Saturday, March 21, 2020

Susan Gaines talks about ACCIDENTALS, for the Nothing is Cancelled Virtual book Tour, an arm of A MIGHTY BLAZE





When Gabriel’s mother suddenly decides to repatriate to her native Uruguay after thirty years in California, he takes a break from his uninspiring job to accompany her. Immersed in his squabbling family, birdwatching in the wetlands on their abandoned ranch, and falling in love with a local biologist, he makes discoveries that force him to contend with the environmental cataclysm of his turn-of-millennium present—even as he confronts the Cold War era ideologies and political violence that have shaped his family’s past. Accidentals is a multicultural novel of loss and discovery that challenges our notions of family and explores the ways that science, with all its uncertainties, illuminates the natural world and our future.

‘Gorgeous, smart, and surprising, this family saga takes us into the large world of nations and politics, but also the microscopic world of mud and microbes.  Tender and powerful. Also with birds!’ – Karen Joy Fowler

Accidentals sings with the vibrancy of the living world. It is a novel both erudite and emotionally compelling, suffused with science and natural history, and one which places Gaines firmly in the company of Richard Powers, Barbara Kingsolver, and Anthony Doerr.’ – Christian Kiefer, author of Phantoms and The Infinite Tides

Accidentals is an intimate family story with an astonishingly epic scope. Alive with history, politics, science, romance, and birds, it is as entertaining as it is intelligent, as beautiful as it is wise. Gabe’s evolution from a passive observer to the passionate creator of his own destiny is a life-changing experience not only for him, but for readers as well.’ – Jean Hegland, author of Still Time and Into the Forest

‘The personal is political: if anybody has ever wondered what this insight means then I recommend Accidentals as an enchanting path toward understanding. ... masterfully encompasses so many levels, from the biology of microbes to the chaos of politics and the mysteries of the human heart…. A novel that is, above all, about how seeing is an act of love..’ – Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of Plato at the Googleplex and Properties of Light

‘…the reader will walk away with an understanding of not only Uruguay’s repressive regimes, but also biomass, bird preservation, and more.” Kirkus Reviews

Accidentals is a love story set against a backdrop of family strife and secrets – a kind of Shakespearean tragedy freighted with Cold War politics, environmental urgency, and birds. …a spellbinding novel from a writer whom you may not (yet) know, but whose praises you’ll soon be singing.’ Four Corners Free Press

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Winston Perez talks about CONCERNING THE NATURE AND STRUCTURE OF CONCEPT for the Nothing is Cancelled Virtual Book Tour, which begat A MIGHTY BLAZE









Author Winston Perez works on Films, TV, technologies and businesses and is the founder of a discipline called Concept Modeling, which the NY Times once described as "the process of getting down to the bottom of things." Winston’s clients have included Warner Bros., NBC/Universal, Dreamworks, Relativity, Cineflix, Telepictures, and others.
His book, Concerning the Nature and Structure of Concept, is now a semi finalist in the BookLife Prize, which calls the book “engaging and stimulating…often enlightening.”  Deadline.com’s article on the book is entitled “If Bugs Bunny Met Immanuel Kant, It Would be in Winston Perez Book on ‘Concept.’”

In Winston’s own words:
But here is the rub. What is concept? For most people it is something we think we know—but do we? Really? That, and the daily rejection that comes with that, is what has followed me for decades: Could it be that something in our evolutionary history caused all of us confusion in our understanding of something so basic as the difference between “concept vs. idea.” Everyone has ideas, some live and breathe them, but do we know what ideas are themselves? What about concept? Did you know the dictionary definitions are way off? Yet everything is dependent on ideas vs. concept, how the abstract world works, and the nature of concept itself—thus my book and my 44+ year journey. 
This is what haunts me specifically: People don’t know what they don’t know. But is it worse that than that, because the thing they don’t know is the thing they are convinced they do know. What screenwriter, Hollywood executive, Silicon Techie, or successful innovator or scientist (even the best of them) doesn’t think they know ideas?

But prove it to yourself—take this test today but do it out loud: Ask someone you know what an idea is—their definition. Wait. Next, ask them this: So, what’s a concept then? Stand back and note his or her confusion. 

Amazingly, everything you read about in history (from Einstein to the Wright Brothers to Shakespeare to the Beatles), what you do professionally for a living, and every idea you have for a film, a business or a revolutionary technology are dependent on that difference. Your success depends on knowing the true nature of concept—yet no one was ever taught the difference between an idea and a concept. I call it the missing discipline.

