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Archive for the ‘book spotlight’ Category

Karen White’s New York Times bestselling hardcover The Night the Lights Went Out was released in paperback on March 27. Penguin Random House has invited me to give away a copy to one lucky reader.

KAREN WHITE, the New York Times bestselling author of over 20 beloved novels, has given her devout readership a new type of story – now in paperback.

With a plot worthy of Shonda Rhimes and a cast of characters made for Desperate Housewives’ Wisteria Lane, THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT (Berkley Trade Paperback Reprint; March 27, 2018; $16) brings a glinting new edge to White’s signature fusion of complicated family relationships, evocative prose, and picturesque southern locales.

Set in the gilded realm of Sweet Apple, Georgia, THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT achieves a magnetic sense of place, and with good reason—it is the first novel White, the “Queen of southern fiction” (Huffington Post), has set in her own community, the affluent suburbs of Atlanta.

White says: “I was sitting at a stop sign in my town behind a large white SUV and the license plate read YERSERV. . . and the whole Atlanta tennis­­–suburban mom–thriller idea came to me. . . . I realized perhaps for the first time that my hometown had a past and a story to tell.”

In THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT, recently divorced Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves with her two children to Sweet Apple, Georgia. It’s not her first time starting over. But her new beginning isn’t helped by an anonymous local blog that reveals for the whole town the scandalous affair that caused her marriage to fail. And Merilee’s new landlord, the proud, irascible, Atlanta born-and-bred 93-year-old Sugar Prescott, certainly isn’t helping.

But off Sugar’s property, Merilee finds herself swallowed into Sweet Apple’s most elite ranks—its inner circle of wealthy school moms—thanks to her blossoming friendship with the belle of the town, Heather Blackford. But behind the tennis whites, shiny SUVs, and immaculate women, lurk generations of secrets and resentments. And Merilee quickly learns that, in a town where appearance is everything, sins and secrets can be found in equal measure in the dark woods on Sugar’s property, and within the gated mansions of her newfound friends . . .

THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT is what would happen if ABC’s Revenge followed the machinations of Southern PTA moms instead of Hamptons elite.  For readers of Dorothea Benton Frank, Mary Alice Monroe, and Pat Conroy, this novel delivers everything her readers love and more.

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About the Author

Karen White
Photo Credit: Marchet Butler

Karen White is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty novels, including the Tradd Street series, The Night the Lights Went OutFlight PatternsThe Sound of GlassA Long Time Gone, and The Time Between. She is the coauthor of The Forgotton Room with New York Times bestselling authors Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig. She grew up in London but now lives with her husband and two children near Atlanta, Georgia.

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Giveaway

Penguin Random House is generously offering a paperback copy of The Night the Lights Went Out to one lucky reader, U.S. only. To enter, leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will close on Sunday, April 22, 2018. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

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I have a treat for you today, dear readers! John Kessel’s latest novel, Pride and Prometheus, has just been released, and the publicist is kindly offering a hardcover giveaway for my U.S. readers.

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About Pride and Prometheus

Pride and Prejudice meets Frankenstein as Mary Bennet falls for the enigmatic Victor Frankenstein and befriends his monstrous Creature in this clever fusion of two popular classics.

Threatened with destruction unless he fashions a wife for his Creature, Victor Frankenstein travels to England where he meets Mary and Kitty Bennet, the remaining unmarried sisters of the Bennet family from Pride and Prejudice. As Mary and Victor become increasingly attracted to each other, the Creature looks on impatiently, waiting for his bride. But where will Victor find a female body from which to create the monster’s mate?

Meanwhile, the awkward Mary hopes that Victor will save her from approaching spinsterhood while wondering what dark secret he is keeping from her.

Pride and Prometheus fuses the gothic horror of Mary Shelley with the Regency romance of Jane Austen in an exciting novel that combines two age-old stories in a fresh and startling way.

Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

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About the Author

John Kessel

Photo Credit: John Pagliuca

Born in Buffalo, New York, John Kessel’s most recent book is the new novel Pride and Prometheus. He is the author of the earlier novels The Moon and the Other, Good News from Outer Space and Corrupting Dr. Nice and in collaboration with James Patrick Kelly, Freedom Beach. His short story collections are Meeting in Infinity (a New York Times Notable Book), The Pure Product, and The Baum Plan for Financial Independence.

