Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Author Guest , Guests / April 30, 2010

I read a blog post recently, written by a woman who was announcing that she was “quitting” Urban Fantasy. She stated that the genre was so glutted, and there were so many substandard books–all apparently filled with the same tropes–that there was nothing in urban fantasy worth reading anymore. Moreover, the comments section was filled with people expressing similar “I’m done!” sentiments. This made me sad for a number of reasons, the first of which is–of course–because I write urban fantasy. But the biggest reason this announcement saddened me was the pure illogic of it, coupled with the self-denial on the part of the blogger. She was obviously once a fan of urban fantasy, and now in her desire to steer well clear of it, she was going to be denying herself all of the potential that urban fantasy (and paranormal romance) has to offer. That being said, I could see why she’d grown weary and jaded. It seems impossible to turn around without seeing something related to Twilight or True Blood or any of the other vampire-inspired media. When it’s this “in your face” the impulse to draw back and get some space is practically reflexive. On the one…

MARK TERRY | Doppelganger
Author Guest , Guests / April 29, 2010

These days I’m the author of a series of thriller novels featuring Dr. Derek Stillwater, a troubleshooter for Homeland Security. Derek’s particular area of expertise is biological and chemical terrorism. He’s been favorably compared by reviewers and readers to Jason Bourne, Jack Bauer and Jack Reacher. (Yes, I’m flattered). The most recent Stillwater novel is THE FALLEN. In March I had a book launch party at Aunt Agatha’s Mystery Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and I wisely stocked the store with family members. While I was giving my spiel, apparently Robin Agnew, Aunt Agatha’s owner, leaned over to my brother and asked him if I looked like Derek Stillwater. To which he responded, “When he was younger.” I can’t tell you how bizarre an exchange that is to me. In addition to the Derek Stillwaternovels I’ve had a couple standalones. One is an e-book for Kindle, DANCING IN THE DARK, which features Joanna Dancing, a high-level bodyguard and security expert. She ain’t me. My first novel, DIRTY DEEDS, features Meg Malloy, a computer troubleshooter who made a fortune before the dot-com bubble burst and now spends her time doing short-term computer projects. She ain’t me, either. What brought this home…

SUSAN MALLERY | Turns Out Size Matters After All!
Author Guest , Guests / April 28, 2010

I grew up in Los Angeles, one of the largest, loudest cities in the world. There’s a lot to love about living in a city. The sights, the sounds, the colors are exciting and energizing. No matter what your interests, you can always find classes and groups where you can meet like-minded people. Then there are the events. Every day, a hundred ways to answer the question, “What should we do today?” Art shows and museums. Live music and theater. Baseball and basketball. (I’ll confess. My answer to the aforementioned question would only be “Let’s go to the game” if there was a high-end luxury spa around the corner named The Game.) I’m big on luxury, and I enjoy instant gratification. I like that cities are on the cutting edge of technology. I like thorough cell phone coverage. When smart phones move to 5G, city people will be the first to be wowed by everything they can do. I love living in a cultural melting pot. I love walking down the street and not understanding all the languages I hear. I love the cosmopolitan feeling that comes from mingling with people from all over the world. Immigrants bring the colors…

Author Guest , Guests / April 27, 2010

I don’t know whether accountants hear about children who dream of doing taxes or if parents brag to plumbers about kids gifted with a plunger and wrench. But I’ll tell you this much: parents (mothers especially) frequently confide that their son or daughter (daughter, usually) loves to write and hopes to be an author someday. They say that like it’s a good thing. And I kind of don’t get it. That is, I understand the kids’ ambition – if that’s the right word. When I grow up, I want to stay at home in my pajamas and make stuff up about people who don’t exist. But why do parents want that for their children? Is it because they think that if your name is on a book, you must be making a lot of money? Or do they not realize that most authors – at least the ones I know – consider themselves to be just a little bit . . . off? It’s not just that some (most) of us have certain slacker tendencies. I recently asked twelve author friends, “What three adjectives best describe yourself or most writers you know?” Four of the twelve authors responded (there’s that…

Sundays with Sandi / April 25, 2010

This last week I read Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs. I picked this book because the DFW TeaReaders is having Ms. Childs as a call in guest in May, and I decided that a different genre would be fun to read, and what if I discovered a new fun author in the process. I really enjoyed Death by Darjeeling, and look forward to continuing with this series, and perhaps exploring the other series that Laura Childs writes. Had it not been for my desire to more fully participate in the conversation I would have missed a delightful series. I got lucky and Laura Childs was an author that worked for me. However not every new author I try does that. A friend in book club read and loved Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl…. I mean to the point where she wasn’t participating in pre dinner conversation because she was so engrossed in the book (and no Ms. Dahl wasn’t the phone in guest that night). Her enthusiasm for Talk Me Down and the newly published author had me thinking I needed to read it for myself. I did, and have read at least one other book by Ms….