Why does it matter? All great films. All great books. All great music. All great technologies. All great books have concept at their core.

But don't let it scare you. It is true, this is a discipline—a missing discipline—that I call concept modeling. But few things are more fun than learning about the concept that made the Beatles, Baseball, and even a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich great! 

A shout out to a great writer, Leslie Lehr, and Book Soup, a great independent book store in West Hollywood.
Let's rock this thing!


Winston
WInston Per

Monday, March 16, 2020

Lisa Gornick joins the Nothing is Cancelled Virtual Book Tour with this wonderful post about THE PEACOCK FEAST


Dear Caroline Fans—and aren’t we all?
The paperback of my 4th novel, THE PEACOCK FEAST, was published March 10th.


The book started with a question: What the hell is going on in this photograph?

 














You can read about THE PEACOCK FEAST HERE, and see the lovely praise from Christina Baker Kline, Rebecca Makkai, Joan Silber, and Meg Wolitzer.

As for my little paperback book tour, I made it as far as Emma Snyder’s wondrously creative The Ivy Bookshop in Baltimore, where I was interviewed by writer & reviewer extraordinaire Marion Winik, author of THE BIG BOOK OF THE DEAD, before I had to cancel all other events. Shout-outs to the bookstores and writers who had so generously prepared for my visits:

Kramerbooks in DC, where I was to be in conversation with Angie Kim, whose debut smash-hit MIRACLE CREEK comes out in paperback next month.

Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, where I was slated to be interviewed by Krista Bremer, author of a magnificent memoir, A TENDER STRUGGLE.

Charis Books & More in Atlanta, who were co-hosting with the Georgia Center for the Book my conversation with Susan Rebecca White, author of the fantastic WE ARE ALL GOOD PEOPLE HERE, also just out in paperback.
 
Parnassus Bookstore, owned by literary luminary Ann Patchett, where I was looking forward to being interviewed by Nashville’s book-maven, Jennifer Puryear, creator of BACON ON THE BOOKSHELF.

Thank you, dear Caroline—and wishing all a safe journey through the coming months…

Lisa


Susan Gaines ACCIDENTALS is now touring right on this BLOG!




 
 

Susan M. Gaines is known for melding science and natural history into literary fiction. Her 2001 novel Carbon Dreams was an early contribution to the genres now variously known as cli-fi, eco-fiction, and lab-lit or science in fiction. Her novel Accidentals takes on both environmental and political themes, and her non-fiction book Echoes of Life combines literary prose and narrative in a scientific account of discoveries in the earth sciences. Raised in California, Gaines has spent much of her adult life in South America, where Accidentals is set, and in Europe, where she is a founding director of the Fiction Meets Science program at the University of Bremen.

When Gabriel’s mother suddenly decides to repatriate to her native Uruguay after thirty years in California, he takes a break from his uninspiring job to accompany her. Immersed in his squabbling family, birdwatching in the wetlands on their abandoned ranch, and falling in love with a local biologist, he makes discoveries that force him to contend with the environmental cataclysm of his turn-of-millennium present—even as he confronts the Cold War era ideologies and political violence that have shaped his family’s past. Accidentals is a multicultural novel of loss and discovery that challenges our notions of family and explores the ways that science, with all its uncertainties, illuminates the natural world and our future.

‘Gorgeous, smart, and surprising, this family saga takes us into the large world of nations and politics, but also the microscopic world of mud and microbes.  Tender and powerful. Also with birds!’ – Karen Joy Fowler

Accidentals sings with the vibrancy of the living world. It is a novel both erudite and emotionally compelling, suffused with science and natural history, and one which places Gaines firmly in the company of Richard Powers, Barbara Kingsolver, and Anthony Doerr.’ – Christian Kiefer, author of Phantoms and The Infinite Tides

Accidentals is an intimate family story with an astonishingly epic scope. Alive with history, politics, science, romance, and birds, it is as entertaining as it is intelligent, as beautiful as it is wise. Gabe’s evolution from a passive observer to the passionate creator of his own destiny is a life-changing experience not only for him, but for readers as well.’ – Jean Hegland, author of Still Time and Into the Forest

‘The personal is political: if anybody has ever wondered what this insight means then I recommend Accidentals as an enchanting path toward understanding. ... masterfully encompasses so many levels, from the biology of microbes to the chaos of politics and the mysteries of the human heart…. A novel that is, above all, about how seeing is an act of love..’ – Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of Plato at the Googleplex and Properties of Light

