The Divining Wand

Discovering authors beyond their pages…

New ebooks from TDW Authors

April 28, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: ebooks

Although so many print books are releasing this winter/spring season, The Divining Wand also has authors offering new selections for Kindle readers. Please consider the following that could be yours in a minute.

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Dee DeTarsio (The Scent of Jade [Kindle Edition]) is at her best with a second novel, The Kitchen Shrink.

From TV writer Dee DeTarsio, a new novel featuring the humor, vulnerability, honesty and flaws of a suburban heroine…

If your life is a mess, your house could probably use a makeover, too. Welcome to the behind-the-scenes world of reality TV in The Kitchen Shrink:

“My kids smoke dope, my ex is one,
I said ‘nope’ when I wanted to run…
Into your arms…And feel your lucky charms…”

When did Lisby Shaw’s life turn into a country music song? Probably when her best friend signed her up for the debut of the new reality TV show, The Kitchen Shrink, for the ultimate life and home makeover! Unable to squirm out of this “it will be fun” opportunity, Lisby tries to juggle her upstairs-behind-the-scenes-life with her downstairs-in-front-of-the-camera persona, where everything she says and does can and will be used against her.

Hopefully, the show doesn’t find out about her fling with that hunky carpenter. Or that she and her friend smoked hootch she found in her daughter’s room. Lisby cannot believe what a freak show her life has become. At least no one knows about her crush on Sam, Sam, the Cameraman…

Lisby tries to find her way as the TV cameras capture her every move, zooming in on drama with her kids, her ex, her mom and her best friend. Stay tuned for Lisby’s extreme close-up as she becomes a jilted laughingstock on national TV. All is lost…or is it?

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Karen McQuestion (A Scattered Life, Easily Amused, Celia and the Fairies for ages 7 – 11) released two YA novels, Favorite and Life on Hold, on April 1, 2011.

Five years have passed since Angie Favorite’s mother, Laura, disappeared without a trace, and Angie still hasn’t recovered. Sure, things look normal on the surface—she goes to school, works her summer job, and argues with her older brother Jason—but she can’t shake the feeling that Laura didn’t leave by choice. Angie’s dad does the best he can, but his work as a musician keeps him on the road and away from home, where it’s up to Angie’s grandmother to keep an eye on the kids. She can’t be with them all the time, though, and she can’t help Angie when she is snatched from a mall parking lot by Scott Bittner. The girl narrowly escapes, and Bittner is arrested, but he takes his life in jail before he can offer an explanation for his crime. When his mother contacts Angie, begging forgiveness on her son’s behalf, the girl agrees to meet with her in hopes of finding answers to the seemingly random attack. But when she arrives at the massive Bittner estate, she is overcome by an unshakeable sense of foreboding….

Fifteen-year-old Rae Maddox’s mom, Gina, is a big fan of fresh starts. Gina thinks of them as an adventure, but for Rae, each move is just one more friend lost, one more chance to feel like an outsider. But when they arrive in Wisconsin, Gina promises to stay put until Rae graduates. Cautiously optimistic, she wades into the social whirl at Whitman High School, making a few friends and even earning a chance at love. But when the vice principal pairs her with fellow newbie Allison Daly, Rae’s tentative happiness is jeopardized. It seems Allison was orphaned after her parents died in a suspicious house fire, leaving their daughter to bounce between relatives’ homes. When a sleepover at Rae’s house goes terribly wrong, Rae sees a troubling side of Allison—and learns a few secrets about her own mother in the process. Suddenly Rae is at risk of losing everything and everyone she cares about—unless she steps up and takes charge of her life once and for all.

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Wendy Nelson Tokunaga’s (Midori By Moonlight, Love in Translation) first e-book, Marriage in Translation: Foreign Wife, Japanese Husband, debuted on Kindle a few weeks ago.

Read interviews with 14 Western women who speak candidly about the challenges in making cross-cultural marriages work both inside and outside Japan, and the joys and frustrations of adapting to a different culture.

Please note that 50 percent of proceeds for the month of April go to Japan Relief and there are still three days to purchase the ebook while making a contribution.

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Announcement: The winners of The Violets of March by Sarah Jio are Kaye and Janel. Congratulations!

