The Divining Wand

Discovering authors beyond their pages…

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.”


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.


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.

Happy Holidays from Mia King and Eileen Cook

December 18, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Authors' Holidays

‘Tis the season for delicious treats and love, both of which are shared by these authors’ Happy Holidays.


Mia Tempts the Chocolate Lovers

MiatnbHere’s my holiday recipe – perfect for a cookie exchange, late night snack in front of a crackling fire, or to accompany eggnog or a hot cup of cocoa as you curl up with your favorite novel …

Chocolate Cherry Crackle Cookies

From: GOOD THINGS (Berkley Books, February 2007)

One of Deidre’s confections that won the hearts – and appetites – of chocoholic locals and tourists alike!

Yields: 2 dozen


* 1½ cups sugar
* ½ cup prunes, puréed with 3 tablespoons of water
* ½ cup nonfat yogurt
* ¼ cup canola oil
* 2 egg whites
* ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
* ½ cup dried cherries, chopped
* 1½ cups cake flour
* 1 cup cocoa powder
* ½ teaspoon salt
* ½ teaspoon baking soda
* 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted


1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, prune purée, yogurt, oil, egg whites, espresso powder, and cherries (the liquid mixture).
3. Sift the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda together in another bowl (the flour mixture).
4. Slowly stir the flour mixture in the liquid mixture until blended well.
5. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
6. Roll the chilled dough with your hands into balls the size of ping pong balls. Roll in powdered sugar and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until firm.
Mia King (Good Things, Sweet Life, Table Manners)


Eileen’s Best Christmas Gift, Ever

EileentmbThe year after I graduated from college I had taken a job I hated and lived in a town I hated even more. I had moved for the job and hadn’t made very many friends in town. I earned very little money and as a result rarely went out. My apartment practically squatted on top of a railway line which meant several times a day it shook as if it was a ten point earthquake while the train rushed by. Life was not turning out how I expected. My boyfriend had taken a job across the country in Boston and with my family and friends far away I was alone. I was speaking to my boyfriend on the phone one night and told him that it didn’t even feel like Christmas. I didn’t have a tree and the string of Christmas lights I had put in my hanging fern plant wasn’t cutting it in terms of putting me in the holiday spirit. My job gave me only Christmas Day off which meant I would have only one day at home with my family. It was almost not even worth going. I might as well just stay home and pretend there was no Christmas. I was very bah-humbug.

The next day when I came home from work (grumbling very Scrooge like the whole way) there was a florist van parked outside my apartment building. The driver got out and confessed that he was the owner of the florist shop and hadn’t made a delivery himself in decades. This was one delivery that he wanted to make himself. He opened the door and pulled out a HUGE Christmas tree, it must have been six feet tall. The tree had long lush needles that felt almost soft to the touch. The florist also pulled out a box. Between the two of us we dragged the tree upstairs. The box held a stand, several boxes of lights and a few bags of Christmas balls and ornaments. There was box from a local bakery full of Christmas cookies and treats. My boyfriend had arranged the whole thing.

After the florist left I put some Christmas music on the stereo and decorated the tree. The entire apartment was full of the fresh pine scent, it crept into the closets, between the blankets and wafted up to the ceiling. Just like the Grinch, my too small heart grew several sizes right then and there. I knew in that moment that I would marry this boyfriend (and I was right!) I knew there would be hard times, but that when you have someone who cares for you, then everything somehow will work out. It wasn’t that he sent the tree, it was that he had the idea at all.

Happy Holidays!
Eileen Cook (Unpredictable, What Would Emma Do? YA and Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood YA, coming January 5, 2010)

For Holiday Gift Giving: An Autographed Book

November 05, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Uncategorized

More than likely those visiting this site would agree that books are among the best holiday gifts with autographed ones being perfection! Autographed, is that possible without going to a book signing?

