The Divining Wand

Discovering authors beyond their pages…

Presenting Debutante Sarah Jio and
The Violets of March

April 25, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books

Lovely, dreamy, calming, and hopeful are all words that best describe Debutante Sarah Jio’s first novel, The Violets of March, being released tomorrow, April 26, 2011.

Although a love story, the romance of the book is first found in a diary revealing a mystery of star-crossed lovers from 1943. Rather than time travel, the novel follows a time-bending exploration until the past and present convene to answer where the characters came from, who they are now, and what they will be. In fact those are similar questions that gave the author her idea for the book. Writing in the February 10, 2011 Debutante Ball post, Deb Sarah on the 1940’s Print That (Partially) Inspired Her Novel, she explained:

“I’d been mulling novel ideas for a while, but nothing had jumped out at me. My eyes darted around the room until they stopped at an iconic photograph my sister had hanging on her wall—the one of a sailor and his lady locked in a kiss after the second world war. Everyone’s seen this image, of course, and it certainly wasn’t anything new to me, and yet on that pre-Christmas afternoon, I let my mind consider what the real story might be behind the photo. Who was the sailor? The young woman? What was their story? And while my novel didn’t end up having anything to do with a sailor and his lover or their fated kiss, it did set my brain on an interesting trajectory of thinking about the 1940s, the war, interrupted love, second chances and more.”

One major part of the “more” was including the mystery/diary. It was simply where Sarah’s mind went with this story, though she admits: “I love books with a mysterious element, and I knew that to grab readers (and me, as I wrote) the book needed mystery to solve.”

And then the author added the final element of Bainbridge Island. It’s a special place for Sarah who grew up just a few miles away, over the bridge, in Poulsbo, Washington, and spent happy times on the shores of Bainbridge. Believing the island has a mystical, alluring quality, she knew it was the perfect setting for the novel.

And after watching this video you’ll likely agree.

(If the video doesn’t appear on your monitor, please view it here.)

Is the island beckoning, along with the praise?

Here’s a synopsis for The Violets of March:

A heartbroken woman stumbles upon a diary and steps into the life of its anonymous author.

In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after.

Ten years later, the tide has turned on Emily’s good fortune. So when her great-aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily accepts, longing to be healed by the sea. Researching her next book, Emily discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling connections to her own life.

A mesmerizing debut with an idyllic setting and intriguing dual story line, The Violets of March announces Sarah Jio as a writer to watch.

Now for an Excerpt? Actually there is only a brief tease that can be found in The Debutante Ball’s February 17, 2011 post, Deb Sarah Shares a Love Letter from The Violets of March.

Sarah Jio’s natural talent is being able to infuse chemistry into her writing and her main character, Emily, is the most notable example. Although newly divorced, Emily is more shell-shocked than whiny and possesses enough common sense to realize that something has been missing in her life. In other words, though emotionally devastated, she comes across as an adult who knows healing must take place before moving forward. Also there’s not a “blame game” to wade through as Emily’s unfortunate circumstances rally her to leave the past behind by growing and challenging herself in new ways.

However the irony is that to leave her past behind Emily feels compelled to delve into the lives of those found within the diary’s pages. Were they real or fiction? If real, what happened to them? And are they connected to Emily and her family?

Readers are once again reminded of how much of the present is shaped by the past and how resolving such issues comes through reconciliation. Sarah further explains:

“Without giving away too much of the story, I, myself, am really fascinated with the concept of reconciliation. So many of us have people—friends, family, co-workers from the past—who we need to reconcile with to move forward and to bring peace to our lives. And I used the humble wood violets in the story as a symbol of reconciliation and redemption.”

Indeed, when the Bainbridge Island violets bloom out of season, their mystical presence is meant to heal. That is their power and that is the beauty this debut author captures in her tale. With only words, Sarah transports readers to this island of the past and the present that offers compelling hope for the future. Why? Because of the book’s message: Love is timeless.

Redbook magazine declares Violets “engrossing” and chooses as a must-read in their May issue!

This literary Fairy Godmother declares: I am not a true love story fan/reader, nor do I often cry. But Sarah Jio casts a spell in her novel (the only explanation) and The Violets of March not only captured my heart, I cried….for joy.

Now listen to the island calling you.

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Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away two copies of The Violets of March by Sarah Jio 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, April 27, 2011 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 Sarah Jio — From Journalist to Novelist

April 19, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Guest Posts

[Although there are some born storytellers who become novelists, most novelists come from varied backgrounds that have inspired their storytelling. In today’s guest post, debut author Sarah Jio shares how being a journalist has fueled her creativity with enough ideas to write one novel, The Violets of March (coming April 26, 2011), and more.]

