Saturday, April 30, 2011

2011 Edgar Awards

The winners were announced on Thursday, April 28 and here is the list.
THE LOCK ARTIST by Steve Hamilton (Minotaur Books)

ROGUE ISLAND by Bruce DeSilva (Tom Doherty Associates – Forge Books)

LONG TIME COMING by Robert Goddard (Random House - Bantam)

SCOREBOARD, BABY: A Story of College Football, Crime and Complicity, by Ken Armstrong and Nick Perry (University of Nebraska Press – Bison Original)

CHARLIE CHAN: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and his Rendezvouz with American History, by Yunte Huang (W.W. Norton)

"The Scent of Lilacs" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Doug Allyn (Dell Magazines)

THE BUDDY FILES: The Case of the Lost Boy, by Dori Hillestad Butler (Albert Whitman & Co.)

INTERROGATION OF GABRIEL JAMES by Charlie Price (Farrar, Straus, Giroux Books for Young Readers)

THE PSYCHIC by Sam Bobrick (Falcon Theatre – Burbank, CA)

"Episode 1" - Luther, Teleplay by Neil Cross (BBC America)

"Skyler Hobbs and the Rabbit Man" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Evan Lewis (Dell Magazines)

Sara Paretsky

Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore, Forest Park, Illinois
Once Upon A Crime Bookstore, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Poisoned Pen Press (Barbara Peters & Robert Rosenwald)

THE SIMON & SCHUSTER - MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD (Presented at MWA’s Agents & Editors Party on Wednesday, April 27, 2011)
THE CROSSING PLACES by Elly Griffiths (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

This Day in Literary History

Poet, essayist, and novelist Annie Dillard is born on this day in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1945.

At age 28, Dillard became the youngest American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize, which she was awarded for her collection of essays Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (1974). The book, often compared with Henry David Thoreau's Walden, collected her meditations during a year spent living on the shores of a creek. She also wrote a collection of poetry, Tickets for a Prayer Wheel, the same year.

Dillard began reading avidly as a child and studied writing at Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia, where she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees. In 1965, she married her creative writing professor, R.H.W. Dillard. Between 1975 and 1978, she was a scholar-in-residence at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. She moved to Connecticut in 1979 and became a professor at Wesleyan University after her second marriage. She began writing prolifically, publishing five more books by 1989 and writing essays, poems, memoirs, and reviews.

Dillard's first novel, The Living (1992), a detailed chronicle of Pacific Northwest pioneers, was a critical success. Her second novel, The Maytrees (2007), which follows the courtship, marriage, and later years of a Cape Cod couple, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award in 2008.

Originally published on

Friday, April 29, 2011

This Day in Literary History

American writer Henry James' collection of travel pieces, Transatlantic Sketches, is published. The same year, James publishes a collection of stories, A Passionate Pilgrim, and a novel, Roderick Hudson. These three works herald the beginning of James' long and influential writing career.

James was born to a wealthy and eccentric philosopher father in 1843 in New York City. His older brother William became the country's first distinguished psychologist and a well-known philosopher. During their teens, the brothers and their younger siblings were taken abroad by their parents for to study European culture. The family roamed England, Switzerland, and France, visiting galleries, museum, theaters, and libraries for four years.

A back injury exempted James from serving in the Civil War, and he briefly attended Harvard Law School. He began writing fiction in his teens, and his first story was published when he was 21. He soon became a regular contributor of essays, reviews, and stories to Atlantic Monthly and other important periodicals. In 1873, James moved to England and continued publishing reviews while writing many more novels, including The American (1877) and the popular Daisy Miller (1878). In 1881, he published his masterpiece The Portrait of a Lady. Like many of his other works, it deals with naive, young Americans moving in sophisticated European circles. He wrote prolifically, nonfiction as well as fiction, and the prefaces to new editions of his novels have been collected in The Art of the Novel (1834).

Originally published on

Thursday, April 28, 2011

This Day in Literary History

Poet T.S. Eliot accepts a position as editor at Faber and Faber publishers. The job allows Eliot, who is already recognized as a major poet, to quit his job as a bank clerk at Lloyd's Bank in London. He holds the publishing position until his death, in 1965.

Eliot was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to a well-established family. His grandfather had founded Washington University in St. Louis, his father was a businessman, and his mother was involved in local charities. Eliot took an undergraduate degree at Harvard, studied at the Sorbonne, returned to Harvard to study Sanskrit, and then studied at Oxford. After meeting poet and lifelong friend Ezra Pound, Eliot moved permanently to England. In 1915, he married Vivian Haigh-Wood, but the marriage was unhappy, partly due to her mental instability. She died in an institution in 1947.

Eliot began working at Lloyd's Bank in 1917, writing reviews and essays on the side. He founded a critical quarterly, Criterion, and quietly developed a new brand of poetry. His first major work, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, was published in 1917 and was hailed as the invention of a new kind of poetry. His long, fragmented images and use of blank verse influenced nearly all future poets, as did his masterpiece The Waste Land, published in Criterion and the American review Dial in 1922. While Eliot is best known for revolutionizing modern poetry, his literary criticism and plays were also successful.

Eliot lectured in the U.S. frequently in the 1930s and '40s, a time when his own worldview was undergoing rapid change as he converted to Christianity. In 1957, he married his assistant Valerie Fletcher. The couple lived happily until his death, in 1965.

