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“Bookshops are the most valuable destination for the lonely, given the numbers of books that were written because authors couldn’t find anyone to talk to.”

–Alain de Botton

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The Firebrand

is a valentine to booksellers and a testament to the power of love and the mysteries of fate and happenstance. It has a lot of ground to cover.

In the midst of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, unconventional debutante Lucy Hathaway risks her life to save a baby girl, raising the orphan as her own while running The Firebrand, a bookstore that caters to suffragettes and free thinkers. Five years later, fate throws her into the path of Randolph Higgins when she discovers the scarred, bitter, divorced man believes his baby died in the fire. She realizes Maggie, the child she saved that terrible night, is his lost daughter.

Now the conservative banker and the fiercely independent Lucy must deal with each other for Maggie’s sake. Despite the resulting clash of wills and differing political views, the powerful attraction that drew them together five years earlier still exists. Can these two stubborn, opinionated people find a way to create a family for the sake of Maggie, risking their own battered hearts?

I would love to meet you! Please mark your calendar for these upcoming events:

1 October 2010 – Poulsbo WA

  • 6:30pm
  • Chocolate and Wine with Romance Authors: Susan Wiggs, Sheila Roberts, Kimberly Fisk, and Julia Templeton
  • Kiana Lodge, Poulsbo, WA
  • Ticket Price: $25.00
  • Join Susan Wiggs, Sheila Roberts, Kimberly Fisk and Julia Templeton at Kiana Lodge to support your library! An evening of chocolate, wine and words in a romantic setting. Discuss their writing styles, careers, and stories for an unforgettable evening of fun.
  • Click here http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/109614 for tickets and more information.

11-16 October 2010 – Seattle WA

  • “The Novel: LIVE!” event to benefit literacy. 36 authors. 6 days. 1 blockbuster novel. For more info please see Words4Women-subscribe.

    Firehouse Veggie Chili (adapted from www.marthastewart.com)

    INGREDIENTS

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 carrot, chopped
    • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 pound dried lentils, rinsed
    • 1/3 cup tomato paste
    • 1 (15-ounce) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 (15-ounce) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 stewed (28-ounce) tomatoes
    • 1/3 cup chili powder
    • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
    • salt & pepper to taste
    • toppings of your choice–sour cream, chopped green onions, cheddar cheese, etc.

    In a large pot, warm the oil. Saute onion, green and red peppers, carrot, jalapeno pepper, and garlic. Stir in 7 cups water, lentils, tomato paste, kidney beans and pinto beans. Add stewed tomatoes, chili powder, cumin and pepper flakes. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer until lentils are tender, about an hour. If the chili starts to dry out, add hot water as needed. Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately with toppings and corn bread.

    Stay cool!

And you thought writing was about writing. Ha! As a RITA Award finalist for Lakeshore Christmas and Fireside, I am under instructions to send in a photo of myself doing the “I’m-a-writer” sign, to be used in some fashion at this year’s awards ceremony. The memo: “We’re looking for a few good pictures. If you want to be a part of the 2010 RWA Awards Ceremony, we want a picture of you, doing the “W for Writer” with your fingers. See the example below (and/or attached). Even if you can’t come to Orlando, send your picture in anyway. Be a part of the fun!”

My friend Darlene went a little nuts, styling the shots. What do you think? Is this the face of a RITA winner???

wonderful book, awful cover

wonderful book, awful cover

[Synchronicity–CNN is talking about book covers today, too! ] As we all know, I am endlessly fascinated by book cover art. I’ve talked about it here, and here, too.  A story in Publishers Weekly illustrates the power of a great package. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosney was one of my favorite books of 2008. The novel garnered rave reviews, incredible word-of-mouth, excellent foreign sales…and a disappointing sale of 6000 copies in the US. Guess why?

Need I say more? Where do I begin? With the pale re-use of an iconic image from a previous bestseller? http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TDTNS7HZL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_.jpg With the undistinguished font? The murky colors? The ambiguous imagery and mixed message? No wonder readers overlooked this poor book.
But this is why I love book people. When their passion for a project kicks in, there’s no stopping them. According to Publishers Weekly, http://www.sarahskey.com/article-24703998.html the book’s publisher stepped in and had the book repackaged in trade paperback format, with a thoughtful and intriguing new cover: http://idata.over-blog.com/0/51/68/46/sarah-bis/SKUSA.jpg featuring an irresistible blurb from Augustin Burroughs. Oh, and a new price point, don’t forget that. The result? Sales leaped up to 185,000–making this book a legitimate bestseller and giving the author the happy ending she deserves. 

Need I say more? Where do I begin? With the pale re-use of an iconic image from a previous bestseller?

wonderful book, cover that did it justice

wonderful book, cover that did it justice

 With the undistinguished font? The murky colors? The ambiguous imagery and mixed message? No wonder readers overlooked this poor book. A wonderful novel deserves better, don’t you think?