From Journalist to Novelist

As my first book, The Violets of March, makes its way into the world, I’ll tell you, honestly, that I’m a ball of nerves: excited, happy, elated, nervous, anxious, hopeful, and the like. (And if you came over to my house right now, you’d see me pacing the floors (with a newborn baby in my arms!) and checking Amazon sales rankings and my Blackberry for email updates a little too frequently.) But I think the biggest emotion I feel today is a sense of joy. Not every person can say they love what they do for a living, and although the writing life isn’t a perfect career, it’s perfect for me, and I’m so grateful to be able to do what I love.

I’ve been writing for magazines for the majority of my career, and while I’ll probably continue forever (I’m a huge magazine junkie, and I love reporting on fun new topics for all the big newsstand glossies—Glamour, Real Simple, Redbook, Health, etc.), I’ve found a new home in fiction, and I plan (and hope) to stay a while. Fiction fulfills me in a way that no other writing work has. I have never felt more passionate, engaged, and challenged in my work as I have been when I sit down to write a story. I also love the freeing feeling of being able to make things up (believe me, after 12 years wearing a journalist hat, this is pretty cool!).

And, just like with magazines, the thing I also love most about fiction is the idea-development process. Nowadays, editors assign me the majority of my articles, but when I was just starting out, I was always coming up with new story ideas and pitching them constantly. And now, I find that all that work sharpening my brain to think creatively about story ideas has parlayed into successful book ideas. Consequently, I think of book ideas all the time, and I find it so much fun. (Just today, I got a great idea for a new book—in the shower!). While a lot of these ideas go nowhere, many have stuck. I’ve already written, and sold, my second book, THE BUNGLAOW, which will be published by Penguin (Plume) in April of 2012. And, I’m a quarter of the way through my third book, which I’m so ridiculously excited about, I can’t wait to tell you about it—and everyone else. As soon as I can, believe me, I’ll be shouting it out from the rooftops. This story has really grabbed onto my heart, and my hope is that it will have the same effect on readers.

But, today, I’m thinking about Violets. I’m sending it out into the world, and hopeful that it resonates with readers in the way it resonated with me as I wrote it. No matter what the future holds, I’m just so happy to be here at this place.

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Announcements: For those who have been wanting and waiting to read Holly LeCraw’s stunning debut novel, The Swimming Pool, it’s being released today in Trade Paperback. And for those who may have missed reading about this debut last year, here’s the presentation/review.

Also today Eileen Cook (The Education of Hailey Kendrick YA, Unpredictable, What Would Emma Do? YA, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood YA) debuts with Fourth Grade Fairy for ages 9 – 11.

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away a copy of The Four Ms. Bradwells by Meg Waite Clayton in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post, Meg Waite Clayton and The Four Ms. Bradwells. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is Wednesday, April 20, 2011 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 Sarah Jio

April 13, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles, Q&A

Journalist and blogger Sarah Jio turns her attention to writing friction with the debut novel, The Violets of March coming April 26, 2011.

In an intriguing one sentence, the book is described: A heartbroken woman stumbles upon a diary and steps into the life of its anonymous author.

And the early Praise is impressive:

“Mix a love story, history, and a mystery and what takes root? THE VIOLETS OF MARCH, a novel that reminds us how the past comes back to haunt us, and packs a few great surprises for the reader along the way. “—Jodi Picoult, author of Sing You Home & House Rules

“The Violets of March is a captivating first bloom of a novel, with tangled roots, budding relationships and plenty of twists and turns. Sarah Jio is one talented writer!” —Claire Cook, bestselling author of Must Love Dogs and Seven Year Switch

“An enchanting story of love, betrayal, and the discovery of an old diary that mysteriously links the past to the present. The Violets of March is a delightful debut.” —Beth Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

The Divining Wand has scheduled a presentation/review of The Violets of March for Monday, April 25, 2011 but, in the meantime, lets meet the author through her “official” bio:

A Seattle-based writer and the health and fitness blogger for, Sarah has contributed to major magazines including O, The Oprah Magazine, Woman’s Day, Cooking Light, Glamour, SELF, Real Simple, Redbook, Fitness, Marie Claire, Hallmark magazine, Seventeen, Health, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, The Seattle Times, and many others. She has also appeared as a commentator on NPR’s Morning Edition. Sarah has a degree in journalism and writes about topics that include food, nutrition, health, entertaining, travel, diet/weight loss, beauty, fitness, shopping, psychology, and beyond. Sarah is married, with three little boys, and a rascally golden retriever named Paisley who steals socks.

