The Divining Wand

Discovering authors beyond their pages…
Subscribe

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.

Go-to Writing Books, V

April 21, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Authors' Favorites, Profiles, Q&A

Before, during and after a work-in-progress, a published/debut author has likely read more than a few books on the art and craft of writing. Whether it’s for motivation or inspiration, favorites must exist to be read and reread — including fiction and poetry — whenever the need arises. With this thought in mind, The Divining Wand asked its authors:

What books do you keep nearby or go back to as you’re working?

And, for the final week of this question, the following authors replied:

~Eleanor Brown (The Weird Sisters):

“Stephen King’s On Writing to remind me why I do what I do, and anything by Maeve Binchy to remind me how to create loveably flawed characters and keep multiple plotlines going.”

~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):

“My favorite writing books include: Save the Cat by Blake Synder, On Writing by Stephen King and Elements of Story by John Truby.”

~Beth Hoffman (Saving CeeCee Honeycutt):

“WORDS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE by Robert Greenman.”

~Allie Larkin (Stay):

“Sometimes, it helps to check back with BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott, to remind myself to trust my process and listen to my characters.”

~Judy Merrill Larsen (All the Numbers):

“I’ve recently become a fan of Donald Maass’ THE FIRE IN FICTION. I also like John Dufesne’s THE LIE THAT TELLS A TRUTH, and of course Anne Lamott’s BIRD BY BIRD. For sheer inspiration, I look to poetry.”

~Karen McQuestion (A Scattered Life, Easily Amused coming September 21, 2010, and Celia and the Fairies for ages 7 – 11, and Favorite YA):

“I love Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey. I use it to brainstorm plot points when I write myself into a corner, I also periodically reread Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird and Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.”

~Meg Mitchell Moore (The Arrivals coming May 25, 2011):

“Lately I always have Claire Messud’s THE EMPEROR’S CHILDREN and Elizabeth Strout’s OLIVE KITTERIDGE near me. Within reaching distance, for sure. Any page of either of those books contains too many gems to count. Also Alice Munro. If I am writing away from home and don’t have access to my books sometimes I’ll just pull up any Alice Munro excerpt online and be so struck by the beauty and exactness of her descriptions that I am humbled and inspired to keep writing. ”

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

“I keep a Childcraft dictionary on my desk. Santa brought it the Christmas I was seven years old. Sometimes I thumb through it, enjoying the feel of the slick pages. Any time I open that dictionary, I’m taken back to the way I felt when I was a child looking at it: words were so much fun.”

~Sarah Pekkanen (Skipping a Beat and The Opposite of Me):

“My bible is Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell. I go through it with each book, scribbling notes and plot points in the margins. It’s fun to go back, now that I’m working on my third book, and see how the process evolved for the first two! I also really like Writing the Breakout Novel by James Scott Bell, On Writing by Steven King, and Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott. I have stacks of books on writing but those are the ones I always come back to. As for what I read when I’m writing, I zip through thrillers! ”

~Ivy Pochoda (The Art of Disappearing):

“Carson McCullers’ “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” is almost always on my desk. James Woods’ “How Fiction Works,” because James Woods’ is both THE MAN and a genius and a great drummer. David Gates’ “Preston Falls” because he doesn’t mince words or suffer gilded lilies.”

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

“I love to read and re-read THE GREAT GATSBY and BIRD BY BIRD, though my copy of the latter is currently loaned out. I may turn that loan into a gift and just buy myself a new one. I miss it.”

~Emily Winslow (The Whole World):

“For the book I’m currently working on, math text books and a volume of Nabokov short stories.”

* * * * *

Announcement: The winner of The Four Ms. Bradwells by Meg Waite Clayton is Jane Cook. Congratulations!

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

Writing, Rituals, Secrets, and Superstitions, IV

February 03, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles, Q&A

True or False? 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 discover the truth, as well as 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?

And this week among the authors who replied are returning TDW favorite Therese Fowler and new member Cari Kamm:

~Therese Fowler (Souvenir, Reunion, and Exposure coming May 3, 2011):

“Thankfully, I’ve never reached a point with my writing when “all else fails,” maybe because the strategies I adopted when I began are sure-fire ways to keep getting the words onto the page. Those strategies: create a word-count goal and stick to it; edit the previous day’s writing before moving forward into new scenes; make copious use of a writing journal–this is where I write, long-hand, all my questions, notes, and thoughts about the work-in-progress.”