Originally posted on

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

This Day in Literary History

Blind poet John Milton sells the copyright to his masterpiece Paradise Lost (1667) for a mere 10 pounds.

Milton was born and raised the indulged son of a prosperous London businessman. He excelled at languages in grammar school and at Christ's College, Cambridge, where he took a bachelor's and a master's, which he completed in 1632. He then decided to continue his own education, spending six years reading every major work of literature in several languages. He published an elegy for a college classmate, Lycidas, in 1637 and went abroad in 1638 to continue his studies.

In 1642, Milton married 17-year-old Mary Powell, who left him just weeks later. Milton wrote a series of pamphlets arguing for the institution of divorce based on incompatibility. The idea, however mild it seems today, was scandalous at the time, and Milton experienced a vehement backlash for his writing.

Milton's wife returned to him in 1645, and the pair had three daughters. However, he continued espousing controversial views. He supported the execution of Charles I, he railed against the control of the church by bishops, and he upheld the institution of Cromwell's commonwealth, for which he became secretary of foreign languages.

In 1651, he lost his sight but fulfilled his government duties with the help of assistants, including poet Andrew Marvell. His wife died the following year. He remarried in 1656, but his second wife died in childbirth. Four years later, the commonwealth was overturned, and Milton was thrown in jail, saved only by the intervention of friends. The blind man lost his position and property.

He remarried in 1663. Blind, impoverished, and jobless, he began to dictate his poem Paradise Lost to his family. When the poem was ready for publication, he sold it for 10 pounds. Once printed, the poem was immediately hailed as a masterpiece of the English language. In 1671, he wrote Paradise Regained, followed by Samson Agonistes. He died in 1674.

Originally posted on

Poetry for Wednesday

Beautiful Dreamer
by Stephen Foster

Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me,
Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee;
Sounds of the rude world heard in the day,
Lull'd by the moonlight have all pass'd away!

Beautiful dreamer, queen of my song,
List while I woo thee with soft melody;
Gone are the cares of life's busy throng.

Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!
Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!

Beautiful dreamer, out on the sea,
Mermaids are chaunting the wild lorelie;
Over the streamlet vapors are borne,
Waiting to fade at the bright coming morn.

Beautiful dreamer, beam on my heart,
E'en as the morn on the streamlet and sea;
Then will all clouds of sorrow depart,

Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

This Day in Literary History

The novelist and screenwriter Anita Loos is born on this day in Mt. Shasta, California, in 1888.

Loos began writing as a child and by age 13 was already contributing stories and sketches to magazines. Her family moved to San Diego when she was a teenager, and she briefly acted in a theater company managed by her father. She combined her writing and acting experience by writing a short movie sketch and sending it to American Biograph Company in New York in 1912. The company, owned by legendary director D.W. Griffith, bought her idea for $25.

Loos went to work as a screenwriter while still in her teens, writing more than 200 movies that showcased such early stars as Douglas Fairbanks. But her real fame as a writer came in 1925 when she wrote a humorous novel called Gentleman Prefer Blondes, which she started while on a long train ride. She claimed she wrote the book, about scatterbrained blond gold-digger Lorelei Lee, as a spoof to entertain her friend, the writer and intellectual H.L. Mencken, who supposedly had a taste for brainless blonds. The book became an international bestseller, was printed in 14 languages, and ran through 85 editions. It was also made into a hit Broadway play in 1949 and a movie musical in 1953 starring Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe, who crooned the famous tune "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend."

Loos, who stood less than 5 feet tall and weighed only about 94 pounds, wrote several other plays and a memoir of her days in early Hollywood. She died on August 18, 1981.

Originally posted on

Monday, April 25, 2011

Book Giveaway: Tabloid City

In a stately West Village townhouse, a wealthy socialite and her secretary are murdered. In the 24 hours that follow, a flurry of activity circles around their shocking deaths: The head of one of the city's last tabloids stops the presses. A cop investigates the killing. A reporter chases the story. A disgraced hedge fund manager flees the country. An Iraq War vet seeks revenge. And an angry young extremist plots a major catastrophe.

The City is many things: a proving ground, a decadent playground, or a palimpsest of memories-- a historic metropolis eclipsed by modern times. As much a thriller as it is a gripping portrait of the city of today, TABLOID CITY is a new fiction classic from the writer who has captured it perfectly for decades.

I have two copies of this book to giveaway. The contest is open to US and Canada and be aware that only one copy can be won by a household. Winners will be selected on May 6. Please leave a comment below to enter.

Guest Post: Jeff Bennington

Jeff Bennington is celebration the release of his new book entitled Reunion and you can read all about him and the book in my previous blog post. He was fantastic to work with on this blog tour and has done a great blog post, so keep reading.

The First Line

As an author I’ve learned that the most important part of any book is the first few words, the first line, and of course the first paragraph and chapter. If I can’t bait a reader with my prose and hook their attention from the beginning, I might as well pack up my writing gear and head for the hills. In the world of literature where thousands of books are published every day, readers have an abundance of choices and mine is one of many, like a solitary vapor swirling over Niagara Falls. If I can’t grab a reader from the very beginning and get them excited about my story, I might as well fahgetaboutit.

Once I’m into the story, and parts of speech start flying like trimmed shrubbery, I can install chapters for hours at a time. But when it’s all said and over with, it’s the beginning that I come back to. It’s the first impression. It’s my only opportunity to get a reader interested. It has to be perfect. It has to be compelling and it has to attack with bear-trap-like strength.

