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Q: Why, oh why, did you leave Daisy twisting in the wind like that? Curse you! May you burn in hell! (But after you write Daisy’s story.)
A: WARNING. There are bound to be a few spoilers in my reply. If spoilers bother you, please don’t read! If you don’t mind the spoilers, roll your mouse over the hidden parts of the reply to highlight and reveal the text (I’ve written it in white font).
Oh, Daisy. When will you learn? We’ve been following you since you were a troubled child of divorce in Summer at Willow Lake, a pregnant teen in The Winter Lodge, leaving home in Dockside, a college student in Snowfall at Willow Lake, a career girl in Fireside and a busy single mom in Lakeshore Christmas.
And all we’ve ever wanted was for you to find your happily-ever-after.
You keep being pulled back and forth between Logan, the handsome, well-born father of your child, and Julian, the dangerous but adoring adrenalin junkie in search of adventure.
And now this! Somebody’s about to pop the question and we don’t even get to know which one, or what your answer is!
Argh! I could kill you dead right now!
There is no way everyone is going to love everything that happens to a character in a book. I just hope I can be true and fair to the characters and storylines I’ve set up.
It’s true that there is a major, major unanswered question at the end of Lakeshore Christmas. Daisy finds herself in quite a pickle. A delicious pickle.
The good news is, somebody wants to marry her.
The bad news is, we don’t quite know which somebody.
Do I know who dropped the d-bomb on the train platform? Yes.
Is it who you think it is? Probably not.
Disclaimer: Even though I do know how this is going to go down, I haven’t finished Daisy’s book yet, so it’s subject to change. Sometimes a story goes off in its own direction and I have no choice but to follow.
I have a title I really like: Daisy+Logan+Julian which doesn’t really give anything away. It’s a working title and my publisher tends to change them so I’m not holding my breath.
One thing I can promise: The book will be Lakeshore #8 (after the March 2010 release of The Summer Hideaway).

It’s Frustrated Reader time in my in-box. Definitely the most frequently asked question is this:

Q: Why, oh why, did you leave Daisy twisting in the wind at the end of Lakeshore Christmas? Curse you! May you burn in hell! (But after you finish Daisy’s story.)

A: WARNING. There are bound to be a few spoilers in my reply. If spoilers bother you, please don’t read! If you don’t mind the spoilers, hold down the mouse button and roll over the hidden parts of the reply to highlight and reveal the text (I’ve written it in white font).

Oh, Daisy. When will you learn? We’ve been following you since you were a troubled child of divorce in Summer at Willow Lake, a pregnant teen in The Winter Lodge, leaving home in Dockside, a college student in Snowfall at Willow Lake, a career girl in Fireside and a busy single mom in Lakeshore Christmas.

And all we’ve ever wanted was for you to find your happily-ever-after.

You keep being pulled back and forth between Logan, the handsome, well-born father of your child, and Julian, the dangerous but adoring adrenalin junkie in search of adventure.

gettyimages.com

gettyimages.com

And now this! Somebody’s about to pop the question and we don’t even get to know which one, or what your answer is!

Argh! I could kill you dead right now!

There is no way everyone is going to love everything that happens to a character in a book. I just hope I can be true and fair to the characters and storylines I’ve set up.

It’s true that there is a major, major unanswered question at the end of Lakeshore Christmas. Daisy finds herself in quite a pickle. A delicious pickle.

The good news is, somebody wants to marry her.

The bad news is, we don’t quite know which somebody.

Do I know who dropped the d-bomb on the train platform? Yes.

Is it who you think it is? Probably not.

Disclaimer: Even though I do know how this is going to go down, Daisy’s book is full of surprises. As the story unfolded from my imagination, the twists and turns surprised even me. Sometimes a story goes off in its own direction and I have no choice but to follow.

I had a title I really like: Daisy+Logan+Julian which doesn’t really give anything away. It’s a working title and my publisher tends to change them so didn’t hold my breath. Ultimately, the perfect title emerged from lengthy discussions with my editor and agent: Marrying Daisy Bellamy.