~Jessica Barksdale Inclan (Being With Him, Intimate Beings, The Beautiful Being):

“I just sit my ass down and write every morning, for better or worse. I guess that “is” my superstition? I don’t walk around the room three times and incant a prayer or read Rumi. I just write.”

~Cari Kamm (Fake Perfect Me):

“No secrets or superstitions, just tons of yellow post-it notes! I only use yellow post-its and a bright orange sharpie to create the outline, Acts, and characters of Fake Perfect Me. I’m currently “‘wallpapering'” my office now for my 2nd book. Not sure why these colors, but I find comfort in them. Also, complete silence. I can be in a cafe or at home listening to music when creating themes or characters, but to actually write I need complete silence. ”

~Judy Merrill Larsen (All the Numbers):

“When I’m stuck, I let my characters start talking. They can almost always talk me out of being blocked. Usually by saying something I never expected or by starting an argument. Or, I jump ahead to a scene I’m dying to write and then go back and fill in the gap. Coffee and chocolate help too!”

~Karen McQuestion (A Scattered Life, Easily Amused coming September 21, 2010, and Celia and the Fairies for ages 7 – 11, and Favorite YA coming April 1, 2011):

“The library is my secret weapon. When all else fails, I go to my local library and settle into a comfortable chair with a spiral notebook and pen. Even if I’m really stuck, something always comes to me. It’s magic, my library.”

~Randy Susan Meyers (The Murderer’s Daughters):

“I wish I had a no-fail secret! The only ritual I use when I am feeling unmotivated is this lecture: Write! It’s your job. Does your doctor get to say she’s not feeling particularly medically creative on the day of your appointment? I wish I could say that this always works, but it does on most days. I try very hard to remember that it’s getting in the chair and putting my hands on the keyboard that’s the trick and that writing may be creative, but it’s still a job and I have to show up to succeed.”

To be continued….

* * * * *

Announcement: The winners of Caroline Leavitt’s Pictures of You are Colleen Turner and Carmela Francisco. Congratulations!

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

From: Readers/Friends
To: TDW Authors/Friends

Holiday Greetings!

December 14, 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!]

To Karen McQuestion, the author of A Scattered Life:

I’ve spent some time reading up on your story and it is such an inspiration to anyone who has ever found their work to be ignored by the “traditional” publishing houses. I haven’t had the opportunity to read your book yet, but one of the things that I love about the Christmas season is that I am able to spend more time than usual reading. There’s just something wonderful about being able to curl up with a good book next to a twinkling Christmas tree! I’m looking forward to it and “A Scattered Life” will be among my holiday reads. I’m looking forward to reading “Easily Amused” as well. Happy Holidays to you, your husband, and your three almost-grown children!

Jonita Fex

* * * * *

To Tanya Egan Gibson, author of How to Buy a Love of Reading:

Dear Tanya,

This holiday season, I think I shall buy you a love of reading… Just kidding! But I would like to thank you for writing such an original story. I really admire that you didn’t pull any punches (like with Hunter’s addiction issues).

Here’s a little virtual gift. Cheesy, I know.

Warm holiday wishes to you and yours!

Kristan

Best Writing Exercises, Part V

November 18, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Authors' Favorites, Q&A

In The Divining Wand’s seemingly never-ending pursuit to discover how our favorite authors/friends perfect their natural skills, they were asked: What have been some of the best writing exercises you’ve used in your writing process?

This week’s responses suggest that less is best. Also please welcome another new author, Meg Mitchell Moore!

Beth Hoffman (Saving CeeCee Honeycutt):

“None, really.”

Karen McQuestion (A Scattered Life, Easily Amused, and Celia and the Fairies for ages 7 – 11):

“I tend to be anti-writing exercises, not on principle, just for me personally. I never understood the benefit of doing “‘Morning Pages'” or “‘Character Work,'” or whatever. I just write and write and then write some more. I add things in and take things out, and somehow it all takes shape and becomes a novel. That’s the only way I know how to do it.”

Meg Mitchell Moore (The Arrivals coming May 25, 2011):

“I haven’t used a lot of writing exercises, though I’m always wondering if I should. The best piece of advice I heard recently was to set a timer and commit to sitting and writing for a certain amount of time without getting up, checking email, checking twitter, snacking, etc. It’s amazing how many words you can get down in just 30 or 40 minutes if you commit to absolute concentration. I use that trick when I can feel my attention wandering.”