And now for an upclose look at who Sarah IS:

Q: How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A: Caffeinated. Chaotic. Creative. Happy. Hopeful. Fun. Healthy. Sleep-deprived.

Q: What is your motto or maxim?
A: Right now at this stage in my life juggling work with motherhood, it all boils down to ‘keep it simple.’ I have three little boys (2, 4 and an infant born weeks ago) and I’ve learned that keeping things simple directly correlates to my happiness level.

Q: How would you describe perfect happiness?
A: A happy home filled with my healthy little boys. All I can ask for! And, I’d add to that: Something on the horizon (anything) to look forward to. I love thinking ahead to the next thing—keeps me going and engaged!

Q: What’s your greatest fear?
A: The death of one of my children (oh I’m getting weepy just thinking of it!). And, rodents!

Q: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A: Right here at home in Seattle. I’m a homebody! But, next up: Paris, with my husband. I was there by myself in 2006 for a cooking class, and I kept thinking, ‘why am I here in the city of love without the man I love?!’

Q: With whom in history do you most identify?
A: That’s a tough one, but I like to think I identify with other female authors from the past, especially those that began their writing careers by publishing magazine stories, like L.M. Montgomery, of the famed Anne of Green Gable series (a fave of mine!). I’ve been reading biographies of Montgomery and I see so much of myself in her early years—her curiosity and imagination, her love of getting stories published in magazines, her drive to write as a career and a hobby. She definitely had the same spark and fire for writing that I do. It would be so fun to go back in time to meet her—just not during the winter. The Prince Edward Island winters were unbelievably harsh! Oh, and I think if I’d been a young woman in the 1920’s I would have been a flapper all the way.

Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: Too many to list. I could name dozens of public figures, but I’d say that when it comes right down to it, I admire my grandmother so much (VIOLETS is dedicated to her, Antoinette, and also my late maternal grandmother, Cecelia). She and my late grandfather, were huge supporters of my early “writing,” and encouraged me to keep at it.

Q: What are your most overused words or phrases?
A: Oh too many to count—and many of them are the made-up, baby-talk words my boys have coined over the years. Rent-raunch anyone? That would be “restaurant.”

Q: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: Singing. I wish I could hold a tune. In another life, I’d like to be a jazz singer and pianist. I’m a huge fan of jazz—old and new.

Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: My three sons! Carson, Russell and Colby. And I have a Tiffany charm bracelet that my husband got me with each of their names on little charms. I feel proud every time I look at it—and them.

Q: What’s your greatest flaw?
A: My work-a-holic tendencies. This has fueled my career, but it’s also meant little rest/peace at times in my life. I’m working on finding more balance so I don’t work on weekends as much as I have in the past. My husband and boys are always nagging me to get out of my office and join them for family fun!

Q: What’s your best quality?
A: Oh I feel like I’m giving myself a compliment here, which isn’t my intention, but I think I’m generally a very friendly person, and I hope that people feel a sense of warmth when in my presence. I probably don’t get it right all the time, but I tend to be like my dad: outgoing, talkative and—hopefully—outwardly focused. I think one of the best skills to hone is learning to be genuinely interested in others. It sounds so simple, but so many people struggle with this. My dad has it down, and I hope I’ve inherited the trait!

Q: What do you regret most?
A: Oh dear, this could easily become a confessional booth, but I’d bore you! At present, I have few major regrets (thank goodness for that!), but I do wish I didn’t get that Poodle-esq perm in the 5th grade. Good grief, what was I thinking?

Q: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A: I’d love to have the skills of a pastry chef. I’m a huge fan of cooking, and do fairly well with baking, but to be able to make fancy pastries? I would love to have those skills!

Q: What trait is most noticeable about you?
A: Maybe my curiosity? I have a degree in journalism and have been writing for magazines for 10+ years, so I’m naturally driven to ask a lot of questions and get right to the heart of a matter.

Q: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: Off the top of my head, probably Anne, of Anne of Green Gables (you have to love that spirited redhead!). I used to be such an Anne fan—I even had an Anne of Green Gables cookbook as a girl. True story.

Q: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A: Well, when I was a child, I was pretty fascinated by Cruella de Ville in “101 Dalmatians!” I also think that Nellie from “Little House on the Prairie” was a pretty terrific “mean girl.”

