house, forcefully hauling it inside and standing it in the corner of the living room where my family would gather around and watch it slowly die over the next couple of weeks.
Greg Logsted (Alibi Junior High, Sisters 8 series)


Tish’s Milk Chocolate Chip Shortbread

TishtmbUsing the shortbread recipe of your choice, you mash in so many milk chocolate chips that the cookies start to fall apart. Bake, sprinkle with icing sugar, and eat nothing else until they’re gone.
Tish Cohen (Town House, Inside Out Girl, Little Black Lies YA, The Truth About Delilah Blue coming June 8, 2010)


Sarah’s Holiday Recipe

SarahtmbI don’t worry about recipes! I make a few simple things, buy a Honey Baked turkey, pick up some prepared sides from Whole Foods, and then relax and enjoy my family. I try to keep the day as stress-free as possible, and remind myself it isn’t about perfection – even though Martha Stewart might beg to differ – it’s about togetherness. Nothing beats going for a walk with my husband and kids, or getting down on the floor and playing with my boys. To me, spending time with my family is the best measure of a successful holiday, even if the potatoes are undercooked and the pie comes in a box.
Sarah Pekkanen (The Opposite of Me, coming March 9, 2010)

Sharing Good News

July 14, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: News

According to the PBS Book Review: “Alibi Junior High”,
Greg Logsted has a winner.

Carleen Brice (Children of the Waters) will host a
discussion about faith and mysticism in fiction on Litchat (via Twitter). Please join in this Friday, July 17th between 4 – 5 p.m. EDT.

Masha Hamilton’s 31 Hours, a deeply human thriller, is now slated to be published on September 8, 2009. The author has a most thoughtful Contest to win a copy of the book. The deadline: September 30, 2009…giving you more than 31 hours.

Therese Walsh and her debut novel, The Last Will of Moira Leahy, now have a film agent, Sarah Self with Gersh Agency.

And the book continues to receive the most beautiful reviews:

“A hauntingly beautiful story about grief, the language of twins, and the healing power of a bond that is stronger than death. The characters of Moira and Maeve will linger long after you finish this amazing first novel.”__Brunonia Barry , New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Lace Reader

“The Last Will of Moira Leahy is haunting, exotic and romantic—the way Gothic tales are romantic, wrapped in luscious, dark atmosphere. It’s a magical debut and I can’t wait for more from Therese Walsh. She’s one to watch.”__Sarah Addison Allen, New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells

And debut novelist Lara Zielin’s Donut Days will be released on August 6, 2009. To celebrate, the about-to-be author is running a contest every week until publication date. For details of ths week’s contest, please visit Lara’s Blog.

Remember, what’s good news for authors is almost always better for their readers!

[Note: I was unable to preview this post and double check the links. Apologies if any are “broken,” but my 7 1/2 year old PC is gasping for breath at the moment. That’s why The Divining Wand will only feature two posts this week as I will be offline becoming an imac owner! Hope to see you all back here next Monday.]

Here’s to Alibi Junior High

June 25, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Books

On Monday, at her Red Room Blog, Lauren Lise Baratz-Logsted’s posted her Book of the Week: Alibi Junior High. Although this middle grade book is her husband Greg Logsted’s second novel, Lauren wasn’t showing favoritism as she noted: “And so you don’t think it’s just me thinking the book is wonderful, here’s what the critics say:

~ “Funny and fast paced, this fits right in with the beach-read crowd.” (Fiction. 10-14) – Kirkus Review

And this Tuesday, June 23, 2009, Alibi Junior High was released.

Since The Divining Wand lists only a few male authors — let alone those who write children/middle grade/YA novels — so far, it’s a real pleasure to direct you to Greg Logsted’s Website where you can be charmed in learning About him. His hometown is likely to capture readers’ (of all ages) imaginations yet, in that telling last paragraph, this thoughtful writer becomes one terrific role model:

“I spend my nights and weekends writing. I’m constructing a ladder with words. I’m just going to keep climbing it as high as I can.”

In those three brief sentences Greg offers a work ethic, a plan, and a goal. And, if he can provide such wisdom on a website page, don’t you wonder what fills his book pages?

Here’s a sample in the Alibi Junior High Synopsis:

Thirteen-year-old Cody Saron has never lived in one place longer than a few weeks, and has never attended a regular school. Growing up on the run with his father, an undercover agent for the CIA, Cody has traveled the entire globe; he speaks five languages, and he has two black belts. What Cody isn’t prepared for is…junior high.

When the danger surrounding Cody’s dad heats up, Cody is sent to stay with the aunt he’s never known, Jenny, in her small Connecticut suburb. Cody has no idea how to fit in with other kids, how to handle his first crush, or how to make it through a day of classes.

As Cody struggles to adapt to the one thing he’s never experienced — a normal life — he starts to fear that his father’s world has followed him and no one he loves is safe. Greg Logsted weaves together action, humor, and heart, building to a surprising revelation about what Cody has always believed to be true.


Greg, author of Something Happened (YA), has also co-written The Sisters Eight (children) series with his wife Lauren and their daughter Jackie. Being true to his word, even when writing, Greg Logsted likes having a “crew” and not a “staff.”

Enjoy your weekend…hopefully relaxing with a good book.