Kessel’s stories have twice received the Nebula Award given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, in addition to the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, the Locus Poll, and the James Tiptree Jr. Award. His play “Faustfeathers’” won the Paul Green Playwright’s Prize, and his story “A Clean Escape” was adapted as an episode of the ABC TV series Masters of Science Fiction. In 2009 his story “Pride and Prometheus” received both the Nebula Award and the Shirley Jackson Award. With Jim Kelly, he has edited five anthologies of stories re-visioning contemporary short sf, most recently Digital Rapture: The Singularity Anthology.

Kessel holds a B.A. in Physics and English and a Ph.D. in American Literature. He helped found and served as the first director of the MFA program in creative writing at North Carolina State University, where he has taught since 1982. He and his wife, the novelist Therese Anne Fowler, live and work in Raleigh, NC.

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Giveaway

The publicist is kindly offering a finished hardcover edition of Pride and Prometheus to one lucky reader. This giveaway is open to readers with U.S. addresses only (sorry!) and will close on Sunday, February 25, 2017. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address, and let me know what interests you most about the book. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

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Copy of Copy of FB cover

Ginger Monette’s Pride and Prejudice variations set during the Great War — Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes and Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey (click for my reviews) — were among my favorite reads in both 2016 and 2017. I’m delighted to announce that those of you who haven’t read them yet can now purchase them in a single volume: The Darcy’s Hope Saga.

Ginger is here today to talk about the books, so please give her a warm welcome!

ginger-monette

Ginger Monette

What exactly is the Darcy’s Hope Saga?

The Saga retells Pride & Prejudice but is set during the era of Downton Abbey. It’s a single ebook volume that includes two full-length novels: Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes and Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey.

Readers can enjoy their beloved characters in a storyline that is familiar, yet very fresh and different.

What inspired you to catapult Jane Austen’s famous Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet from the early 1800’s to the early 1900’s?

Downton Abbey! It was remarkable to me how little British culture had changed from the Regency Era to the Edwardian Era. Darcy could have dined with Lord Grantham at Downton Abbey with little change in decorum. I was also fascinated at how the war affected everyone’s lives and how wealthy English families offered their lavish homes as hospital facilities during WW1.

I began to imagine Darcy and Elizabeth’s “explosive” relationship unfolding on the Western Front. Then asked, what if Darcy had his own wartime tragedy that required him to be hospitalized at a country home like Matthew Crawley? I’m thrilled that the resulting Darcy’s Hope Saga has been such a big hit among fans of both Pride & Prejudice and Downton Abbey.

Did the stories require any research? If so, what kind?

This was one of those topics that the more you read, the more you realize how much you don’t know. I devoured nurse-assistant diaries, a soldier’s diary, memoirs of two orderlies, books on surgery, war wounds, hospital administration, and a LOT more. Then I watched hours of documentaries about everything from battles, to the food and uniforms of British soldiers. I studied six hours a day for nine months and found the history fascinating and the people inspiring!

How were they inspiring?

Machine guns, poison gas, airplanes, and tanks made their debut in WWI inflicting destruction and horrific wounds on an unprecedented scale. Men lived in squalid trenches and saw their comrades dismembered and slaughtered on a daily basis, yet they remained cheerful and self-sacrificing.

And everyone did something to aid in the war effort. Hundreds of women volunteered as nurse’s aides, others wrote letters, sent care packages, and knitted socks. Men too old to serve as soldiers became stretcher-bearers and ambulance drivers. They fashioned splints from scrap metal, turned church halls into hospitals, and emptied bedpans. These small acts of kindness repeated over and over made an enormous difference. As a result, I am challenged to be cheerful amidst trying circumstances and to offer my own small acts of kindness even when they seem insignificant.

Did your research inspire any of your scenes?

Absolutely. First, I allowed the characters to be molded by the culture and the war itself — just like the real people I read about. I cast Elizabeth Bennet as nurse-assistant, which was a common role for high bred women during the war years. Similarly, I made rich young landowner Fitzwilliam Darcy a captain in the army. Though the saga is first and foremost a romance, much of the richness of the story comes from the hero and heroine both being deeply affected by their experiences during this turbulent time.