In a May 14, 2004 issue of psychology today, Carlin Flora states that, “Our brains form first impressions by creating a composite of all the signals given off by a new experience.” When someone reads my work, they are entering into a new experience, a new world with my name stamped on it. I want their first impression of me to be, “Wow! This is good!”

When Bill and Hillary Clinton discuss how they met at Yale's law library, they tell how after staring and flirting with each other Hillary finally walked up to Bill and said, "Look, if you're going to keep staring at me, and I'm going to keep staring back, we might as well be introduced. I'm Hillary Rodham. What's your name?" It’s said that Bill couldn't remember his name, but that’s another story.

From an artist’s perspective, I want you to remember my name: Jeff Bennington, they guy who writes incredibly engaging thrillers. From a business perspective, I need you to remember my name. And that’s why I work so hard on the first line.

To demonstrate what I’m talking about, I’ll show you a few of my first lines from my novels, lines that I hope will nudge you to the next paragraph and the next chapter.
David Ray stood in front of his mirror, dressed to kill. I look good, he thought, like the real deal, like a real killer. He narrowed his eyes, grit his teeth and unfolded his checklist. Sharp blades of black hair dangled in front of his face, covering the brownish rings that encircled his eyes. He peered at his scribbled writing and read the list as he felt his insides tense with hatred.

Act of Vengeance (Coming late 2011):
Detective Rick Burns raced into the upscale neighborhood, slammed on the brakes, and stepped out of his rusty red Pontiac. He peered into the night as the crowd gathered, took a deep breath, and prayed to God that this murder would not be like the others. The heaviness, the blood, the darkness had finally pricked its sharp edge into his soul. Red and blue lights enveloped his body and danced across the frightened neighbors who had gathered together, shaking and shivering. The car door let out a lingering squeak as he slammed it shut and he hurried toward the crime scene.

Federal Underground (Coming 2012):
My legs strained up the dark and musty mineshaft as I ran from the depths of the federal underground. My left hand scraped the rocky edges, caking my fingernails with dirt and decades of filth. Every step I took injected a cold burn into my lungs; every breath thrust me beyond the point of exhaustion and terror. My red jump suit smelled of the world below and clung to my skin, wet and ragged. I stopped running for a moment, took in a life-giving inhalation and rested my body on the earthen wall. I tried to forget, but the images were too strong, to frightening to escape.
In my opinion, and in the opinion of the authors and editors who have taught me how to weave a harrowing tale, an author must place the reader directly in the heart of the action. Some authors spread out the details of setting and back story like a picnic blanket, the foundation on which the main course will be enjoyed. In the case of thrillers and suspense, however, I prefer action.

My goal as a thriller writer is to throw the reader into a story that screams, “What is going on here? Why is David Ray dressed to kill? What is Detective Burns about to get himself into? What is the federal underground and what did he see there? Questions need answered, and I find that if the first few lines have a compelling character, a reader will want to discover the answers. Besides, if I can’t get you interested in reading beyond page one, why even bother with the rest of the book? The first lines are that important to me.

It isn’t until after you decide to read on, that I’ve earned your trust as an author.
After all, If I’m going ask you to give me money and dedicate hours of your precious time into my words, they better be good, especially the first line.

Thanks for reading. Be sure to follow The Book Tree and then go get your copy of Reunion. Peace. – Jeff Bennington

Blog Tour-The Reunion

Release Date: May 1, 2011
Author: Jeff Bennington
Published by: nexGate Press
ISBN-13: 978-0-615-45086-5
Pages: 334
Genre: Suspense/Paranormal
Cost: $12.95 (print) $2.99 (digital formats)
Read an excerpt.

REUNION Synopsis:
David Ray killed eight students and then turned the gun on himself. He
thought the shooting and suicide would fix his world. It didn't. The
massacre threw Tanner Khan and the other survivors into chaos.

Twenty years later, Tanner and his fellow classmates reluctantly agree to
hold a reunion to lay the past to rest. Although they suffer from Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder, they come back to their hometown and reunite in the defunct school building. Old flames are rekindled, fears are ignited,
and their lives are about to explode in a whirlwind of memories, haunted by the spirit of David Ray.

Once inside the old school, they discover that a dark entity has joined
them. It has come to collect a debt, long overdue, and someone has to pay.
Will Tanner and his classmates overcome their fears and put the pieces of
their lives back together, or will they be consumed by their worst nightmare?

About the Author:
I grew up in Saginaw Michigan, moved to Aurora, Ohio in 78' and finally settled in Central Indiana where I met my wife and graduated from Indiana University. I'm an occasional runner, life long drummer, and household handyman. Over the years, I've done everything from working on an assembly line, installing HVAC units, teaching Sunday school, to running my own business. But through it all, I've always loved to write.

In 2006, something finally clicked when I heard the calling to begin writing novels - and write I did. Like many writers, I have a book or two that the world may never read, so don't ask about those. It is my hope, however, that the ones you do read will be good, inspiring you to think about life in a way that perhaps you hadn't before reading my work. Killing the Giants was my first novel, a political thriller, self-published in 2009 and currently in the process of being revised. I went on to write REUNION, The Rumblin', and then Act of Vengeance, my third full length novel and second supernatural thriller. I blog weekly at The Writing Bomb about the world of writing and indie publishing. That doesn't mean I wouldn't sign a book deal, it just means I've never been one to stand still and wait for something to happen. I have lots of stories to tell, and I'm ready to tell them now.

