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The Divining Wand’s Summer TBR List

June 28, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: News

Dear Authors/Readers/Friends —

What a spectacular year it’s been here at The Divining Wand. From authors revealed, guests posts, responses to writing/literary questions, and the presentations/reviews, this Fairy Godmother — with great pride and joy — believes she has introduced the very best of the best for everyone’s enjoyment.

But what about this summer? After asking the authors for their summer TBR lists, I decided it might be worthwhile to share my personal list too.

Catching Up On:

~The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer

~Twenty-Somewhere [Kindle Edition] by Kristan Hoffman (Yes our most loyal commenter Kristan!)

~Here, Home, Hope by Kaira Rouda

Looking Forward To:

~Centuries of June by Keith Donohue

~Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan

~Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

~Game of Secrets by Dawn Tripp

~The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin

~Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto

~Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close

~The Winters in Bloom by Lisa Tucker (e-galley)

First To-Be-Read:

The entire Harry Potter series. It’s time for this Fairy Godmother to meet the Boy Wizard!

Since the list grows daily, you might be wondering where I’ll ever find the time? Well, after almost five years of blogging, I’m granting myself a summer vacation. Imagining two months free of posts and deadlines is impossible, I don’t remember what that feels like but will savor every bit of reclaiming the experience.

If you follow me on Twitter and/or are a friend on Facebook, I plan on being there as well as making personal blog tours.. So, if you see me, please at least wave.

Happy summer to you and thank you all!

As ever —
Larramie

Current and Forthcoming Attractions:
Book Trailers, Book Covers

September 30, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News, Book Covers, Book Trailers

Until recently an author’s description was the only way a reader could visualize a main character or novel’s setting. But — through the talented use of video and high tech graphics — book trailers and even book covers are tempting us with a novel’s storyline. The following are a mere handful of current and forthcoming books worthy of your attention.

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Ivy Pochoda’s debut novel, The Art of Disappearing, was released in paperback edition this week and its new cover captures the entire magical story. For more on this book, please read Ivy Pochoda’s The Art of Disappearing.

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Kate Ledger has chosen to “show and tell” more of her debut novel, Remedies, in a lovely, narrated Book Trailer. Please take a look.

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Eileen Cook (Unpredictable, What Would Emma Do? YA, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood YA, The Education of Hailey Kendrick YA coming January 4, 2011, and Fourth Grade Fairy ages 9 – 11 coming April 19, 2011) continues with Lauren Wood’s advice videos the can be viewed here. And who will burst Hailey Kendrick’s bubble on its release date — January 4, 2011?

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Kim Stagliano will be the first 2011 class member of The Debutante Ball to be presented to the reading public on November 1, 2010 when her memoir, All I Can Handle: I’m No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism, debuts.

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Melanie Benjamin’s historical fiction debut, Alice I Have Been, will be released in paperback on December 28, 2010.

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Debutante Eleanor Brown takes her turn at bowing, then dancing around the ballroom floor with her first novel, The Weird Sisters, debuting on February 17, 2011.

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A warm welcome to The Divining Wand’s most recent addition/author-to-be Jael McHenry who debuts with The Kitchen Daughter on April 12, 2011.

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Debutante Elise Allen presents her first solo (more about that later) YA novel, Populazzi, in spring/summer 2011.

And yes that’s a mere handful of what’s out there now and what awaits.

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Meg Waite Clayton’s The Wednesday Sisters, The Four Ms. Bradwells coming March 22, 2011) announces:

“I’m doing a special giveaway for readers and book bloggers this week: readers can win a copy of Indie Next selection, Barnes & Noble Discover pick, and Library Journal “best books of the year” The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession. Bloggers can win TWO copies: one to read and one to giveaway on their own blog. (Details can be found here).”

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Announcement: The winners of Karen McQuestion’s A Scattered Life are Jonita and Suzanne. Congratulations!

