Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Buy a Book- You Can't Give More Enchantment For Less.
The Fiction Writers Co-Op—48 authors of distinguished, award-winning, and best-selling fiction—recommend:

Dracula in Love by Karen Essex. "...the writing is so vivid, lusciously sexy and chillingly outrageous by turns..." - The Star Ledger

The Last Will of Moira Leahy by Therese Walsh. "This tender tale of sisterhood, self-discovery, and forgiveness will captivate fans of contemporary women’s fiction.”- Library Journal

The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers. "A powerful portrait of sisters growing up in the shadow of violence . . . A thought-provoking, heart-tugging debut." Boston Magazine

The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan. "A wonderful love story…Buchanan weaves Niagara Falls’ history and her storytelling together masterfully.” − Elle

By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan. "Remarkably learned and heartbreaking romantic novel... Despite its medieval setting, the story has contemporary echoes... Hard to put down, beautifully executed, highly recommended." Minneapolis Star Tribune

Simply From Scratch by Alicia Bessette. "Fans of Cecelia Ahern’s PS, I Love You will find a lot to like here ... strong, richly detailed ... with a truly lovable heroine ... the spins and turns the story takes along the way are well worth the ride." —Library Journal

The Love Goddess' Cooking School by Melissa Senate. "Senate handles the hefty topics of loss and remembrances with lightness and respect and in so doing, redefines comfort food." --Publishers Weekly

Seven Year Switch by Claire Cook. "Bestseller Cook [Must Love Dogs, Life's a Beach] charms again with this lively warm-hearted look at changing courses mid-life."
-People Magazine

The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri. "This hopeful, comforting novel is a testament to the power of taking chances and starting fresh, and a reminder that life can bring joy after sorrow."--Miami Herald

All the Numbers by Judy Merrill Larsen. "Larsen depicts a mother's year of grief and recovery with a sure and honest voice."--Booklist

Spin by Catherine McKenzie. "The tag line is: ‘How far would you go to get what you always wanted?’ and Kate Sandford, protagonist of Catherine McKenzie's first novel, Spin, goes so far she makes you cringe. … Where A Million Little Pieces … was tortured and powerful, Spin is more about entertainment and fun. … Full of pop-culture allusions, some really funny ones. … Spin is a compelling, fast-paced read.” – The Globe and Mail

The Truth About Delilah Blue by Tish Cohen. "Both of Cohen’s previous novels (Town House and Inside Out Girl) are in development as films, and The Truth About Delilah Blue is sure to follow. She is clearly familiar with the cinema’s propulsive rhythms, and has an almost Hitchcockian sense of how to uncoil audience guts and play double dutch with them." --The Globe and Mail

The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen, forthcoming from Crown Publishers, April 12th. "A magical debut, original and poignant, lovely and moving. I absolutely loved The Bird Sisters and will carry Milly and Twiss with me as if in a locket for a long, long time." --Jenna Blum, Bestselling Author of Those Who Save Us.

Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos. "[W]hat happens when life throws us kinks and crumbles the plans we've so carefully laid out . . . There is poetry in her words and all around the world she has created."--Richmond Times-Dispatch

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin. Diana Gabaldon says of this fictional biography of Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland, "This is magic! Childhood, sensuality, love, sorrow and wonder, all bright and complex as the shifting patterns in a kaleidoscope.

Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland. "Here's a warning: Mistress of the Sun is dangerously seductive. It's one of those books that will grab you and hold you captive till the last page is turned." —Calgary Herald

Stay by Allie Larkin. "Larkin makes writing look easy. Stay has everything...humor, heart -and, endearingly, buckets of dog slobber." —The Miami Herald

Kings of the Earth by Jon Clinch. Robert Goolrick calls it "eloquent and moving, written with precision and clarity to stave off loss — the loss of history, of art, of humanity." O Magazine's lead pick for summer reading, and a Washington Post Best Novel of 2010.