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

Go-to Writing Books, II

March 31, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Authors' Favorites, Profiles, Q&A

Before, during and after a work-in-progress, a published/debut author has likely read more than a few books on the art and craft of writing. Whether it’s for motivation or inspiration, favorites must exist to be read and reread 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:

~Robin Antalek (The Summer We Fell Apart):

“While I admire so many great writers whose books grace the shelves in my office, I cannot read or refer to fiction while I am deep into my own fictional world. As a matter of fact I have an occupational short attention span for reading anything while I am writing. Instead I would say I use visual stimulus. I find the works of the photographer Sally Mann, Tina Barney, Diane Arbus, the paintings of Alice Neel, Lucien Freud and John Currin, among many, many others to be so inspiring. For me, looking at these works is actually a different kind of “fiction” there are so many stories hidden in the pictures.”

~James King (Bill Warrington’s Last Chance):

“The Forest for the Trees” by Betsy Lerner
“Coaching the Artist Within” by Eric Maisel
“Self-Editing for Fiction Writers” by Browne & King (no relation)
“Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott

~Catherine McKenzie (Arranged, Spin):

“I re-read Jane Austen at least once a year. The Harry Potter series too. If I need something gently, I might re-read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books or the Anne of Green Gables books. I wouldn’t say I go back to them necessarily, they are just constantly in my life.”

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

“For general writing advice and inspiration, I love Stephen King’s “On Writing”. To see how smart humor can be done right, I go to Lorrie Moore’s short stories (“Like Life” is a favorite). But the one book I return to again and again–both when I’m writing and when I’m not–is Barbara Kingsolver’s “Prodigal Summer”. For me, it’s the whole package: great dialogue, amazing description and, most importantly, a wonderful story with the perfect blend of tragedy and triumph.”

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

“I constantly reread four on the craft of writing: Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott; On Writing by Stephen King; Making A Literary Life by Carolyn See; Escaping Into The Open by Elizabeth Berg. I love craft books. Not so much for the exercises or how-to, but for the comfort, the yes, this is hard.”

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

“Since I’ve been busy doing teaching and manuscript consulting, I’m tending to have a lot of craft-of-writing books on my desk, which are always helpful to consult, whether it’s for my students, clients or myself. Some of my recent favorites are: “Hooked” by Les Edgerton, “The Modern Library’s Writer’s Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction” by Stephen Koch, “The Making of a Story” by Alice LaPlante and the classic “bird by bird” by Anne Lamott.”

To be continued….

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Announcement: Happy Debut Day to Lori Roy and Bent Road!


With a major thank you to Rebecca Rasmussen’s publisher, Crown, there are now two copies of The Bird Sisters for the Giveaway. The winners are Jennifer Gravely and Hira H. (Enamored Soul). Congratulations!

Please email diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address and one book will be sent out promptly, while the other book will be Pre-ordered for its release on Tuesday, April 12th.

Love in Translation: Backstory and Song

November 18, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Books, Profiles

Next Monday, November 23rd Wendy Tokunaga’s second novel, Love in Translation, will be presented here and the following day it will be released to bookstores and online retailers. Although likely to be shelved with “chick lit” or women’s fiction, this book is filled with much more than categorizes either genre. Therefore, with the hope of providing fascinating and lovely glimpses of this coming attraction, The Divining Wand is delighted to welcome author Wendy Tokunaga as today’s guest blogger.


It’s not surprising that I am often asked about how my relationship with Japan and Japanese culture came to be. It seems peculiar since I don’t look Japanese, but have a Japanese last name. My spoken Japanese is half-way decent and I have a penchant for singing in Japanese. And the culture of Japan has had a major impact on my writing.

My debut novel, MIDORI BY MOONLIGHT, is the story of a Japanese woman who escapes Japan by coming to California. My current novel, LOVE IN TRANSLATION, is about a Californian, Celeste Duncan who, after receiving a puzzling phone call and a box full of mysterious family heirlooms, is off to Japan to search for a long, lost relative who could hold the key to the identity of the father she never knew. At first Celeste is overwhelmed by Japan, where nothing is quite as it seems, but when she discovers and learns to sing a Japanese song called “The Wishing Star (Nozomi no Hoshi)” things begin to fall into place in ways she never expected. And it is in Japan that she actually discovers who she is.

And maybe that’s what happened to me in some ways, though my story is far different from Celeste’s. Unlike her I became a Japanophile starting in college when I stumbled upon a course called Japanese American Personality, which filled a general studies requirement. Taught by a dynamic Japanese-American professor, he fueled my interest in all things Japanese—the literature, the tea ceremony, the language, etc. It didn’t hurt that he was also good looking as I’d always been attracted to Asian men instead of big, blond football types. I also greatly admired the politeness, order and ritual of the Japanese language and culture, which is generally much more reserved and refined, as opposed to in-your-face. Being a Caucasian-American without a prominent heritage or religious identity I liked the idea of embracing a new culture for myself.