There are other elements I lifted straight from the pages of history as well. The chateau-turned-field-hospital in my story is based on one that actually existed. Darcy’s “going over the top” at the Battle of the Somme, an explosion at Messines Ridge, and a chaplain serving in the operating room were real historical events. And finally, I have a colorful Scotsman tell two outlandish stories that are true as well.

What would you say to romance readers who “don’t do war stories?”

I would say the Darcy’s Hope saga isn’t a war story. It’s very much a romance in a wartime setting. Just like Downton Abbey, the war provides a dramatic backdrop against which the romance blooms. The war’s fast pace and ever-changing situations meant that nothing was predictable, and things could (and did) change in an instant. Readers have commented that they couldn’t predict where either story was going, and much of that is due to the volatile nature of the setting.

Did you face any particular challenges in writing the Darcy’s Hope saga?

Yes! In Beauty from Ashes, weaving a romance into a complex setting unfamiliar to most readers, with both the hero and heroine experiencing significant character evolutions, all in the context of a mystery was quite a feat. Donwell Abbey wasn’t any easier. Writing to accommodate the tragedy that befalls Darcy was an enormous challenge. (I can’t tell you what the injury is or the accommodation it required or I would be giving away a major spoiler!)

Now that the Darcy’s Hope saga has received such glowing reviews, does it make it all the research and hard work worth it?

Yes. Hearing that readers love it on so many levels is immensely gratifying. The frustration and angst of three years of hard work fades away.

Do you have any final thoughts for readers?

As the world is commemorating the hundredth anniversary of WWI, I would challenge you to pay attention. Watch documentaries or even read books like my Darcy’s Hope saga to glimpse into the past for a better understanding of what our great-grandfathers experienced and the sacrifices they made. Each soldier, stretcher-bearer, doctor, and nurse has his or her own interesting story. And although my Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are fictitious characters, if you have any fondness for Downton Abbey or Jane Austen’s works, I think you will find their story as told in The Darcy’s Hope Saga not only fascinating, but riveting and moving as well.

Thanks for hosting me today!

Thank you for stopping by today, Ginger! I hope my readers enjoy these books as much as I did!

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DH Saga rose cover NEW flat

Escape to the era of Downton Abbey with Lizzy and Darcy!

Immerse yourself in this romantic and drama-filled saga that includes two full-length Pride and Prejudice variations—
Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes and
Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey.

~Volume I: Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes:

Heartbroken. Devastated. WWI Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy was rejected by the woman he loved and vows, “No more sentimental entanglements!”

But an undercover assignment at a field hospital brings him face to face with his beloved Elizabeth—who’s working with a dashing American doctor and a prime suspect in the espionage plot.

Forced to grapple with his feelings for her, Darcy has only a few months build a lasting bridge to her and uncover the truth before she’s condemned to a traitor’s noose.

~Volume II: Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey:

Darcy has won the heart of Elizabeth Bennet. Finally.

Then she vanishes.

Still reeling from the loss, Darcy attempts a heroic feat and only survives by the daring rescue of his faithful batman John Thornton.

But the damage is done. Darcy is plunged into a dark and silent world.

Sent to Donwell Abbey to recover, he’s coaxed back to life by an extraordinary nurse determined to teach him how to live and love again. A woman whose uncanny similarities to Elizabeth invite his admiration and entice his affections.

His heart tells him to hold on to Elizabeth.

His head tells him to take a chance with his nurse.

But a secret at Donwell Abbey just might change everything…

Buy on Amazon

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It’s my pleasure to share with you today the new book from Kelly Davio, It’s Just Nerves, published by Squares and Rebels in October 2017, and the chance to win a copy!

About It’s Just Nerves

With equal parts wit and empathy, lived experience and cultural criticism, Kelly Davio’s It’s Just Nerves: Notes on a Disability explores what it means to live with an illness in our contemporary culture, whether at home or abroad.

