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Showing posts from June, 2013

Kindle Worlds: Playing in Somebody Else's Sandbox

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Back in early March, I was contacted by someone from Amazon.com about the possibility of writing a licensed fan fiction story for the new Kindle Worlds program. I'm always game for a new challenge, and the idea sounded pretty exciting (as well as a way to fulfill my longtime fantasy of writing for a TV series, in a sense) so I was immediately on board. At that time, there weren't a great many fictional universes available, but I quickly settled on the mysterious, sexy and seriously-addictive world of the ABC Family hit show, Pretty Little Liars. As I watched episode after episode, catching up on a great thing, I realized I'd begun to ship, or hope for, a relationship to develop between the beautiful, artsy Aria Montgomery and her long-time friend (with a potentially-tragic heart condition) the handsome Holden Strauss. Playing in someone else's sandbox means you get to make the world over (to a point) the way you've always imagined that it should be. Though you di…

Attention Tami Hoag fans: Colleen Thompson's SALT MAIDEN = plot-bombing hotness

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Colleen Thompson's backlist novels are out of the vault and burning up the charts on Amazon. My favorite: The Salt Maiden is about a woman who braves the heat, snakes and scorpions in a particularly desolate stretch of Texas to find her wayward sister and stumbles into a local mystery - and a complicated relationship with a beautiful but damaged man. Well-drawn characters, dramatic atmosphere, simmering sexual tension and startling plot twists.

Shoutout to my fellow "Longmire" fans: You should read Thompson's Sheriff Justine Wofford books, Beneath Bone Lake and Touch of Evil.

Real housewives of outer space: Lily Koppel's THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB: A True Story

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Lily Koppel takes us back to a watershed moment in American culture with The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story, the untold story of the women behind the Mercury 7. It's a fascinating bit of biography, but it's also a compassionate look at the dark side of the moon, if you will: how these families were affected when the spotlight dimmed and some of the astronauts were killed. Divorce, alcoholism and other real life tragedies inevitably came along, and as the Wives lives unfold, we see their real strength of character.

Note to Bravo: These are the REAL real housewives. Smart, independent, intelligent and kind. When do we get to see that on TV?

Highly recommending.

Suzanne Rindell's riveting psychodrama THE OTHER TYPIST = Gatsby flare + Hitchcock twist

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I really want Suzanne Rindell's The Other Typist to be the hottest read of the summer for the selfish reason that I can't wait to talk about the ending with someone!

Uptight Rose Baker is a police precinct typist in the 1920s, dutifully transcribing the confessions of rapists, murderers and thieves. Her new coworker, Odalie, draws her out of her shell and into her speakeasy Jazz Age lifestyle, but it's soon apparent that there is something sinister about this free-spirited stranger. Highly recommended!



AMERICAN GHOUL: Teen Angst + Dead for Dinner = Campy 1970s Horror

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As the mom of a teenage dude, I spent a lot of time cajoling my son to read. Walt Morton's American Ghoul would have made it a lot easier. This is a well-written tale about a 17-year-old guy whose mortifying family secret (they eat human corpses) comes to light with terrible consequences.

This is well-written YA horror with a campy 1970s setting that makes it fun for the not-so-YA readers too.

Dawn Raffel's scrumtrulescent story collection IN THE YEAR OF LONG DIVISION is out of the vault!

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For the second time this year, a book I love has been resurrected and is breathing new life. I had to drop all the plates I was spinning on this ridiculously busy day - just stop and sit still and read for a while - because it's just so damn good.

Dawn Raffel's In the Year of Long Division is a collection of vivid, imagistic vignettes that flow like poetry and stun like an Edward Albee micro-act. Originally published by Knopf in the mid '90s, it's been rereleased as an ebook by the visionaries at Dzanc.

In 1995, the San Francisco Chronicle called it "dreamlike"; Minneapolis City pages said it was "tremendously innovative". I still agree with both (and all the other kudos Raffel got back then), but as I read these stories again today - in an entirely different skin, different millenium, different world - it struck me how perfectly her style plays in the new medium. This book wears its fresh incarnation particularly well. (I really can't say that fo…

Grab Lily Koppel's THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB at your local indie bookstore today!

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The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story by Lily Koppel should be on bookshelf at your local indie bookstore today. If you're reading on Kindle, I hope you'll click here and buy it right now. I scored an advance copy, read it last weekend and loved it. A completely fresh (and refreshingly feminist) take on a fascinating slice of American history.

Video review forthcoming. Watch this space. (I have to do my roots first, okay? Don't judge me!) Meanwhile, check out the trailer...

Whuh-BAM! Ingrid Ricks' memoir HIPPIE BOY hits the NYT bestseller list!

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Delighted to see Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story, a soaring coming-of-age memoir by Ingrid Ricks, hit the New York Times bestselling ebook list this week! I loved this book when it first came out almost two years ago, subsequently got to know Ingrid and was blown away by her vivacious spirit. She's definitely the grown woman version of the book's bright, ballsy kid who manages to survive adolescence with a well-meaning mother, tyrannical Mormon step-father and peripatetic tool salesman dad.

Below is my review of Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story, originally posted last year. (My very first video review, in fact, so I'm claiming a technology learning curve.) Toward the end, I mention looking forward to Ingrid's forthcoming FOCUS, which centers on the loss of her eyesight to Retinitis Pigmentosa. It came out a few months later, and I immediately bought and snarfed it up. Excellent, as I suspected it would be. On her Determined to See blog, Ingrid continues to chronicle the fi…

PW announces upcoming Swoosie Kurtz memoir PART SWAN, PART GOOSE

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From todays Deal News in Publisher's Weekly:
Swoosie Gets Personal at PerigeeActress Swoosie Kurtz (who currently appears on the CBS sitcom Mike and Molly) sold her memoir, Part Swan, Part Goose, to Penguin’s Perigee imprint. Ian Kleinert at Objective Entertainment sold world rights to the book to Perigee’s John Duff. The book, scheduled for spring 2014, is subtitled An Uncommon Memoir of Womanhood, Work, and Family; Perigee said it will feature “just the right combination of personal misadventure, showbiz lore, and touching family history.” Kurtz is writing the book with Joni Rodgers.Ten years ago, my agent had me make a wish list of people with whom I'd love to collaborate; Swoosie Kurtz was high on my list. I've loved her since she rocked Broadway in "Uncommon Women and Others". She's had an amazing career, but the focus of the memoir is her extraordinary relationship with her 98-year-old mother, author Margo Kurtz, and her late father, Col. Frank Kurtz, th…