Thursday Mashup

Got many things to report today- get ready!

#giveaways

Kiss and Thrill is giving away a copy of Hank Phillippi Ryan’s latest, The Wrong Girl!

Rachel Hauck is giving away a copy of Princess Bride!

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away a copy of The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden!

Writer’s Corner is giving away a copy of The Good Wife by Jane Porter!

The Book Wheel (thanks to Lithograhps.com) is giving away a lithography!

She Reads is giving away a copy of Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain!

 

#bookish things

Book-Alicious Mama has posted week 2 questions for Astor Place Vintage! Join in on the fun!

Want help for planning blog posts? Katherine Scott Jones give 5 tips to make your blogging life easier!

Interview with B.A. Shapiro- author of The Art Forger

the art forger

The Art Forger, by B.A. Shapiro, was She Reads January 2013 book club selection. And I LOVED this book! I loved it so much- that Allison @ The Book Wheel- went through a snowstorm to get me a signed copy of this book (Note: I didn’t ask her to do that- she just knew how much I adored The Art Forger and wanted to get me a signed copy!)

Today, B.A. Shapiro is here to talk about The Art Forger– on Thursday, she will be back to discuss #literaryconfessions and more!

Interview with B.A. Shapiro

Barbara- The Art Forger, in part, was inspired by the real life Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist of 1990. What was your inspiration for Claire? Did you consider setting the novel in an earlier time- closer to the art heist?

Claire is a struggling artist, semi-confident in her talent, strong on ambition and feeling like she’s getting nowhere in her career despite past successes. When I was working on The Art Forger, I was a struggling writer, semi-confident in my talent, strong on ambition and getting nowhere in my career despite past successes. Need I say more?

How long did The Art Forger take to write?

It’s always hard to answer this question as you don’t start one day and end on another. Writing a novel is a process for me, it includes lots of planning – plotting, multi-colored file cards, character sketches – lots of research – including books, interviews, Internet – and then writing and rewriting and rewriting some more. If you count all of those things, my guess is it took me between three and four years start to finish.

Are any of the characters in The Art Forger based on people you know in real life? Or are they created from your imagination?

Some of them are, some are composites, some are completely fictional. But even if you start with a real person in mind, the story changes them and they become the character rather than the person. For example, Rik is based on a friend of mine; he fits the general description and behavior of the real Rik, but he’s a curator at the Gardner and the real Rik owns a boutique on Newbury Street.

Claire is the great imposter in the art world. Is that fair? Or is Claire being punished too severely?

This is a question I hope the reader will consider. How do we get labeled as good or bad? And who does the labeling? Human beings are complicated. I’m sure Mother Teresa did a few “bad” things in her life, and that the Boston Strangler did many good ones. What is fair? And is fairness something we can expect from life? From a novel?

If The Art Forger was made into a movie- do you have a dream cast?

I’d love to see Claire Danes and Jude Law.

Have we, as readers, heard the last from Claire and others in The Art Forger?

All of my books have been stand-alones, although I did once have a major character from one book (Shattered Echoes) become a minor character in another (Blind Spot). Although the temptation is there – and lots of people have told me they’d love another Claire book – I think that in most cases, one book is enough for a character. I worry she’d lose her freshness.

What are you working on next, Barbara? Can you give us any hints?

I’m working on another book about art, which also goes back and forth in time, but this one focuses on the past story. This story takes place right before WWII in New York City where the future abstract expressionists – Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Mark Rothko, etc. – are all young, unknown and working for the WPA. My fictional character is one of the gang, but aside from her passion for art, she is trying to get her French Jewish family out of France before the war begins. And as in all good stories, she finds trouble, trouble, trouble.

*Special thanks to B.A. Shapiro for agreeing to be interviewed!

barbara s The art forger

B.A. Shapiro, author of The Art Forger (which can be bought in paperback now!) can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and has a website.

To read my review of The Art Forger, visit here.

Interview with Jolina Petersheim, author of The Outcast

the outcast amazonThe Outcast by Jolina Petersheim is a book that many people are talking about. Jolina has been working the social media angle and had some great author blogger/support. But, even more than that, the book is a good read!