My review:
I love discovering new authors and am so glad that I came across Jeff Bennington. Jeff contacted me to be a part of his blog tour and I cannot have been more thrilled after reading the book. The writing is superb, emtional, and filled with suspense. The author takes an occurrence that has cropped up in our society and taken a new look at it from the perspective of years down the road. I was taken by the first paragraph and could not let go until the last word. The book is a great work of the imagination in trying to sort out the what if and the reality of what happens when the public stops hearing about the tragedies.

This Day in Literary History

Daniel Defoe's fictional work The Life and Strange Adventures of Robinson Crusoe is published. The book, about a shipwrecked sailor who spends 28 years on a deserted island, is based on the experiences of shipwreck victims and of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish sailor who spent four years on a small island off the coast of South America in the early 1700s.

Like his hero Crusoe, Daniel Defoe was an ordinary, middle-class Englishman, not an educated member of the nobility like most writers at the time. Defoe established himself as a small merchant but went bankrupt in 1692 and turned to political pamphleteering to support himself. A pamphlet he published in 1702 satirizing members of the High Church led to his arrest and trial for seditious libel in 1703. He appealed to powerful politician Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford, who had him freed from Newgate prison and who hired him as a political writer and spy to support his own views. To this end, Defoe set up the Review, which he edited and wrote from 1704 to 1713. It wasn't until he was nearly 60 that he began writing fiction. His other works include Moll Flanders (1722) and Roxana (1724). He died in London in 1731, one day before the 12th anniversary of Robinson Crusoe's publication.

Originally published on

In My Mailbox

This week was a bit slower for books than the previous few, but I still received some good titles. What did you get?

The Butterfly's Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe
The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Holy Guacamole by Dan & Denise Harmer
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Shoneyin
Original Sin by Beth McMullen

Books I purchased:
The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen Kindle Edition

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sourcebooks CasaVIP program

I am pleased to introduce CasaVIP, A romance community and newsletter that gives you exclusive access to our “Casa”—where we’re always having a party! Get ready for early excerpts, author features, contests, and discounts that will only be available to YOU!

Anyone who signs up for our newsletter will automatically be entered to win a Nook Color—so spread the word! Once we make it to 1,000 members, we will give the Nook away to our lucky winner chosen at random. And just for signing up, you will receive a code to download a free eBook of Romeo, Romeo by Robin Kaye. So spread the word—the sooner we reach 1,000 members, the sooner one of you might win your very own Nook Color!

Be sure to check out and @SourcebooksCasa on Twitter for the latest updates on our new releases, what’s happening on the Casablanca Authors Blog, and of course exclusives only available to our friends that come Party at Our Casa! The site is still in the early stages, so expect things to be updated in the coming weeks. We’ll be having a birthday party on May 2, so be on the lookout for more information, and the official party invite!

In honor of CasaVIP, we have discounted the price of 10 of our most beloved historical romances to $2.99. You can find them all here, along with the sign up for CasaVIP.

Royal Wedding Celebration

I am not sure how many of you are fans of England and the royals, but I definitely am. I will be getting up in the wee hours on Friday to watch the televised festivities. I was pleasantly surprised when Sourcebooks came up with their own way to celebrate and I wanted to tell you all about it.

If you haven’t already checked out the Sourcebooks British Babes Book Brigade Facebook Page (where you can participate in giveaways and interact with authors like Elizabeth Chadwick, Jill Mansell, Helen Hollick, Sarah Bower and Phillipa Ashley and more…) then you should before next week because the page is about to go royally mad!!

The royal wedding is only a week away and we are going to be celebrating all next week. Starting Monday we will be doing a giveaway every day until the big celebration on Friday. But these are no ordinary giveaways – these are royal wedding prize packs!

3 winners will be randomly picked each day:

- The 1st place winner will get a William & Kate wedding memento (it is top secret for now (just like Kate’s dress J) but check the page out on Monday to find out – oh and they are all different so there will be a different memento each day). Along with that they also get their choice of three books from any of our British Book Babes.

- The 2nd place winner will have their choice of any two books from any of our British Book Babes.

- The 3rd place winner will have their choice of one book from any of our British Book Babes.

British Babes Book Brigade

This Day in Literary History

Bestselling mystery novelist Sue Grafton, creator of tough, divorced private eye Kinsey Millhone, was born on this day in 1940. Starting with A Is for Alibi in 1982, Grafton reached U Is for Undertown, the 21st book featuring Millhone, in 2009.

Grafton was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. Her father, a Louisville attorney, wrote three critically acclaimed mystery novels between 1943 and 1951, and her mother was a passionate reader. Grafton grew up surrounded by books. She wrote three novels by the time she was 27, but all remained unpublished. She entered a novel in a British book contest and landed a contract for her first published novel, Kezia Dane (1967), which was not a mystery. Neither was her second book, The Lolly-Madonna War (1969), which was made into a movie in 1973. Grafton worked on the screenplay, which led to a scriptwriting career for television in the mid-1970s, a job she hated.

