The Divining Wand

Discovering authors beyond their pages…

Our Authors’ True Love of the Writing Process

February 17, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Authors' Favorites, Profiles

If, as often described, the road to publication is a journey, then the writing process must be a well-known path for every author. Yes, it’s a creative path but one that’s also paved with guidelines, outlines, eventual deadlines and everything in between. Sound arduous? Some parts of this path just are, however what about those places where a writer can literally coast? Since these are different for everyone — and in keeping with this site’s theme for the week — our authors were asked: What do you love most about the writing process?

Katie Alender (Bad Girls Don’t Die YA):

“Like most writers, I have a totally bizarre relationship with the actual writing process–I love it enough to want to do it for a living, but I fear it and occasionally do everything in my power to avoid it! But I’ve recently discovered that what I really love is revising. I like taking something that almost works and making it clean and powerful.”

Joëlle Anthony (Restoring Harmony YA coming May 13, 2010):

“Revising – makes me an odd duck in the writing world, but I love editing and revision.”

Melanie Benjamin (Alice I Have Been):

“Losing myself in a different world, becoming different people. It’s really a very dreamy, sensual feeling.”

Meredith Cole (Posed for Murder, Dead in the Water coming May 11, 2010):

“I know people rave all the time about those moments when the story flows and you’re in some magical groove. The story seems almost to write itself. I love those moments, too, but I have to admit I have an overwhelming fondness for editing. I resist as long as I can, making myself get through the first draft before I get to revise. And then, when it’s time, I whip out a red pen and prepare to slash and burn, straighten and expand. It’s so wonderful to see something that’s a bit of a mess and know instantly how to fix it. Or even if it’s a challenge, getting it all polished is all the more satisfying.”

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

“My favorite part is the messy, early part where I am just writing and imagining and creating. It’s like mixing batter with too much flour, ideas and words everywhere. Later, of course, things have to calm down and recipe instructions must be followed. But before that! So much fun.”

Maria Garcia Kalb (101 Ways to Torture Your Husband):

“I am quite enamored with the “self-discovery” part of the writing process. You truly get to know yourself and there are many surprising things you learn along the way. I can say I never knew myself until I started writing. Its like meeting a stranger for the first time..but you’re not afraid to tell that stranger that they’ve got something in their teeth!”

Lauren Baratz-Logsted (most recent Crazy Beautiful YA, Sisters 8 series with Book 5: Marcia’s Madness coming May 3, 2010):

“The moment I’ve completed a first draft and I get that feeling of relief, knowing I’ve gone the distance and that the chance to improve it still lies ahead.”

Shana Mahaffey (Sounds Like Crazy):

“As a sufferer of a writer’s block more impenetrable than that Berlin Wall, when I become like Crush the Turtle surfing the tide of the Eastern Australian Current (Finding Nemo), I do want to stand up and yell, “Righteous! Righteous!” I feel possessed. I can’t type fast enough and propelled by my fear that I will lose the thread of whatever happens to be pouring out of me, I write as fast as I can, without judgment, not caring if the words are spelled right or if the sentences make sense; this is all stuff I can fix later. Experiencing this state is what I love most about the writing process. It doesn’t happen often, but I don’t mind because I know the frenzy that contains the best of me is like a cat—it comes and goes as it pleases. But like anyone who lives in thrall to a cat, I still show up and scale writer’s block wall, propelled by the hope that today will be the day.”

Ivy Pochoda (The Art of Disappearing):

“I love when I can hear a rhythm to my writing in my head as I type.”

Kristina Riggle (Real Life & Liars):

“It’s like playing Let’s Pretend! All my favorite games as a girl revolved around playacting and making up stories. I still get to do that, all the time.”

Therese Walsh (The Last Will of Moira Leahy):

“I love it best when my muse surprises me. I’m typing along, minding my own business, and then—wham. Who’s that character? Where did that line come from? The characters did what? These are the moments that make writing the most rewarding occupation in the world.”

Emily Winslow (The Whole World coming May 25, 2010):

“I love being ahead of deadline.”

To be continued…

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away two signed copies of Judy Merrill Larsen’s debut novel, All the Numbers. Please leave a comment on this post by tonight at 7:00 p.m. EST to be entered into the random drawing. The winners will be announced in tomorrow’s post.

Presenting Debutante Maria Garcia-Kalb and
101 Ways to Torture Your Husband

January 06, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books


“Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman’s Scorn”
~ William Congreve

Although Maria Garcia-Kalb is excited and proud to be the first of The Debutante Ball Class of 2010 to appear in a bookstore near you with 101 Ways to Torture Your Husband, she’s also a bit dazed. After all her dream was to become a vet, a job quickly replaced by the idea of following in Barbara Walter’s’ footsteps…yet here she is a published author!