Several weeks ago, one blogger from She Reads mentioned this book as part of The Blog Network Recommends. I made a note to check it out- next thing I knew, The Outcast was being mentioned here, there and everywhere! Without Katherine mentioning it first, though, I don’t know if the book would have moved as quickly to the top of my TBR list!

During this time, Jolina and I began chatting on social media- and she agreed to be interviewed (plus a giveaway!) Seeing Jolina and her pictures of going on a book tour with The Outcast are a treat- you can just tell from the smile on her face that she is a lovely person- and someone fun to visit with!

 

Interview with Jolina Petersheim

Jolina- thank you for coming to Traveling With T to be interviewed!

Thank you, Tamara, for having me here. I’ve loved getting to know you through social media, and I hope that our paths cross in person soon!

The Outcast is a modern retelling of The Scarlet Letter. Why did you choose to write a modern retelling of a classic? Do you hope that one day schools will be required to read both The Scarlet Letter and The Outcast to compare and contrast the storylines?

Nathaniel Hawthorne might haunt me if he thinks I’m trying to compare The Outcast to his classic! J However, I was so honored when a teacher told me that she will be teaching The Outcast alongside The Scarlet Letter. Knowing students will be studying (and reading!) my work is a dream come true.

Secrets run deep in The Outcast. What is your personal thought on secrets?

I believe secrets hold the power to tear relationships apart, but – once revealed – God also holds the power to mend them. Redemption after devastation is The Outcast’s main theme; Rachel’s illegitimate child’s illness is just the catalyst that sets everything into motion.

What is one thing readers should know about The Outcast to convince them to add it to their reading list?

Four years ago, a family member told a true story about the power of desire that was left unchecked and how it trickled down through an Old Order Mennonite family, not only affecting that generation, but the generations to come. We were all sitting around the kitchen, and after the person finished speaking, I gasped, “That’s a book!” But I did nothing about it. At the time, I was writing Southern fiction and did not want to surrender to “Amish fiction”—a genre my father always told me I should write.

However, a few years later, I was on the London Underground when a tall, stoop-shouldered man in a black suit stepped on board. My best friend and I recognized him as the person who was friends with the woman who was allowing us to stay in her flat. On the subway, this unsung poet and prophet spoke into my best friend’s life. Then later, on the double decker bus, he spoke into mine. He told me I would give up the manuscript I was currently working on and begin writing again. I didn’t know I would listen, but when I came home, I could not hear anything else. I put my current manuscript in a drawer and began writing a fictionalized version of the story that had been told to me. The unsung prophet of the London Underground is mentioned in the acknowledgements section of The Outcast.

When writing, Jolina, was there a writing schedule? Writing room? Did you use an outline or notecards to help in writing?

My husband and I welcomed a bouncing baby girl into our lives sixteen months ago. She is precious and feisty and, for a long while, did not want to sleep! This made it difficult to have a writing schedule, so as soon as her eyes would flutter closed, I’d grab the baby monitor and go tearing out on the front porch—typing as fast as I could for as long as she didn’t brutz from her crib.

Thankfully, she started settling down at ten months. Once she was sleeping through the night, I would write while she was napping and write after my husband and daughter went to sleep.

So, here’s my writing “schedule”:

6:30-7:00 – Baby A gets up, my husband feeds her breakfast.

7 – Mom (me) comes stumbling out and grabs a bagel.

7:30 – Hubby leaves for work.

7:30-8 – Finish breakfast, morning reading, clean up kitchen, get dressed (maybe).

8 – 9 Play with Baby A, then try to do some social media. Sometimes she hits enter before I’ve finished an email. (I apologize in advance to anyone who receives gobbledygook that looks like this: hlljakljfksjfklaj.)

9-10 Sweep floors and do laundry while listening to an audiobook. (Baby A loves to help me “fold” clothes.)

10 – Baby A goes to sleep. I grab baby monitor and lunge outside with laptop to write.

10:30 – Tie Kashi (our Akita puppy) up, because she’s licking my laptop screen.

11:15 – Watch neighbor’s mules come galloping down our lane, where they’ve broken down their fence –again.