Indeed it is and, with the holidays only more than a month away, this Fairy Godmother contacted authors who had had a new book released within the past six months to ask, “Do you autograph by mail?” So anyone searching for that unique, reasonably priced, perfect present, here are what some of our authors do:

Arrangement with a local bookstore:

Eve Brown-Waite (read Presenting Debutante Eve Brown-Waite and First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria) says:

” Via a special arrangement with my local bookstore I can purchase, personalize, autograph and send a copy of FIRST COMES LOVE, THEN COMES MALARIA to anyone in the USA for just $25. That would be the cost of the book itself in most stores. This book would make a great gift for any world traveler, do-gooder, or Peace Corps-type on your holiday list (also, anyone who just loves a good read). I don’t make any money on this, but it certainly helps spread the word about my book and supports a great, independent bookstore. I need all orders by BY NOVEMBER 15 in order to ensure delivery by the holidays. Anyone interested can contact me at”

Therese Fowler (Souvenir, Reunion) offers:

“I made an arrangement with my local indie, Quail Ridge Books & Music — 800-672-6789 — in Raleigh. When a reader calls and orders an inscribed copy, the store lets me know and I drop by to inscribe it before they ship the book. For basic autographed copies, they ship from signed stock that they keep on hand.”

Ivy Pochoda (see Ivy Pochoda’s The Art of Disappearing) says:

“If you’d like autographed copies of my book, contact my local bookstore BookCourt — 718-875-3677 — in Brooklyn.”

Books in the mail:

Mia King (Mia King and Table Manners is doing a holiday special – $20 for a signed/dedicated book of choice and ceramic “live simply” plaque. $5 shipping. Contact

Carleen Brice (Orange Mint & Honey, Children of the Waters):

“If people send me a book with return postage, I will autograph and send it back. But let’s say for the holidays return shipping is on me. They just have to buy the book and send it to: Carleen Brice, P.O. Box 7108, Denver, CO 80207.”

And Jessica Barksdale Inclan (Being With Him, Intimate Beings, The Beautiful Being) offers the same. Contact

Maud Carol Markson (Looking After Pigeon) provides two options:

“I could send out personalized book plates or if the person prefers, he/she could purchase the book directly from me and I could send it to them ($20.00 would probably cover the cost of the book and the packaging and shipping to anywhere in the US).) Contact

Book Plates:

Tish Cohen (Little Black Lies,Town House):

“I do mail out signed book plates, as well as sign books mailed in to me.” Contact

CJ Lyons (Urgent Care):

“I offer my readers customized signed bookplates.

I’ve sent dozens of these all over the US and abroad, even had a few people ask for several, all personalized to various friends they were gifting with my books.” Contact

And with this early planning you can do the same!

Our Writers’ Myths or Not

September 24, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles

Writers, creative by nature, are well-known for comforting themselves on their lack of productivity (or success) by citing writing myths which include:

*There’s No Such Thing as Writer’s Block
*I Have to be in the Mood to Write
*I Need the Perfect Space to Write
*I Need the Perfect Tools to Write
*I Have no Time to Write

Wondering how true these were, The Divining Wand asked two of its established authors and two of its debut authors what one writing myth didn’t apply to them?

Mia King (Table Manners, Sweet Life, Good Things):
“That it’s next to impossible to get published without an MFA.”

Maud Carol Markson (Looking After Pigeon, When We Get Home):
“I don’t know any writing myths…. (are they out there and I’ve missed them?!)”

Ivy Pochoda (The Art of Disappearing):
“Writers Block is something I’ve never suffered from and it is something I don’t quite understand. I always have a little too much going on in my mind, much of it irrelevant. I can certainly procrastinate translating ideas into words, but I never suffer from lack of inspiration. I may write in circles and into dead ends, but I’ve never sat down and said to myself, “‘I can’t think of a single thing to write.'” As Alice Mattison once told me,”’Don’t be afraid to invent hundreds of possibilities for what comes next. Make lists of events.'”

Lara Zielin (Donut Days):
“I’ve heard that “’a writer writes every day’” but that’s just not true for me. With a full-time job and a busy schedule, I can’t hack it. So instead I carve out bigger chunks of time on the weekends and I write then. I also take “’writing vacations’” where I do nothing but write for days on end. I would argue that my productivity level is just as high as someone who writes every day.”