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

Fan Mail: An Author’s
Most Memorable Reward, II

September 23, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Authors' Favorites, Q&A

Last month’s post on how much fan mail meant to authors surprised some visitors, while inspiring others to finally write their own personal messages. The written word is powerful in expressing heartfelt gratitude and here are more author responses to memorably touching fan mail:

~Tanya Egan Gibson (How to Buy a Love of Reading):

“A man wrote to say that my depiction of alcohol and drug addiction (in a teenage character, Hunter Cay) felt very real. He’d finished my novel between classes and had been crying when his sixth grade students came in. He wrote, “Thanks for touching my heart.” Which, in turn, touched mine. It is so wonderful and kind for people to take the time to write and share like that.”

~Kate Ledger (Remedies):

“One tremendously moving piece of fan mail came from a woman who wrote that REMEDIES had resonated with her own personal tragedy. I got teary at my computer when I read her note. Like the characters in REMEDIES, she and her husband had lost a child. She wrote that the effects of that loss have continued to ripple through her marriage. She wrote that the novel had been difficult to read, and also, ultimately, comforting, and that even though her own outcome was still in progress, the book had come along at exactly the right time.”

~Meredith Cole (Posed for Murder, Dead in the Water):

“These days you receive more emails than mail, I’m afraid. I did get a request from a girl to sign my photo and send it to her for her scrapbook. It made me feel like a teen rock star, so of course I did it. I’ve really enjoyed hearing from people. It means a lot when someone tells me that they stayed up half the night, or were late because they simply had to finish my book. It makes me feel like I’ve done my job right.”

~Melanie Benjamin (Alice I Have Been):

“They’re all memorable, because I’m touched every time a reader takes the time to let me know how much they loved my book.”

~CJ Lyons (Lifelines, Warning Signs, Urgent Care, and Critical Condition coming November 30, 2010):

“I’ve gotten several letters from fans facing painful medical crises, including one woman whose cancer pain kept her up at nights, unable to sleep or get comfortable. They have written thanking me for providing them with escape from the pain of their lives as they read my books.

The fact that my stories have been able to help these people facing their diseases with dignity and courage brought me to tears…truly better than any award my books could ever win!”

~Therese Fowler (Souvenir, Reunion):

“I’ve had so many amazing letters from readers world-wide; one that I loved came from the mother of seven-year-old twin girls who, after reading SOUVENIR, was inspired to create a journal for their future benefit, and to buy each of them a copy of SOUVENIR, which she was storing away in their “hope chests” to be read when they’re teens. A recent letter of praise from a woman who is a Medical Social Worker and who deals every day with patients in heartbreaking situations was also very rewarding.”

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

“The young woman who wrote to say that she was able to finally extricate herself from both her dysfunctional marriage and her ongoing affair with her also-married boss because she read “Inappropriate Men”. She wrote from her fabulous new job, where she had met her fabulous (and single!) new boyfriend who worked in the same building. She said that she had felt completely trapped and that the book helped her find her spine. That e-mail gave me goosebumps.”

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

“My most memorable wasn’t my best, but a long letter quoting all the passages from my first book that had anything to do with sex and suggesting that I and the letter writer would really understand one another. (Oh, dear.) I also remember one I got after my second book, which was about female friendship, from a woman who’d lost her best friend in Iraq. That one was lovely and very sad.”

~ Beth Hoffman (Saving CeeCee Honeycutt releasing in Trade Paperback October 26, 2010):

“I received a letter from a 93 year-old woman who said that she loved my book and was so glad it was available in large print. She went on to say that she read it twice because, at her age, she was running out of time and didn’t know if she’d be around if/when the movie came out. It was so touching.”

~Robin Antalek (The Summer We Fell Apart):

“I think it would have to be after I published a short story in a literary journal that was put out by a university in Florida years ago. It was handwritten – a page and a half long – from a young woman who claimed to have read the story so many times she felt like the characters were people she knew. She went on to tell me she had written a paper on the story for her English seminar class. It was a pretty cool ego boost for a struggling writer who wrote late at night after work.”

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

“I love every bit of fan mail I get. From the adorable one-line emails just telling me how much they enjoyed the book to the detailed breakdowns of all of the elements they liked (and why). I get a lot of emails saying I’ve inspired them to write (very flattering), a lot saying that they can relate to Alexis and her sense of outsiderness (very touching), and a lot with interpretations of the book that reflect a cinematic mind at work (very interesting). I am convinced that I have the brightest and funniest fans of any book, ever! I must say, I especially love getting snailmail (as TDW might be aware).”