‘…the reader will walk away with an understanding of not only Uruguay’s repressive regimes, but also biomass, bird preservation, and more.” Kirkus Reviews

Accidentals is a love story set against a backdrop of family strife and secrets – a kind of Shakespearean tragedy freighted with Cold War politics, environmental urgency, and birds. …a spellbinding novel from a writer whom you may not (yet) know, but whose praises you’ll soon be singing.’ Four Corners Free Press

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai witnessed the devastating Viet Nam War, and now writes about it in the racking-up-the-raves and astonishing THE MOUNTAINS SING





A Best Book of the Month/Season: The New York Times * The Washington Post * O, The Oprah MagazineReal Simple * Amazon PopSugar * Book Riot * Paperback Paris * She Reads We Are Bookish
Born into the Việt Nam War in 1973, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai grew up witnessing the war’s devastation and its aftermath. She worked as a street seller and rice farmer before winning a scholarship to attend university in Australia. She is the author of eight books of poetry, fiction and nonfiction published in Vietnamese, and her writing has been translated and published in more than ten countries, most recently in Norton’s Inheriting the War anthology. She has been honored with many awards, including the Poetry of the Year 2010 Award from the Hà Nội Writers Association, as well as many grants and fellowships. Married to a European diplomat, Quế Mai is currently living in Jakarta with her two teenage children. For more information about Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, visit her at www.nguyenphanquemai.com.

I always believe that writers are somehow haunted into writing their books. What was haunting you?

The death of my grandmother. She was killed in the Great Hunger of 1945. She was tied to corn plants and was too weak to break away. My father knew the man who had murdered his mother, and told me that after the Great Hunger, that man moved away from our village. I never knew what happened to that man so I created the character Wicked Ghost in The Mountains Sing. I showed the reader how Wicked Ghost was punished for what he’d done. But in the end, Wicked Ghost was forgiven somehow. In other words, this novel was my way of searching for healing, for forgiveness, because being able to forgive is the greatest gift that one can give him or herself.

I was fascinated and horrified and heartbroken to read how what is often taught in school about Viet Nam is not the real experience. How difficult was it for you to share all that you know?

It took me seven years to bring this book to the finish line and I am still deep into it. I was born in a small village in the North of Vietnam, grew up in the South of Vietnam and my first trip out of Vietnam took place in 1992 when I was 19 years old. So I lived and breathed Vietnam and I still do. There was so much that I witnessed, so many stories that I heard, so many things which moved me therefore the most difficult decision was to decide what not to include in the book. The original manuscript purchased by my editor Betsy Gleick at Algonquin Books is much longer than the final length. I am very lucky that Betsy gave me the editorial vision and the courage to make my decisions regarding what to tell and what not to tell in The Mountains Sing.

The Mountains Sing is about Vietnamese history, which is a living history, witnessed by millions of people. There is no single version of this history because it is very complexed, personal, and emotional. In my position as a writer, despite my family’s experiences, I wanted to be objective. I wanted to present a version of history which as many people as possible can relate to. That’s why I interviewed hundreds of people for The Mountains Sing, I read countless books in Vietnamese and English. I learned so much by working on this novel and despite the challenges, I enjoyed every minute of it.

The challenge also comes from the fact that English is my second language and I only had the chance to learn it at 8th grade. Yet I wanted to write The Mountains Sing with a poetic language that embraces the Vietnamese culture and ways of expressions. I needed my Vietnamese-English dictionary quite a lot, but basically I wrote this novel with my Vietnamese instinct, with the ca dao songs that echo from deep inside of me.

You’ve previously written a poetry collection. What was it like to delve into a novel?

I’ve published eight books in Vietnamese language and The Secret of Hoa Sen (BOA Editions, 2014) is my collection of Vietnamese-English poetry, translated by myself together a poet I deeply admire – Bruce Weigl  (who is a Vietnam veteran and whose poetry collection Song of Napalm is stunning).

I think my love for poetry took its roots from the very first day of my existence in this world. The year was 1973, in the middle of the Vietnam War and things were extremely difficult. We did not have enough to eat, and my mother made up for the lack of food by nursing me with lullabies and ca dao songs. Essentially poems, these songs are passed down from one generation to the next, so you could say that poetry helped raise me and keep me alive.