One thing I can promise: There is an enticing excerpt from Lakeshore #11 in the back of the new edition of Daisy. Please enjoy the exclusive preview of Starlight on Willow Lake.

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READ IT

Just Breathe
By: Susan Wiggs

Feel-good story, character-driven romance

about Sarah Moon who returns to her

childhood home after her husband’s infidelity.

Her high school heartthrob is still in town

but further complications threaten

her future happiness.
Just BreatheFIND IT
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Just Breathe
READ IT
Just Breathe
By: Susan Wiggs

Feel-good story, character-driven romance about Sarah Moon who returns to her childhood home after her husband’s infidelity. Her high school heartthrob is still in town but further complications threaten her future happiness.

9780778325772.png

Huge thanks to Karen Harper for the heads-up. If you haven’t read her MISTRESS SHAKESPEARE, you are missing a treat.

You’ll want to live on Angel Lane when you read this terrific new novel by Sheila Roberts. Here’s her guest post:

DOUBLE THE FUN

fabulous new book

fabulous new book

What’s more fun than having a new book out? Having a new book out at the same time as your good friend! I’m excited about my new release Angel Lane, but I’m doubly excited that it coincides with the release of Susan’s fab new Willow Lake chronicle, Lakeshore Christmas (my personal favorite!). This means we get to do some fun events together to celebrate the birth of our new brain babies. And our calendars are full! We’re doing everything from women’s show appearances to radio interviews. At one of our book signings (Eagle Harbor Books, Bainbridge Island, WA) we’re even having a Christmas cookie contest with a fabulous prize for some lucky winner. How fun is that? Several of our events will include our buddy Suzanne Selfors, popular YA author, who is enjoying the success of her latest book Coffeehouse Angel, so then it will be triple the fun.

and another!

and another!

Since we moved out to our little lake I haven’t seen as much of Susan as I used to, so I’m looking forward to some serious hang-out time and hoping lots of readers will come hang with us and find out what our new books have in common.

Speaking of things in common . . . at first glance Miz Wiggs and I might look like polar opposites. She’s totally fit and is a fearless skier. I’m an out of shape blob who dreams of someday conquering the bunny slope. I could happily spend hours playing all kinds of goofy parlor games. Susan plays with me just to be a sport. If locked in a room and left to solve the world’s problems we would . . . never reach an agreement on how to do it. So, you may be wondering, what the heck do we have in common? The same thing most girlfriends do: love of family, loyalty to friends, delight in finding a great new recipe, an addiction to chick flicks, What Not to Wear, and anything chocolate. We also share a love of reading and a sense of adventure. (No, I won’t climb Mt. Rainier with her, but I’ll cross the ocean in a rowboat (we’ve done something darned close to that!). And we both keep each other highly entertained. Now, here’s hoping we’ll keep you entertained this fall, too.

Of all the upcoming reviews for Lakeshore Christmas, I was probably sweating this one out the most–Library Journal. Because the plot involves saving the library, I reeeealllly wanted them to like it.

Starred review! Sha-Zam!

thanks, Library Journal!

thanks, Library Journal!

As she’s both thrilled and terrified to be leading the annual town Christmas pageant, the last thing proper, by-the-book librarian Maureen Davenport needs is former child star/recovering alcoholic Eddie Haven appointed by the court as her codirector. But as the pageant comes together (with a little angelic help), so do other, more difficult aspects of their lives—in a most romantic way. The threat to close the library adds purpose to the plot, but it’s the characters and their interactions that make this story sing. VERDICT Wiggs hits all the right notes in this delightful, sometimes funny, sometimes poignant Christmas treat, which will please “Lakeshore Chronicles” fans as well as garner new ones. Wiggs (Just Breathe) lives in the Seattle area.