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

“One of my favorite notes was from a reader who enjoyed my debut with a stiff drink and added, “Only wished I had a joint to join Mira” who is, as constant TDW readers will know, the flower child grandmother protagonist. I think my favorite fan interaction was in person, at my book launch event. A woman I didn’t know told me she went out and scheduled her mammogram after reading about how my protagonist delayed her own, with severe consequences. I was so touched and honored that my book prompted her to take such an important step, and that she felt moved to share that with me.”

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Announcement: The winners of Jenny Nelson’s debut novel Georgia’s Kitchen are Keetha and Maria M.. Congratulations!

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

Current and Coming Attractions

September 16, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News, Book Trailers, News

Although The Divining Wand authors have been busy writing, publishing, and keeping TBR books piled high, it’s only natural to wonder what’s next for our favorite writers. And what follows is a tasty sampling to whet your reading appetite.

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As of today, Thursday, September 16, 2010, Eileen Cook (Unpredictable, What Would Emma Do? YA, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood YA, releasing in paperback September 21, 2010, The Education of Hailey Kendrick YA coming January 4, 2011, and Fourth Grade Fairy ages 9 – 11 coming April 19, 2011) celebrates the paperback release of Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood with the first video in a series of six.

As Eileen explains:

“The idea behind the videos is that the snotty Lauren Wood has her own video blog where she offers popularity tips. You can probably imagine what great advice Lauren has! I am going to have videos come out every couple days until all six are up. Please visit Lauren’s new website and click on the You Tube icon.

And now for the future:

~Robin Antalek (The Summer We Fell Apart):

“I’m currently working on a book set on a private island off the west coast of Florida about a woman who has experienced the premature death of her mother and sets out to find the family she never knew while her mother was alive. Tentative title: The Blooms of Ella Island.”

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

“Working on a new book that is a real departure for me, much more mainstream fiction. It is a questing story of a young woman who may or may not be dying, and how it explodes her quiet life.”

~Melanie Benjamin (Alice I Have Been):

“I’ll be appearing at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, TN, October 8-10. The paperback release of ALICE I HAVE BEEN is December 28th and I’ll be touring for that in January, dates & locations TBA. I’ve been blogging for the Huffington Post, and just joined a new group blog called the Girlfriends’ Book Club. My next historical fiction will be released by Random House in August of 2011; I’ll be announcing the title of the book very shortly!”

~Meg Waite Clayton’s The Wednesday Sisters, The Four Ms. Bradwells coming March 22, 2011):

“The Four Ms. Bradwells, coming March 22 from Ballantine. And my first novel, The Language of Light, will be reissued in paperback in the summer.”

The flap copy:

Meg Waite Clayton’s national bestseller The Wednesday Sisters was a word-of-mouth sensation and book club favorite. Now the beloved author is back with a page-turning novel that explores the secrets we keep, even from those closest to us, and celebrates the enduring power of friendship.

Mia, Laney, Betts, and Ginger, best friends since law school, have reunited for a long weekend as Betts awaits Senate confirmation of her appointment to the Supreme Court. Nicknamed “the Ms. Bradwells” during their first class at the University of Michigan Law School in 1979—when only three women had ever served full Senate terms and none had been appointed to the Court—the four have supported one another through life’s challenges: marriages and divorces, births and deaths, career setbacks and triumphs large and small. Betts was, and still is, the Funny One. Ginger, the Rebel. Laney, the Good Girl. And Mia, the Savant.

But when the Senate hearings uncover a deeply buried skeleton in the friends’ collective closet, the Ms. Bradwells retreat to a summer house on the Chesapeake Bay, where they find themselves reliving a much darker period in their past—one that stirs up secrets they’ve kept for, and from, one another, and could change their lives forever.

Once again, Meg Waite Clayton writes inspiringly about the complex circumstances facing women and the heartfelt friendships that hold them together. Insightful and affecting, The Four Ms. Bradwells is also a captivating tale of how far people will go to protect the ones they love.