Advance Praise:

“When the body attacks itself, the crisis is not just of bones and blood, but of beauty and boundaries. ‘Strange men have had their hands on me for days,’ Kelly Davio observes during a plasma treatment. Her skillful portrait of myasthenia gravis does not exist in a vacuum. It’s Just Nerves is in keen dialogue with the world around us—critiquing modern health care, pub seating etiquette, alarming election outcomes, smarmy meditation culture, and caricatures of illness in ads and on screen. ‘Oxygen is delicious,’ Davio reminds us, before the fire breaks out. A brisk, funny, and at times startlingly poetic memoir.” —Sandra Beasley, author of Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life

“Kelly Davio’s It’s Just Nerves feels like the book I’ve been waiting for all my life. If you want to know what it feels like to be a person with a disability in the 21st century, read this book. From mindfulness to yoga pants, Davio skewers ableist fabrications and brings us to a vital, ebullient, and sometimes terrifying reckoning with our real and shared human experience. She is a very funny writer and also a fearless one. Once I started reading these essays, I couldn’t put them down; they resounded through me like poetry or truth.” —Sheila Black, author of House of Bone and Love/Iraq

“Kelly Davio’s got so much incredible stuff brewing together on every page of these nimble, shapeshifting essays: meditations on the politics of illness, the body in crisis, the spirit in bloom, David Bowie—all of it filtered, carefully, through the lithe sensibility of a poet. The results are equal parts witty and wise, heartrending and rapturous. Man, I loved this book.” —Mike Scalise, author of The Brand New Catastrophe

Goodreads | Amazon

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About the Author

Kelly Davio

Kelly Davio is the author of Burn This House (Red Hen Press, 2013) and the forthcoming The Book of the Unreal Woman. She is the founding editor of Tahoma Literary Review and the former Managing Editor of The Los Angeles Review. While in England, she served as the Senior Editor of Eyewear Publishing. Her work has appeared in Best New Poets, Verse Daily, The Rumpus, and others. She earned her MFA in poetry from Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. Today, she works as a medical editor in New Jersey.

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Giveaway

Enter here for a chance to win one of three copies of It’s Just Nerves. This giveaway is open to readers 18+ with U.S. addresses and closes on October 31, 2017. You must enter through the Rafflecopter link. Good luck!

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Follow the Blog Tour

Oct. 4: Readaholic Zone (Review)
Oct. 9: Diary of an Eccentric (Book Spotlight)
Oct. 10: I Brought a Book (Review)
Oct. 12: I Brought a Book (Interview)
Oct. 20: Avalinah’s Books (Review)
Oct. 27: Create With Joy (Review)

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Today I get to share with you Diana Raab’s latest book, Writing for Bliss, and there’s a copy up for grabs for my U.S. readers (stay tuned for the details).

About Writing for Bliss

A personal narrative can truly have healing and transformative powers. In her inspirational new book, Writing for Bliss, Diana Raab, Ph.D., examines how life-changing experiences can inspire you to write a compelling narrative of your life. A how-to guide for anyone interested in growth and personal transformation, Writing for Bliss will take you on a unique journey of self-discovery, and guide you to your own personal bliss.

Geared for the emerging writer, the seasoned writer, and those in academia, this book leads spiritual seekers down the path of self-discovery through writing prompts, tools for journaling, and embodied and reflective writing techniques; and offers ways to find the best vehicle for profound self-expression.

Those who can benefit from writing a life narrative may have been exposed to early-life trauma, loss, or addiction. Writing your story is a way to reclaim your voice, reveal a family secret, or simply share your story with others. Journaling is a cathartic and safe way to work through your feelings and “direct your rage to the page.”

With the help of this indispensible guide to therapeutic writing, you’ll understand yourself better and be able to deal with various challenges in your life, such as depression, anxiety, addiction, loss of loved ones, diseases, and life transitions.

Offering step-by- step practical exercises for journaling your thoughts, emotions, and memories, along with techniques to jump-start your writing, Writing for Bliss will help you achieve the therapeutic results of writing for healing, and provides essential information for using this technique to transform your life in a meaningful way.