Q: If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: I played tennis as a child and teen, and there was a time when I really and truly wanted to grow up to be just like Jennifer Capriati, the teen tennis sensation of the 80’s/90’s. I think it would be fun to meet her, though I’m not sure what I’d say—maybe I’d confess that she used to be my idol and that I also tried to style my hair like hers. Oh dear, the memories.

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: Wearing shoes in the home. We have a no-shoes policy in our house (as annoying as it is to some of my best pals—but they understand!)–I just can’t stand the idea of tracking in mud, dirt, germs and whatever was stepped on in the public restroom into the house! Yuck!

Q: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A: Mothering! But sometimes it makes me really crazy, too. Like today, when my 2 year old dumped orange juice on his brother’s head.

Q: What’s your fantasy profession?
A: Again, probably a jazz singer/pianist like Diana Krall (I’m a huge fan!). But I’d get stage fright and it would be a huge flop. Better stick with writing.

Q: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: Integrity. Loyalty. Kindness.

Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: Simple pasta dishes with lots of veggies and Parmesan!

Q: What are your 5 favorite songs?
A: So hard to answer this one, as I have so many, but I’ll share the five fave songs that were a huge part of my writing of THE VIOLETS OF MARCH—songs that inspired so many scenes:
*Toshiko by Jessica Williams (a gorgeous piano ballad which is also the backdrop to my book trailer!)
*Until (a song written by Sting, but I adore the versions by Connie Evingson and Stefon Harris)
*Where I Stood, by Missy Higgs (such a thought-provoking and gorgeous song)
*Body and Soul, by Billie Holiday (this song is a personal favorite and also one that was of great importance to the characters in my book)
*The Waters of March, by Susannah McCorkle (this song INSPIRED my book, which—a little history—was originally titled “The Waters of March,” but got a name change before publication!)

Q: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A: The list is constantly evolving and changes with the seasons, but these ones definitely come to mind: “The Secret Garden” (such fond memories reading as a child!); “The Little House on the Prairie” series (I loved being in Laura’s world!) and the “Anne of Green Gables” books; Maeve Binchy’s books (too many to list—I love her magical story-telling); “Years of Grace” (the 1931 Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel that I read while working with my editor on THE VIOLETS OF MARCH); and most recently “Sarah’s Key,” a book that really moved me.

Talented, creative, and almost ready for anything, Sarah Jio is a debut author to follow on Twitter and become a friend/fan of on Facebook.

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

Go-to Writing Books

March 24, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Authors' Favorites, Profiles, Q&A

At one time or another, before as well as during her/his writing career, a published 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 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 this week the following authors replied:

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

“Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott, Story by Robert McKee, Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.”

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

“I like to read John Gardner’s On Becoming a Novelist every now and then, along with Stephen King’s On Writing. They’re conversant and inspirational. I like Francine Prose’s Reading Like a Writer, Anne Bernays’ What If?, and Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway. Then there are the novels that I pull from the shelves when I need to remember what gorgeous writing looks like–we all need role models, after all: Bel Canto by Anne Patchett is a favorite.”

~Ann Wertz Garvin (On Maggie’s Watch):

“It changes. I fall in love with authors every week. I’m in no way a monogamous reader. I’d hate to be my reader girlfriend because I could never commit. So sometimes I read Erma Bombeck, Nora Ephron, Elizabeth Berg and other days it’s Jackie Mitchard, Jane Hamiliton, Elizabeth Strout. I use books to get permission for oddities in my writing. Since grammar and punctuation is often beyond me (my spell check program is so totally superior and snarky), I like to get the nod from authors who take liberties with language.”

~Sarah Jio (The Violets of March coming April 26, 2011):

“For fiction, nada. I rely on my brain and sometimes good ol’ Google to check a fact. (Though when I’m researching a new book (or even just a book idea), I try to get my hands on every relevant book I can find on my subject/time period. This is the fun part! For instance, recently, I have been researching the 1920’s and loving the book “Flapper,” for a new novel I’m working on). But when I’m doing a magazine story, I’m always referring to the latest and newest nonfiction books—self-help, diet, fitness, etc. I have a huge stack of these books on my desk at any given moment.”

~Caroline Leavtitt (Pictures of You, Girls in Trouble, Coming Back to Me, the rest in Bibliography):

“John Truby, The Anatomy of Story. Brilliant structural advice.”

