Monday, October 31st, 2016
Happy Halloween, all!
Given the holiday, I feel like I should be offering up a copy of The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla, aka my one and only Halloween book. But I’m down to my last few Manzanillas and I have a whopping great pile of paperback copies of The Forgotten Room, so… in a very unwitchy sort of way, I am offering up a brand new paperback copy of The Forgotten Room.
Here’s the official blurb:
New York Times bestselling authors Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig present a masterful collaboration—a rich, multigenerational novel of love and loss that spans half a century….
1945: When the critically wounded Captain Cooper Ravenal is brought to a private hospital on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, young Dr. Kate Schuyler is drawn into a complex mystery that connects three generations of women in her family to a single extraordinary room in a Gilded Age mansion.
Who is the woman in Captain Ravenel’s portrait miniature who looks so much like Kate? And why is she wearing the ruby pendant handed down to Kate by her mother? In their pursuit of answers, they find themselves drawn into the turbulent stories of Gilded Age Olive Van Alen, driven from riches to rags, who hired out as a servant in the very house her father designed, and Jazz Age Lucy Young, who came from Brooklyn to Manhattan in pursuit of the father she had never known. But are Kate and Cooper ready for the secrets that will be revealed in the Forgotten Room?
The Forgotten Room, set in alternating time periods, is a sumptuous feast of a novel brought to vivid life by three brilliant historical storytellers.
Now for your question: What’s your favorite Halloween costume?
Two people, chosen at random, will receive paperback copies of The Forgotten Room.
And, just so I don’t feel like I’m shirking on my Halloween duty, here are some lovely cards Sharlene made up for The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla back in the day.
Friday, October 28th, 2016
It struck me recently that I haven’t read any of my “keeper” books in a while. Not the books that I’ve discovered in the past five years or so that I’ve read and re-read, but the books that have come with me from grade school to college to grad school and so on: The Blue Castle, Robin McKinley’s Beauty, Nine Coaches Waiting, I Capture the Castle, Trade Wind, and, of course, The Blue Sword.
So this week I revisited my old copy of The Blue Sword.
If you haven’t read The Blue Sword, it’s set in a mythical place called– depending on whom you ask– either Daria or Damar, in which the “Homelanders” (think Victorian England by another name) have set up outposts of their empire on the fringes of a desert country ruled by a mysterious king. Harry Crewe, the traditional penniless younger sister, has been shipped out there to join her brother, who is a very junior something-or-other, but finds herself being swept up in the destiny of Damar and becoming a very unlikely heroine. I love this book: for Harry’s slightly frustrated common sense, for the idea that anyone can find herself suddenly in an adventure story, and, also, for the language. It’s difficult to describe McKinley’s prose, other than to say that it’s reminiscent of fairy tales and utterly unlike any other author I’ve read. There are phrases that stick in your head– which is probably why, if you’re looking for them, you can find echoes of McKinley in my writing.
Up next, I have a pile of new books– including an advance advance advance copy of Simone St. James’s 2018 release, The Broken Girls! And, yes, I am that excited.
What have you been reading this week?
Wednesday, October 26th, 2016
The winner of the ARC of The Visitors is…
Carla! (Of Comment #4.)
Congrats, Carla! If you let me know where to send it, I’ll pop your book in the mail to you.
More give aways coming up next Monday!
Tuesday, October 25th, 2016
Now in a sleeker, bolder format, we give you the New York Times and USA Today bestseller… The Forgotten Room paperback, out in stores today!
As you can imagine, Beatriz, Karen, and I are all lifting virtual glasses of bubbly.
Even better, in three weeks, we’ll be lifting real glasses of bubbly together as we convene in our top secret location to start work on the next collaborative novel together!
This novel began as a crazy scheme between friends– so we still can’t quite believe it’s real or that we’re getting to write another one. Thanks so much to everyone who has read our books and helped make this collaboration a reality!
Monday, October 24th, 2016
With only a week until Halloween, this week’s give away is another rain-lashed tale of the supernatural– or, in this case, the mythical: an ARC of Simon Sylvester’s The Visitors.
Here’s the official blurb:
In the tradition of Neil Gaiman and Iain Banks, Simon Sylvester brings an ancient myth to life with this lush, atmospheric coming-of-age tale
Nobody comes to the remote Scottish island of Bancree, and seventeen-year-old Flora can’t wait to move to the mainland when she finishes school. So when a mysterious man and his daughter move into isolated Dog Cottage, Flora is curious. What could have brought these strangers to the island? The man is seductive but radiates menace, while Flo finds a kindred spirit in his daughter, Ailsa.
Meanwhile, several of the men on Bancree have disappeared, unnerving the community. When a body washes ashore, suspicion turns to the newcomers. But Flo suspects something else, even though it seems impossible: She asks local residents for anything they know about ”selkies,” the mythical women who can turn from seal to human and back again.
Convinced of her new neighbors’ innocence, Flo is fiercely determined to protect her friend Ailsa. Can the answer to the disappearances, and to the pull of her own heart, lie out there, beyond the waves?