11:30 – Stop writing to talk to farmer who is eyeing up our field for hay.

12 – Finish writing a paragraph. Baby A awakens from her crib.

12-4 Lunch, more emails, more cleaning, go outside to weed small raised-bed garden. Tie Kashi up who is trying to eat radishes. Husband home!

4-5 Walk up our neighbor’s long lane with Baby A strapped to my back. The lane cuts into the mountains and runs parallel with a dry creek bed that leads to a Buddhist temple (the Dalai Lama visited once!). I started walking there when loggers ran me off the road and almost killed my dog.

5-7 Supper, clean up kitchen, play with Baby A; my dear husband usually puts her to bed.

7-9 Quiet time with Hubby. We chat about our day, and sometimes we watch BBC’s Call The Midwife, which I count as research for my next book. He won’t admit it, but he secretly loves the show as much as I do. I would love to become a doula (birthing assistant) one day.

9-11 – Write, write, write! I adore these hours that somehow feel stolen and wonderful!

Katherine Scott Jones, a fellow She Reads blogger, recommended The Outcast in an article posted to She Reads called The Blog Network Recommends. Without Katherine’s recommendation, I’m not sure if I would have known about this book. How had word of mouth helped the sales of The Outcast?

Don’t you just adore Katherine Scott Jones? She will always have a special place in my heart because she was the first book reviewer to contact me just to say how much she enjoyed The Outcast. Though we live on opposite sides of the nation, I feel like we are truly friends. I cannot wait to read her words one day!

So, yes! Word of mouth has been wonderful. I am an extrovert who lives in the sticks; therefore, getting to meet readers, reviewers, and booksellers (even just through social media) has been a delightful part of this publishing experience. Thank you all!

What are you working on next, Jolina?

The Midwife, which is slated to release next summer. I still have a lot of work left on this story. (I’ve sent it to my publisher, but haven’t started edits.) But I am just as excited about its premise as I was about The Outcast’s! In the winter of 1995, a graduate student named Beth Sizemore becomes the gestational surrogate for a wealthy family in the research university where she attends. However, four months into the pregnancy, there appears to be chromosomal abnormality. Fearing the parents with terminate the pregnancy, Beth flees to a home for unwed mothers called Hopen Haus, which is located in an Old Order Mennonite community. She delivers the child, who is healthy, and focuses on her work as an assistant to the midwife. When the parents find out the child is alive and well, they come and take her back. From here, The Midwife expounds on what it truly means to be a mother: genetics or love.

 

Special thanks to Jolina Petersheim for agreeing to be interviewed!

 

jolina pJolina Petersheim, author of The Outcast, is working hard on her 2nd book, raising an adorable baby girl, and keeping Kashi (her pup) from licking the computer screen while working.  To buy The Outcast, visit here. To find out more about Jolina- visit Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter pages.

 

Giveaway! To win a copy of Jolina Petersheim’s The Outcast– just comment on this post. Include your email address (you may use the AT and DOT). Giveaway is open to US only (sorry!) Giveaway begins August 19th and ends August 26th at 11:59pmEST. Winner will be notified on August 27th.

 

 

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

the firebird

Photo Credit: Amazon

The Firebird is July’s She Reads Book Club pick. Part historical fiction, some magical realism, romance, and a mystery- this book has much that can and will appeal to a variety of readers.

Nicola has a gift (or a curse as she sees it sometimes). She can touch an object and see things from it’s past. Nicola works for an art dealer, Sebastian, in London. A woman comes in desperate to see this little bird- a bird that she claims to have belonged to Empress Catherine at one time. Sebastian is interested- but since there is no proof- he cannot buy the bird. Nicola, though, before the lady leaves, touches the bird. Instantly she has a vision of Empress Catherine telling a girl named Anna “You were never a nobody”. She knows the bird is what the woman claims- yet, she can’t reveal what knows without revealing her “gift”.

Nicola, shaken, thinks about what to do next. She goes in search of a person that she knows from 2 years ago- a man named Rob. He has a gift like Nicola- yet, he does not regard it as a curse. When Nicola and Rob meet again- the reader finds out about their history- and that there is still something unfinished between them. Together, the 2 of them embark on an adventure- an adventure that is designed to prove the truth about the firebird.