~Meredith Cole (Posed for Murder, Dead in the Water):

“I’ve just finished up the third Lydia McKenzie mystery, tentatively called “‘An Artful Death.'” Lydia is hired by a real estate company to help catch illegal tenants. She finds an elderly Russian woman murdered in her apartment and suspects that the landlord got impatient. In the midst of her investigation, her parents arrive with another mystery to solve.”

~Tanya Egan Gibson (How to Buy a Love of Reading):

“I’m working on a novel set in an underwater-themed amusement park. The main character is an eighteen-year-old former competitive figure skater whose now skates in the park’s ice show wearing a full-body jellyfish costume. One of the most fun parts of writing this so far is brainstorming ideas for amusement park rides! (My five-year-old daughter has been helping me.)”

~Kristy Kiernan (Between Friends, Matters of Faith, and Catching Genius):

“I’m working on my new novel, A THOUSAND CRANES.”

~Allie Larkin (Stay):

“I’m working on a piece for an anthology of dog-related essays that Wade Rouse is editing called I’M NOT THE BIGGEST BITCH IN THIS RELATIONSHIP. Published in 2011, proceeds will benefit The Humane Society and other animal causes.”

~Kate Ledger (Remedies):

“I’ve begun a new novel. If it were a pregnancy, I’m in that hesitant phase of the first trimester, and I’m not ready to discuss too much. I can tell this: The next novel also centers on family relationships and has medical themes because that’s what I’m interested in. Having finished a book, I feel I have a good sense of the arc of a novel, the overall shape it will take. I also know how long and hard the process is. My hope is that this gestation will be briefer than the last.”

~ Shana Mahaffey (Sounds Like Crazy):

“I am working on my second novel right now. I can tell you that the book is about a woman who has to correct a mistake she doesn’t know she made and guiding her through this process is her best friends dead brother.”

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

“I’m working on a book about adult siblings. It started out being about location and identity (I was going to call it ELSEWHERE) but it’s gotten further and further away from that theme to become about all the complex emotions of siblinghood. Which, alas, probably means I have to think of a new title.”

~Wendy Tokunaga (Midori By Moonlight, Love in Translation):

“I’m working on a non-fiction book called “‘Marriage in Translation: Interviews with Foreign Wives of Japanese Husbands,'” which takes an intimate and sometimes surprising look at the rewards and challenges of cross-cultural relationships. I’m also teaching an online class this Fall through Stanford University Extension called “‘Writing Novels About Women’s Lives.”‘

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Announcement: The winner of Leah Stewart’s Husband and Wife is Shannon. Congratulations!

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

And thank you all for entering. If my wand was truly magical, there would be a book for everyone.

The Facts and Factors of A Novel’s Word Count, II

April 29, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Q&A

Today’s post is the continuation of how authors responded to a recent question posted on The Divining Wand’s Q & A page:

Here’s another question for your authors: What is the word count of most of their novels?

I know that we here all sorts of estimates of what a novel should be, 70,000 to 100,000 words. But what is the actual count for the novels featured here, and do your authors think about word count as they’re writing?

Also please welcome The Divining Wand’s latest about-to-become author, Allie Larkin, who leads off with:

Allie Larkin (STAY coming June 10, 2010):

“The final version of STAY is around 100,000 words. The first draft was just short of 70,000, and then grew through the revising process, as the story became more layered and I developed the characters further. I don’t think word count should be a concern in the first few drafts of a book. Those drafts are about creating the framework of the story and getting to know the characters. Obviously, there are ideal lengths for books, but I think reaching an ideal word count should be more of an organic process than a goal to meet. You never want to add words just for the sake of adding them. So, even if it’s necessary to add 10-20,000 words to make the book a marketable length, I think the focus should be more about figuring out a way to grow the story and grow the characters, than trying to hit a certain number.”

Melanie Benjamin (Alice I Have Been):

“This is a good question. Before ALICE, I always aimed at 80,000; my earlier contract, for my 2 contemporary novels, stipulated that should be the approximate word count. When I moved to historical fiction, however, I found that there’s more leeway, and ALICE came in at around 100,000 words, and nobody blinked an eye. That’s the word count I have in mind for my next historical novel, too.