Poetry is a part of my being and I could not help but sneak snippets of poetry into The Mountains Sing, either through the translation of Vietnamese poetry or via my own use of images in the expression.

What kind of writer are you? Do you map things out or does the story somehow find you?

I have always wanted to write a novel with a grandmother and a granddaughter in it. It’s because I never had a grandma and I wanted to have one who would tell me the history of our family. But I didn’t know how to start such a novel.

Then in 2012, while traveling to a self-defense class together with my husband and our Vietnamese friend, I asked the friend what it was like for him during the war. He told me about the bombings of Hanoi in 1972, when he was a young boy living with his grandma. Both of his parents were working in Russia and his grandma tried to protect him from the bombs. My friend’s bombing experiences were so horrific that years later, when he was a grown man traveling on a business trip, he got onto an airplane and as soon as the plane’s engine started, he started shaking. The airplane’s noise brought him immediately back to the terror of the American bombings. He shouted and screamed and had to get out of the airplane.

My friend’s story was so moving that when I came home that night, after cooking my kids dinner and putting them to bed, I sat down at my writing desk. I found real audio clips on the internet with urgent voices warning citizens against approaching American bombers. I listened to those audios and with tears running down my face, started to write a scene which would later become chapter 1 of The Mountains Sing.

So to answer your question: I did not know what would happen to Grandma Diệu Lan and Hương when I started The Mountains Sing. But I knew that I needed to write about Vietnamese history and the Vietnam War and place Vietnamese people in the center of it. Tens of thousands of book about the war are available in English and they are mostly about American people. I would like readers to hear stories from Vietnamese people, and from women and children in particular.

What’s obsessing you now and why?

How to stop wars with my writing. How to highlight the evil of wars and their devasting impact on individuals, families, societies, cultures… for generation to come. When I was growing up, witnessing how terrible the Vietnam War’s aftermath was, I was so sure that humans would not be stupid enough to wage another war. Now I know that I was naïve. I am sad to see wars taking place every day now somewhere on our planet. I see myself in a normal citizen of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan.... I feel for them. I think that if we don’t know how to stop spreading hatred and foster dialogues and understanding, the human race will kill ourselves off this earth someday.

With the above obsession, I have written my second novel, also about the Vietnam War but set mainly in the current time. It took me five years to research and write this novel and I also put all my effort into it. I have just sent the manuscript to my brilliant agent Julie Stevenson who is reading it. I can’t reveal the storyline yet but I am truly excited about this novel.

I hope The Mountains Sing illuminates my love and respect for nature. In the words of Grandma Diệu Lan, “whenever humans fail us, it is nature who can help save us.” But the sad reality is that the human race is destroying nature at an alarming rate. We cut down forests to erect commercial projects, we use too much plastic, we pollute and we consume. I wish to write a book one nature someday so that I can paint pictures about the breath-taking natural landscapes of Vietnam. And I hope my books will encourage international readers to visit my homeland: it is truly a beautiful and fascinating country.

Caroline, thank you so much, for spending your time reading The Mountains Sing and for your kind compliment about it. To have a New York Times Bestselling author read and excited about my novel is a real gift.




Sunday, March 15, 2020

PREORDER! Coming in May! Roxana Robinson talks about DAWSON'S FALL, her abolitionist family, her great-grandfather, a liberal who fought for the Confederacy, her fave book and indie bookstore, and more











 Roxana Robinson is the author of ten books - six novels, three collections of short stories, and the biography of Georgia O’Keeffe. Four of these were chosen as New York Times Notable Books , two as New York Times Editors’ Choices.

Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Best American Short Stories, Tin House and elsewhere. Her work has been widely anthologized and broadcast on NPR. Her books have been published in England, France, Germany, Holland and Spain.


She is the recipient of many awards, the most recent the Barnes & Noble “Writers for Writers” Award, from Poets & Writers.






Her new novel DAWSON'S FALL is about her great-grandfather, a hero to her family, a liberal who fought for the Confederacy. How was this possible?


THANK YOU so much, Roxana, for all that you do.

What was haunting you so that you had to write this book?
One side of my family is from New England, where we were abolitionists. On the other side we had a small Southern branch. My great-grandfather, Frank Dawson, was considered a hero in our family, because of his progressive positions – he was the editor of the Charleston News and Courier after the Civil War. He was a liberal, who stood up for the rights of black freedmen – but he was an Englishman, who came to this country in order to fight for the Confederacy. He fought in it for five years, and by the end he was a captain in the cavalry. So how could he be a hero to our family? Who was this person, and how could I reconcile such deeply opposing beliefs? I needed to come to terms with who my family really was, and what their legacy was. As I wrote this book, I came to realize that it wasn’t about my family, it was about my country.