While on this adventure, with both Nicola and Rob using their gifts- they learn about this mysterious Anna. Her background, her story, how and why Nicola had a vision of her with Empress Catherine. Told in alternating tales, what Anna lived through and how her life was and the story of  Nicola and Rob – The Firebird takes the reader from past to present and through a multitude of historical references.

Partly a romantic story, party a historical fiction, a few dashes of magical realism- The Firebird opens the reader to a world they may never have dreamed of knowing- and a story, Anna’s story, that they are better for reading.

My thoughts:

Conflicted. The little synopsis about this book had me intrigued. I began reading- and the first chapter or so, I was intrigued. Interested. Curious. Then Nicola goes in search of Rob- and I encounter a dialect that I’m not familiar with. Words such as “Aye, Ken and more”. I re-read the sections, and essentially get the meaning. Yet, it’s distracting to me. I find myself in a reading groove- and then the Scottish dialect rears it’s head. I continue, though, partly because I want to know what happens. Anna has caught my interest. Nicola and Rob have caught my interest.

The story continues and I faithfully read- I’m learning quite a bit as the book is well researched- and yet, the amount of characters is almost hard to keep up with- some are mentioned at 1 point- and then not mentioned again for nearly 200 pages. I found myself wishing I’d made a note of each character. Then, when I’m about convinced that it’s not the book’s fault, it’s me- some books just don’t capture my attention- I start getting a bit more caught up in the story- Anna’s older, her story is growing more and more interesting as the pages go. The interactions between Nicola and Rob are better- the unfinished history between them is apparent. Even the Scottish dialect is not distracting me. I flew through the last 100 or so pages- dying to know what happens next. Who can be trusted, who can’t be- what will become of Anna?

With the ending being as strong as it was- it definitely ended the book on a positive note (for me!) I liked how things were revealed bit by bit- and how the author used misdirection at times. However, it took several pages for me to get to this point- and honestly, if I’d borrowed this book from a library- I’d have returned it before I finished it. In the end, I’m a better person for having read this- for sticking with it. For learning about an unfamiliar author to me. My advice for you, if you decide to read this, is to know that it’s slow moving- it will get to a point that the reader has to know what happens next- but it takes it’s time getting there.

* This book was provided to me by She Reads in exchange for a fair and honest review. The above opinions and thoughts are mine alone.

Literary Friday ya’ll…

Friday- Friday -Friday!

 

Deep South Magazine and their #literaryfriday goodness: Carl Hiassen’s Most Memorable Characters, Wiley Cash news, and more. Plus, the Author Spotlight that was featured yesterday on Erika Marks on my blog, Traveling With T, made the #literaryfriday news!

 

Literary New England is getting “chatty” during the month of July- 2 author chats lined up: Nichole Bernier, The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D, chats with @litnewengland July 2nd from 8-9PM EST. There will be a #giveaway! Then July 10, Erika Marks chats from 8-9pmEST- there will be a #giveaway for her chat as well. Use #LNEchat to participate.

 

Anita Loves Books is giving away a copy of Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman. #giveaway ends June 16th.

 

She Reads as part of their Books of  Summer series features Meg Donohue. Read her Tell Me Something True: A Visit with Meg Donohue to find out some about All The Summer Girls.

 

Today, I reviewed Steamed to Death by Peg Cochran for Cozy Mystery Reviews!

 

The #giveaway is still going on for Erika Marks The Guest House. Comment on Erika Marks: Author Spotlight for a chance to win!

 

What are you reading for #fridayreads? I’m reading The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan, The Wishing Tree by Marybeth Whalen, Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight and hoping to get in Time Flies by Claire Cook.

 

Speaking of The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan- it is mentioned in OBSESSED- The 20 Next Big Things in Glamour’s July 2013 magazine.

 

Happy reading!

 

 

 

Tuesday Mashup

LOTS to announce!

Rebecca @ Love at First Book is featured in Bloggers who WIN, a feature created by BookStore-BookBlogger Connection. She talks all about the magic of a book store in this feature!