Ivy Pochoda (The Art of Disappearing):

“I don’t really use exercises, but I tend to write and write and write excess background, excess scenes, stuff that I know will fall on the cutting room floor. This helps me know my characters better. I also try to rewrite scenes from another character’s perspective if something doesn’t feel right.”

Kristina Riggle (Real Life & Liars and The Life You’ve Imagined):

“I don’t have a good answer for this one, I’m afraid! I’m not one to use prompts and exercises. Nothing wrong with them, I just tend not to use them. I tend to just put my head down and plow through the current manuscript.”

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

“Ignore the clock. Ignore the Internet. Move to a quiet room. And just keep typing.”

Emily Winslow (The Whole World):

“I have a confession: I don’t like exercises. I only get excited about writing words that are part of a larger project.”

To be continued…..

* * * * *

Announcement: The winner of The Thieves of Darkness by Richard Doetsch is Jody. Congratulations!

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

Karen McQuestion and A Scattered Life

September 27, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books


Although much has been written about Karen McQuestion’s extraordinary journey to publishing success (including Guest Karen McQuestion on Keeping the Faith), the most important story remains between the covers of her debut novel, A Scattered Life. After all that was the Kindle book optioned for film, adored by ebook readers, and put Karen — not only on the literary map — but in The Wall Street Journal as well.

So what’s it all about? Simply put, the novel’s story is based on a friendship triangle between three women and explores the author’s fascination with the idea of feeling like an outsider in your own family.

Acknowledging that her fiction is basically character-driven and the plot evolves from the characters’ actions, Karen began writing A Scattered Life with the following scene in mind:

“A shy man has a crush on a waitress who works at a Mexican restaurant. He’s thirtyish and conservative, almost nerdy, and she’s much younger, a free spirit who is at loose ends in the world. He’s been coming in to the restaurant to watch her, never quite getting up the nerve to talk to her until something unexpected happens.”

Now add the details that the scene takes place in a Wisconsin small town with the Green Bay Packers playing on Monday Night Football and the reader is likely to take a leap of faith and be drawn into the action too.

To share a bit more, here is the synopsis:

When free-spirited Skyla marries proper and predictable Thomas Plinka, she finally finds the love and stability she’s craved since childhood. She also acquires a new family: mother-in-law Audrey, disapproving and suspicious of Skyla’s nomadic past; father-in-law Walt, gruff but kind; and Thomas’s brothers, sofa-bound Jeffrey, and Dennis, who moved across the country seemingly to avoid the family.

Skyla settles into marriage and motherhood, but quiet life in small-town Wisconsin can’t quell feelings of restlessness. Then into her life comes Madame Picard, the local psychic from the disreputable bookstore, Mystic Books, and new neighbor, Roxanne, whose goal in life is to have twelve kids even though she can’t manage the five she has. Despite her family’s objections, Skyla befriends Roxanne and gets a job at the bookstore, and life gets fuller and more complicated than she ever imagined.

Next enjoy a lovely Video for A Scattered Life.

If the video reminds you of a quiet, somewhat simpler life, settle into Skyla’s neighborhood. It is there that the author has created a place reminiscent of the way people used to connect — on a one-on-one basis — and care about each other. However, despite the comfort zone feeling, this story of three women and their daily routines is not without problems.

Funny, poignant and incredibly honest, The Divining Wand wondered if the characters told Karen their stories or if the tales were written around them? And she said:

“I have heard other writers say that characters “speak” to them, but I’ve never had that experience. I usually have an impression of who my characters are, and a situation, and I work from there. On several occasions, I’ve tried to plot things out ahead of time. It seems the most sensible way to do things, but I’ve never been able to make plotting or outlining work. Once I know the whole storyline, I find that I don’t want to write it because it feels like homework. The fun of writing is finding out what happens next. For me, writing fiction feels more like discovering than creating, and I’ll often have eureka moments–oh, now I know why she was acting that way! I always aim for a happy (or at least hopeful) ending, but I never really know how it’s going to go until I get there.”