What other book out there do you want to shower with some love?
I am just beginning Hilary Mantel’s final book about Thomas Cromwell, The Mirror and the Light. What is so wonderful about her writing is the beauty of her sentences, and her knowing, urbane voice. The language seems both utterly authentic to the times and to today; the characters are utterly familiar to us, the details mesmerizingly real: Thomas Cromwell’s cook asks him to kill the eels that twine and intertwine in the bucket at his feet. Cromwell remembers that when he was a cook he let the eels stay alive until the pans on the stove were heated. Who would know that? Now we do.

What indie bookstore should everyone order from and celebrate?

My favorite indie bookstore is The Corner Bookstore on Madison Avenue and 92nd Street in New York City. Once you set up an account with them you can order by email and they will send you the book, anywhere. It’s easier than A****n. And they are smart! And they know books! And they are nice! Here’s their email: cornerbook@aol.com


What book would you love to promote?

Rachel Cline, The Question Authority



Thursday, March 12, 2020

The Nothing is Cancelled Book Tour presents PRETTY THINGS by Janelle Brown









What was haunting you so that you had to write this book?
The old stone mansion in my book -- an ancient estate on the shores of Lake Tahoe called Stonehaven -- quietly literally haunted my dreams as I started writing Pretty Things. My novel is about a young con artist and her boyfriend who move in to the guest house of Stonehaven, with nefarious plans for the heiress who is living alone in her family estate. Things go sideways, as they often do in Gothic novels that take place in remote, run-down mansions. I love books like that – slow burning suspense novels where the walls are closing in, and you don’t know who to trust – and this one festered inside me until I got it down on paper.

What other book out there do you want to shower with some love?
Sara Sligar has a smart, character-based suspense novel coming out April 28, called Take Me Apart from FSG. She’s a debut novelist and believe me, you will be hearing more from her in the future. Pick it up!

What indie bookstore should everyone order from and celebrate?
Skylight is my local bookstore in Silverlake, and has my heart. https://www.skylightbooks.com
Vroman’s in Pasadena is a phenomenal institution and one of the best bookstores I’ve ever visited. https://www.vromansbookstore.com 


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Nothing is Cancelled Book Tour. Sue Williams Silverman talks about HOW TO SURVIVE DEATH AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES




A memoir-in-essays, How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences, was published March 1.
Many are haunted and obsessed by their own eventual deaths, but perhaps no one as much as Sue William Silverman. This thematically linked collection of essays charts Silverman’s attempt to confront her fears of that ultimate unknown. Her dread was fomented in part by a sexual assault, hidden for years, that led to an awareness that death and sex are in some ways inextricable, an everyday reality many women know too well.

THE BOOK I LOVE:
Strung Out
by Erin Khar.

MY FAVORITE INDIE BOOKSTORE:
And my favorite indie bookstore is The Bookman in Grand Haven, Michigan.


The Nothing is Cancelled Book Tour. Jennifer Rosner presents THE YELLOW BIRD SINGS





The Yellow Bird Sings came out on March 3; most of my events are being cancelled. The novel is about a Jewish mother and her five year old daughter, a musical prodigy, in hiding (together and apart) during WW2. It is about mother-daughter love, and the place of creativity and beauty in human survival.



BOOKS I LOVE:
 The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott
The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton.  


INDIE BOOKSTORE I LOVE:
One of my favorite Indie bookstores is Amherst Books - the owner, Nat Herold, is incredibly supportive of local authors.

The Nothing is Cancelled Book Tour. Jenny Block presents BE THAT UNICORN








Already just published, Be That Unicorn is the modern antidote to our “mean girl” culture all about kicking ass at this thing called life while being kind to others and true to you in a world that seems to want to keep us from doing just that.


Says Jenny, That Unicorn is you. My mom has always said that people are drawn to me because I make everyone feel good about themselves. Throughout my life, 
people have echoed that sentiment. It’s the thing I love about myself the most: I’m the big sister, the BFF, the mom, the cheerleader, the coach…“the little unicorn that could” who everyone deserves.

One reader calls "Be That Unicorn” 150 pages of hug. I couldn’t agree more! It’s also a reminder that That Unicorn is not afraid to use her horn when she needs to. That Unicorn is a balanced creature and BTU shows the way to finding that balance.