My Husband's Sweethearts by Bridget Asher. "... rendered with humor and heart." -- People "... a laugh-and-cry novel whose plot includes equal portions of heartache and hope." -- The Chicago Tribune

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow. Chosen by Barbara Kingsolver for the Bellwether Prize for Fiction, "Durrow's powerful novel is poised to find a place among classic stories of the American experience." --Miami Herald. A Washington Post Best Novel of 2010!

The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. GortnerPower. Passion. Poison: History's most notorious queen tells us her side of the story. "Fans of Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory will devour this!" - BookList.

Souvenir by Therese Fowler. An IndieBound selection and book club favorite, this novel about family, fate, regret and redemption is "truly impossible to put down.--Booklist. USA Today says it's "Compelling...the characters are likable, troubled, and human, and are well worth following on their journey."

After You by Julie Buxbaum. Jodi Picoult says of this novel about love and friendship: "Buxbaum writes with honesty and grace about the things we know about our friends and the things we wish we didn't. After You highlights—beautifully and compellingly—the truth that sometimes we have to lose the people closest to us to find ourselves."

Children of the Waters by Carleen Brice Jacquelyn Mitchard author,The Deep End of the Ocean, says of this novel about what really makes a family:
"I was exhausted and singing the blues the hour I began Carleen Brice's new novel, Children of the Waters. Five hours later, I'd finished this fresh, free-rein novel about mothers' secrets and children's sorrows and was shouting 'Hurray!'"

Claude and Camille by Stephanie Cowell, the story of Claude Monet in his young struggling years which led to the birth of impressionism and his great love for his model and wife , the tragic Camille. The Boston Globe said, "an enthralling story, beautifully told" and Bookpage added, "A vivid portrait of Monet's remarkable career."

Remedies by Kate Ledger. Remedies explores the complicated nature of pain, in the nerves of the body and the longing of the heart.... "an immediately gripping, expertly woven tale of pain and healing. Ledger is a brilliant writer; the book is dazzling, but more importantly, it is moving."--Elin Hilderbrand

Shelter Me by Juliette Fay “What a gorgeous paradox of a book: a deep, thoughtful exploration of a young mother’s first year of widowhood that is as much a page-turner as any thriller" says bestselling author Marisa de los Santos. Publishers Weekly deemed it "a wise and inspirational debut."

Monday, November 22, 2010


This has become my traditional Thanksgiving post . . .

I first wrote this post in 2007, and ask your indulgence as I post it again. It still seems appropriate. . . .

"You can plan all you want to. You can lie in your morning bed and fill whole notebooks with schemes and intentions. But within a single afternoon, within hours or minutes, everything you plan and everything you have fought to make yourself can be undone as a slug is undone when salt is poured on him. And right up to the moment when you find yourself dissolving into foam you can still believe you are doing fine."

Wallace Stegner, Crossing to Safety

Thirteen years ago, just before dinnertime on the Monday of Thanksgiving week, my seven-year old son was hit by a car. Now twenty, he'll be arriving home from college tomorrow; his twenty-one year old brother the next day. We have much for which to be thankful. But that night, for a few moments, I wasn't sure I'd ever breathe a thankful breath again. When the neighbor boy burst into my house, yelling, "Eric just got hit by a car!" my world froze. I wasn't sure I could face what awaited me just outside my front door. Somehow, I propelled myself outside, after tossing the phone to the neighbor and telling him to call 911. When I hit the porch steps I heard my son's cries and I thought, Okay, he's alive. When I knelt by his side, I saw his feet moving and told myself, Okay, he's not paralyzed. And I knew right then we were incredibly lucky. And I was thankful beyond measure.

Later, after the ambulance ride, after the X-rays, after the doctor shook his head and said, just before releasing him, "He's fine. He shouldn't be but he is," I remembered the above Stegner quote. The salt had been just ready to pour down on me, on us, on our life. And then it didn't. But I knew how easily it could have rained down over our world. A different driver. A bigger, faster car. A shift in the trajectory of my son's body as it flew through the air. But, even now, I have to turn my mind away from those awful possibilities.