~Kristina McMorris (Letters From Home):

“When it comes to an author’s voice, I connect most with Jodi Picoult. Her lyricism, analogies, and often simple statements that convey profound beauty are a great inspiration, specifically whenever I find myself struggling to write after being away from a manuscript too long. And the opening sentences of her novels? Wowsers. I dare any reader to stop after reading only the first line.”

To be continued….

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Announcement: The winner of Bent Road by Lori Roy is karenk. Congratulations!

Please email diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address and your book will be Pre-ordered for its release one week from today.

Fictional Characters as Best Friends Forever

February 17, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Authors' Favorites, Profiles, Q&A

One of the most enlightening aspects of reading is being introduced, getting to know, and gaining insight/understanding to a wide variety of individuals. Somewhere among the pages are also those special characters that create an immediate personal bond — the ones, if only real, would be chosen as our BFF.

With this in mind The Divining Wand wondered who the authors felt close to, and asked:

What fictional character would you choose to be your BFF and why?

And this week’s authors replied:

~Robin Antalek (The Summer We Fell Apart):

“I’d like to spend time with Holden Caulfield; I’ve always found the dark, moody boys to be endlessly fascinating to have as friends, but never date.”

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

“I think I could be good friends with Davie Jones in 32 Candles because we’re both nerdy weirdos, and we’d make each other laugh.

The three adult sisters in Ugly Ways by Tina McElroy Andrews because they love books as much as I and I just love them so and can relate to them so.

I’d also like to be friends with Sally Owens from Practical Magic because I’ve always loved witches and I’d love to have a friend who could cook up something to make a bad man disappear.

Oh Myraleen and Lilian in This Side of the Sky because they have the type of lifelong friendship that is very rare these days, and Lilian is smart and Myraleen is funny.

Also, all these women have mother issues and I can relate!”

~Ann Wertz Garvin (On Maggie’s Watch):

“I think I can name a few. Love Bridget Jones and Kate Reddy (I Don’t Know How She Does It). Partly because they have a fabulous British accent and I would love to have a friend that said “bullocks” everything I said something ridiculous. I love how flawed and good they are. Nobody knows flawed like I do. Hermione Granger has such a good head on her shoulders, I think she could help me with punctuation and I could consult in ways of the heart. While being her BFF would be very difficult I know, Olive Kitterage speaks to me so strongly. I think she could tell me to get-over-my-self better than any one and I could hug her until she settled down.”

~Sarah Jio (The Violets of March coming April 26, 2011):

“Maybe Louisa May Alcott’s Jo March. I just love her spunk and spirit, but especially her principles and loyalty! Something tells me that if she were living here in the present day, we’d have a ton of fun!”

~Caroline Leavtitt (Pictures of You, Girls in Trouble, Coming Back to Me, the rest in Bibliography):

“Jay Gatsby. I think we could throw some really wild parties!”

~Melissa Senate (The Love Goddess’ Cooking School, The Mosts YA, The Secret of Joy, the rest in Bibliography):

“The bff of my dreams has always been my beloved Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. True-blue, smart, and all that imagination.”

~Emily Winslow (The Whole World)

“Today? Mog the Forgetful Cat. I’m in the mood for playfulness and feline cuddles.” 🙂

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Announcement: The winners of Sarah Pekkanen’s Skipping a Beat are Jennifer B and Stacy. Congratulations!

Please email diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address and your book will be pre-ordered for next Tuesday’s release date.

Writing Rituals, Secrets, and Superstitions, Part I

January 13, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Authors' Favorites, Q&A

During the fall The Divining Wand — in a series of six post recently honored by Suzannah Freeman of Write It Sideways — presented our authors’ best writing exercises. Tried and true, these exercises were designed to jumpstart both imagination and motivation, yet what about the intangible elements that set minds free while wrapping writers into their comfort zone?

To discover the answer our authors were asked:

Do you have any unusual writing rituals, secrets or superstitions that always work when all else fails?

The first in (hopefully) another insightful and helpful series begins with the following responses, including those new to TDW — ever popular Caroline Leavitt and debut novelist Camille Noe Pagan:

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

“Going for a walk almost always helps me get an idea or solve a problem. I like to tell myself the story as I walk as I would a friend or potential reader. That’s one of the things that is challenging about book-length work: keeping it all in your head. Yes, I use sticky notes and notebooks and cork boards, but still going over the story over and over and over again is necessary for me. And something about being outside and moving really helps.”