A BOOK I LOVE: You Can Do All Things by Kate Allan because her drawings are fantastical and her words are life saving! 

AN INDIE BOOKSTORE I LOVE: Book People in Austin, TX because it feels like the cozy and welcoming kind of place that would create if I had a bookstore of my own!


The Nothing is Cancelled Book Tour. Kate Milliken presents Kept Animals


The Nothing is Cancelled Book Tour, promoting authors who have suffered cancellatiions because of the virus continues with another fabulous book!

Coming April 21, KEPT ANIMALS by Kate Milliken




 

THE BOOKS I LOVE: 
Current book that I keep pressing on others is BLACK LIGHT by Kimberly King Parsons and I am currently loving Sam Lansky’s debut novel Broken People (out in June). Also The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez. I could go on...

THE INDIE BOOKSTORES I LOVE:
Book Passage in Corte Madre, CA. And in LA, my home away from Home: Book Soup


Kept Animals is a bold, riveting debut novel of desire, betrayal, and loss, centering on three teenage girls, a horse ranch, and the tragic accident that changes everything.

Rory Ramos works as a ranch hand at the stable her stepfather manages in Topanga Canyon, California, a dry, dusty place reliant on horses and hierarchies. There she rides for the rich clientele, including twins June and Wade Fisk. While Rory may have unwittingly drawn the interest of out-and-proud June, she’s more intrigued by Vivian Price, the beautiful teenager with the movie-star father who lives down the hill. Rory’s blue-collar upbringing keeps her largely separate from the likes of the Prices—but, perched on her bedroom windowsill, Rory steals glimpses of Vivian swimming in her pool nearly every night.

After Rory’s stepfather is involved in a tragic car accident, the lives of Rory, June, and Vivian become inextricably bound together. Rory discovers photography, begins riding more competitively alongside June, and grows closer and closer to gorgeous, mercurial Vivian, but despite her newfound sense of self, disaster lurks all around her: in the parched landscape, in her unruly desires, in her stepfather’s wrecked body and guilty conscience. One night, as the relationships among these teenagers come to a head, a forest fire tears through Topanga Canyon, and Rory’s life is changed forever.
Kept animals is narrated by Rory’s daughter, Charlie, twenty years after that fateful 1993 fire. Realizing that the key to her own existence lies in the secret of what really happened that unseasonably warm fall, Charlie is finally ready to ask questions about her mother’s past. But with Rory away on assignment as a war photographer, Charlie knows she must unravel the truth for herself.


The Nothing is Cancelled Book Tour : Cara Black and Three Hours in Paris







 Because so many authors are having events and tours cancelled due to the virus, and because early promotion is so important to books, authors and bookstores, the Nothing is Cancelled Book Tour is continuing right here!


THREE HOURS IN PARIS, coming April 7, 2020

In June of 1940, when Paris fell to the Nazis, Hitler spent a total of three hours in the City of Light - abruptly leaving, never to return. To this day, no one knows why.
Kate Rees, a young American markswoman, has been recruited by British intelligence to drop into Paris with a dangerous assignment: assassinate the Führer. Wrecked by grief after a Luftwaffe bombing killed her husband and infant daughter, she is armed with a rifle, a vendetta, and a fierce resolve. But other than rushed and rudimentary instruction, she has no formal spy training. Thrust into the red-hot center of the war, a country girl from rural Oregon finds herself holding the fate of the world in her hands. When Kate misses her mark and the plan unravels, Kate is on the run for her life in Occupied Paris - all the time wrestling with the suspicion that the whole operation was a set-up.

THE BOOK I'M READING THAT I LOVE:  Pretty As a Picture by Elizabeth Little @elizabethlittle
THE INDIE BOOKSTORE I LOVE: McIntyre’s Books near Chapel Hill @mcibooks

The Nothing is Cancelled Booktour: Clarissa Goenawan and THE PERFECT WORLD OF MIWAKO SUMIDA


 First up on the Nothing is Cancelled Booktour, my posts for authors who have had events cancelled! We all want to support authors and indie bookstores, so keep spreading the word about these books and other books you love and indie bookstores and libraries you love all over social media!

THE PERFECT WORLD OF MIWAKO SUMIDA by Clarissa Goenawan came out March 10 and you can order wherever books are sold!





A Literary Hub Most Anticipated Book of 2020

From the critically acclaimed author of Rainbirds comes a novel of tragedy and dark histories set in Japan. 

