Friday, February 25, 2011

The Death of YA Author L.K. Madigan: What can we learn from it?

If you've been on Twitter over the last couple of days, you may be aware of the passing of L.K. Madigan (aka Lisa Wolfson), young adult author of Flash Burnout and her most recent release, The Mermaid's Mirror. I have The Mermaids Mirror on my TBR list, but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. And then I learned of her death. She was only 47, a wife, mother and breast cancer survivor; a disease that manifested itself in her life 20 years ago. She figured she had it beat. She passed the five year mark, gave birth two years after that, then published two well-received books, one which won critical acclaim. In January, she posted about the malevolent force (my words) that reared it's wicked head in her life once again, what we now know would be for the last time on her blog.

I decided to look through the archive of her blog, which goes back to 2004. She was a huge proponent of the creative writing process and other writers. It was fun to read of her excitement as she shared her overwhelming joy of becoming a published author for the first time; her journey of how she began the agent hunt and the process of finding the agent that was just right for her...

Death always sets me to thinking. It's the beginning of the end on one hand, and the beginning of something new on the other. Much depends on how you view life and if you think our existence here, now, is all that there is. I have definite thoughts about that too, but that's not the focus of this post. So, what is? Consider this. It's something I've been thinking about and Lisa's passing brought it to the forefront of my mind.

I'm an aspiring author. So are many others. Some are not aspiring any longer. They've "made it"; some even capturing the Holy Grail on their first lap out of the gate: the New York Times bestseller's list. The YA community is a tightly knit one; one in which writers in various stages of the publishing trajectory connect and intermingle. We read and comment on each others blogs; relate tales of struggle, pain and sadness about rejections; try to put just the right words together in just the right way to garner the perfect agent, secure that elusive book deal... Often it becomes all-consuming; sometimes it feels overwhelming and we can develop tunnel vision and tune out all else in our quest for literary gold.

I endeavor to stay balanced; keep life in it's proper perspective. Death always brings me around. It makes me realize that writing and securing a book deal is awesome and a goal worthy of pursuit. But, it's not all there is. We need to remember that. If we get published-super. If we don't, life is still worth living. We're wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and friends. Life is multifaceted. For so many people in our lives and in the world, writing and being published, doesn't even enter their consciousness. They're just trying to survive, stay alive, be there for the ones that need them.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, let's all try to remember what's important in life and not let any one desire overwhelm us and overshadow the rest.

Lisa had an important wish and that was for her son, Nate to get a college education. A trust has been set up with that in mind. It's a tough economy these days and money is tight, but if you have a little extra to spare, consider contributing to this child's education. The particulars are here. You reap what you sow. What you give to others, comes back to you in one form or another. Be a blessing and get blessed.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

And the Winner of Jodi Picoult's latest release, Sing You Home is...

Wow. Picoult hasn't lost her touch. You guys seemed pretty excited about her newest book. I wish I had a copy to give to each of you. According to the comments, My Sister's Keeper, is a big hit with a lot of you. and seems to be a Picoult favorite. Well it's on to the good stuff. The winner of Sing You Home with the unique CD is...


Please email me your address, so I may get the book out to you. If the winner doesn't reply in 24 hours, another will be selected. The winner was chosen randomly using

Until the next giveaway....


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: Evercrossed-A Kissed by an Angel Novel by Elizabeth Chandler

It's time to find out what's good in the book world. Waiting on Wednesday is one of my favorite memes. It was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it gives all the participants and observers a chance to learn what great books are out there already and what's coming down the pike.
I've just learned of a book coming out called Evercrossed. It sounds so intriguing and a bit creepy. It did catch my attention. Check out the blurb...

It's been a year since Ivy's boyfriend, Tristan, died. They've both moved on - Tristan to the other side of the afterlife, and Ivy to sweet, dependable Will. Now Ivy's heading to Cape Cod, hoping to leave the horror of last summer behind. She wants nothing more than to lie on the beach, sip lemonade, and hang out with her friends.

But then a car crash ends Ivy's life.

As she floats to the beyond, looking down on the life she's left behind, Tristan breathes life back into her with a passionate kiss. She wakes up in the hospital, surrounded by Will and her family, but all she can think about is the love that she lost.

But memories aren't all that's come back from the past. And this time, Ivy's not sure love will be enough to save her.