Jen’s Jewels | Interview with Holly LeCraw
Interviews , Jen's Jewels / April 23, 2010

Have you ever wondered what your parents were like as a newly married couple before they had kids?  Sure, we’ve all seen the photographs from their pre-parenthood days and have heard the story of how they met, but that doesn’t really tell us anything. Was theirs a whirlwind romance that would make you swoon? Or, was it filled with tumultuous times that tested the strength of their love? This month’s Jen’s Jewels Holly LeCraw explores a sister and brother’s intense struggle to come to terms with the haunting revelations from their parents’ past in her debut novel, THE SWIMMING POOL.  Splashing on the scene with her expertly written book of dives and dips and twists and turns, this psychological tale will keep you up until the wee hours of the morning.  Mark my words…Holly LeCraw is the new IT girl in the publishing world! As part of this interview, Doubleday, a division of Random House, has generously donated 5 copies for you, my lucky readers, to win. So, don’t forget to look for the trivia question at the end. And as always, thanks for making Jen’s Jewels a part of your reading adventure. Jen: As a debut novelist, the story…

Susan Meier | What I Love About Reading and Writing
Author Guest / April 20, 2010

My birthday is April 22. The year I turned twenty-two, I was so impressed with the fact that I was turning twenty-two on the twenty-second that I set out to make my birthday a national holiday – or at the very least a local one – greatly annoying my older sister. Now, there was nothing special about me. I was a single legal secretary with no reason to get her name in the church bulletin, let alone the local paper, let alone a national anything. But I really liked to have a good time. Who doesn’t at twenty-two? I wasn’t a bad kid. I wasn’t even wild or deliberately obnoxious. The problem was I hated to be bored. So I wasn’t surprised eight years later, when I turned thirty and threw a major hissy fit. My husband said, “What is wrong with you?” I said, “I’m bored and not doing anything I want to do with my life.” He said, “What do you want to do?” and I said “Write.” And he said “So write.” Who would have guessed that two simple words would not only stave off boredom for the next _ lots of years.. but also start a…

Fresh Pick | REMARKABLE CREATURES by Tracy Chevalier
Guests / April 1, 2010

January 2010On Sale: January 5, 2010Featuring: Elizabeth Philpot; Mary Anning320 pages ISBN: 0525951458EAN: 9780525951452Hardcover$26.95 Fiction Buy at Remarkable Creaturesby Tracy Chevalier A voyage of discoveries, a meeting of two remarkable women, and extraordinary time and place enrich bestselling author Tracy Chevalier’s enthralling new novel From the moment she’s struck by lightening as a baby, it is clear that Mary Anning is marked for greatness. On the windswept, fossil-strewn beaches of the English coast, she learns that she has “the eye”-and finds what no one else can see. When Mary uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home, she sets the religious fathers on edge, the townspeople to vicious gossip, and the scientific world alight. In an arena dominated by men, however, Mary is barred from the academic community; as a young woman with unusual interests she is suspected of sinful behavior. Nature is a threat, throwing bitter, cold storms and landslips at her. And when she falls in love, it is with an impossible man. Luckily, Mary finds an unlikely champion in prickly Elizabeth Philpot, a recent exile from London, who also loves scouring the beaches. Their relationship strikes a delicate balance between fierce loyalty, mutual…

Guests / March 26, 2010

Although I had published nonfiction for many years and worked as an editor, I wanted to be a novelist. I made every mistake imaginable as I taught myself how to write. Then I wrote what I thought was upmarket women’s fiction, a book the publisher later titled INTERN. When I began searching for an agent, I was dismayed by the lack of response. Those who bothered to reply said they would get back to me in three months or longer. One day, I e-mailed a wonderful woman who owns a regional publishing firm where I had sold a nonfiction book several years before. She gave me the name of an agent she said was the best she knew. She also said that she didn’t know if the agent was taking new writers because she had become extremely successful. I sent an e-mail query with the publisher’s name in the subject field. Within five minutes, the agent wrote back and asked to see the first 50 pages of my novel. I sent them, and she phoned me the following week. After we chatted a bit, she said, “I’m ready to commit if you are.” Those were the sweetest words I had…