University sophomore Miwako Sumida has hanged herself, leaving those closest to her reeling. In the months before her suicide, she was hiding away in a remote mountainside village, but what, or whom, was she running from?

Ryusei, a fellow student at Waseda who harbored unrequited feelings for Miwako, begs her best friend Chie to bring him to the remote village where she spent her final days. While they are away, his older sister, Fumi, who took Miwako on as an apprentice in her art studio, receives an unexpected guest at her apartment in Tokyo, distracting her from her fear that Miwako’s death may ruin what is left of her brother’s life. 

Expanding on the beautifully crafted world of Rainbirds, Clarissa Goenawan gradually pierces through a young woman’s careful façade, unmasking her most painful secrets.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Authors with new books out, with events cancelled because of the coronavirus--never fear. Reading With Robin's Robin Kall Homonoff is here with Authorpalooza, Friday 13th, an all day author interview event









Hey authors! Got a new book coming out? Have you had events cancelled? (I have, sigh...) The Coronavirus is impacting everything and everyone. And it doesn't look like it is going to get better some time soon. I know countless other authors worrying over cancelled tour dates, cancelled festival dates, and bookstore readings--all the things that help books find readers. 

But all is not lost. Because my beloved friend and the angel of readers and writers, Robin Kall Homonoff isn't going to let that happen.


Robin's the creator of the wise, witty and wonderful Reading With Robin podcast. With her daughter Emily (If you love Robin, you also love Emily) they run the Cardigan Connection Reading Series, which is always packed. Robin knew that with all the cancelling of events, there was still something she could do. And fast. 


This Friday, she's starting AUTHORPALOOZA, an all day podcast interviewing a huge variety of authors.  If you are an author with a new book coming out or with events already cancelled, please contact Robin here through her FB page.

 Come here and here for more information and to join the Reading With Robin community.  And I'm taking this opportunity to give back to Robin and interview HER. Thank you, Robin!

 How did you think of this fabulous idea?
 
We hosted the amazing Lily King last night and I had been thinking for the past week that it might be our last in-person event for a while. Once it was announced taht the Tucson Book Festival was cancelled, along with other author events, I knew that this was something I could do to help get the word out about new books. It's crucial for books to get as much attention as possible when they first come out, and many of these authors are like family to me after all of these years. I've been doing this since 20002!


Why was Reading With Robin the natural choice for this to happen?

I have the most readers on this platform so it was a natural place to host virtually. 

Do you ever sleep?

Ha! yes, I sure do, but I have a feeling not so much this week.

How can readers and writers support YOU?

Thank you for asking. The most appreciated would be to join me on the RB page, Reading with Robin. Give it a like, if you are so inclined. Follow on Instagram @RobinKallink. Tune into the Reading with Robin Podcast on Itunes...the usual suspects!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

One Wedding Dress. Three Generations of Women. Brenda Janowitz talks about THE GRACE KELLY DRESS.






"Janowitz’s latest is just like the multi-generational wedding dress of the title: elegant, layered, and utterly original. She once again delivers a powerful story brimming with love.” Fiona Davis, bestselling author of The Chelsea Girls

"This is a book that has to be added to your nightstand immediately!" Jane Green, bestselling author of The Friends We Keep


I've known and loved Brenda for years and I'm so thrilled that she has a new novel out, about one wedding dress and three generations of women, and it's getting major league buzz, too!

 Brenda is the author of five novels and the Books Correspondent for PopSugar. Her sixth novel, THE GRACE KELLY DRESS, will be published by Harper Collins/ Graydon House in March 2020. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon, Redbook, USA Today, Bustle, The Forward, the New York Post, Publisher’s Weekly, Hello Giggles, Writer’s Digest Magazine, WritersDigest.com, and xojane.

Brenda, thank you so much for being here!



I always want to know what’s haunting an author when they start a book, or what question they were thinking about. What was it for you with The Grace Kelly Dress?

My agent sent me a story from The Today Show about an heirloom wedding gown that had been passed down through a family to eleven brides. I was immediately taken with this idea— something that had been passed down over time through so many different types of women, something that would mean something different to each one. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. How the dress had changed, how fashion had changed, how the family had changed.

I write often about multiple generations of a family, so this kernel of an idea was the perfect jumping off point for me. As I formed the protagonist in my mind’s eye, more questions developed—would she even want to wear such a dress? Why does a mother want a daughter to wear her wedding gown? What did the dress mean to the woman who created it? With all of these questions swirling, I knew I had my next novel.