Books 1-3 are here!
Apparently, this started out as a trilogy that has been around for awhile; looks like since the late ninties! Did anyone else know this? The first book called Kissed by an Angel, also incorporates the second and third books in one volume.                                                                           

I'm very interested in learning what snuck in with her from the other side...hum...The fourth book is coming out in the next couple of weeks. I think I'll start with that, then if I'm up for it, I may read the earlier books.What do you guys think?

Evercrossed releases March 8, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Book Giveaway: Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult: It includes a CD!


This is an unusual giveaway; at least its the most unique that I've done. I received an ARC of Sing You Home, Jodi Picoult's latest novel, releasing in March. It comes with a CD included! These are original songs created for the novel. The lyrics are by Jodi Picoult and the songs are sung by Ellen Wilbur. I believe the book blurb reveals the key to the delightful musical extra...

Every life has a soundtrack. All you have to do is listen.

Music has set the tone for most of Zoe Baxter's life. There's the melody that reminds her of the summer she spent rubbing baby oil on her stomach in pursuit of the perfect tan. A dance beat that makes her think of using a fake ID to slip into a nightclub. A dirge that marked the years she spent trying to get pregnant.

For better or for worse, music is the language of memory. It is also the language of love.

In the aftermath of a series of personal tragedies, Zoe throws herself into her career as a music therapist. When an unexpected friendship slowly blossoms into love, she makes plans for a new life, but to her shock and inevitable rage, some people - even those she loves and trusts most - don't want that to happen.
Sing You Home is about identity, love, marriage, and parenthood. It's about people wanting to do the right thing for the greater good, even as they work to fulfill their own personal desires and dreams. And it's about what happens when the outside world brutally calls into question the very thing closest to our hearts: family.
As you can see, music factors into the story in an integral way. I think it's pretty cool to do a CD that captures the essence of the story. I had no idea Picoult was a lyricist. What can't that lady do?! If you would like the opportunity to receive this ARC, leave a comment about your favorite Jodi Picoult book and why it's your favorite. Also, let me know if you know of any other books that include a CD. If you haven't read a Picoult book, you're still welcome to enter the giveaway, but you must include in your comment that you haven't read one. Don't forget your email so you can be contacted if you're the winner. That is all.

Giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada only this time. It gets expensive guys..
Giveaway ends Wednesday, February 23, 2011. 

Sing You Home releases March 1, 2011.


Friday, February 18, 2011

And the Winner of The Replacement is...

Thanks guys for stopping by and entering the giveaway. From your comments, I can see Stephen King is still the king of creepy and scary. With all the emphasis on YA paranomal, I kind of forgot about him...Oh heavens! How could that be?! He's one of my original favorites. Read my first Stephen King book when my high school English teacher loaned me her copy of Salem's Lot...I couldn't even sleep that, it's on to the good stuff.

The winner of the lovely, creepy, scary The Replacement is...


Please email me and send me your address so I can get your book out to you!

If the winner doesn't respond in 48 hours, another one will be selected. Winner was chosen randomly using

Next giveaway will be the latest Jodi Piccoult book, releasing in March. It comes with a little something extra! Stay tuned...


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: Die For Me by Amy Plum

Waiting on Wednesday is a great meme started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's a wonderful way to learn about new books coming out and find out what your fellow book-lovers can't wait to sink their teeth into. This week's selection is a book, whose progress, I've been following for at least a year. I'm glad it's finally worked its way through the publishing wild fires and will be available to land in my eager hands!

The author, Amy Plum is an American from the South, who's living the life of a Parisian these days. From what I understand, she couldn't get enough of Edward Cullen and decided to pen a little something to keep the flames of her passion going. Die For Me sounds like a perfect solution. Let's read the blurb from the jacket flap...


Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.

Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet.  Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen.

Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies...immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.

While I'm fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart--as well as my life and my family's--in jeopardy for a chance at love?

Plum has created a Google map of Paris that highlights all the pertinent spots that are important in the star-crossed couple's journey. When I went to London this summer, I planned to go to Paris, but the trip wiped me out! I was too exhausted by jet lag and trying to reorient myself to the five hour time difference to get over there, but the next time, I totally have to do it.

Die For Me has been described as Twilight with zombies, but not the yucky, decaying zombies, the hot, sexy ones called revenants. I'm not ashamed to say it. I'm a total Twilight fan. Love the book; love the movie! Will anyone else be joining me to check out if this novel has Twilight sensibilities?