Our lives are full of such moments, but many times we don't even know it. We don't know what we've narrowly escaped, what's just missed us. And so, for what we know and don't know, I am thankful. For the times the salt didn't pour down and for the strength to continue when it did, I give thanks.

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving, but even more, I wish you a spirit of thankfulness as you go about your lives everyday.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I'm Over Here . . . Among Friends

Is anyone still reading this? Bueller? Anyone?

I'm now over at the Girlfriends Book Club Blog along with 34 other wonderful writers and we so hope you'll join us. I'll still try to post here occasionally.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth!

I love the Fourth of July. Not just because I have a big party and blast Springsteen from the porch speakers and we watch the fireworks from my front yard.

No, it's much more than that. I am unabashedly patriotic (in my dyed-in-the-wool liberal democrat way). I love what the day represents--fighting for what we believe in. Standing up for our rights. Saying, no way, we're not gonna put up with unfairness.

I love that over 200 years ago, men were willing to die to create a new democracy, a democracy that has withstood wars and impeachments and terrorism and bungled elections. A government that often works in spite of itself.

And I hope that in 2010 we haven't become blase to the freedoms we have that others around the world can only dream about.

So, as you celebrate today, maybe take a moment to appreciate what we have and say a little prayer for all those who don't.

(This was originally posted in 2008. I still feel like it's appropriate.)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Writers in Their Own Words-GCC

In case you didn't pick this up last summer . . . or you did and were hoping it'd soon be out in paperback, you're in luck! To get an insider's look at what Sheila has gone through since writing her book, read this.

And here is what I wrote last summer when it first came out . . .

I've got a fun new book to tout today by my buddy Sheila Curran.

Everyone She Loved is getting some boffo press like:

Penelope Cameron May's unusual last request sets off the action in this riveting novel of love and friendship, betrayal and lies. Sheila Curran draws the reader in and this inventive book won't let go. Prepare to be surprised and moved. I read it in one delicious gulp.
Masha Hamilton, The Camel Bookmobile, The Distance Between Us

'Everyone She Loved' was the voice inside my head - at a time when I first contemplated my own mortality ... this could have been my husband, my girlfriends and my children ... it raises every emotion and suppressed fear within us all, with a clarity that is both deeply uncomfortable and yet stridently beautiful. Julz Graham, Dimensions

To whet your appetite even more, here's Sheila in her own words:

1.) How did you come up with the idea for this book?

Books are born in strange places. This one was conceived in the front seat of a car.

No, not that kind of conception. My friend Julianna was driving. Our daughters were chatting in the back seat. I was talking about an article I’d written for McCall’s about two young girls in Arizona whose parents had died within months of each other. “Did you know that in some states, if there isn’t a will, the kids can be sent to foster care?”

The girls in my story weren’t so unfortunate. Their mother had named her best friends, another pair of sisters, as the children’s guardians. ”Just make sure you chose someone to take over if something happens to you.”

From there we talked about difficult it would be to chose which couple among one’s siblings and friends would best be suited for the job. Where did one couple’s permissiveness slide into overindulgence, another’s consistency into unbearable strictness? The idea of dying was hard enough, but figuring out which couple would most love your kids in your absence? Impossible.

We paused in our conversation just long enough for my brain to settle on yet another catastrophic possibility. “You know what would be worse?” I asked. “What if I died and John (my husband) married someone awful? I’d have no control at all!”

Another pause. “Unless,” I continued. “I could get him to agree that if he remarried, my sisters and friends would check out the bride. Make sure she wasn’t some kind of wicked stepmother.”

And thus was hatched the idea of EVERYONE SHE LOVED, a novel that explores the faith one woman placed in her dearest friends, the care she took to protect her family, and the many ways in which romantic entanglements will confound and confuse even the most determined of planners.

2.) Are you more driven by plot or by character?

I always start with a character who intrigues me.

3.) Who's your favorite character in this book and why?