TRUST: The above explanation could be the most telling of the author’s success in writing genuine and appealing novels. For Karen McQuestion focuses on what intrigues her about universal human truths — those that are likely our own truths. A Scattered Life highlights this fact by presenting three unforgettable women who actually are Everywomen at some point in life. And, while their personalities and immediate situations differ, they all know (or have known) how it feels to be left out. Whether it’s the young wife, the next door neighbor with five sons, or the mother-in-law, these women share the desire to belong and feel needed.

Independence, strength, and accepting others for who they are go a long way towards belonging. Or it could be as simple as applying the wise words of “Open your heart.” In A Scattered Life, the reader will undoubtedly recognize at least one character as someone she knows and then realize the extent to which lives are intertwined. Karen McQuestion’s novel also reminds how important daily lives are, no matter how mundane they may seem because even small details make a difference later.

Author (The Dogs of Babal, Lost and Found, and The Nobodies Album) Carolyn Parkhurst Reviews “A Scattered Life” and concludes with the following:

McQuestion writes with a sharp eye and a sure voice, and as a reader, I was willing to go wherever she wanted to take me. After I finished the book, I thought about how I might describe it to a friend, and I settled on a phrase that says a lot without saying very much at all. It’s the way these conversations usually end: “You should read this. It’s good.”

Yes you should read this book. It’s much better than good!

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away two copies of Karen McQuestion’s A Scattered Life in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winners to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to see if you’re a winner.

Guest Karen McQuestion on Keeping the Faith

September 21, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Guest Posts

[Karen McQuestion (A Scattered Life, Easily Amused releasing today, and Celia and the Fairies for ages 7 – 11 coming November 2, 2010) believed she was born to write and write she did, novel after novel for almost ten years. The only problem was they weren’t being published. In today’s guest post, the author describes what happened in her literary version of, “If you build it, they will come.”]

Keeping the Faith

I didn’t set out to become a self-publishing guru, but lately I’m finding myself in that role. When I first self-published on Amazon’s Kindle, I had modest expectations. At most, I’d hoped to gain a few readers and make a little money. As it turned out, I got so much more than that. Just over a year later, I’ve sold over 75,000 e-books, signed contracts for five books, and have a film option on one of my novels.

Originally I was a freelance writer with credits that included Newsweek, the Chicago Tribune and the Denver Post. But it was when I started writing novels that I really came into my own. I loved writing fiction and longed to get my work out in the world and into readers’ hands.

I wrote novel after novel for nearly a decade and made every attempt to get them published. Over the years, I had two different agents represent my work. I got complimentary feedback from editors, but neither book sold.
Later I was a semi-finalist in a novel contest, but the book didn’t make it through to the next round. I submitted to publishers on my own, and got encouraging notes, but no offers. It was very disheartening and somewhat embarrassing. When friends and relatives asked how the writing was going, I felt like the biggest loser ever.

It would have been easy to give up, but I didn’t. I knew I was made to do this.

And so it went until I read an article about a writer who uploaded his unpublished novels to be available for sale on Amazon’s Kindle as e-books, and was so successful he went on to sign a contract with Simon & Schuster. I was familiar with the Kindle, but had never seen one. In fact, I’d never seen any e-book device. Prior to reading the article, I hadn’t known writers could self-publish on the Kindle, but now I was intrigued. I learned all I could about uploading and marketing a Kindle book, and decided to go for it.

I uploaded two books at first, but didn’t tell too many people. I figured I could always take the books off Amazon if there weren’t any sales, and no one would be the wiser. But an amazing thing happened shortly after the books became available for sale: someone bought one. And that was just the beginning. The sales rolled in, just a few at first, but more every day.

Within a few weeks, I started getting emails from readers who enjoyed the books and wanted to know if I had any others. Spurred on by these requests and my initial sales, I got out my remaining manuscripts, did some revising and uploaded them one by one. After a few months, readers started recommending my books on the message boards and the word of mouth helped drive sales. The increased sales helped my rankings, which gave my titles added visibility and led to more sales.

Over the course of the first several months, my husband and I found ourselves exchanging the same few words to each other: unbelievable, amazing, unreal. Sometimes it’s still hard for me to believe that people are reading and enjoying my books. I’ve wanted this for so long that it feels too good to be true.

In November 2009, five months after I began this venture, I got an email from Eric Lake, the head of an L.A. production company. The email asked for the contact information of the person handling the movie rights for my novel, A Scattered Life. Apparently no one had told Eric that there was no such person, only me, a woman typing in her basement. I did a search to see if this was a legitimate production company (it was) before responding.