And, finally for this week, the winner of the Looking After Pigeon Book Giveaway is Debutante Alicia Bessette! Congratulations. Please contact me with your mailing address and Pigeon will be winging her way to your home.

And the Winners Are…

August 06, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Contests

After three days of three posts presenting three new book releases, the time has come to announce the three winners. And they are:

Jill who receives Mia King’s Table Manners

Kristan who receives Allison Winn Scotch’s Time of My Life

Terri who receives Lara Zieln’s Donut Days

Jill, Kristan, and Terri, please email me with your snail mail addresses at: diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com

Thank you all for playing and please continue to visit for one never knows which author and book The Divining Wand will feature next.

Also, if you’d like to try your luck, there are three other contests currently underway.

The first is Mia King’s and runs until August 31, 2009. Please read Mia’s details carefully:

“I am giving away a signed copy of each of my books, a special edition ceramic GOOD THINGS wall/desk plaque that says ‘”Live Simple,'” something delectable to eat and/or drink (TBD by Mia), plus author goodies and swag. The contest runs from August 4 to August 31 11:59 pm HST, and people just need to leave a comment on the August 4th blog post to qualify. The zinger is that people who leave a review for TABLE MANNERS on and/or during the contest period (and leave a comment with their review in the body of the comment and where they posted it) will get not one but ten entries (twenty if they post at both sites), dramatically increasing their chances to win. Open to readers everywhere (must be 18 years or older, but you could live in Timbuktu and qualify!).”

Katie Alender announces Happy Wednesday! New Contest Time! where you can win a signed copy her YA debut novel, Bad Girls Don’t Die, and a custom tote bag made just for you by this crafty author. The deadline for this contest is next Friday, August 14th at 11:59 pm Pacific time.

And What Women Write has a book giveaway for Jamie Ford’s Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet with the deadline being midnight CST tonight.

Happy summer weekend…stay cool!

Mia King and Table Manners

August 03, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Contests, News

Two and a half years ago Mia King debuted as a novelist with Good Things and immediately had fans wanting more of her heroine Deidre McIntosh’s story. Writing in a style that made Deidre’s life and environment oh so real, the author — after publication of her second novel Sweet Life — turned her attention back to Deidre, her friends and even Marla. Indeed she discovered there was much more story to tell and, better yet, this book (although a sequel) could easily stand on its own. Of course you can judge for yourself when Table Manners appears for purchase in bookstores and online tomorrow.

However visit the author’s website now and read Mia’s synopsis:

“I am so excited about TABLE MANNERS, which is a selection of the Doubleday, Literary Guild, Rhapsody, and Book of the Month Club book clubs. It’s a book with generous servings of food and friendship, with wonderful recipes from prominent chefs and foodies from Seattle to Paris. You’ll meet the ever-resourceful lifestyle maven Deidre McIntosh, who has a knack for getting back up when life knocks her down. At 41, she’s created a new life for herself and has a wonderful relationship with Kevin Johnson, one of Seattle’s most eligible and sexy bachelors. Creative, energetic and loving, Deidre is the person people go to whenever they need a helping hand.

“But when her branded line of baked goods runs into trouble and an ex-fiancée shows up intent on finagling her way back into Kevin’s life, it’s Deidre who needs help. On top of that, the two people she can count on the most—Lindsey Miller and her best friend William Sen—have crises of their own and are relying on her to see them through.

“I hope you’ll read TABLE MANNERS and see how tenacious and creative Deidre can be while making room for the things—and people—that matter most. I know you’ll be cheering for her as much as I do!”

Now here’s an Excerpt from Table Manners.

In the First Review for Table Manners: Four Stars, Romantic Times, Sandra Garcia-Myers wrote:

“In this the follow-up to Good Things, Deidre McIntosh must figure out the right ingredients to make the recipe for her life work. As she does this, King provides a feast for the imagination, since much of the plot revolves around food. There’s no real doubt that this will end with a happily ever after, but the reader will enjoy getting there. There’s a treat at the end, where several mouthwatering recipes await.”

And Food Loves Writing’s post, Take it with you, of July 17, 2009, says:

“The literary version of a romantic comedy … as engrossing as any chick flick.”