I think because I come from a big family, it’s really hard to choose a favorite. I love all of them. There’s Penelope, who has died by the time the book begins but whose oversized personality permeates the novel. Her stepsister Clover, who seems like such a ditz at the beginning, is dear to my heart because she makes me laugh. Lucy, who is my main character, is, of course, my alter-ego, and so is Martha, who’s such a smart-a*&s.

4.) What's your writing process/writing environment like?

I’m lucky enough to have an office in one of the upstairs bedrooms. I sit in a comfy armchair, feet on an ottoman and write on my laptop, coffee on a table to my right, dog lying to my left. I try to write from 9-3 but sometimes it’s just two hours a day. A few times a year I sit there and can’t even get a word written. Those aren’t fun. In the early phase, I write a lot of scenes I’ll later throw away. Some days I ‘go down the rabbit hole,’ which is what I call researching on the Internet.

5.) What's your favorite part of writing?

Getting into the flow where I’m not even really aware that I’m writing.

6.) What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten about writing?

Well, Ann Lamott’s Bird by Bird has a chapter called Shitty First Drafts. I like that. I tell myself that if I can write even one bad page a day, it’s better than no pages.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Writers in Their Own Words-GCC

This morning I am thrilled to be introducing you to my buddy Jenny Gardiner's memoir, WINGING IT! It's getting great press . . .

"Often comical and sometimes tragic but never dull, Gardiner's memoir proves that the hope of having a model pet (or child) is usually not realistic. It will speak to animal lovers and offer fair warning to anyone considering the 40-year-plus commitment of owning a parrot." --Library Journal

"As sweet as a song and sharp as a beak, Winging It really soars as a memoir about family--children and husbands, feathers and fur--and our capacity to keep loving though life may occasionally bite."
--Wade Rouse, bestselling author of At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream, and Confessions of a Prep School Mommy Handler

And, I know from personal experience and her debut novel, Sleeping With Ward Cleaver, that Jenny will absolutely make you laugh out loud. Now, let's hear from Jenny in her own words . . .

1.) How did you come up with the idea for this book? Are you more driven by plot or by character?

We've had this crazy parrot for almost 2 decades and people are always so entertained by her and stories about her, so I thought it would be fun to do a book. My sort of funny backstory is YEARS ago, I was sitting in a bat mitzvah, and I get really antsy when I'm a captive audience, especially when everything isn't in a language I can remotely understand. So when I was sitting there for like 3-1/2 arduous hours (it was a high holiday so they had a huge service with it), I pulled out a notebook and pen and HANDWROTE four chapters of what would eventually become this book...

2.) Who's your favorite character in this book and why?

Well, I know this is a question to be applied to a novel, but I'll bite anyhow ;-). Graycie, my parrot. Because she is a complex character with both internal and external conflicts, and her arriving at our doorstep with many imperfections and issues then led to both internal and external conflict with me and my family. hehe

3.) What's your writing process/writing environment like?

I write very catch as catch can. I have 3 teens and lots of pets and so much going on, I try to steal time whenever possible. I prefer to write in the morning. If I'm on deadline, I will escape to a coffee shop--I have a favorite where I can tuck into the back of the shop and tune everything out. But I can't do that often because I'd feel badly leaving my pets home unattended--they get very unhappy when they're left alone for long (and then they cause trouble!).

4.) What's your favorite part of writing?

I love to just concoct things out of nothing. And to take various bits of information and weave them together into a cohesive story. It's always a challenge and the process of it is so fun (especially if there aren't things getting in the way of your being able to focus on the writing).

5.) What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten about writing?

Just go with your gut and write what's in you. I do believe that ultimately that's how the best book will be written.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Shout out to Sarah's Debut!

My buddy, Sarah Pekkanen's debut novel THE OPPOSITE OF ME is out! Yay! I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advance copy and I loved it. Funny, sweet, smart and totally unputdownable. It's getting tons of great press (Redbook, Jennifer Weiner, etc.), so you'll want to snap it up NOW.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Happy reading!