During the next week, Eric and I talked on the phone, and emailed back and forth. Once we agreed on terms, we were able to finalize the deal. He envisions my novel as a full length feature film along the lines of Little Miss Sunshine, a movie I love. So far the project is on track and I hope to eventually see my story on the big screen.

At the beginning of December 2009, I had steady sales and a film option and couldn’t imagine my life getting any better. Then I received an email from Terry Goodman, Senior Content Acquisition Editor for Amazon’s new publishing division, AmazonEncore. The email congratulated me on the film option and mentioned the novel’s positive reviews, but this was my favorite line in the whole email: I would love to speak to you about acquiring the rights for the physical book under the AmazonEncore imprint. At that point, I wasn’t even pursuing traditional publication, so this was an unexpected, wonderful bonus. I was excited about partnering with AmazonEncore, especially after talking to Terry, a smart, funny man, who shared my vision for the novel.

The new version of A Scattered Life has already been released on Kindle and paperback, and is doing extremely well. Four more of my previously self-published books are now also under contract with AmazonEncore, and will be published in the next several months.

I didn’t set out to be a self-publishing guru, but I guess I am one now. I get emails all the time from other writers who’ve heard about my publishing journey. They say that my story is very much like theirs. They know about the rejections, the encouraging letters, and the agent failures. I understand where they’re coming from. They love to write and want to connect with readers. It would be easy for them to give up, but they aren’t going to. They feel like they were made to do this.

I share what I know, then tell them to keep the faith and be open to new things. Opportunities present themselves, sometimes when you least expect it, and often when you’ve almost given up hope.

Note: To celebrate the launch of Easily Amused, Karen is having a four Book Giveaway — today through Saturday. Please visit her Blog to enter.

* * * * *

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away two copies of Jenny Nelson’s Georgia’s Kitchen in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post, Jenny Nelson and Georgia’s Kitchen. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winners to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to see if you’re a winner.

The Revealing of Karen McQuestion

September 15, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles, Q&A

Karen McQuestion (A Scattered Life, Easily Amused coming September 21, 2010, and Celia and the Fairies for ages 7 – 11 coming November 2, 2010) proclaims to be “the luckiest writer in the world.” Why? Because her dream(s) of being published are coming true…one book following the other. The author explains:

“After years of trying to get published traditionally, I self-published my books on Amazon’s Kindle in 2009. Sales were great, and as a result, I now have five books (paperback and e-book) coming out under the AmazonEncore imprint, and one novel, A Scattered Life, optioned for film.”

Also there’s great praise for A Scattered Life:

“An emotional and engaging novel about family.” – Delia Ephron, author of The Girl with the Mermaid Hair

“McQuestion writes with a sharp eye and a sure voice, and as a reader, I was willing to go wherever she wanted to take me. After I finished the book, I thought about how I might describe it to a friend, and I settled on a phrase that says a lot without saying very much at all. It’s the way these conversations usually end: “‘You should read this. It’s good.'” –Carolyn Parkhurst, author of The Dogs of Babel, Lost and Found, and The Nobodies Album

The Divining Wand has scheduled a presentation/review of A Scattered Life for Monday, September 27, 2010. However, in the meantime, let’s meet the author by reading her “official” bio:

Karen McQuestion’s essays have appeared in Newsweek, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, Christian Science Monitor and several anthologies. She is the author of six books self-published on Amazon’s Kindle, one of which, the novel, A Scattered Life, caught the attention of an L.A. based production company and became the first self-published Kindle book to be optioned for film. Five of her previously self-published books will now be published by AmazonEncore. McQuestion lives with her family in Hartland, Wisconsin.

And now for the upclose/personal revealing of Karen:

Q: How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A: Unpredictable, ever changing, a little messy, always interesting.

Q; What is your motto or maxim?
A: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
I made that one up just now.

Q: How would you describe perfect happiness?
A: A weekend with nothing planned.

Q: What’s your greatest fear?
A: I have a lot of anxieties, but my biggest fear is that something bad will happen to one of my kids.

Q: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A: Standing on a digital scale with “120 lbs” in the display.

Q: With whom in history do you most identify?
A: Louisa May Alcott, because both of us are writers and the second of four daughters.

Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: Erin Brockovich

Q: What are your most overused words or phrases?
A: In my writing: seem, look, nodded. In real life: “Do you know what I mean?”