Want to get to chat with Beatriz Williams- author of A HUNDRED SUMMERS? Yes, yes, you do! So join in Thursday night with Literary New England from 8-9pmEST and chat! You might even get lucky and win a book 🙂 Use #LNEchat to join in!

She Reads revealed their The Books of Summer list last week. 6 books that you need to read this summer! As part of their The Books of Summer, they will also be having author interviews and others fun news- here is a catch-up of what has been posted:

Grab It While You Can (Marybeth Whalen’s new book, The Wishing Tree, $3.99 in e-book!)

The Wishing Tree Soundtrack

Tell Me Something True: A Visit with Beatriz Williams

Tell Me Something True: A Visit with Amy Sue Nathan

Today I interviewed Erika Marks, author of The Guest House, on my blog. Here’s the interview- and Thursday- check back to see  Erika’s #literaryconfessions and #literarycrush  (PLUS a GIVEAWAY!)

ICYMI: My review of A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams!

Deep South Mag has posted their Twitter Chat Schedule, Summer Reading List 2013, and Summer Book Signing Calendar 2013 ( when you look at the summer book signing- you *may* see a familiar face 😉

Happy Reading 🙂

 

 

 

Literary Friday, ya’ll…..

Friday. Ahhhh…..

1. Deep South Mag and their #literaryfriday: Sinning across the South, book signings and more!

2. Boston Herald reveals it’s Summer Book Club: 10 hot reads to pack in your beach bag. The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan made the list- which I’m super excited about because I won an ARC from the adorable Sarah McCoy, author of The Baker’s Daughter. Look for my review of The Engagements to be posted in a couple of weeks!

3. A Novel Review is giving away Sarah Jio’s newest book, The Last Camellia!

4.  She Reads featured today The Blog Network Recommends– 3 great sounding books were recommended- The Last Camellia, The Third Son, and The Outcast.

5. Drey’s Library is also giving away The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio (plus she has a fabulous interview with her!)

6. Today, Traveling With T, began Book Lovers Unite Online Book Club– come join in the fun as we talk about Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. The questions for Week 1 discussion have been posted- so plenty of time to join in!

7. ICYMI: I reviewed Never Tell by Alafair Burke and Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman this week.

8. My #fridayreads are Reconstructing Amelia and A Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White.

9. Traveling With T will have #giveaways next week! Come and visit 🙂 A Cookbook Conspiracy by Kate Carlisle will be given away MONDAY JUNE 3rd. Don’t miss it!

 

Happy Reading!

 

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Photo Credit: William Morrow Paperbacks

This book was sent to Traveling With T for review consideration.

Orphan Train

 

Vivian Daly- a 91 year old woman. Outlived every person in her life that has meant something to her (and outlived the people that did not mean anything to her, as well). Vivian, as you see her today, appears to have lived in the lap of luxury. A nice house, money, fine things filling the house. But looks can be deceiving.

Vivian, in her early years, was aboard a train called the Orphan Train. It was a way to help orphans find new homes instead of living at the orphanage till they were adults. Of course, the orphan train was a nice idea in theory only. People would come to where the train would stop to find kids to be part of the family, or farmhands, or girls to clean and sew. Some did have honorable intentions- but some did not.

When 91 year old Vivian meets Molly, a teenager who has been shuttled from house to house in an attempt to find a suitable foster home, Molly thinks that she and Vivian have nothing in common. As Molly helps clean Vivian’s attic, though, she is surprised to find that not only do they have things in common; but that Molly feels a connection with Vivian. Continue reading

Wednesday Mashup…

Got A LOT to catch up on! Read on for articles you need to be reading, giveaways you should be entering, and more!

Articles You Should Be Reading:

1.Dana Bate, author of The Girls’ Guide to Love and Supper Clubs, has this to say about writing: Find Your Voice. It’s an article that asipring writers should read!