I love the idea of one wedding dress (and who can resist a dress that is called Grace Kelly?) binding three generations of women together, yet each woman brings something specifically unique to her wearing of that dress. Do you have a dress like that in your own life?

Oh, how I wish I had something like that in my life! But alas, I do not. The wedding dress described in the novel is an heirloom wedding gown, inspired by the wedding dress that American actress Grace Kelly wore when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco. To me, it’s the most iconic wedding gown of all time.

In fact, when it came time to shop for my own wedding dress, I found myself especially drawn to the gowns that featured details that served as a homage to that famous piece of history. The gown I wore down the aisle had a delicate ribbon around the waist, a nod to Grace Kelly’s elegant cummerbund, and had silk bows that ran down the back, just like Grace Kelly’s dress. (So, perhaps I did have a dress like that, after all.)

Clothes, like music, have such deep symbolism for me—and for all of us, I think. They catapult you back in time, or they have all your hopes and dreams in every thread. Can you talk about this please?

Items of clothing can be so incredibly meaningful! The way we adorn ourselves can say so much about who we are and where we came from.

This is even more so when we speak about a wedding gown. The dress a woman chooses says so much about her—the way she’s decided to present herself on one of the most meaningful days of her life. The way she wants to look. The way she wants to be seen.

Wedding dresses have always been a source of fascination to me, for this reason. And I suppose you could say, I’m still obsessed. One of the things I wanted to tackle in this novel was the way the dress was made. Would such a dress carry the hopes and dreams of the woman who created it?

You are known and loved in the writing community because you do so much for other writers. (And thank you!) What advice would you give writers today who want to build community and be as generous as you are?

Thank you so much, Caroline! I think that the writing community would say the same thing about you!

It’s really all about relationships. When you’re a writer, it can be so isolating. So, it’s wonderful to have a community of people you can turn to for advice and encouragement. A sort of water cooler, if you will.

For me, the best advice is to just create friendships that are organic and real. Find people you like and respect. Support your friends. When you love someone’s work, shout it from the rooftops. Don’t expect anything in return. Remember: a rising tide lifts all ships.

You’ve written 5 knockout novels. Do you feel that each novel builds on the next, or are you like me, stricken with writers’ amnesia where every project becomes something brand new? Has your writing changed over the years and novels?

Thank you, Caroline! I do, in many ways, think that each novel builds on the next. And certainly, I’m a different person as I start each novel.

But I agree with you: whenever I start a new novel, it feels like I’ve never done it before, like I have no idea how to do it another time. It feels like a mountain I’ll never climb again.

Of course, I jump in anyway. And I find that as my life has changed, so has my writing. When I sold my first novel, I was a single attorney living in New York City. Now, I’m a married mother of two, writing novels full time and freelancing. I see the world differently in many ways, and I’d like to think that my writing reflects that. I used to love the Dorothy Parker quote: “I hate writing; I love having written.” But at this stage of my writing career, I’ve realized that the opposite is actually true: I love the process of writing. I love figuring out the world and my place in it through my work. I love seeing the world, through my fictional characters, in different ways.

I do hope that over time, my writing has deepened, and become more true.

What’s obsessing you now and why?

That’s a dangerous question because I get easily obsessed! But right now, I cannot stop thinking about Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments. I re-read The Handmaid’s Tale just before beginning The Testaments, and I couldn’t get over how incredible the writing was, how prescient it feels in today’s world, and how much of the book I’d forgotten (and how much I remembered). The Testaments was such a completely different book than The Handmaid’s Tale, and it was astonishing to watch a master at work, handling a world she’d created, all these years later. I cannot stop thinking about these two books, and as great writing always does, I feel humbled as I start writing my next novel.


What question didn’t I ask that I should have?

I may not have an heirloom dress, but I do have a number of family heirlooms that are incredibly meaningful to me.One of my most prized possessions is a ring that my grandmother gave to me. That ring is my childhood wrapped up in a single piece of jewelry— I can still picture her wearing it, in my mind’s eye. I wear it most days, but especially on days when I feel like I need her there with me. In particularly difficult situations, it’s like I can feel her there besides me, guiding me. On special days, like the day of my last book launch, I wore it to bring her with me, to show her that I’ve made my dream come true. I’ll wear it on tour for The Grace Kelly Dress. And I’m wearing it right now.