Friends were saying that I must have been Japanese in a past life because it was such a good fit. My other passion had been music and this was a match too when my first trip to Japan was as a winner in a songwriting contest sponsored by a Japanese record company.

Eventually I lived in Tokyo for a year. I taught English, did recorded narration work for language tapes, and sang with some rock bands. I even appeared on a wacky TV singing contest for foreigners, which is part of the inspiration for the television show Celeste appears on in the book. And when I returned home I continued to participate in Japanese karaoke contests in San Francisco’s Japantown and won a number of prizes. And it was in San Francisco that I met and married my husband Manabu Tokunaga, an expatriate who had moved to the United States from Osaka when he was eighteen.

So when I decided to take up fiction writing many years later, it seemed natural that the stories that poured forth were all about Japan and Japanese culture.

And it also seemed natural for my writing and musical pursuits to eventually come full circle.The fictional song from LOVE IN TRANSLATION has become a reality with the release of my version of “The Wishing Star (Nozomi no Hoshi),” with music written by Manabu and lyrics by myself and our friend Hiro Akashi. You can download the song for free on iTunes here or at my website here.

I think Celeste Duncan would approve of my rendition of the song that changed her life.

The Revealing of Wendy Tokunaga

November 11, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles

Wendy Tokunaga debuted two years ago with her highly praised novel, Midori By Moonlight. In this writing, the author told a tale based on her personal “experience in studying the Japanese language and culture; living, working and playing in Japan; and her cross-cultural marriage.” Yet her main theme and character focused on why some people feel the need to trade in their native culture for a new one.

In less than two weeks the writer’s second novel, Love in Translation, will be released with a similar theme but a very different setting. A full presentation of Love in Translation is scheduled to appear here on Monday, November 23rd, but until then let’s read beyond this website bio:

Born in San Francisco, Wendy has lived her whole life in the San Francisco Bay Area (except for a stint in Tokyo in the 1980s). She lives with her Osaka-born surfer-dude husband, Manabu Tokunaga, several virtual West Highland white terriers, and a champagne-sable Burmese cat dubbed Meow in a house that is a ten-minute walk from the Pacific Ocean.

Instead it’s time to reveal Wendy Tokunaga — a most creative, multi-talented individual:

Q: How would you describe your current life in 8 words?
A: Writing Marketing Writing Marketing Writing Marketing Writing Marketing

Q: What is your motto or maxim?A: Never, never give up.

Q: How would you describe perfect happiness?
A: A good bottle of wine and a great dinner out with my husband.

Q: What’s your greatest fear?
A: The power of fear itself.

Q: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A: Depending on my mood either Shinjuku Station in Tokyo or Makawao, Maui.

Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: Miep Gies

Q: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: Tap dancing

Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: A toss-up between getting my novels published and returning to school to get my MFA in Writing.

Q: What’s your greatest flaw?
A: My lack of interest in housework.

Q: What’s your best quality?
A: My lack of interest in housework.

Q: What do you regret most?
A: Je ne regrette rien!

Q: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A: A contented cat.

Q: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: Winnie-the-Pooh (A. A. Milne version)

Q: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
Q: Duchess the Cat in “Babe”

Q: If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: Hideki Matsui – Sushi o tabe ni ikimasen ka? (Shall we go eat some sushi?)

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: People writing “loose” when they mean “lose.”

Q: What’s your fantasy profession?
A: Real estate agent with my own show on HGTV.

Q: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: Sincerity, a sense of humor, and good time management skills.

Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: Sushi!

Q: Who are some of your favorite musicians?
A: Bill Charlap (jazz pianist), Kelly Clarkson, Booty Luv, Allison Iraheta, Manabu Tokunaga.

Q: What are some of your favorite novels you’ve read recently?
A: Oh! A Mystery of Mono no Aware by Todd Shimoda; No One You Know by Michelle Richmond; American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld; How to Be Lost by Amanda Eyre Ward.

Charmingly, complex, get to know Wendy Tokunaga even better by following her on Twitter or become a friend on Facebook.

Our Authors’ Rearview Mirrors

November 04, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles

Art + Business = Writing Lessons Learned.

Yes, once again, several of our authors responded to the question of: If you knew then, what you know now about writing as an art and business, what might you have done differently?

And, as much as these storytellers love their art, most have discovered there’s more to success than creativity.