She came up with the idea for a mystery series featuring a modern female detective while locked in a bitter custody dispute in 1977 with her second husband. At the time, mystery novels featured few female detectives besides Nancy Drew and Miss Marple. Coincidentally, Sara Paretsky's first mystery featuring V.I. Warshawski, another modern female detective, was published in 1982, the same year as A Is for Alibi. Grafton has three children and several grandchildren (including one named Kinsey). She and her third husband divide their time between California and Kentucky.

Originally published on

Saturday, April 23, 2011

This Day in Literary History

Historians believe Shakespeare was born on this day in 1564, the same day he died in 1616.

Although the plays of William Shakespeare may be the most widely read works in the English language, little is known for certain about the playwright himself. Some scholars even believe the plays were not written by William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon but by some other well-educated, aristocratic writer who wished to remain anonymous.

Shakespeare's father was probably a common tradesman. He became an alderman and bailiff in Stratford-upon-Avon, and Shakespeare was baptized in the town on April 26, 1564. At age 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, and the couple had a daughter in 1583 and twins in 1585. Sometime later, Shakespeare set off for London to become an actor and by 1592 was well established in London's theatrical world as both a performer and a playwright. His earliest plays, including The Comedy of Errors and The Taming of the Shrew, were written in the early 1590s. Later in the decade, he wrote tragedies such as Romeo and Juliet (1594-1595) and comedies including The Merchant of Venice (1596-1597). His greatest tragedies were written after 1600, including Hamlet (1600-01), Othello (1604-05), King Lear (1605-06), and Macbeth (1605-1606).

He became a member of the popular theater group the Lord Chamberlain's Men, who later became the King's Men. The group built and operated the famous Globe Theater in 1599. Shakespeare ultimately became a major shareholder in the troupe and earned enough money to buy a large house in Stratford in 1597. He retired to Stratford in 1610, where he wrote his last plays, including The Tempest (1611) and The Winter's Tale (1610-11). Meanwhile, he had written more than 100 sonnets, which were published in 1609. Although pirated versions of Titus Andronicus, Romeo and Juliet and some other plays were published during Shakespeare's lifetime, no definitive collection of his works was published until after his death. In 1623, two members of Shakespeare's troupe collected the plays and printed what is now called the First Folio (1623).

Originally published on

Friday, April 22, 2011

This Day in Literary History

outhern writer Ellen Glasgow is born in Richmond, Virginia.

The daughter of a sadly mismatched couple, Glasgow felt pulled between her father's stern pioneering background and her mother's aristocratic Virginia family. The ninth of 10 children, the young Glasgow felt isolated growing up, and her mother was constantly in poor health. Her father worked in manufacturing, and she attended private schools.

At the age of 16, Glasgow began to lose her hearing, which increased her sense of isolation. She retreated into the world of books and began to write seriously at the age of 18. She had started work on two novels before she was 20 but destroyed much of her work after her mother's death in 1893. Her first novel, The Descendants, was published in 1897 to instant critical success.

Glasgow wrote 19 novels, a collection of stories, an autobiography, and other works, many centered on the oppression of women in the South. Among her major works are Barren Ground (1925), Veins of Iron (1935), and In This Our Life (1941). Although involved in several passionate romances with men, Glasgow never married. She suffered heart trouble in her late 60s and did not live to see her work win the 1942 Pulitzer Prize.

Originally posted on

Thursday, April 21, 2011

This Day in Literary History

Charlotte Bronte, the only one of three novelist Bronte sisters to live past age 31, is born.

Bronte, one of six siblings who grew up in a gloomy parsonage in the remote English village of Hawthorne, surrounded by the marshy moors of Yorkshire. Her mother died when she was five, and Charlotte, her two older sisters, and her younger sister Emily, were sent to Clergy Daughter's School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire. The cheap school featured unpalatable food, cold halls, and harsh discipline. Charlotte's two older sisters died of illness while at school, and the grim institution found its way into her masterpiece Jane Eyre (1847).

After their sisters' deaths, Charlotte and Emily were brought home, where they and their remaining siblings, Anne and Branwell, amused themselves by making up elaborate stories about fantastical worlds. When the girls grew older, they all took governess positions in private homes, and from 1835 to 1838 Charlotte taught in a girls' school. Meanwhile, she and Emily formed a plan to open their own school, and in 1842 the sisters went to Brussels to study languages and school administration. In Brussels, Charlotte fell in love with the married headmaster, an experience she used as the basis for her last novel, Villette (1853). Returning to the parsonage at Hawthorne, the sisters attempted to set up their own school but could not attract pupils. Meanwhile, their adored brother Branwell had become a heavy drinker and opium user. When Emily got him a job teaching with her at a wealthy manor, he lost both their positions after a tryst with the mother of the house.

In 1846, Charlotte accidentally found some poems written by Emily-it turned out all three sisters had secretly been writing verse. They published their own book, Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, adopting a pseudonym because they believed women writers were judged too softly. Only two copies sold, but publishers became interested in the sisters' work. Charlotte's Jane Eyre was published in 1847 under the name Currer Bell. Emily's Wuthering Heights and Anne's Agnes Grey were published later that year. Sadly, all three of Charlotte's siblings died within the next two years. Left alone, Charlotte cared for her ill father and married curate Arthur Bell Nicholls in 1854. Charlotte died during pregnancy shortly after the marriage.

Originally published on

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

This Day in Literary History

Edgar Allen Poe's story, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, first appears in Graham's Lady's and Gentleman's Magazine. The tale is generally considered to be the first detective story.