2. Randy Susan Meyers poses the question: Are Writers Badgering Readers?  It’s an interesting question, because in the land of social media- a person can promote their book till the cows come home- and it costs little to nothing. And does that help or hurt the writer? While Randy’s article takes a lot of other things in consideration- my thoughts on the social media aspect is this: I LIKE to see the author interact with fans, bloggers, and more on social media. It makes for a pleasant experience. I know that the bottom line of being an author is selling books. I get it. I don’t dislike you for wanting to make a living. In fact, as I’ve said before- authors are some of my favorite types of people.  There are some things I don’t like about social media for authors- but for the most part, it’s a good fit.  But remember- social media is not your personal platform for selling- if you think that, you’ve missed out on the “social” part of social media. And just like your mama taught you- if you see someone that has bought a book, or is talking positive about the book- a simple “thank you” goes a long way.

3. Wendy Francis writes about A Letter to the Author You’re About to Become– advice and more for people in the process of becoming an author.

4. The Affair by Colette Freedman was April’s #gr8books online book club discussion. And Colette was fun- letting the online book club know some future work she has planned, and talking extensively of the plot of The Affair. After the Twiiter chat, she wrote this blog post about it. Colin Firth, Brad Pitt and why I love book clubs is funny and a great summary of the amazing people who participate in the #gr8book chat.  As I read the article, I was touched to see that 2 of my comments that I made in the post was listed in the “Some of my favorite tweets from the discussion” section- I’ll let you guess which 2 sound like me 🙂

Giveaways:

1. Great New Books is giving away Priscille Sibley’s book, The Promise of Stardust.

2. Lilmommareader’s blog, Read Baby Read is giving away The Good Woman by Jane Porter.

3. Bookmagnet is giving away The Paradise Guest House by Ellen Sussman.

She Reads:

As you know, I’m a She Reads blogger, Twitter chat hoster, and online book club leader- so I like to make sure other readers are aware of what’s going on at She Reads. April’s book club pick is AND THEN I FOUND YOU by Patti Callahan Henry- it’s fiction; but based on the real life experience of her sister. Beautifully written, heart-tugging and so much more- it’s a book that begs to be read.

I’ll be hosting the Twitter chat with Patti Callahan Henry on April 29th from 2-3pmEST. Use #srchat to join in. There will be a giveaway- and you’ll need to be particpating in the chat to be considered for the giveaway. Hope to see you there!

But, wait, there’s more! Can’t make it to the Twitter chat? No problem! April 29th- May 6th will be the online book club discussion at shereads.org/forum. Come, talk, tell me what you loved about the book. Or what you didn’t like. The discussion will last all week- and I love to hear from readers!

1. Dear Reader: A Note from Patti Callahan Henry

2. Featured Recipe for AND THEN I FOUND YOU

3. Release Day and launch party for AND THEN I FOUND YOU

Looking for Spring Thrillers? She Reads has a list! Spring Thriller Round-up

 

 

 

Literary Friday ya’ll…

Friday. Pretty spring day. I’ve been enjoying my morning coffee while watching these 2 small brown birds make a nest near the breakfast nook area.  It’s a good day.

1. Deep South Mag and their #literaryfriday: A honor for Square Books, news about The Great Gatsby movie, and much more.

2. #giveaways: Luxury Reading is giving away a copy of Wendy Wax’s latest While We Were Downtown Abbey and She Reads is giving away a copy of The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley.

3. Other She Reads news:

1. Books and Wine: A Pairing for The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow.

2. She Reads April Book Club Selection: And Then I Found You by Patti Callahan Henry

3. Book Review: Tapestry of Fortunes by Elizabeth Berg

4. A Room of Her Own: The Writing Space of Patti Callahan Henry

4. What is your #fridayreads? Mine is Going, Going, Ganache by Jenn McKinlay.

5. Books that I have read lately and really enjoyed:

1. The Affair by Colette Freedman

2. And Then I Found You by Patti Callahan Henry

3. Learning to Fly: An Ucommon Memoir of Human Flight, Unexpected Love, and One Amazing Dog by Steph Davis

4. Nickled and Dimed to Death: A Devereaux’s Dime Store Mystery by Denise Swanson

5. The Mermaid of Brooklyn by Amy Shearn

6. Life After Life by Jill McCorkle

6. Have you made your bucket list? What about your book-ish bucket list? Here’s mine: Traveling With T’s Book-ish Bucket List

 

Happy Reading 🙂