Although these reviews are both positive and true, there’s much more than food and a seemingly light-hearted storyline to Table Manners. In fact, to Mia’s credit, she deals with serious and timely issues in this women’s fiction novel including: the current economy; women’s health; gay rights; single parenthood; trust in a relationship; the repercussions of sibling rivalry and the ultimate goal of believing in one’s self. Perhaps that she does so without over-the-top maudlin scenarios – along with the promise of “happily ever after” ending – creates the feeling that this is just a “fun” read. And it is, along with being filled with a substantive message.

In the author’s own words, the novel revolves around: “Food, friendship, and family. Also, that everyone has a story, that nothing is set in stone, and that anything is possible. People can change, for better or for worse, but I believe that it’s always an evolution towards something better. TABLE MANNERS reminds us how much joy exists and everyone can get a share no matter what their situation.”

Could it be that this savvy writer – who is also a wife, mother of three, homeschooling parent, business owner and writing teacher – understands that a spoonful of sugar helps one face and deal with reality? If Mia does, she’s provided Table Manners readers with her trademark recipes (fortified with sugar and healthy ingredients too) from prominent chefs, chocolatiers, restaurateurs and food bloggers from Washington state and Paris.

Table Manners is meant to be enjoyed on several levels, so indulge in reuniting or getting to know Mia King’s characters. And, once you’ve reached The End, go beyond her novel’s pages and discover those delicious recipes…what a treat!

For anyone wishing to win a copy of Table Manner, just leave a comment as your entry to the contest. A random drawing will be held with the winner to be announced in Thursday’s post.

[Note: Mia King was one of the six Founder Debs of The Debutante Ball’s Class of 2007 and yesterday The Debutantes of 2010 were announced.

Congratulations to: Joelle Anthony, RESTORING HARMONY (YA, Putnam, May 2010); Alicia Bessette, ALL COME HOME (book club fiction, Dutton, August 2010); Maria Garcia-Kalb, 101 WAYS TO TORTURE YOUR HUSBAND (chick-lit humor, Adams Media, January 2010); Sarah Pekkanen, THE OPPOSITE OF ME (women’s fiction, Atria Books, March 2010); and Emily Winslow, THE WHOLE WORLD (literary/mystery, Bantam Dell, May 2010).

The outgoing Deb Class of 2009 promises: “These debut authors and their books represent a variety of categories and genres, and most importantly, authors with clear, smart voices that will resonate with the Debutante Ball’s readers.”

Their waltzing (aka weekly blogging) begins the week of August 31st, yet it is hoped that this Fairy Godmother can meet up with them on the Red Carpet the week prior to their formal bows and introduce them here. TRUST: There isn’t a better way to discover authors beyond their pages than at The Debutante Ball! And this year daily attendance will be even easier now that there is a Twitter feed, where you’ll find each day’s, along with Deb news highlights. Please click here to follow!]

News, Reviews and An Interview

July 09, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Books, Interviews, News

There’s a bit of everything to report for the end of this week, beginning with Holly Kennedy (The Silver Compass, The Penny Tree and The Tin Box), offering some writing inspiration (or maybe just a break away from it all) to fellow authors. Where? Hawaii! For details, please visit Holly’s blog and read Hawaii bound for writing inspiration. Now those are authors who will be going far beyond their pages!

Mia King has received this first “official review for Table Manners due out on August 4, 2009:

“In this the follow-up to Good Things, Deidre McIntosh must figure out the right ingredients to make the recipe for her life work. As she does this, King provides a feast for the imagination, since much of the plot revolves around food. There’s no real doubt that this will end with a happily ever after, but the reader will enjoy getting there. There’s a treat at the end, where several mouthwatering recipes await.”__Sandra Garcia-Myers, Romantic Times

The novel garnered four stars which, according to their guide, translates into compelling — page-turner.