“However – word of advice. Let the story develop as it needs to and try not to obsess about the word count until it’s finished. Revisions always change things. If you finish and you find you’re way under the typical word count (which is, yes, anywhere from 70,000 to 100,000, depending on the genre as I said above), then you may have to decide whether or not the work would be better off as a short story. If you’re way over, you can edit and perhaps divide the work into 2 novels. So – try not to obsess while telling the story, but at the end of the day, word count does matter.”

Judy Merrill Larsen (All the Numbers):

“Ooh, I definitely think about word count as I’m writing . . . my novels tend to be in the 75,000 word range, which is a bit on the short side. And I NEVER get to that in my first draft. My goal in a first draft is to get to 65,000 words because I know that in revising (which to me means mostly adding and rearranging), I’ll get in that magical realm of 70,000-80,000 words.”

Holly LeCraw (The Swimming Pool):

“Mine is about 80,000 words. I didn’t think about word count as I was writing, but assumed I would come in at 300ish pages. As it turned out, mine is 307. I tend to like books that are tightly constructed and not overlong, although there are always exceptions.”

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

“Since I write for pretty much every age group imaginable, I’m all over the place on this. Each volume in The Sisters 8 series for young readers comes in at about 22K. My one middle grade was 35K. My adult novels range from 70-100K. Even within YA, I’m all over the place, with most coming in at 45-50K while The Twin’s Daughter (due out on Aug 31) is a whopping 96K! It all depends on what the individual book demands, how long it takes to tell the story right.”

Shana Mahaffey (Sounds Like Crazy):

“Sounds Like Crazy weighs in at just over 105,000 words. I wrote without regard to word count and was lucky enough to have my book published under an imprint that believes a book should be as long as it needs to be to tell the story.”

Maud Carol Markson (When We Get Home, Looking After Pigeon):

“I don’t have the exact number but I believe Looking After Pigeon was just around 80,000 words. The novel I’m working on now is about 85,000 words.”

Sarah Pekkanen (The Opposite of Me):

“The Opposite of Me is 105,000 words (give or take a few). My second novel is about 90,000 words. I do think a little about word count as I write, knowing it would be much harder to sell a book that came in at 60,000 or 200,000 words.”

Kristina Riggle (Real Life & Liars and The Life You’ve Imagined coming August 17, 2010):

“I had to look this information up. REAL LIFE & LIARS was 85,498 in the pre-copyedited version, and THE LIFE YOU’VE IMAGINED is a little longer at 91,171. My work-in-progress will end up about the same. Since I measure my daily progress in first drafts by word count I suppose I do think about it as I write, but only as a handy way to measure productivity. I do feel very pleased when I hit the big round numbers divisible by 10,000. It’s arbitrary, but it does feel like a milestone and since writing a first draft is so solitary it’s nice to congratulate myself on leaping those hurdles. No one else is going to throw me a party.”

Allison Winn Scotch (The Department of Lost and Found, Time of My Life and The One That I Want coming June 1, 2010):

“All of mine hover around the 85k mark. I do think about WC as I’m writing – I think about the book in a series of acts, and I know when to begin each one (generally), so I can time the action – and the necessary arc of that action – to the word count.”

Barrie Summy (I So Don’t Do Mysteries, I So Don’t Do Spooky and I So Don’t Do Makeup coming May 11, 2010, Ages 9 – 12):

“My novels (tween mysteries) are 52,000 to 55,000 words. Do I think about word count while I’m writing?

“Yes. Yes. Yes.

“I’m a HUGE plotter, and I know where I should be word-count wise for the major plot points, darkest moment, the resolution. This is how I keep the pace up.

“And also how I keep my sanity. I promise myself treats all the way through the first draft. For example, when I reach the first plot point, around 13,000 words, I get to have a package of licorice as a reward.”

Wendy Tokunaga (Midori By Moonlight, Love in Translation):

“I believe that my word counts come out to be around 85,000. I never think about this when I’m writing, though. I just write as much as I need to tell the story and it always seems to work out okay in the end.”

Therese Walsh (The Last Will of Moira Leahy):

“My publisher, Shaye Areheart, likes books to come in right at about 90,000 words, which is the word count for The Last Will of Moira Leahy.