Ad Hudler (Man of the House, All This Belongs to Me, House Husband):

“I would not have signed away my audio rights. As it is now, only one of my four books have been made into audio … and I hear from a reader at least once a week, asking for the audio version. So … in the future I’m going to make sure I keep the audio rights, and I’m going to record the books myself with a production company and sell them, downloadable, on my website.”

Kristy Kiernan (Catching Genius, Matters of Faith and Between Friends coming April 6, 2010):

“I would have been much, much kinder to myself. I would have been more guarded with other writers and listened to my instincts. And I would have been a better custodian of my time and energy.”

Randy Susan Meyers (The Murderer’s Daughters coming January 19, 2010):

“I would have started far earlier to learn to combine craft with art.

For many years I bought into a belief that writing was magic, where my flying thoughts, imagination, and natural writing bent would somehow combine through alchemy and be tapped out through my fingers. Later in life, I realized that like any builder, I needed to learn the trade, use the right tools, and start building plumb. At that point, I put my head down and worked at learning more from others—both by reading books about the craft of writing and by participating in writer’s workshops.”

Barrie Summy (I So Don’t Do Mysteries, I So Don’t Do Spooky Ages 9 – 12, coming December 8, 2009):

“I think I would’ve started submitting earlier. Instead, I felt that getting published was so far out there and so almost unattainable that I found it difficult to be disciplined and sit still long enough to write.’

Wendy Tokunaga (Midori By Moonlight, Love in Translation coming November 24, 2009):

“On the business side I would have invested some of my own funds for outside publicity for my first novel instead of only relying on my publisher and everything I could do myself. On the art side, I would understand that writing is subjective. I would not have worried so much about comparing my writing to that of other writers and have the confidence to know that I have my own style.”

More Inspiration from Our Authors

October 15, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles

A few weeks ago The Divining Wand asked its authors: What does your Muse look like? Or what does s/he sound like? Or what does s/he feel like? Muse(less)? What inspires you to write?

Here are more of their primarily Muse(less) replies:

Therese Fowler (Souvenir, Reunion):

“I love this question, because it reminds me that writers are so diverse in what motivates and inspires them. There is a romantic ideal that presumes we all have muses, but as you know, that’s not always the case–and may not even be the case often. Of all the writers I know, only a few have ever mentioned a personified muse.

Inspiration, though: we all have that! Mine is based in nature: human nature primarily, and then the natural world. It’s the concert of those two forces that compels me to observe, select, and then set down my stories onto paper.

When I’m feeling unmotivated, I know I simply need to get outdoors and let my mind relax and become receptive again.”

Randy Susan Meyers (The Murderer’s Daughters coming January 19, 2010):

“My Muse looks like the public library. When I was a child, I almost lived there. The library was the safest place I knew and it held a world of happiness. It was a miracle to me that I could go in the my little Brooklyn library, plunk down my rapidly softening from overuse card, and be allowed to take home six—SIX!—books. I read fast, so in a few days I’d be back for my next six.

Books make me happy. The idea of being side by side with my beloved authors, that’s my Muse. I consider books sacred objects, and feel tremendously blessed that my novel will be published in January.

I write because it allows me to combine the activities I most love: making sense of the world, story-telling, and scrambling words until, hopefully, I’ve reached the right combination to tell a tale people will love reading.”

Barrie Summy (I So Don’t Do Mysteries, I So Don’t Do Spooky Ages 9 – 12, coming December 8, 2009):

“I don’t think I have a Muse. Or maybe I do, but we’re both so harried that we haven’t taken the time to sit down and chat over a cup of coffee. I’m the person who travels everywhere with a laptop. While I’m waiting for my kids to finish that last set at swim team, I’m in the car or on the pool deck, writing the end of a scene. During warm-up time at a gymnastics meet, I’m the mother on the bench with her head bent over, typing away like a fiend. Once I start reading and marking up hard copy, I travel everywhere with a large cloth bag filled with manuscript pages, a dictionary (my favorite is The Flip Dictionary), a zippered pencil case with highlighters and pencils and pens. However, I recently discovered a new coffee shop and will be writing there in the evenings. I think, perhaps, my Muse and I will finally meet. And I suspect she has beautiful highlights, visits the gym regularly and always eats a healthy diet. All the things I’d like to be.

What inspires me to write? Well, I’m very cranky when I’m not writing. My family will totally attest to this. And I have these stories in my head, fighting to get out and onto a hard drive. All in all, it’s easier to write than not to.”