Wiggs, Susan. Lakeshore Christmas. Mira: Harlequin. Oct. 2009. c.384p. ISBN 978-0-7783-2689-2. $21.95. Contemporary

I’m loving this review from RT. Thanks RT! Lakeshore Christmas final front2

LAKESHORE CHRISTMAS
by Susan Wiggs

RT Rating: ****½
Publisher: MIRA
Published: October 2009
Type: Contemporary Romance


Combining sentiment with sarcasm and sweetness with spice, Wiggs concocts a terrifically tasty holiday confection sure to be enjoyed by fans and new readers alike. A keeper.


Summary: Librarian Maureen Davenport has been involved with Avalon’s holiday pageant for most of her life. This year, she’s in charge — and she intends to make it memorable. But her co-director, ex-child star Eddie Haven, doesn’t share Maureen’s vision. His biggest claim to fame is a well-loved Christmas movie, which is ironic, since he hates the holiday and everything associated with it.

Once she gets to know Eddie, Maureen swears she’ll change that, but he’s a tough sell. Against the odds, the two wind up together … but it’s certain to end in disaster, because the one thing Maureen and Eddie have in common is terrible luck when it comes to matters of the heart. Unless a Christmas miracle happens, that is! (MIRA, Oct., 384 pp., $21.95) MILD

—Catherine Witmer

One of the perks of being a writer is that people send you advance reading copies (ARCS) of upcoming books. How much do we love that, people? I’m going to try to be more organized about posting my recommendations here. I read a lot and I read fast, so sometimes things just speed by.

Today’s recommendations–

The Promised World by Lisa Tucker
Lisa Tucker is a good fairy. She was nice enough to have her publisher send me an ARC (advance reading copy) when she saw that her upcoming novel was on my wish list. Would that all wishes were so easily granted! Her other books possess dark fairytale quality I find mesmerizing, and The Promised World has it in spades. Lisa Tucker writes with compassion and sensitivity about the fine balance between sanity and madness, the cost of secrets and lies, and the redemptive quality of love. This novel is also a first class page turner, with a twisty and absorbing plot that will keep you up all night. Major thumbs up!

The Promised World: A NovelThe Promised World by Lisa Tucker

Lisa Tucker is a good fairy. She was nice enough to have her publisher send me an ARC when she saw that her upcoming novel was on my wish list. Would that all wishes were so easily granted! Her other books possess dark fairytale quality I find mesmerizing, and The Promised World has it in spades. Lisa Tucker writes with compassion and sensitivity about the fine balance between sanity and madness, the cost of secrets and lies, and the redemptive quality of love. This novel is also a first class page turner, with a twisty and absorbing plot that will keep you up all night. Major thumbs up!

A Bad Day for Sorry: A Crime Novel

A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield. Okay, can we talk about titles here? And cover art? I would have bought this book based on the front cover alone. Totally irresistible. But the real story is between the covers. A smart-alecky narrator with the kind of attitude we all wish we had, Stella Hardesty is a woman on a mission. She’s a survivor of domestic abuse and the proprietor of a small-town sewing machine shop. Her mission–to help other women escape and avenge the violence done to them. It’s filled with danger, humor, suspense and a romance with a boyfriend named Goat. Trust me, you’ll love this one.

So I get this letter, hand written in “rage” mode: “I have just finished reading your book…terrible book…this one was awful…At least you didn’t use the F-word every other page…can’t believe I wasted my money…” A whole page of this, and then on the back, she writes:

crankygram

crankygram

Real quick–what’s wrong with these pictures?

won the Holt Medallion

won the Holt Medallion

was a RITA finalist

was a RITA finalist

also a RITA finalist

also a RITA finalist

Quick answer: nothing. Not a blessed thing. Well, except  maybe they didn’t sell so well back in the early 90s, which put the author’s survival (sales-wise) in jeopardy.

Still, they look like lovely, interesting books. They even have inside illustrations of freakishly good-looking embracing couples, kind of a bodice-ripper secret bonus. I’ve always been fond of that kind of little grace note in my historical romances. English majors recognize the titles as snippets from the Bard Himself, everyone’s favorite Elizabethan, Shakespeare.

