"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I met Kelley Armstrong this afternoon! Contest for a signed copy of Omens!!!!!!

This afternoon author Kelley Armstrong visited our store to sign books as she was ahead of schedule.  She is, after all, headed to Chapters on the west side for a book signing and meet and greet with the public.  How wonderful of her to stop in.  I wouldn't have expected her to be so casual, both in dress and cordiality, but she was.  Very down to earth and pleasant and extremely patient with those of us who gathered her novels for signature and asked her questions that came to mind.  We'd no idea she was coming so it was a nice treat.

photo by Curtis Lantinga
courtesy of Kelley Armstrong press release

Here's a taste of our conversation:

When asked if she thought any of her books would make it to film Kelley told us the filming of "Bitten" has just finished.  Watch for it soon!!!

Kelley's favourite book that she authored?  Omens (the first in the Cainsville series and her newest release.)  When asked about her favourite book she said it is always her latest release because she believes the more she writes the better they get. (paraphrased).

Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions.

But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancĂ©, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens.

Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.

Aided by her mother’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia focuses on the Larsens’ last crime, the one her birth mother swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel start investigating the case, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. Because there are darker secrets behind her new home, and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her.

Her little secret?  When interviewed for Indigo Writers Unblocked Kelley was asked how she reads and what she reads.  She responded with a book she intends to read, "Moby Dick."  The key word is intends.  She has a copy but actually hasn't seen it for three years!  She has actually been saying she intends to read it for 20 years but it just doesn't catch her attention.

When Kelley went to the store front to sign the last of her books a co-worker pointed out that her latest release, Omens, was faced beside some copies of Moby Dick!!!  How's that for destiny?  Do you think she'll read it now?

As a bookseller, we see a lot of books but it is a rare treat when we get to meet the author.  That never gets old!!

I have a contest for my readers.  The first person to respond by telling me the following three things will receive a signed copy of Omens.  

1.  Here's an easy one but it's a test to see if you actually read this post.  ;)  Which classic does Kelley Armstrong intend to read someday?

2.  For which of her books has filming just been completed?

3.  Is she right-handed or left-handed?

Contest open to residents of US and Canada.  Closes in one week - midnight September 11/13.

The fine print:

I would appreciate it if you were a follower but it isn't necessary for this contest.  Please leave your answer as a comment with a means of contact so I can email the winner.  Upon the sending of my email, the winner will have three days to respond with their mailing address or they forfeit the prize and the second person to respond with the correct answers will be awarded the prize.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Guest Post: The Ever Changing World of Publishing by Author Deborah Valentine

I just have to say I am in awe.  Authors are some of the most giving people out there.  They are willing to be interviewed, write a special piece or do a Q & A.  They are so busy and yet they make the time.  

The author of The Knightmare, Deborah Valentine, was so kind to write an article for My Bookshelf on the world of publishing.  She shares it with you here:

The Ever-Changing World of Publishing 

Recently I had some wonderful news. Orion confirmed it was digitally republishing my back catalogue of books for its imprint The Murder Room (http://www.themurderroom.com). I was delighted, of course. Honoured to be part of a group that, in their words, is “a portal to the crime and detective classics”.  I did a merry dance around the sitting room to the cat’s abject horror. I raised a hearty glass at dinner (to my GP’s horror had he been there to bear witness). I posted it on Facebook. Yes, Facebook!  

That’s when it hit me. Just how much the world has changed, in particular the publishing world, in just 20 years. Suddenly I felt, well, rather odd. Old. Or perhaps more accurately, like the character of Mercedes in my new book The Knightmare. Someone who for millennia has watched the world roll on, morph and change in surprising ways; someone who must adapt, morph and change herself. 

When I wrote my first book, I wrote it in longhand (remember longhand any of you?) and then transferred it to a typewriter (ditto typewriters?). The big debate at the time among my colleagues was whether to use a typewriter or a computer. A computer! How many of us live without one now? Promotion in those days consisted of wheeling out a writer at some festival or book-signing event after months in a room, on your own, losing any social skills you may have possessed by sitting there wrestling with the characters in your head all day. It was shock to the system to interact with the living. Meagre social skills had been lost, blunders occurred. It was terrifying but great fun. 