Wendy Tokunaga (Midori By Moonlight, Love in Translation coming November 24, 2009):

“So many things can inspire me. A snippet of an overheard conversation in a coffee house, a thought that suddenly pops into my head while walking along the beach trail, or an article I’ve read in a newspaper or magazine. Sometimes doing research on a project can trigger ideas for a completely different one.”

Announcement: The winner of the Book Giveaway of Therese Walsh’s The Last Will of Moira Leahy is Robyn! Congratulations Robyn, please email: diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address and I’ll have the book sent out to you.

Book Trailer, Giveaways, and an Honorary Chair

October 06, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Book Trailers, Contests, News

Fall, it’s brimming with energy as are our authors — some of whom already have new ventures to share.

Wendy Tokunaga (Midori by Moonlight) whose second novel, Love in Translation, will be released November 24, 2009, premieres the Book Trailer and notes Advance Praise for Love in Translation:

“A delightful novel about love, identity, and what it means to be adrift in a strange land. This story of a search has an Alice in Wonderland vibe; when Celeste climbs down the rabbit hole, one can’t help but follow along.”–Michelle Richmond, New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Fog

“An amusing story of one woman’s quest for her father and the improbable path of love.”—Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Wednesday Sisters

Debutante Joëlle Anthony (Restoring Harmony YA coming May 13, 2010) is delighted to announce a new feature on her website: Wild Card Wednesdays. Join her for author interviews, guest blogs, and book giveaways. This week Sara Zarr will be Joëlle’s guest author.

Katie Alender (Bad Girls Don’t Die) celebrates fall with an October contest time!. Here’s a chance to win a signed copy of Bad Girls Don’t Die as well as some custom-made stuff!

Although Katie is a talented writer, using of the word “stuff” — to describe her handmade items — is far too modest.

Just look at the stuff given to September’s Contest winner:
So do visit, read the contest rules and enter before 12:01 a.m. PDT this Saturday, October 10th.

We all know the power of words, but when Kristy Kiernan (Catching Genius, Between Friends coming April 6, 2010) wrote Matters of Faith it’s doubtful that she even realized the significant awareness she was casting on food allergies. Yet this November 14th, in Tampa, Florida, Kristy will serve as the Honorary Chair for The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network Walk for Food Allergy Congratulations, Kristy!

[Note: Two copies of Little Black Lies are being given away this week. Please leave a comment on Tish Cohen’s Little Black Lies between now and Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. EDT to be eligible for the random drawings. The two winners will be announced here in Thursday’s post.]

Books That Made Our Authors, Authors, Part II

September 08, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles

Once again here’s an opportunity to discover what one book influenced our authors’ careers, allowing them to dream of writings their own book pages.

Meredith Cole (Posed for Murder): “The book that most influenced my life and career as a writer? I really don’t know. I’ve always been a big reader and loved books. A book that was a huge influence on me as a kid was The Greengage Summer. Rumer Godden is an incredible storyteller. The book would be classified as YA today, but it’s really a romance, a mystery, and a thriller all rolled into one. She described the taste of the greengages so poetically, I wanted desperately to taste them. And I wanted to spend the summer in France.”

Jenny Gardiner (Sleeping with Ward Cleaver, Winging It coming Spring 2010): “The book that probably most influenced me: Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. The first person voice, that protagonist who just splayed himself out there, it just struck a chord with me and have always
loved first person POV since.”

Kristina Riggle (Real Life & Liars):
“Anne Tyler’s Pulitzer Prize winning BREATHING LESSONS taught me that a book could be entirely about inner lives and still be compelling.”

Wendy Tokunaga (Midori by Moonlight, Love in Translation coming November 24, 2009):
“Probably The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. It showed that readers would respond to novels with Asian themes and gave me confidence to take the plunge into writing fiction — first short stores and then on to novels.”

Lara Zielin (Donut Days YA): “My copy of Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawles was so dog-eared and tattered, it hardly held together. I must have read that thing 50 times as a kid. I think this book imparted to me ideas about what a true work ethic was, since the main character had to labor so very hard for everything he had. Plus he loved his dogs, and I, to this day, love animals like a fiend. I also loved the spiritual elements of the book too. God, faith, myths … I think reading this book prompted me, for the first time, to truly wonder about a force bigger and grander than what our eyes could see.”

[Note: The Crazy Beautiful Book Giveaway remains open until tomorrow night so please post your comment for a chance to win this lovely novel.]

You Could Be a Winner

July 27, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Contests

With one week left before debuts and new releases start filling the bookstores – and these pages –, why not try to win a free book or a gift card? Below are four contests currently underway and, since three of them end on different days of this week, visit now and play your luck.