Reviews and blurbs for Crazy Beautiful also have Lauren Baratz-Logsted smiling. Scheduled for release on September 7, 2009, the novel’s early praise includes:

“Somehow, this romance transcends all of its potential pitfalls to create a powerful story about recovery and friendship.”__Kirkus

“Lauren Baratz-Logsted doesn’t write icky, gooey love. She writes stark, broken, gorgeous love. When you need a retreat, when you need to feel something, or when you just need a breather from your own freaky life, this is the love story you’ll run to. Crazy Beautiful has two hearts, one soul. I can’t wait to read it again.” ~ Lisa McMann, New York Times bestselling author of WAKE

“Written in spare, evocative, prose, Lauren Baratz-Logsted crafts a beautiful story of love and redemption so gorgeously rendered I was enthralled from the very first page. This book is simply breathtaking—and one you’ll want to return to again and again!”- Alyson Noël, #1 New York Times bestselling author of EVERMORE

“CRAZY BEAUTIFUL is gripping, with moments of sheer brilliance.” ~ Ellen Hopkins, New York Times bestselling author of CRANK and IMPULSE

And for anyone interested in how this site came to be (as well as a little about me), please visit Suzanne Anderson’s A View From Table One to read The Divining Wand — A New Spell Is Cast. Suzanne has been a great friend and enthusiastic cheerleader and I send her a hundred thank yous!

Mia King Preps for Table Manners

July 01, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News, Books

Did you know that author/friend Mia King and her debut novel, Good Things, hold the distinction of being my very first book presentation? Now two and a half years later, there’s only one month and three days left until her third novel (and sequel to Good Things), Table Manners is released on Tuesday, August 4, 2009.

A highly anticipated novel, the book club rights for Table Manners have already been sold to Doubleday, Literary Guild, Rhapsody, and Book of the Month book clubs. And Mia recently learned that there will also be “a nice little/big mailing to book clubs across the country.” Coordinating with that will be call-ins — that is, chats with the author from her home in Hawaii — and even possibly using Skype to reach out and virtually share thoughts on Table Manners with as many readers as possible. So on the things “To Do” list before August 4th, upgrade Mia’s computer!

First, however, there’s an upcoming holiday weekend to celebrate and Mia, well-known for her variety of recipes, has a refreshing summertime beverage to share. Yes you will also find this in Table Manners, but let’s go beyond her pages and enjoy Sparkling Pomegranate Lemonade now:

Serves: 6


* 3 tablespoons sugar
* ½ cup fresh lemon juice
* 1 liter club soda or sparkling water
* 1 cup pomegranate juice
* ice cubes
* Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish


1. Combine sugar and lemon juice. Stir until well dissolved.
2. In a tall pitcher, combine lemon mixture and pomegranate juice.
3. Add club soda and stir.
4. Pour into glasses filled with ice. Garnish with mint sprigs and serve.

Cheers to Mia who, only yesterday, commented on Facebook that she was: “Deliriously happy for no reason other than happiness is a good thing.”

[ Note: Table Manners is available for Pre-order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.]

Author and Book News

June 17, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Uncategorized

The debut celebration of Real Life & Liars continues for Kristina Riggle as she’s learned that LIARS has been chosen as a “Breakout” novel featured in Target stores starting in August!

And how would you like to hear Kristina on the (Internet) radio and possibly talk to her live? She’s scheduled to be interviewed tomorrow, Thursday June 18th, on “Romance Radio” powered by BlogTalk Radio. For further information, including how to call in, please check here.

Katie Alender, yet another member from the Deb Class 2009, proudly and gratefully announces two exciting milestones for her YA novel, Bad Girls Don’t Die. The book has gone into a seond printing and it’s also had the first foreign rights sale to Spanish-language publisher Versatil. For those who may be unfamiliar with Katie’s novel, please read Presenting Debutante Katie Alender and Bad Girls Don’t Die

As we know, debuts are only the beginning of a writer’s career and Founder Deb Mia King (best-selling author of Good Things and Sweet Life) reminds us that her third novel, Table Manners — the sequel to Good Things — will be released on Tuesday, August 4, 2009. There’s additional good news in the fact that Table Manners is a featured alternate of the Doubleday, Literary Guild, Rhapsody and Book of the Month book clubs. If you belong to any of those clubs and choose Table Manners as your selection, you’ll actually read it as a hardcover!

That’s all for today…just keeping you posted.