Forsooth! So how come those self-same books now look like this?

new duds for an old fave

new duds for an old fave

blonde ambition

blonde ambition

sexy stuff

sexy stuff

Multiple Choice:

  • A. to introduce old books to new readers who might have missed them the first time around
  • B. to dupe readers with a Vast Publishing Conspiracy

According to a number of bloggers, it’s Answer B.

But I kind of wish they’d checked in with me before declaring me a shameless hussy (which we all knew already). To clear up the misconceptions, here are some myths and realities of modern commercial publishing:

Myth: Publishers are greedy and will do anything to make a buck.

Reality: Publishers love books. They love readers. The people I work with in publishing are book geeks who want nothing more than to evangelize books and authors they love. In the 23 years since I sold my first book, I’ve never heard someone in publishing say, “Let’s fool people into buying a sub-par product.” In commercial publishing, the goal is to appeal to the widest possible readership.

Myth: New titles? Seriously???

Reality: Are you a Georgette Heyer fan? Did you enjoy Powder and Patch? Were you aware that the book was first published in 1923 as “The Transformation of Philip Jettan“? By somebody named “Stella Martin”? Oh, and guess what else? For her reissue, my gal Georgette cut some stuff, including the final chapter, before its republication in 1930. If Georgette can do it, so can the rest of us.

Out of print books are reprinted with new titles all the time. It’s been done by the likes of Stephen King, Sandra Brown, Catherine Coulter, Dean Koontz…and some–like Koontz–change both the title and the author’s name for the reissue. A few people might have read books by Leigh Nichols. But everybody reads Dean Koontz.

There are a lot of reasons for this. Not every title can be perfect and timeless. Sure, you’ve got Gone With the Wind and The Thornbirds…but you also have “The Transformation of Philip Jettan” and things of that ilk, which are sorely in need of a makeover. I actually have a couple of titles I don’t love.

Did my original Shakespearean titles need a makeover? When I was asked, I said no. Actually, I said HELL NO. But my publisher is used to hearing this from me. And they know when all is said and done, I will park my ego at the door and listen to their rationale and 99% of the time, I’ll be persuaded. Confession time: When I saw the proposed artwork, I was similarly not thrilled. But I was made a believer by the reaction of booksellers and readers everywhere. There is a lot of excitement surrounding this re-release.

Myth: A reissued book is dumbed down.

Reality: A reissued book is often word-for-word, identical in text to the original. (Lord of the Night even used the same cold type, I believe.) But sometimes, the reissue has been edited and/or updated. I like to think I’m a better writer now than I was 15 years ago. So I jumped at the chance to revise the Tudor Rose books. They’re cleaner now, more dramatic and smoother. Trust me, you won’t miss the stuff I cut: “What ho, varlet! Draw your weapon!” We don’t really need that, do we?

Myth: Reissues are a new ploy by publishers to get us to buy books we already own.

Reality: Based on the sales numbers for the original publications, you don’t own the books. Nobody but my mother, my hairdresser, and a hapless shopper who stumbled into a booksigning in 1994 owns the books. Reissues are a service to readers who are interested in early books of an author they’ve recently discovered. Now, if you do own the books, I have just two words for you: Thank you.

Myth: You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Reality: True, but you can give the cover a makeover. Books are repackaged with new cover art all the time. In fact, I love it when a smart publisher takes a classic and sexes it up with great art to get the attention of new readers.

Seriously, which novel would you be more likely to read?

classic naughtiness

classic naughtiness

same story, different duds

same story, different duds

So here’s today’s Super Special Offer. Post a comment below and you’re automatically entered. A virtual drawing via http://www.random.org will determine the winner of both editions of my new/old book–Circle in the Water, and At the King’s Command. Sound like a plan?

Post now! Tell me your thoughts about reissued books!