The story describes the extraordinary "analytical power" used by Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin to solve a series of murders in Paris. Like the later Sherlock Holmes stories, the tale is narrated by the detective's roommate.

Following the publication of Poe's story, detective stories began to grow into novels and English novelist Wilkie Collins published a detective novel, The Moonstone, in 1868. In Collins' story, the methodical Sergeant Cuff searches for the criminal who stole a sacred Indian moonstone. The novel includes several features of the typical modern mystery, including red herrings, false alibis, and climactic scenes.

The greatest fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, first appeared in 1887, in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel A Study in Scarlet. The cozy English mystery novel became popularized with Agatha Christie's Miss Marple series in the 1920s, when other detectives like Lord Peter Wimsey and Ellery Queen were also becoming popular. In the 1930s, sometimes called the golden age of detective stories, the noir detective novel became the mainstay of writers like Dashiell Hammet, Raymond Chandler, and Mickey Spillane. Tough female detectives such as Kinsey Millhone and V.I. Warshawski became popular in the 1980s.

Originally published on

Poetry for Wednesday

by Marianne Moore

I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond
all this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
discovers in
it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
they are
useful. When they become so derivative as to become
the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand: the bat
holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless
wolf under
a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse
that feels a flea, the base-
ball fan, the statistician--
nor is it valid
to discriminate against "business documents and

school-books"; all these phenomena are important. One must make
a distinction
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the
result is not poetry,
nor till the poets among us can be
"literalists of
the imagination"--above
insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, "imaginary gardens with real toads in them,"
shall we have
it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness and
that which is on the other hand
genuine, you are interested in poetry.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

This Day in Literary History

George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, dies in what is now Greece, where he had traveled to support the Greek struggle for independence from Turkey. Even today, he is considered a Greek national hero.

Byron's scandalous history, exotic travels, and flamboyant life made such an impression on the world that the term "Byronic" was coined to mean romantic, arrogant, dark, and cynical. Byron was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1788. His clubfoot and his impoverished environment made his childhood difficult, but at age 10 he inherited his great uncle's title. He attended Harrow, then Trinity College, Cambridge, where he ran up enormous debts and pursued passionate relationships with women and men. His first published volume of poetry, Hours of Idleness (1807), was savaged by critics, especially in Scotland, and his second published work, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809), attacked the English literary establishment.

After getting his master's degree in 1809, he traveled in Portugal, Spain, and the Near East for two years. His experiences fed into his later works, including Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (1812), which brought him almost instant acclaim in England. As he said at the time, he "awoke one morning and found myself famous." His poetry, manners, fashion, and tastes were widely imitated.

In 1815, he married Anne Isabella Milbanke, and the couple had a daughter, August Ada, the following year. Ada proved to be a mathematical prodigy and is considered by some to be the first computer programmer, thanks to her work on Charles Babbage's computing machine.

The marriage quickly foundered, and the couple legally separated. By this time, scandal had broken out over Byron's suspected incest with his half-sister, Augusta Leigh, and he was ostracized from society and forced to flee England in 1816. He settled in Geneva, near Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. There, he became intimately involved with Mary's half-sister, Claire Clairmont, who bore his daughter Allegra in January 1817.

Byron moved to Venice that year and entered a period of wild debauchery. In 1819, he began an affair with the Countess Teresa Guiccioli, the young wife of an elderly count, and the two remained attached for many years. Byron, always an avid supporter of liberal causes and national independence, supported the Greek war for independence. He joined the cause in Greece, training troops in the town of Missolonghi, where he died just after his 36th birthday.

Originally published on

Monday, April 18, 2011

This Day in Literary History

A federal court rules that Ezra Pound should no longer be held at St. Elizabeth's Hospital for the criminally insane in Washington, D.C. Pound has been held for 13 years, following his arrest in Italy during World War II on charges of treason.

Pound was born in Hailey, Idaho, and grew up in a suburb near Philadelphia, where his father worked at the U.S. Mint. He attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he met William Carlos Williams and had a romance with Hilda Doolittle, later known as the poet H.D. He earned a master's degree in languages from the University of Pennsylvania in 1906.

He took a job teaching at Wabash College in Indiana but lost it after six months, having been accused of hosting a woman in his room overnight. In 1908, Pound moved to London, where he taught and published reviews. While working as secretary to William Butler Yeats, he met the daughter of one of Yeats' friends, Dorothy Shakespear, who he married in 1914. The couple later had a child.

During this time, he wrote important works of literary criticism, spelling out the rules for new forms of poetry. He championed young writers such as William Carlos Williams, H.D., T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, and Marianne Moore. He also began writing his own poems, including his 116 Cantos, which combined his memories, feelings, impressions, and fragments of literature.

In 1920, Pound and his family moved to Paris, where he fell in love with violinist Olga Rudge, with whom he also had child. In 1925, he and his wife moved to Rapallo, Italy. Pound spent the summers with Rudge in Venice until World War II broke out; Rudge then joined Pound and his wife in Rapallo.

Pound strongly supported Benito Mussolini, believing that art flourishes under strong leaders. He worked actively against the Allies until the end of the war, when he was arrested by U.S. forces and held for weeks in an open cage in a prison camp near Pisa. The experience broke his mental health, although he produced one of his most beautiful works, the Pisan Cantos, there. When he was returned to the U.S., he was ruled unfit to stand trial and held at St. Elizabeth's for 13 years. While in prison, his Pisan Cantos (1948) won an award from the Library of Congress. Poets and authors rallied around him and finally gained his release in 1958. He returned to Italy, where he lived until his death in 1972.