Deb Maria explained her journey as a writer when introducing herself in the September 3, 2009 post, Hello folks! Is this thing on????. When TV didn’t beckon, but FM radio did, Maria found her niche:

“Little did I know radio would be my salvation (sounds of angels singing). The second I cracked open my first live microphone, I knew I had finally found my place in the universe. I slowly discovered who I really was, growing along with my listeners who pushed me to be incredibly creative, outrageously silly, and brutally honest–which turns out is my special gift. I opened-up about my tumultuous marriage, my wacky Latino family, and my Uncle Larry’s cat who he swears was gay. I held nothing back. My life on the air was an open book, and one day I actually said ‘“I think I’m going to write a book about how annoying men can be, and how we should be allowed to strangle them at will when they behave like idiots!”’

“Years later, I found myself in the basement of our Long Island home actually penning what would become “101 Ways to Torture Your Husband.” Frankly, the end result looked more like Ted Kaczynski’s “manifesto,” and when I was done, it was so juicy I wanted to share it with every woman I know. Married, dating, engaged, internet-involved…it didn’t matter. Anyone who was forced to deal with a MAN needed to get a hold of my book and discover ways to alleviate the stress. That’s what men cause 99.9 percent of the time. Trust me, I couldn’t have written a book without having my dear spouse, but men are mostly put into our lives to remind us about Eve’s bone-headed move in paradise. Men never let us forget that, but 101 Ways to Torture Your Husband is basically payback in book form. I mean “WE” didn’t force Eve to listen to that stupid snake and scarf down the apple! Why should we suffer with no retaliation? 101 Ways to Torture Your Husband evens the score once and for all. It’s basically a handy “manual,” explaining (in detail) stuff you can do to drive your man bonkers in a most insidious way. Torture doesn’t have to be ugly. It can be fun and entertaining.”

In other words, Deb Maria’s writing is pure humor. And, on her attorneys’ advice, she even offers the following DISCLAIMER: “This is just for fun and amusement, and not intended to serious hurt your significant other in any way.”

Here’s Early Praise for 101 Ways to Torture Your Husband:

“Deliciously devilish…and downright hilarious! Love it!”__Jill Zarin, “The Real Housewives of New York City”

“A perfect blend of fantasy and laughter. I wish all my patients would read this book!”__Manhattan therapist Carrie Gelber Rosenfield, PsyD

And, according to the book’s description, readers will discover that;

“101 Ways to Torture Your Husband” is a fun, devilish manual for every wife who dreams of making her husband pay for his naughty wrongdoings.

While the title refers to “husbands,” boyfriends and lovers are also included, and can suffer the same consequences when they drive their woman insane! Sure, it’s a passive-aggressive way to seek revenge, but boy will you feel better afterwards!

How many times have you asked your husband to do a simple task like “bathe the dog” only to watch him take off with his buddies just moments later leaving you to do the dirty deed? When was the last time he did something nice for you like take the kids to the park while you relax for a whole hour? Does he ever to anything without being asked? Are you fed-up with his incredible selfishness and inconsiderate behavior? Well girlfriend, this book is for you!!

Even if you don’t execute any of the hilarious scenarios, 101 Ways to Torture Your Husband is guaranteed to lighten your mood and put a smile on your face – at least until your man comes home demanding dinner!

So what are some of the author’s clever means of torture? Well there’s burying the remote in the backyard; having lunch with an ex; picking a fight during the (football/basketball/baseball) game; booking a male masseuse for your next massage; deleting his DVR recordings…and many more. Aha, you “get” the idea that such torture is designed to annoy and frustrate him to the point that he’ll “never misbehave again.”

Perhaps, although Deb Maria has that covered too by including risk factors that rank the degree of a torture tactic and how long it will take your man to learn his lesson. This allows you to select what would be the most appropriate torture — be it mental, physical, quick, slow or miscellaneous.

On the last page of her “manual,” the writer recaps why torturing your husband is permissible. However the true conclusion may well have been written in Debutante Maria Garcia-Kalb’s December 17, 2009 post, Dedications can make for altercations. Please read the entire piece, though the most significant and loving sentiments are:

“Just in case you haven’t figured it out, “101 Ways to Torture Your Husband” is all about my dear hubby. Yes, its about “torturing” him of course, but in the end, every single page in my book was inspired by this man who’s been everything to me; friend, lover, father, therapist, co-parent, and at some point (in the hopefully very distant future) he’ll become my annoying nursing home roommate. Lord give me strength.”