But this is why I love book people. When their passion for a project kicks in, they’re willing to regroup and try again. According to Publishers Weekly,  the book’s publisher stepped in and had the book repackaged in trade paperback format, with a well thought-out and intriguing new cover and an irresistible blurb from Augustin Burroughs. Oh, and a new price point, don’t forget that. The result? Sales leaped up to 185,000 (and counting)–making this book a legitimate bestseller and giving the author the happy ending she deserves.

Soooo…I will try to post my summer reading here, but I’m very lazy about broadcasting what I’m reading, because I read so much! 

But this is a novel you won’t want to miss. Heartbreak and redemption and a little-known (to Americans) bit of WWII horror. A must for book clubs!

Ah! Success!

Ah! Success!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sweetest of love stories came to a bittersweet end. Talented writer and old friend Jo Leigh’s story is here. And the end here. Author Alison Kent has organized a fundraiser chock full of incredible gifts you can bid on, proceeds to go to medical costs. Please take a look, make a bid, and help out a wonderful writer.

Jolie & Dotes Jolie & Dotes

beaming with pride!

Snowfall at Willow Lake is listed as one of Amazon’s “Best of 2008” editor’s picks! I’m so proud and excited. The full list is here. Enjoy!

photo by Hall Anderson

photo by Hall Anderson

Now this is what you want every author appearance to be. Avid readers, good-hearted fun, friends old and new. Thanks to Charlotte Glover of First City Library, to Parnassus Books, to Hall Anderson, photographer, and Leila Kheiry, staff writer, of the Ketchikan Daily News. A historic room at the New York Hotel, a walk along Creek Street, and all was golden. Best lagniappe of the trip–the lovely and talented Stef Ann Holm just happened to be there doing research for a book. I’ve known Stef Ann from 1980-something and I just love her and her books. Her new one, All that Matters, will be out any day and I cannot wait!

-(

forbidden by the TSA 😦

Travel tip: Don’t even THINK about bringing an ulu chopper in your carry-on bag. Nor can you have a little snow globe with flecks of gold in it. And anyone who knows me knows I never bring more than one small carry-on bag. I hope the TSA is enjoying my souvenirs. 😦

Things that made it back in my carry-on luggage: a “spawn till you die” t-shirt, a pair of hand-made earrings, several books on Alaskiana and lots of great memories. I wasn’t tempted by the reindeer hotdogs, trust me on this.

We like the sign. The meat...notsomuch.

We like the sign. The meat...notsomuch.

New York Hotel in Ketchikan

New York Hotel in Ketchikan

I can’t wait to meet you! Here are my two events in the area–a signing at Costco, and an event sponsored by the Sacramento RWA:

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cal Expo
6:00 p.m.
Costco #471
1600 Expo Parkway
Sacramento, CA 95815
Phone: (916) 830-1078
Contact: Carl Golston

 

 

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sacramento, CA
Open to the public starting at 1:30pm
Holiday Inn Sacramento North East
5321 Date Avenue

 

 

Sacramento, CA 95841-2597

Barnes & Noble has a section of their web site called B&N Studio, featuring podcasts with dozens of authors. I got sucked in for an hour and a half, hoping one of the writers would reveal the Secret to Making One’s Deadline (and surviving to tell the tale). No answers, alas. My podcast is on the site here.

Speaking of B&N, it’s Girls’ Night Out in Silverdale, WA on October 18. Mark your calendar:

Saturday, October 18, 2008
Girls’ Night Out – the all-day-Saturday edition!
12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m.
Kitsap Mall (by the Food Court)
Silverdale WA
Please join Kitsap authors Susan Wiggs, Sheila Roberts and Carol Cassella in a no-holds-barred, tell-all panel discussion, “The Story Behind the Story” — how a writer really turns her dreams into ink. Books will be available for sale at the event.Kitsap Mall’s annual Girls’ Night Out features a variety of activities, all oriented to women’s interests, including tables for non-profit, health-related organizations, fashion shows and speakers. This event benefits a women’s charity.Contact: Ruthanne Devlin
Community Relations Manager
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
10315 Silverdale Way NW at Kitsap Mall
Silverdale, WA 98383
crm2281@bn.com

 

Come see me in Ketchikan on Tuesday!

Cozy up with a good book.

Cozy up with a good book.

One of my favorite backstories about Just Breathe has to do with my friend Glenn. In the book, Sarah’s father is restoring a Mustang at Glenn Mounger’s Garage.

Here is a shot of the real garage, which belongs to the real Glenn. Yeah, I know. You really can’t call this a “garage.” It’s more like the Taj Mahal of Cars:

rare automobile collection that inspired a bit of Just Breathe

rare automobile collection that inspired a bit of Just Breathe

 Here’s a slide show, including shots of Gene Autry’s limo and the amazing Packard. Thanks to Glenn for lending his name and a touch of class to this novel.

what’s on my mind right now:

Join me on Facebook. You won’t be sorry.

I tend to spontaneously give stuff away to readers and libraries. Join the fun here. Really.

take a look at a book

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