“I keep tabs of word count using Word, but I don’t stress about it much while drafting a story. I tend to trust that the word count will fall near the right mark in the end. Word count definitely becomes more important during editing, though. I find it easier to edit a “fat” story down to size rather than add new beef.”

And a final word on just the facts….

Randy Susan Meyers (The Murderer’s Daughters):

“According to fictionfactor.com, ‘”Most print publishers prefer a minimum word count of around 70,000 words for a first novel, and some even hesitate for any work shorter than 80,000. Yet any piece of fiction climbing over the 110,000 word mark also tends to give editors some pause. They need to be sure they can produce a product that won’t over-extend their budget, but still be enticing enough to readers to be saleable. Imagine paying good money for a book less than a quarter-inch thick?”‘

“That said, there is much back and forth on this issue. I think the topic is very well covered by agent Colleen Lindsay in her blog, the swivet.”

If you have a question for our authors feel free to post it on the Q & A page or email: diviningwand@gmail.com

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ATTENTION: This site’s rather exclusive sidebar has a new addition under the category of Must See. ArounderTouch is an iPhone app from Arounder.com. The virtual reality site — featuring gorgeous 360-degree panoramas of the world — is what I frequently used on Seize A Daisy’s “Friday Getaways.” It’s a first-class ticket for your travel plans or imaginary flights of fancy, please check it out.

Announcement: The winners of Quick’s debut YA novel, SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR, are Keetha and Beth. Congratulations! Please send your mailing addresses to: diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com, and I’ll have your copy sent out promptly. Many thanks to everyone who entered.

Good News about and from Our Authors

February 25, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: News

The Diving Wand loves sharing good news about its authors and this post offers quite a collection.

For Wendy Tokunaga (Midori By Moonlight, Love in Translation) BookPage Reviews’ Friendship and family in a foreign land is a Web exclusive by Sheri Bodoh.

Katie Alender (Bad Girls Don’t Die YA) was thrilled and flattered by this terrific book trailer for Bad Girls Don’t Die made by a reader/fan. Do watch.

Melanie Benjamin watches her foreign rights sales soar for (Alice I Have Been), along with requests for essays, interviews, and op-ed pieces on “Alice.” With the movie of “Alice in Wonderland” coming out next Friday, Melanie is enjoying perfect timing.

Also to be noted: The Audio Book of Alice I Have Been was Audiofile Magazine’s hot pick for the week of February 10th.

Randy Susan Meyers and The Murderer’s Daughters is traveling the world too with the book now to be published in Turkey, Israel, France, Germany, Britain, Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Taiwan, Poland, Portugal, and Holland.

Would you like to hear Randy? Listen to her Author Magazine Interview

And the “hip and current” Daily Candy has chosen The Murderer’s Daughters as one of the Best New Winter Books.

Meredith Cole has received a 2009 Agatha nomination for Best First Novel, Posed for Murder. The Awards will be presented on May 1st with Meredith’s second novel, Dead in the Water, in bookstores May 11th!

Carleen Brice (Orange Mint and Honey, Children of the Waters) is overjoyed and thanks one and all because, according to BlackVoices Entertainment Newswire, “Sins of the Mother” was “the second highest rated program in key woman demographics in the network’s 12-year history — bested only by the 2009 ‘Natalie Holloway’ movie.”

And Alicia Bessette offers her literary website, her debut novel’s cover, and the opportunity to Pre-order Simply from Scratch coming August 5, 2010.

Congratulations and well done, everyone!

Our Authors’ Favorite Love Stories, II

February 23, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Authors' Favorites

Although pre-empted by yesterday’s Olympic post, here is the continuation of our authors’ favorite love stories.

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

“My favorite love story is ‘”Pride & Prejudice.”‘ Nobody can do it like Jane Austen! And one of the great things about loving that book is that there are umpteen movie versions to choose from when you need a girls’ day on the couch with some popcorn and a glass of wine! (The audiobook is also great for sewing along with.)”

Melanie Benjamin (Alice I Have Been):

“Pride and Prejudice; I just swoon over Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. I think the very end of that novel is the most romantic ending ever.”

Eileen Cook (Unpredictable, What Would Emma Do? YA and Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood YA ):

“I think it was the summer I was 13, my mom gave me her copy of Gone With the Wind to read when I complained about being bored. I was completely swept up in that story. I still re-read it from time to time.”