101 Ways to Torture Your Husband is available for purchase now. Read and enjoy it…as long as you truly love someone!

Book Giveaways: The Divining Wand will be awarding two copies of 101 Ways to Torture Your Husband by randomly drawing from the comments left on this post before the deadline of Sunday, January 10, 2010 at 7:00 P.M. EST with the winners to be announced in Monday’s post. Please remember that the Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood Giveaway contest remains open to all who comment on this post. The deadline for comments is 7:00 p.m. EST tonight with the the winners to be announced in tomorrow’s post.

The Revealing of Maria Garcia-Kalb

January 05, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles

Debutante Maria Garcia-Kalb officially becomes a “published” writer on January 18, 2010 — the release date of her humorous book, 101 Ways to Torture Your Husband. Ironically, though, the book is already out and available for purchase online or at your local bookstore. A presentation/review of 101 Ways to Torture Your Husband will appear here tomorrow. However, today, let’s go beyond the brief bio of this award-winning radio broadcaster — currently an on-air personality on WKJY-FM 98.3 “K-JOY” in Farmingdale, NY.

Maria is described as: As a self-proclaimed relationship expert, Garcia-Kalb strives to encourage harmonious unions..with just a touch of torture.

She has a lot of experience to share, the mother of one has been married to her husband Andrew for 12 years (and counting!)

While the above is obviously true, there is so much more as Maria reveals:

Q: How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A: surprising, amusing, confusing, enchanted, hectic, hysterical, full, blessed.

Q: What is your motto or maxim:
A: “New rules can always be established.”

Q: How would you describe perfect happiness?
A:Good health to enjoy the good times. That’s perfect happiness for me.

Q: What’s your greatest fear?
A: Fear is not something I think about.

Q: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A: Chatting with Oprah about my book! Haha

Q: With whom in history do you most identify?
A: My grandmother (not famous, but we were very much alike.)

Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: My Dad, who’s patience astounds me.

Q: What are your most overused words or phrases?
A: “I’m on a diet.”

Q: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: I know its cliche, but I wish I could sing…specifically opera.

Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: My son Ethan, who just turned 7.

Q: What’s your greatest flaw?
A: Me? Flaws?? Hahaha..
Actually, I can be an awful procrastinator.

Q: What’s your best quality?
A: I always try to see the good side in people.

Q: What do you regret most
A: Waiting so long to write my first book.

Q: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A: Don’t laugh, but I’d love to be Madonna — for about a week.

Q: What trait is most noticeable about you?
A: My giant goofy smile.

Q: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: Wonder Woman

Q: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A: Darth Vader

Q: If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: I’m not big on sports at all, but I guess I would enjoy meeting Tiger Woods and say “Dude, what were you thinking???”

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: Close talkers with bad breath!

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

Q:What’s your fantasy profession?
A: Professional bed tester.

Q: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: Fun-loving, considerate, kind

Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: Chinese take-out.

Q: What are your 5 favorite songs?
A: This is soooo hard! It depends on my mood. Right now I’m gonna say:
Naked Eyes – “Always something there to remind me”; Dean Martin – “Volare”; The Cure – “Pictures of you”; Madonna – “Holiday”; Elvis – “Love Me Tender”

Q: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A: “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch; “The Fountainhead” Ayn Rand; “Animal Farm” by George Orwell; “The Complete Stories and Poems” of Edgar Allan Poe; “Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss(I couldn’t help it!) 🙂

For more of Maria, please follow her on Twitter and become a Facebook friend.


Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand will be awarding two copies of Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood via a random drawing of all comments left on this post. The deadline for comments is 7:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, January 6, 2010 with the the winners to be announced in Thursday’s post.

Literary Visuals

September 15, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Book Trailers

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many pages would a Book Trailer be? Today is all about our author’s videos, so settle back and enjoy!

Meg Waite Clayton’s The Wednesday Sisters is available in trade paperback. A national bestseller, this novel was a Target Bookmarked Club Pick for the Summer and a Borders Book Club Pick. Watch The Wednesday Sisters Book Trailer now.

31 Hours by Masha Hamilton uses the New York City subway as one of its characters. View the subway Photo Gallery and then catch the Book Trailer.

Due to be released on Tuesday, January 29th, The Beautiful Being by Jessica Barksdale Inclan offers a paranormal romance. Interested? Here’s The Beautiful Being Book Trailer.

With a sneak peek into January, Debutante Maria Garcia-Kalb invites you to view the promo video for 101 Ways to Torture Your Husband.

And Founder Deb Eileen Cook’s second YA novel, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood will also be released in January 2010. First, however, there is the Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood Book Trailer.

On The Red Carpet with Debutante Maria Garcia-Kalb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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