~ Claire Cook (Seven Year Switch, Must Love Dogs, Life’s A Beach, and the rest in Bibliography, and Best Staged Plans coming May 31, 2011):

“After decades of procrastinating, I wrote my first book in my minivan, which taught me that if you want it enough, you can write anywhere and under any circumstances. So I refuse to believe in rituals. I take a page from Nike’s book — and just do it.”

~ Sarah Jio (The Violets of March coming April 26, 2011)

“A clean office! I write so much better when my office is organized, dusted and tidy. I literally feel my creativity faltering when things are askew, so I tend to take a few minutes, before sitting down to write, to fix my piles (there are so many piles!), toss things in the recycle bin, etc. Also, I love natural light, so I like to keep my office window shade open. And, must have a big, tall glass of cold water! This trio works for me. ”

~ Caroline Leavtitt (Pictures of You, Girls in Trouble, Coming Back to Me, the rest in Bibliography):

“Yep. Magic thinking. I tell myself if I don’t do my four hours, something really bad will happen. Like demonic possession. That always works.”

~ Camille Noe Pagan (The Art of Forgetting coming June 9, 2011):

“When I’m stuck, I tell myself I’ll just write 250 words–even 250 horrible, nonsensical words. It seems more doable than, say, 1000. And nine times out of ten, it gets my creative wheels turning and I’m able to figure out a tricky scene or keep writing until I have several pages down.”

~ Rebecca Rasmussen (The Bird Sisters coming April 12, 2011):

“I write my novels at Starbucks – okay, I said it. There.

“I am a mess when I try to write at home.

“’I’m writing,’” I say to myself at home, which means I should be writing, but instead I’m looking for inspiration in the refrigerator, in the cabinets, in the stubborn wrinkles in my daughter’s dresses. I’ll iron before I write at home. I’ll ponder the vacuum. I’ll think Bach or Yo-Yo Ma will solve this distractedness. Then a cup of tea. Yes, nice green tea. Tea cookies? Do spiders get hungry for something sweeter than gnats or flies? Maybe I should Google that. Maybe I should Google the oil spill in the Gulf and watch the robots trying to patch together the future miles beneath the surface of the sea. Maybe it’s all utterly hopeless and I should just take a nap and hope I dream about ice cream cones and spun sugar.
It’s all so daunting. So I go to Starbucks and, miraculously, the words start flowing…”

~ Emily Winslow (The Whole World):

“If a scene or chapter is really resisting me, I resort to an all-nighter. I make coffee and tell myself I can go to sleep only when I’ve finished.”

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Winter/Spring 2011 Coming Attractions

December 09, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News, Books

The year of 2010 has been a glorious one here at The Divining Wand. With our authors/friends providing first-class quality through their books and more, how much better could it be?

Well, beginning Monday, January 3, 2011, when Eileen Cook’s (Unpredictable, What Would Emma Do? YA, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood YA) latest YA novel The Education of Hailey Kendrick — already earning a Kirkus starred review — is presented/reviewed, it will launch our exciting winter/spring season.

Look for other of your favorites to return, including:

~Sarah Pekkanen (The Opposite of Me) with her second novel, Skipping a Beat coming February 22, 2010, and praised by Emily Giffin.

~Meg Waite Clayton’s (The Wednesday Sisters) highly anticipated The Four Ms. Bradwells releases on March 22, 2011.

~Claire Cook (Seven Year Switch, Must Love Dogs, Life’s A Beach, and the rest in Bibliography) celebrates with her 8th book, Best Staged Plans, on May 31, 2011.

And, of course, there will be more!

During the past few months many about-to-be authors have been introduced to you, but now let’s put their names and titles into order of debut appearance:

~Eleanor Brown (The Weird Sisters coming January 20, 2011)

~Kristina McMorris (Letters From Home coming February 22, 2011)

~Lori Roy (Bent Road coming March 31, 2011)

~Jael McHenry (The Kitchen Daughter coming April 12, 2011)

~Rebecca Rasmussen (The Bird Sisters coming April 12, 2011)

~Sarah Jio (The Violets of March coming April 26, 2011)

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

TRUST: There’s great buzz about each one of these authors. Please explore their websites and/or Pre-order their books.

Here’s to new authors/friends and great reading in the New Year!

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Announcement: The winners of What I Thought I Knew by Alice Eve Cohen are Mary Quackenbush and Ruthie Congratulations!

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


Announcement: The winners of Slim to None by Jenny Gardiner are Dee and Sarah Congratulations!

Please email diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address and your book will be sent out promptly OR indicate you’d like the Kindle Edition.

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!

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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.