No really, I mean it. CHRISTMAS IN JULY. The ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) for Lakeshore Christmas are out. Yay!

They sent me exactly three copies. One each for my friends Carol and Pam, and one for posterity.

Read any good ARCs lately? Post in Comments!

well-written recipes

well-written recipes

As if my roundup of romance wasn’t enough, here’s something else to tempt you:

Local, national authors dish up their favorite recipes

By Mary Ann Gwinn

Seattle Times book editor

At my book club, things always go better with food. Amateur critics may disagree; politics has been known to trump the chosen title as the matter under discussion. But a good dinner or a sublime dessert grounds the clash of ideas in the comfort of animal appetites.

A new local cookbook combines the world of food and books: “Literary Feast: The Famous Authors Cookbook” has just been issued by the King County Library System Foundation. Compiled and edited by Terry J. LaBrue, with a foreword by local chef/author Greg Atkinson, this compendium may ease your way as you contemplate what to serve for your next literary gathering.

Though the book largely focuses on Northwest authors, it includes some A-list national writers and their recipes: Arthur Agatston, M.D. (Mr. South Beach Diet); the mystery-writing spousal unit Faye and Jonathan Kellerman. Jacquelyn Mitchard! Alice Waters! Alexander McCall Smith’s recipe for Mma Potokwani’s Fruit Cake!

Contributions by area authors seem to fall into two categories: complicated and simple. This feeds my theory that authors, like other creative types, either throw themselves into cooking (if they love it) or consider it time wasted (if they don’t).

In the “complicated” category falls science-fiction author Greg Bear’s recipe for Chicken Mole Poblano, which actually appears to be his wife Astrid Bear’s creation. Bear describes this dish as “mouthwatering” and says he and his spouse serve it each year at their home to celebrate the annual Clarion West workshop for budding science-fiction writers.

Also complicated is Seattle author Garth Stein’s recipe for Clams with Sausage, Beans and Pasta, which makes sense, since Stein managed to craft a best-seller with a dog as a narrator (“The Art of Racing in the Rain”).

“This recipe evolved from a simple cannellini bean and garlic side dish I used to make for my wife when we were first married,” he writes. “Later, I added more stock, Parmesan and some escarole, and it became a soup. And finally, I got to this form after I saw someone cook clams and sausages together on TV — I didn’t know that was possible!” Stein appears to be what my long-ago psychology professor called a “divergent thinker.”

But the most useful recipes may be the simplest, the ones in which writers create fuel to keep on writing. Kit Bakke, author of “Miss Alcott’s E-Mail,” contributes Real Graham Crackers, because Louisa May Alcott’s family probably ate them. Children’s author Brenda Z. Guiberson’s recipe for “Writer’s Almost Nonstop Soup” is what it says — a nourishing soup, always on the stove, so you can keep on writing.

And my favorite: Portland author Chelsea Cain’s recipe for Pizza à la Chelsea Cain:

1 healthy cup laziness

The telephone number of your local fine pizza establishment

Approximately $25, with tip

Salt and pepper (to taste).

You know where this is going.

“Literary Feast: The Famous Authors Cookbook” can be ordered at www.thriftbooks.com; you can find it at bookstores later this summer. Proceeds go to local literacy and lifelong-learning programs.

Mary Ann Gwinn: 206-464-2357 or mgwinn@seattletimes.com. Mary Ann Gwinn appears on Classical KING-FM’s Arts Channel at http://www.king.orpages/4216533.php

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company. Permission to reprint or copy this article or photo, other than personal use, must be obtained from The Seattle Times. Call 206-464-3113 or e-mailresale@seattletimes.com with your request.

My contribution–inexplicably not mentioned in the otherwise-terrific review–originated right here on this blogRosemary Olive Oil Cake. I’m thinking it falls in the “simple” category. It’s fabulous. I just had a note from my friend Stephanie, who adapted it for Weight Watchers.

What about you? Do you like to cook “simple” or “complicated”? Post links to your fave recipes below!

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