This book reminded me a little of the tv series Shetland, a little of Peter May’s The Blackhouse, and a little of Megan Abbott’s The Fever (which isn’t set in Scotland, but has a similar tone).
For a chance to win an ARC of The Visitors, here’s your question:
— What’s your favorite Scottish-set book or tv show?
The winner will be announced on Wednesday.
Monday, October 24th, 2016
Spreading the word about Author Confidential seems like it ought to be a contradiction in terms. But not when it’s the Bacon Free Library’s annual fundraiser!
What it is: a chance to ask your favorite author three questions– and receive a hand-written answer in return!
Here’s the official press release:
Bacon Free Library Announces ‘Author Confidential’ Auction
Best Selling Authors to Answer Three Questions from Winning Bidders
Have you ever finished a book only to find yourself full of questions? What inspired the story? Did the husband do it? Is she going to live? Will there be a sequel? Now’s your chance to find out!
This fall the Bacon Free Library in Natick, Massachusetts is inviting the public to bid on the opportunity to ask more than 75 best-selling and award-winning authors three (3) questions. The highest bidders will have the chance to ask authors, whose works range from mystery/thrillers to literary fiction, historical fiction to children’s literature, romance to nonfiction, about anything regarding the author’s work or writing process. Winning bidders will receive a signed, keepsake letter written by the author with their responses by mail.
The online auction will take place on eBay from Sunday, October 23, 2016 8pm through Sunday, October 30, 2016 8pm [EST]. Starting bids range from $50-$75.
Authors participating in the Library’s ‘Author Confidential Auction’ are some of the most beloved, diverse and prolific in current literature. They are known for popular and familiar titles such as Fates and Furies, The Perfect Storm, The Giver, In the Heart of the Sea, Presumed Innocent, and A Thousand Acres. Many of their works have been adapted as major motion pictures and television shows.
An interactive list of participating authors is available at
http://baconfreelibrary.org/gallery-of-authors/ and includes Lee Child, Nora Roberts, Bill Bryson, Diana Gabaldon, Jeff Kinney, JoJo Moyes, Dave Eggers, Laura Hillenbrand, Andy Weir, Peter H. Reynolds among many other notable writers.
Additional details and information on bidding rules are available at
You can find the full list of participating authors here.
The auction began last night and runs until Sunday, October 30th, at eight o’clock in the evening. What better way to start Halloween off with a treat?
Friday, October 21st, 2016
The final edits on the next novel are IN! So I’ve been rewarding myself with two books I’ve saved for just such an occasion:
— Susan Elizabeth Philips’s latest, First Star I See Tonight, which returns us to the world of the Chicago Stars with a former quarterback turned nightclub owner and a scrappy private detective trying to keep her family’s agency afloat, and
— Cristina Alger’s This Was Not the Plan, in which a hard-working law firm associate, after a vodka-fueled rant about law firm life goes viral, finds himself out of work and rethinking his life, his relationship with his five year old son, and just about everything. (For those of you who haven’t read it yet, the paperback just came out this past Tuesday.)
What have you been reading this week?
Wednesday, October 19th, 2016
The winner of my copy of Yesternight is…
… Jessie Clever! (Of Comment #5.)
Congrats, Jessie! If you let me know where to send it, I’ll pop your book in the mail to you.
Stay tuned for another give away next Monday!
Monday, October 17th, 2016
In keeping with the chill down the spine theme, I have another rain-lashed novel of slight spookiness to offer up: Cat Winter’s Yesternight.
Here’s the official blurb:
From the author of The Uninvited comes a haunting historical novel with a compelling mystery at its core. A young child psychologist steps off a train, her destination a foggy seaside town. There, she begins a journey causing her to question everything she believes about life, death, memories, and reincarnation.
In 1925, Alice Lind steps off a train in the rain-soaked coastal hamlet of Gordon Bay, Oregon. There, she expects to do nothing more difficult than administer IQ tests to a group of rural schoolchildren. A trained psychologist, Alice believes mysteries of the mind can be unlocked scientifically, but now her views are about to be challenged by one curious child.
Seven-year-old Janie O’Daire is a mathematical genius, which is surprising. But what is disturbing are the stories she tells: that her name was once Violet, she grew up in Kansas decades earlier, and she drowned at age nineteen. Alice delves into these stories, at first believing they’re no more than the product of the girl’s vast imagination. But, slowly, Alice comes to the realization that Janie might indeed be telling a strange truth.
Alice knows the investigation may endanger her already shaky professional reputation, and as a woman in a field dominated by men she has no room for mistakes. But she is unprepared for the ways it will illuminate terrifying mysteries within her own past, and in the process, irrevocably change her life.
For a chance to win a copy of Yesternight, here’s your question:
If you had a past life, what do you think it would be?
The winner, chosen at random, will be announced on Wednesday.
Friday, October 14th, 2016
I’ve been in a bit of a book slump, picking up and putting down old favorites:The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson, Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London books, Angela Thirkell’s Northbridge Rectory (not my favorite of her Barsetshire books). But nothing seems to quite fit the moment.
So help me break through my reading block: what have you been reading this week?