Goodreads | Amazon

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Advance Praise:

“Poet and memoirist Raab (Lust) credits her lifelong love of writing and its therapeutic effects with inspiring her to write this thoughtful and detailed primer that targets pretty much anyone interested in writing a memoir. Most compelling here is Raab’s willingness to share her intimate stories (e.g., the loss of a relative, ongoing struggles with cancer, a difficult relationship with her mother). Her revelations are encouraging to writers who feel they need ‘permission to take… a voyage of self-discovery.’ The book’s seven-step plan includes plenty of guidance, including on learning to ‘read like a writer,’ on practicing mindfulness meditation, and on addressing readers as if ‘seated across the table from [your] best friend.’ Raab covers big topics such as the ‘art and power of storytelling’ and small details such as choosing pens and notebooks that you enjoy using. She also helps readers with the important step of ‘finding your form’” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“Writing for Bliss brims with the truths of Raab’s life, as well as that of other established and beloved authors and philosophers. Writing for Bliss is far more than a “how-to-manual”; it enlightens the creative process with wisdom and a delightful sense of adventure.  Bravo to Bliss!’   —LINDA GRAY SEXTON, author of Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back To My Mother, Anne Sexton and Bespotted: My Family’s Love Affair With Thirty-Eight Dalmatians

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About the Author

Diana Raab

 

Diana Raab, MFA, PhD, is a memoirist, poet, blogger, speaker, thought leader, and award-winning author of nine books and more than 1,000 articles and poems. She holds a PhD in psychology—with a concentration in transpersonal psychology—and her research focus is on the healing and transformative powers of personal writing. Her educational background also encompasses health administration, nursing, and creative writing.

During her 40-year career, Dr. Raab has published thousands of articles and poems and is the editor of two anthologies: Writers and Their Notebooks and Writers on the Edge. Her two memoirs are Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal and Healing with Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey. She has also written four collections of poetry, her latest collection is called, Lust. As an advocate of personal writing, Dr. Raab facilitates workshops in writing for transformation and empowerment, focusing on journaling, poetry, and memoir writing. She believes in the importance of writing to achieve wholeness and interconnectedness, which encourages the ability to unleash the true voice of your inner self. Dr. Raab serves on the board of Poets & Writers (Magazine Committee), and Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Santa Monica, California. She is also a Trustee at the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Visit her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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Giveaway

Diana is generously offering a copy of Writing for Bliss to one of my readers. This giveaway is open to readers with U.S. addresses only. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. We’d love to hear what intrigues you most about the book. This giveaway will close on Tuesday, September 26, 2017. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

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Click the button below to follow the Writing for Bliss blog tour

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Hello, dear readers! After I hosted Catherine Lodge a couple of weeks ago to celebrate the release of her new Pride and Prejudice variation, some of you contacted me to ask when the ebook would be available on Amazon. Catherine and her team worked tirelessly to clear up the issues with Amazon related to the theft of her work, and I am delighted to say that it is now available! Here are the details:

We all know that in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Mr Darcy is proud and prejudiced because he is a wealthy landowner who believes himself above his company; and that Elizabeth Bennet can afford to be proud and prejudiced because she believes she has the freedom to make choices for herself.

But what if Mr Darcy is the second son, sent to sea at a young age? What if Elizabeth is trapped by circumstances, with an ill father on one side and an understandably desperate mother on the other?

Meet Captain Darcy of the Royal Navy, a successful frigate captain, with ample prize-money and a sister he needs to provide for while he is at sea. Meet Elizabeth Bennet, who needs a husband and is trying to resign herself to Mr Collins, the worst “least worst alternative” in the history of literature.

Check out Fair Stands the Wind on Goodreads | Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble

Stay tuned for my review. Congrats, Catherine, on the release!

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Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak is being released by Berkley on October 17, 2017, but the publisher is generously offering an early galley giveaway to my readers!

About Seven Days of Us

A warm, wry, sharply observed debut novel about what happens when a family is forced to spend a week together in quarantine over the holidays…

It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew’s elder daughter—who is usually off saving the world—will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she’s been told she must stay in quarantine for a week…and so too should her family.

For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity—and even decent Wi-Fi—and forced into each other’s orbits. Younger, unabashedly frivolous daughter Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding, while Olivia deals with the culture shock of being immersed in first-world problems.

As Andrew sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as a war correspondent, Emma hides a secret that will turn the whole family upside down.

In close proximity, not much can stay hidden for long, and as revelations and long-held tensions come to light, nothing is more shocking than the unexpected guest who’s about to arrive…

Check out Seven Days of Us on Goodreads | Amazon (pre-order)

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Giveaway

The publisher is offering an early galley of Seven Days of Us to one lucky reader. This giveaway is open to U.S. addresses only. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will close on Sunday, September 3, 2017. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Stay tuned for a release day spotlight and review here on October 17!

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