Q: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: It’s a tie between being invisible and flying. Or else being a really good cook.

Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: Getting my older son out of bed in the morning for four years of high school. I seriously doubt many people could have done it and kept their sanity.

Q: What’s your greatest flaw?
A: I’m a bit of a control freak.

Q: What’s your best quality?
A: Empathy.

Q: What do you regret most?
A: Regrets, I have more than a few. Most of them involve hurting other people’s feelings.

Q: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A: Myself, only taller, prettier, and ten years younger.

Q: What trait is most noticeable about you?
A: I blend in well in a crowd.

Q: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: The Count of Monte Cristo

Q: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A: Hannibal Lecter

Q: If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: To any of them I’d say, “Dude, you don’t need to be running around all the time. Have you heard of reading a book?”

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: Women who are effortlessly thin.

Q: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A: For the purpose of this reveal, we’ll say reading in my favorite recliner.

Q: What’s your fantasy profession?
A: Stand-up comedian

Q: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: Sense of humor, compassion, intelligence.

Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: Oatmeal with raisins, brown sugar, butter, and cream.

Q: What are your 5 favorite songs?
A: Right now:
Für Elise by Beethoven
My Heart Will Go On (Celine Dion)
Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)
So Happy Together (The Turtles)
Cooler Than Me (Mike Posner)

Q: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A: Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Talented, determined, and very grateful, Karen McQuestion’s success is limitless. Discover what’s next for her by following on Twitter and becoming a fan on Facebook.

* * * * *

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away a copy of Leah Stewart’s Husband and Wife in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post, Leah Stewart and Husband and Wife. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is tonight at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winner to be announced here in tomorrow’s post. If you enter, please return tomorrow to see if you’re a winner.

Welcoming New Authors, Introducing 2011 Debs

August 26, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News, News

With Labor Day only a weekend away, it’s a time for change and new beginnings. During the summer TDW welcomed new authors to the site and, once again, I’m proud to announce the addition of the following four writers soon be seen on these pages:

~Melissa Senate (The Mosts YA, The Secret of Joy, the rest in Bibliography, and The Love Goddess’ Cooking School coming October 26, 2010)

~Stacey Ballis (The Spinster Sisters, Room for Improvement, the rest in Bibliography, and Good Enough to Eat coming September 7, 2010)

~Karen McQuestion (A Scattered Life is the first self-published Kindle book to be optioned for film. Now, in response to reader enthusiasm, the novel has been published in paperback by AmazonEncore, Amazon’s new publishing division.)

~Richard Hine (Russell Wiley Is Out to Lunch coming October 12, 2010)

Also in a state of change is The Debutante Ball with their 2011 Season beginning this Monday, August 30, 2010. In a recent post, “bowing out” Debutante Alicia Bessette (Simply from Scratch that People magazine described as “tasty” in the Great Reads section of 8/14 issue) offered a brief glimpse of the five new Debs:

“Fans of the Debutante Ball are in for a phenomenal treat this upcoming year. Here’s a sneak peek at the awesome books penned by our five new dancin’ queens:

Eleanor Brown is the author of The Weird Sisters, the story of three adult sisters who return home to the small college town where they grew up, partly because their mother is ill, but mostly because their lives are collapsing and they don’t know where to go next.

Elise Allen is the author of a novel for young adults, Populazzi, a coming-of-age comedy of errors about a girl’s quest to become popular.

Kim Stagliano’s memoir, All I Can Handle, takes the reader from her wedding day to the present, chronicling what it was like to have one, then two, then three girls with autism while she and her husband weathered job losses and financial woes.

Sarah Jio’s novel, The Waters of March, takes place in two time periods (present and 1943), and was inspired by her childhood on and near Bainbridge Island, Washington. It’s the story of a disillusioned, divorced writer who discovers a diary that sends her on a journey of healing and discovery.

The first of Tawna Fenske’s three romantic comedies, Making Waves, concerns a revenge-fueled diamond heist in the Caribbean, with a crew more suited to the boardroom than the poop deck, and a quirky blond stowaway who’s got a few big secrets.”

Please join them and take a whirl around the ballroom floor, remember pearls and gloves are not required!

* * * * *

Announcement: The winners of Kate Ledger’s “signed” copies of Remedies are Jennifer Sharp and Mary Quackenbush. Congratulations!

Please email diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address and Kate will send out your book as soon as possible.