Increasingly our lives are now lived online. On Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter (God help us!), websites, et al. For publishing, as for many other industries, this has changed the game. Bloggers, people not necessarily part of the ‘literati’, can air their views, champion their favourite authors. Vox populi say what they want without a filter, without anyone telling them what they should or should not like. An author can take their own initiative, publish when and what they like. It’s no longer called ‘vanity’ publishing but ‘indie’. Entrepreneurial, not vain. No longer do they have to wait for ages – whole lifetimes! – to convince an agent or publishing house of their value, or be chastised if they change genre. For better, or worse, there are no gatekeepers. Authors can initiate a new career, revitalise an old one. They can interact directly with the public, even if they don’t have the financial resources to travel the country touting their books. Yes, there can be downsides but at least social skills can be honed on a more regular basis through social media. Fan mail comes by tweet or email, not post, and are answered in kind. From this, develops relationships that can be cultivated with (relatively) minimal fuss through any number of mediums. 

I love the feel of a hardback book in my hand. I’m an avid collector of them. There will always be a place for traditional publishing. But technology moves on daily. With tablets we can carry a whole library of books (and films) with us in our handbag (or manbag). Isn’t that wonderful? How many books can you take on holiday now without a dent in your weight allowance?  

I published The Knightmare digitally. A new book, a totally different genre from my first novels. The technology scared me senseless, but I got over it. I’m daily coming to grips with the changes in publishing – the do’s and don’ts that are no longer relevant, the opportunities to be embraced. I have things to learn (for example, how to update my website! Aargh!). But if you take the attitude ‘this will be fun’, it will be (even when you’re cursing some glitch in the system).   

Going back to my original point of contemplation, so much has changed in just 20 years. Unless you’re very unlucky, it isn’t a lifetime. And we can only wonder, what’s next? 


About the author: Deborah Valentine is a British author, editor and screenwriter who once lived in California but far preferred the British weather and fled to London, where she has resided for many years. She is the author of three books published by Victor Gollancz Ltd in the UK, and Bantam and Avon in the US. Unorthodox Methods was the first in the series, followed by A Collector of Photographs and the Ireland-based Fine DistinctionsA Collector of Photographs was short-listed for an Edgar Allan Poe, a Shamus, a Macavity and an Anthony Boucher award. Fine Distinctions was also short-listed for an Edgar. They featured the characters of former California sheriff Kevin Bryce and artist Katharine Craig, charting their turbulent romance amid murder and mayhem. They are available from July 2013 as eBooks on the Orion imprint The Murder Room. With the publication of The Knightmare she has embarked on a new series of books with a supernatural edge. For more visit her website  http://www.deborahvalentine.co.uk/  or The Knightmare Facebook page. She is a Goodreads author.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Linger in the "Sweet Salt Air" by Barbara Delinsky

Sweet Salt Air
Author:  Barbara Delinsky
Published:  June 2013
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Pages:  416
Edition:  ARC (advanced reader's copy)
ISBN 9781250007032

Author's website:  http://barbaradelinsky.com/

Source:  Thank you to St. Martin's Press for an advanced reader's copy.  Receipt thereof in no manner influenced my opinion nor this review.

Charlotte and Nicole were once the best of friends, spending summers together in the Maine island house owned by Nicole’s family, but they have since grown apart. A successful travel writer, Charlotte lives on the road, while Nicole, a food blogger, lives in Philadelphia with her surgeon-husband, Julian.

When Nicole returns to the island house to write a book about island food, she invites her old friend Charlotte for both sentimental and practical reasons. Outgoing and passionate, Charlotte has a gift for talking to people and making friends, and Nicole would like her help interviewing locals for her book. Missing genuine connections in her life, Charlotte agrees.

Reuniting that June on Quinnipeague, they feel the same excitement they always did.  But ten years have changed them.  There are secrets, born of betrayal and fear, that could destroy their friendship for good.  And they aren’t alone on the island.  There are locals wary of betraying confidences, ill-timed visits from Nicole’s mother and step-daughter, and more food than any woman who loves island food could ever ask for.  Through it all, Nicole struggles to save her marriage, while Charlotte is drawn, night after night, to the far end of the island, where the herbs for which island food is renowned scent the ocean air.  Equal parts gourmet, homeopathic, and mystical, these herbs, so crucial to Nicole’s cookbook, are being safeguarded by a dangerous man and his dog.

As the days pass and secrets fall, the two women survive test after test.  But with the last one, a health crisis for Nicole’s husband, Charlotte has to decide whether to reveal a final secret that could either save his life – or destroy him.

My thoughts:

Prepare to curl up and linger with a book that will engage all your senses.  You will practically smell and taste this beautifully touching story as you linger over the imagery and imagine the flavour of the ingredients, both literal and figurative.  Your senses will come alive.  Not only this, but your emotions will wreak havoc with your make up.  Just a fair warning.