Originally published on

Book Feature and Giveaway: Guardian Angelino Tour

Shiver of Fear
By Roxanne St. Claire
ISBN: 9780446566599
Published on: 4/01/2011
Edition: FOREVER Special Release Edition

The legacy that haunts her . . . The mystery she must solve . . . A man who threatens to reveal her secrets . . . and break her heart. Burned by a failed marriage, former FBI agent Marc Rossi wants back in the investigation game with no emotional strings attached. Taking an assignment for his enterprising Angelino cousins, he heads to Northern Ireland to pry a key piece of evidence from a missing socialite-any way he can. But when the ice queen turns out to be warm, beautiful, and on a secret mission of her own, the job becomes a passionate reminder of what happens when duty and desire mix.

Face of Danger
By Roxanne St. Claire
ISBN: 9780446566575
Published on: 5/01/2011

Private investigator Vivi Angelino loves living life on the edge, but stepping into the shoes of a movie starlet to bait a serial killer isn't just a thrill . . . it's a ticket to the big time for her fledgling security firm. That is, as long as a certain risk-averse FBI agent stays out of her way-and out of her fantasies.

Assistant Special Agent in Charge Colton Lang isn't above using his well-worn rulebook to stop Vivi's latest walk on the wild side. But when they learn her client is involved in something far more insidious than bad acting, Vivi and Colt must work together despite the electrifying attraction arcing between them. For each new clue is bringing them closer to a high-profile crime with a dark and deadly truth at its core . . . and a cold, calculating murderer with nothing left to lose.

About the Author:
First of all, call me Rocki. Everyone does. Evidently, when my mother brought me home from the hospital I seemed too scrawny and small to pull off “Roxanne” (she’d read Cyrano de Bergerac while pregnant or I would have been Judy) so they called me Rocki.

I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, the youngest of five (overachievers, every one), and fell in love with words and stories the summer I read Gone With The Wind. That year, for my twelfth birthday, my parents gave me a typewriter (with italic font – it was the coolest thing) and from that day on, I’ve had my fingers on a keyboard, pounding out love stories for fun. My AP English teacher taught me the two most important lessons an aspiring author ever needs: 1) verbs are the key to life and 2) a writer should get a real job. After attending UCLA and graduating with a degree in communications, I tried acting and television broadcasting. Oh, they aren’t real jobs? I learned that the hard way. I changed my last name from Zink to St. Claire because a news producer told me Roxanne Zink had too many harsh consonants for a TV personality – apparently Katie Couric didn’t get the memo. I got some fun gigs, and even met Tom Hanks when I did a guest appearance on Bosom Buddies. I liked on camera work, but wasn’t too crazy about starvation, so I moved to Boston and got that “real” job. In fact, I placed my foot on the bottom rung of the corporate ladder and didn’t look down until I’d climbed all the way up to the level of Senior Vice President at the world’s largest public relations firm. On the way up, I met the man of my dreams in an elevator. Two years later – in the same elevator! – he asked me to marry him and I wisely said yes.

I stayed in PR, moved to Miami, had a few babies, lost my home in a hurricane, built another one a few hours north and all along, I kept writing my “stories” for fun. One night, I read a particularly fabulous romance novel that changed my life for good. That night, I decided I wanted to make someone else feel as whole and happy as that author made me feel. (Everyone asks! It was Nobody’s Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.) With two small children and one big “real” job, writing my first novel wasn’t easy, but I did finish a manuscript that managed to get the attention of a literary agent. She told me to do one thing and one thing fast: write another book. (The first one is usually a “learner” book, honestly.) That second manuscript sold to Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books and was released in 2003 as Tropical Getaway. Since then, I’ve written almost thirty more, in multiple genres, and long ago replaced the corporate ladder with the rollercoaster of publishing as a full-time novelist. Finally, writing is my real job.

Today, I live in a small beach community in Florida with my husband and our two teenagers, and one spectacular Australian Terrier named Pepper. When I have spare time, I spend it with my family, but also dig in the dirt with my plants, travel for business and fun, hang out with my many writer friends, and, of course, I love to read. I’m still crazy about words and stories and hope to write at least a hundred books in my lifetime. And, yes, verbs are the key to life. My favorites? Love. Work. Play.

Roxanne's Contact Info:
BlogTalk Radio

I have three sets of books to giveaway. The winners will win one each of the two books. The contest is open to US and Canada and winners will be chosen on April 25.

In My Mailbox

I received some fantastic selections this past week. I would love to hear what you got. My amazon associates link aren't working right now for some reason, so this week I just have a the list posted without any links.

Airmail by Naomi Bulger
The Secret History of Costaguana by Juan Gabriel Vasquez
The Tabloid City by Pete Hamill
House Divided by Mike Lawson
20 Years Younger by Bob Greene
The Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore
The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry
Working It Out by Abby Rike
Understanding Jesus by Joe Amaral
Behind The Gates by Eva Gray
My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren
Buried Secrets by Joseph Finder
Obsidian: Memoir of a Cutter by The Hippie with Anger Issues

A Little Bit Wicked by Kristin Chenoweth

Sunday, April 17, 2011

This Day in Literary History

Karen Dinesen, Baroness Blixen-Finecke, better known by her pen name Isak Dinesen, is born in Rungsted, Denmark. Dinesen's memoir, Out of Africa, helped demystify the Dark Continent for millions of readers.