Die For Me releases May 10, 2011


Monday, February 14, 2011

Book Giveaway: The Replacement by Brenna Yavanoff


I first heard about this book last January in 2010. I was at  the Winter conference of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. The publisher of Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin, was so excited about this book. He was singing it's praises along with his other exciting discovery, Across the Universe.

His description of the cover alone had me intrigued. I was salivating to get my hands on it. I was new to blogging at the time and had no idea how to get one, so I did the unthinkable. I emailed the publisher and asked for one. Now mind you, the book was not due to be released until eight months later, in September, but like I said, I had no idea how these things worked, so I just did what seemed obvious to me. I contacted him and asked for an ARC (wasn't exactly sure what that was either). Much to my surprise, he responded rather quickly and promised to send me one! Not only did he send that one, but I received all the hot books he was so stoked for. He's an incredibly nice gentleman to do that. As a busy publisher of a whole division, I'm sure he has plenty to do besides send avid readers advanced copies of books, no matter how enthused they are. I will always be grateful for his kindness. That being said, please don't do anything like this! I know better now and the idea of it seems pretty crazy when I think back on it! Maybe he just admired my chutzpah!

Anyway, he was right. It's a very intriguing, creepy and thought-provoking book. I recall reading one scene in which there was a party going on. Some girls were described as playing around and indulging in various antics. I believe it was a Halloween party. It took me several read-backs to realize that those girls are not wearing any costumes; that is how they really look--ugh! Let's read the blurb from the book, shall we...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Book Review: Cryer's Cross by NYT Bestselling Author, Lisa McMann

Hi guys. Most of you probably know Lisa McMann from her New York Times Bestselling Wake trilogy. I haven't read any of those books, so this is my first experience with any of her work. Simon and Schuster sent me an e-galley of the story and I appreciated the opportunity to learn what Ms. McMann's writing was all about. Let's take a look at a blurb of the book:

The small town of Cryer's Cross is rocked by tragedy when an unassuming freshman disappears without a trace. Kendall Fletcher wasn't that friendly with the missing girl, but the angst wreaks havoc on her OCD-addled brain.

When a second student goes missing - someone close to Kendall's heart - the community is in an uproar. Caught in a downward spiral of fear and anxiety, Kendall's not sure she can hold it together. When she starts hearing the voices of the missing, calling out to her and pleading for help, she fears she's losing her grip on reality. But when she finds messages scratched in a desk at school - messages that could only be from the missing student who used to sit there - Kendall decides that crazy or not, she'd never forgive herself if she didn't act on her suspicions.

Something's not right in Cryer's Cross - and Kendall's about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

I thought this story had a unique premise. I had no idea what was causing these kids to disappear and you're not going to find any of the usual supernatural suspects: vampire, werewolf, zombie etc. That alone kept my interest level high because I wanted to know what the heck was going on!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

And the Winner of A Vampire for Christmas is...

Thanks so much girls for dropping in, entering the giveaway and checking out the worldbuilding article that Susan Hanniford Crowley was so generous to provide. By the selections people made, I can see vampires are still "alive" and was by far, the favorite choice. Without further ado, the winner of the e-book,  A Vampire for Christmas is...

Patricia Altner!!

Congratulations. The author will be contacting you to send what looks like an awesome, hot book your way!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: Angry Young Man by Chris Lynch (But not really, hee hee hee...)

This Wednesday swung around faster than I can believe! I'm exhausted right now. I just returned from a most delightful book reading and signing and one of you will be the recipient of a lovely, signed, debut novel at some time in the near future.

Waiting on Wednesday is the creation of Jill over at Breaking the Spine and what a great creation it was. It gives us a chance to learn about great new stories we may not have otherwise.

This week, I have a confession to make. See the book noted above? (Come closer please so I can whisper this in your ear...) I'm not really waiting on it. I've read it. But this is certainly a book YOU should be waiting for. I happened to discover it when Simon and Schuster sent me an e-galley of the story. I finished it in short order. I'm a romance kinda girl and romance in some form, makes up a large part of what I read. I don't think I would have picked this book up ordinarily and I would have been the loser.