Tish Cohen (Town House, Inside Out Girl, Little Black Lies YA, The Truth About Delilah Blue coming June 8, 2010):

“Favorite love story is still Anne Tyler’s Breathing Lessons — a day in the life of a very real couple. No heaving bosoms, no chiseled jaws. Just a scatty, interfering wife and a gruff, fed-up husband who bicker and sweat and even hate each other at times. This book is a testament to the kind of love that matters–love that endures.”

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

“While most of the love is thwarted in this story, the longing in The Mists of Avalon always bowls me over. Love that they reach and reach for and never get who or what they want–but they still love. This same longing and imagery in The English Patient, at the end.

“The love of a father for his daughters in Animal Dreams. So heartrending. So amazing.”

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

“Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez”

Shana Mahaffey (Sounds Like Crazy):

“I don’t remember the title, but I do remember the book quite well. It was one of those mass market bodice rippers where you have the eighteenth century Helen of Troy, whose somehow fallen on hard times and is enslaved to some purported evil, albeit devilishly handsome landowner with a the rakish cowboy who has nothing but is ready to whisk Mary off into the sunset on the back of his horse thrown in. I stole it off the pile of books next to my mother’s bed during the summer of my thirteenth year. What makes this book so memorable (forgotten title notwithstanding) is that it’s the first book I stayed up all night to finish. My cousins still talk about getting up around nine in the morning and finding me on the couch where they’d left me the night before, nose still buried in the book. Nothing against Judy Blume, but getting Forever after a Bodice Rippers is akin to my first opera experience: I saw the La Boheme dream team—Pavarotti and Freni—from row F center—nothing else will ever compare.”

Ivy Pochoda (The Art of Disappearing):

“God, who doesn’t love a juicy Jane Austen love story! They’re all fantastic.”

Kristina Riggle (Real Life & Liars):

“I feel like I bang on all the time about BREATHING LESSONS by Anne Tyler, but it is about love and is one of my favorite books. Not only did it influence me as a writer, but I think it was illuminating for me to read as a young woman, demonstrating that a married couple can bicker, chafe, get so infuriated they can barely look at each other, and still be fully in love.

“In order to vary my answer to these questions a bit, I adore THE GREAT GATSBY which I guess is not a love story in the “happy ending” sense, but it is a romantic story in the sense of romanticizing a person, and how dangerous that can be.

“In a more classic “love story” sense, I did very much enjoy DELICIOUS by Sherry Thomas! Yum.”

Therese Walsh (The Last Will of Moira Leahy):

“This is a tough question! Anyone who knows me knows my favorite novel is The Time Traveler’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger), but I don’t know that I’d call it my favorite love story. Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale might be my favorite. Kinsale is a masterful storyteller with great voice, and FftS offers unique but authentic characterizations, a riveting plot, and a pitch-perfect resolution. It’s a definite keeper.”

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

“My favorite couple is Sam Vimes and Lady Sybil in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, beginning with the book “Guards! Guards!” “She smiled at him. And then it arose and struck Vimes that, in her own special category, she was quite beautiful; this was the category of all the women, in his entire life, who had ever thought he was worth smiling at. She couldn’t do worse, but then, he couldn’t do better. So maybe it balanced out. She wasn’t getting any younger, but then, who was? And she had style and money and common-sense and self-assurance and all the things that he didn’t, and she had opened her heart, and if you let her she could engulf you; the woman was a city. And eventually, under siege, you did what Ankh-Morpork had always done–unbar the gates, let the conquerors in, and make them your own.”

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.

Praise for Our Authors

February 09, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Praise

There’s glowing news to share about two of our recently published authors and two of those yet-to-debut.

To begin, Melanie Benjamin has been lauded for Alice I Have Been by every major national publication including: The Washington Post, People, and Entertainment Weekly which notes:
“Melanie Benjamin works valiantly to conjure up the real girl behind the Wonderland myth, and finds glints of genuine magic.”

Along with her glints of literary magic, Melanie has found glints elsewhere too. Commenting on Facebook she revealed:

“With all the Alice-related fashions & jewelry coming out, I’m wondering how much I can write off as business expenses?? I really love this necklace.