As anticipated in last Thursday’s post, Allison Winn Scotch is holding a “What If?” contest, giving away a total of 5 copies of the trade paperback edition of her NYT bestseller Time of My Life. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day tomorrow and winners will be announced Wednesday. The details can be found on the post, And Now It’s Free Books, at Ask Allison. Even if you don’t wish to enter, reading the heartfelt comments are worth your time.

Lara Zielin, YA debut novelist of Six Writers, Six Weeks contest this Thursday. Simply comment on that day’s post and you could be the recipient of a $10 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card.

This Friday, July 31st is the deadline for the GoodReads giveaway of three copies of Wendy Tokunagas’s debut novel, Midory by Moonlight. Please visit Wendy’s blog where you’ll be directed to signing-up for the contest.

Finally Masha Hanmilton offers a Contest to win a free hardcover copy of her forthcoming novel, 31 Hours. But for this, you must:

“Email a paragraph or story (500 words max) about when your intuition has been right about your child.

“The top ten stories—selected by Masha and guest judges—will get a free hardcover book and have their stories featured on this site.”

The deadline is September 30th with winners to be announced on October 16, 2009.

Enjoy and much good fortune to all!

“Moonlight” Becomes This Debut Author

July 13, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books


Although Wendy Tokunaga’s novel, Midori By Moonlight, was published in September, 2007, readers are still discovering this debut author’s light-hearted touch of exploring why some people feel the need to trade in their native culture for a new one. Combining substance with delicious fun comes naturally for Wendy as she applies her extensive experience in studying the Japanese language and culture; living, working and playing in Japan; and, of course, the lessons learned from her cross-cultural marriage,

And GoodReads has taken notice as the writer’s blog post on Friday, July 10th announced, Midori By Moonlight Book Giveaways on GoodReads. The Contest runs until July 31st so please check it out there. And, if you’re fortunate enough to win one of the three copies, you’ll be enjoying a book praised as:

“Tokunaga depicts Midori’s determination to create her own version of the American dream with exuberance [in this] delectably frothy debut.”__Publishers’ Weekly

“[Midori by Moonlight] draws upon vivid imagery when defining traits of Japanese culture and really hits the nail on the head when depicting some American attitudes toward others…. witty and charming.”__Charleston Gazette

“Midori is endearing, feisty, and funny: the novel is a delight.”__ Ellen Sussman, editor of Bad Girls and author of On a Night Like This

Best selling author Cara Lockwood (Dixieland Sushi) says, “Midori by Moonlight is part wasabi, part ginger, and as scrumptious as a California roll. You’ll devour this book in a day!”

Author Lauren Baratz-Logsted (Vertigo) says, “A delightful fusion of East meeting West, as if Banana Yoshimoto and Meg Cabot got together to create a romantic comedy.”

From Margo Candela, author of Life Over Easy: “Shedding light on Japanese culture and modern dating, relating, and living woes, Tokunaga blends both with an insider’s eye for nuance and a real love for her characters. Delightfully sweet, just like Midori.”

Here’s a brief Synopsis:

“Midori Saito’s dream seems about to come true. Too independent for Japanese society, Midori is a young woman who has always felt like a stranger in her native land. So when she falls in love with Kevin, an American English teacher, she readily agrees to leave home and start a new life with him in San Francisco—as his fiancée. Kevin seems to be the perfect man. That is, until he dumps her for his blond ex-fiancée, whom Midori never even knew existed. With just a smattering of fractured English, not much cash, and a fiancée visa set to expire in 60 days, Midori realizes she’s in for quite a struggle. Unable to face the humiliation of telling her parents she’s been jilted, she decides to go it alone, surprising even herself as she proves she will do almost anything to hang on to her ‘“American Dream.”’

Now prepare to be charmed by the Midori by Moonlight Book Trailer. Wendy’s husband Manabu composed the great music.

And, finally, you can Read an Excerpt since Midori By Moonlight was featured in the St. Martin’s Press “Read-It-First” Program.

While it’s possible you could be a winner in the GoodReads Contest, chances are you’d feel even luckier to purchase Midori by Moonlight at your local bookstore or one of these other online retailers: Barnes & Noble and Borders.

There’s something special about getting to know a debut author and Wendy Tokunaga will not hold that title much longer since her second novel, Love in Translation, (to be released November 24, 2009) is already available for Pre-order. By all means, it’s time to discover her now!