It's a timely story too. With the tragic shooting of the congresswoman and those unfortunate souls in Arizona, their story floated through my mind as I read Angry Young Man. It's the tale of the complex relationship of two brothers: Robert, the eldest and Alexander (Xan) the youngest--and the weirdest. Check out a bit of the excerpt from the first chapter:

I want you to understand my brother. I don't need you to, so don't get all worked up over it or anything. Ultimately you can do what you like. But I would like for you to understand him.
As far as that goes, I'd like to understand him myself.
"What are you doing with those on?" I ask him when I walk into the room. He is just standing there, unoccupied as he often seems to be, in the small bedroom we still share. It's about three years after we should have stopped sharing a room, or much of anything else, but this is beyond our control. The those I am talking about are tinted glasses, kind of dark amber, which make him look something like a 1970s pimp. "They make you look like a pimp."
"Don't talk to me like that. You know I don't like that kind of talk. Anyway, they are glasses. I wear glasses, to be able to see, and you know that."
I do know that. "I didn't know that you wear pimp glasses, though. You wear them to see hookers, is that it? Can I have a shot?"
"Did I ask you to stop talking to me like that?"
"Like what?"
"Like . . . stop it, Robert. I'm serious."
He is. He is very serious. My brother has a number of problems, one of them being me. I am a pain in his ass, and I know it. He is also very fortunate to have me, and he knows it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Guest Blogger: Susan Hanniford Crowley, Romance, Fantasy and Sci Fi Author. Win Your Choice of a pdf ebook!

I'm pleased to have Susan Hanniford Crowley visiting today. Susan is a talented author who writes across a number of genres: romance, fantasy and science fiction! She's gracious enough to offer you two things today: for the writers out there and interested booklovers, she's going to provide advice on world building. Susan is also giving away one of her ebooks. One winner will have a choice between one of these three pdf ebooks: When Love Survives, The Stormy Love Life of Laura Cordelais, or A Vampire for Christmas.

For a chance to be that winner, just leave a comment that says what you like about vampires. Let her know which one of the books you would like. That's it. Don't forget your email, so you can be contacted if you're the winner. Of course, feel free to add to that and ask Susan questions about world building, writing, and anything else about books and writing that you have an interest in. She loves responding to reader questions and comments. Don't be shy. Giveaway ends Friday, 2/11/11. Without further ado, I leave you with Susan Hanniford Crowley...

How to Build A World
By Author Susan Hanniford Crowley

Since I am a fiction author, I will look a world building from that reference.  Your first decision is the placement of your world.  Will it be a world completely of the imagination?  I mean a world that doesn’t already exist.  Or will it be an unseen part of our real world?  Or will it be a future or past world?  Location as they say in business is everything. 

Let’s start with the easiest—putting a slightly imaginary world side by side with the present day contemporary world.  In the Harry Potter books, his world is mostly unseen by virtue of magic screening it from the eyes of non-magic or muggle folk.  In my world of the Vampires in Manhattan series, my vampires are on the street and shopping with everyone else, but I have sanctuaries in the city, buildings that belong to them.  I also count on the ability of New Yorkers to ignore anything different as long as it doesn’t hurt them.   Having spent a lot of time in New York and having had family in the city, I have an instinct on what will or will not get a New Yorker’s attention and that has changed since 9/11. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: Haven by Kristi Cook

It may be a stormy, snowy, icy, mess across the Midwest and the Northeast (like those adjectives?!), but that hasn't keep Waiting on Wednesday at bay! It's back--with a vengeance. It's a meme started by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Maybe you guys know about this one, but I just discovered it the other day. It's Haven by Kristi Cook. Check out the blurb from the author's site...

Violet McKenna isn’t a normal girl with normal teenage issues; she has more to contend with than most people could handle. Violet thought she was just crazy when she had a vivid vision of her dad’s murder. Her life started falling apart when her premonition came true. She’s had flashes of other events too–the problem was nobody believed her until she found a new school: Winterhaven.
At Winterhaven, Violet finally feels like she belongs. She quickly finds a close group friends and discovers that they too have psychic ‘gifts’—as do all the students at Winterhaven. But as soon as she feels settled she discovers the most intriguing and alluring boy she has ever met, and things quickly go awry. As the attraction between them grows, intense visions of the boy’s death start to haunt her. In her premonitions, the secret he is unwilling to share begins to reveal itself. And to Violet’s horror, she learns that their destinies are intertwined in a critical–and deadly–way.

Here's a little excerpt:

“You won’t lose me,” I said, taking a tentative step toward him.  “No matter what your secrets are, no matter how terrible you think they are, you won’t lose me.”
He reached for my shoulders and drew me against his chest.  “I’ll make sure to remind you that you said that, okay?  When you’re running away from me as fast as you can.”

Ooh...I don't know about you, but I want to know if this boy is hot enough to elicit such devotion...I shall see...anyone joining me?

Haven releases February 22, 2011.