Randy Susan Meyers is both proud and grateful. The pride comes from last Friday’s (February 5, 2010) Los Angeles Times article, Dark Passages: Knockout debuts of the ‘decade’, with the subtitle — “Four new thrillers show that the class of 2010 is already off to a great start.” Of course The Murderer’s Daughters is one of the four!

As for Randy’s gratitude…it was expressed on Facebook with this comment:

“THE MURDERER’S DAUGHTERS is back up–no longer ‘Banned on Amazon’ Thank you everyone for all your help during this trip-wire during my debut. Facebook rocks!”

Meanwhile, Holly LeCraw is overjoyed with the bold red star next to the Fiction – 2/1/2010 – Library Journal review of her debut novel, The Swimming Pool (coming April 6, 2010). In addition to the starred review, Library Journal proclaims Holly to be: “An author to watch.”

And Alicia Bessette — still waiting for a website and cover (soon) for her debut novel, Simply from Scratch coming in August 2010 — is very happy to receive/add the following praise from Rachel Simon, bestselling author of Riding The Bus With My Sister: “Simply from Scratch is a sweet story of regeneration and hope, delivered by a writer of generous spirit and great heart.”

Congratulations to all!

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away both of Kristy Kiernan’s novels, Catching Genius and Matters of Faith, as a duo. Please leave a comment on this post to be entered into the random drawing. The deadline is Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. EST. with the winner announced here in Thursday’s post.

News from and about Our Authors

February 03, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: News

It’s time to take a look at authors making news beyond their pages…

Melanie Benjamin is very proud that Alice I Have Been was reviewed on NPR’s “Fresh Air.” You can read and listen to that review here. Bravva, Melanie!

Think of Mia King (Good Things, Sweet Life, Table Manners) and what comes to mind? Novels, Hawaii and FOOD?!

It’s true that recently, when not writing, Mia’s been spending more and more time in her actual and virtual kitchen. You can join her online at the Friendship Bread Kitchen on Facebook where she has gorgeous images, recipes and tips relating to Amish Friendship Bread. She even has a contest going on right now — once the page hits 500 fans, she’s giving away a beautiful Emile Henry ceramic loaf pan from William-Sonoma! As of this writing, Mia’s fans number 493, so hurry…

Also expect a major announcement from this author in the next month or two.

On Monday, February 1st, Allison Winn Scotch (The Department of Lost and Found, Time of My Life and The One That I Want coming June 1, 2010) announced Contest Time!. She’s giving away at least two galleys of The One That I Want (coming June 1, 2010) and all you need do is tell her: Where would you like to see yourself five years from now?

Allison shares her five years in the future: “Hmmm, I think I’d like to be living in California (I’ve had enough of NYC and we’re considering a move), still writing a book or so a year, add another dog (not child!) to our family, having more time to relax and focus on ME once my kids are a bit older. I think my five-year goal was probably a bit more lofty five years ago – now, in my 30s, I feel like I’ve been able to take the reins of my life and steer it more or less where I want it to go, but then again, who knows what the future brings (well, Tilly does!), so we’ll just see what happens from here. :)”

The deadline is tomorrow night with the winner announced on Friday. Since Monday’s post is weighed down with comments, visit Go Big or Go Home and share.

Meredith Cole (Posed for Murder, Dead in the Water coming May 11, 2010) invites you to check out a sneak peek of Dead in the Water which is featured this month on “From the Masters.”

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Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away two copies of Shana Mahaffey’s Sounds Like Crazy in a random drawing of comments left on this post. Everyone — readers and writers alike — is welcome to participate before the deadline of tonight at 7:00 pm EST. The winners will be announced here in tomorrow’s post.

AND

To celebrate “Sins of the Mother” –based on Carleen’s debut novel, Orange Mint and Honey, which premieres on The Lifetime Movie Network Sunday, February 21st at 8:00 p.m. EST — The Divining Wand will give away both Orange Mint and Honey and Carleen’s latest book, Children of the Waters, as a duo. Anyone leaving a comment on this post will be entered in the random drawing. The deadline is this evening at 7:00 p.m. EST with the winner to also be announced in tomorrow’s post.