I've never before read Barbara Delinsky and now I know what I was missing.  This novel spoke to me on so many levels with so many ingredients to which I could relate.  Reading, writing, gardening, a beautiful island and food!  And love interests!  Something for everyone!

imagine an island 

Nicole and Charlotte are childhood best friends who've been apart for the last 10 years, one married and the other pursuing her career.  As Nicole embarks on a new writing endeavour, she enlists her estranged friend Charlotte (a successful journalist) to help her.  

Nicole has wondered in passing why they seemed to have drifted so far apart over the last ten years but when she places the call to invite Charlotte to help her create a cookbook - a combination of recipes and personal interest stories about the residents of the island who are known for their incredible dishes and the local ingredients used in the recipes complete with resplendent vignettes featuring the dish - it's as if time was non-existent and their friendship is as it was before.  Neither knows the secrets of the other but when one reveals hers, it leads to a tumultuous sequence of events that their friendship may not survive.

I loved Sweet Salt Air!  I smiled, I imagined; every sense heightened as I explored this novel...  and I cried.  Simply, this is a summer release that I recommend for any time of the year. It will captivate you.

Meet the Author:
Barbara Delinsky has written twenty one NY Times bestselling novels with over thirty million copies in print. Her books are highly emotional, character-driven studies of marriage, parenthood, sibling rivalry, and friendship. Barbara’s newest novel, SWEET SALT AIR, was a June 18, 2013 St. Martin's Press release. 

Her first foray into non-fiction occurred in October 2001 with the publication of UPLIFT: SECRETS FROM THE SISTERHOOD OF BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS. UPLIFT is a handbook of practical tips and upbeat anecdotes that she compiled with the help of 350 breast cancer survivors, their families and friends. A breast cancer survivor herself, Barbara has donated the entirety of her author proceeds from three editions of UPLIFT to fund the first six years of a fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital that will train a surgical oncologist in research. A new Tenth Anniversary Edition of UPLIFT went on sale September 27, 2011.

Barbara lives with her family in New England.

Her published works include:  

Sweet Salt Air (2013)
Escape (2011)
Not My Daughter (2010)
While My Sister Sleeps (2009)
The Secret Between Us (2008)
Family Tree (2007)
Looking for Peyton Place (2005)
The Summer I Dared (2004)
Flirting with Pete (2003)
An Accidental Woman (2002)
The Woman Next Door (2001)
The Vineyard (2000)
Lake News (1999)
Coast Road (1998)
Three Wishes (1997)
UPLIFT: Secrets from the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors (2011)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Found in the Wild - a Review of Wild by Cheryl Strayed

From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail
Author:  Cheryl Strayed
Published:  2012
Publisher:  Alfred A. Knopf
Pages: 319 (including a list of books, "a note about the author," and acknowledgments)
Format:  Hardcover
Source:  borrowed

Author's website:  http://www.cherylstrayed.com/wild_108676.html

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

My review:  

If Cheryl and I met today we might be friends.  The woman she was at twenty-two, not so much so.  Emerging from a childhood with an abusive father, Cheryl married young and then her world really turned upside down when her mother, whom she adored, was diagnosed with cancer.  Seven short weeks later, her mother succumbed to the disease, and Cheryl's life was altered.  Realizing she couldn't cope, let alone remain in her marriage, Cheryl rebelled at life.  Men and heroin were her drugs of choice, trying to drown the pain.  But she couldn't escape and when she recognized four years later that her life was a mess, she decided to escape.

The Pacific Coast Trail offered Cheryl the journey she needed to find herself and her life.  With an oversized pack so heavy she struggled beneath its weight; not even able to lift it a cm, she managed to struggle her arms through and hitch it up on her back.  Burdened physically, emotionally and mentally, she embraced the opportunity and persevered.  The woman who emerged has come full circle with new perspectives and hope and a belief in herself that has made her a powerful writer and highly sought after public speaker.

I've given myself a day to muddle through my thoughts and emotional response to Wild.  There are aspects I didn't really enjoy but who am I to argue with a memoir?  Wild is like an inspirational travel log with a very personal insight into a life altering experience.  

My one question though, when did she lose the boot and was she barefoot when she finished the trail?  Hmm.....

still from a YouTube Video
About the author:

Cheryl Strayed is the author of Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life From Dear Sugar, Torch and Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail.  She is an inspirational speaker, columnist, feminist activist, and writing workshop coach.  She is married with two children and resides in Portland, Oregon.



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