Dinesen was born to an upper-class Danish family. Her father committed suicide when Dinesen was 10, ending the happiest period of her childhood. She began writing plays and stories and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, where she developed an interest in art.

When her family sent her to Oxford to study English, she rebelled and went to Paris and Rome to study painting. In 1914, she married her cousin Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke, and the couple moved to what was then British East Africa (now Kenya), where they owned and operated a coffee plantation. While the unhappy marriage dissolved in 1921, Dinesen fell passionately in love with Africa and remained to manage the plantation for a decade. In Africa, she was a lively and extravagant hostess, fond of throwing lush dinner parties for her friends-parties which laid the basis for her 1949 story, Babette's Feast, which was filmed in 1987.

Drought and a crash in coffee prices forced Dinesen, penniless, back to Denmark in 1931. She began publishing short story collections with Seven Gothic Tales (1934), followed by Out of Africa in 1937, which brought her recognition and respect. She published several other story collections before her death, in 1962.

Originally published on

Game of Thrones on HBO

I hope many of you are as excited as I am about the new television show coming to HBO bases on the Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin. It will premiere on April 17, which just happens to be today. Watch the trailer below and get all settled in to what the new series.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book Giveaway: Instant Influence

Need to convince someone to quit smoking? Or maybe you have an employee whom you love but seriously needs to get his act together? A young adult that you hope can be reasoned with? Maybe you just need to get yourself to make better health choices. Whoever needs convincing, this book explains how to ask six simple questions that can make a lasting impression.

If you want to motivate your employees to be more productive, convince your customers to use more of your products and services, encourage a loved one to engage in healthier habits, or inspire any change in yourself, renowned psychologist Dr. Michael Pantalon can show you how to achieve Instant Influence in six simple steps. Drawing on three decades of research, Dr. Pantalon's easy-to-learn method can create changes both great and small in 7 minutes or less. This scientifically tested method succeeds in every area of work and life by helping people tap into their deeply personal reasons for wanting to change and finding a spark of "yes" within an answer that sounds like "no."

I have two copies to giveaway. Please leave a comment with your email so I can contact you if you are a winner. Winners will be chosen on May 4. Winners will be subject to the one copy per household rule, which means that if they win the same title in two or more contests, they will receive only one copy of the title (or one set in the case of grouped giveaways) in the mail. The contest is open to US and Canadian residents.

Book Review: Seeds of Turmoil

Title: Seeds of Turmoil
Author: Bryan Wright
ISBN: 978-0849948152
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published Date: August 2010
Pages: 240

I received a free copy of this book from Book Sneeze for my honest review.

Synopsis from Amazon:
The current conflict in the Middle East began long before the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. It originated when Abraham sinned, distorting God's promise that he and his heirs would make a great nation and inherit the land now called The Holy Land.

A historical and political account, Seeds of Turmoil clearly explains the biblical story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar and the ensuing sibling rivalry between Jacob and Esau, whose choices formed the world's three most influential religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

This fascinating insight into the beginnings of the conflict also explains what about the land is so important today. In addition, Wright sheds light on the conflicting Jewish, Christian, and Islamic perspectives and answers the question, Does God play favorites?

My review:
I wasn't sure what to expect when I agreed to review this book. I thought perhaps it would be political and more of what we normally hear on the news channels and not a book that would really explore and give the entire picture of the conflict. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The book traced the history of the origin of the chaos by starting with Abraham and working his way down. Biblical passages were included to show the history and the characters that were involved from the very beginning.

The book brought on a new perspective for me of the conflict and the history of the middle east to understand the path that has been followed up to this point and why things have happened in the way they have. It is often easy to dismiss the conflict as it seems that we hear too much about it and become desenstized to what we hear. Yet, this book explains how we should pay attention and know the history to get a full understanding. As a Christian, I liked this and feel it is important to know about God's chosen people and to realize that what has been prophesied will come to pass.

Book Review: Transforming a Church in Rural America

Title: Transforming a Church in Rural America
Author: Shannon O'Dell
ISBN: 9780892216949
Pages: 200
Publisher: New Leaf Press
Published Date: Febrauary 15, 2011

I received a free copy of this book from Book Sneeze for my honest review.

Synopsis from Publishers Weekly:
O'Dell, a pastor, explains how he led a small rural Arkansas church from a handful of members to a multi-site church of thousands. A unique feature of the book is inclusion of photos and perky illustrations and rich graphics to move readers through important points. O'Dell's is a fresh, no-holds-barred voice in Christian nonfiction, and he makes the case for a strong connection between marriage and ministry: "Now this book is primarily about growing the rural church, and I feel that having a red-hot marriage and a functional family is an extremely important element of that." He advocates V.A.L.U.E.: vision, attitude, leadership, understanding, enduring excellence. For all the crisp selling and innovation in the book itself, it doesn't break all the rules. Instead, it uses some of the tired phrases found in many books on church growth; and, for all the good pictures and talk of transformation of lives, the majority of the photos are of buildings and illustrations for the pastor's sermons.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

My review:
As someone that lives in a small, rural area, I wanted to read more about what a church leader had to say about how to transform the church in these areas of America. There is the occasional larger church but for the most part, the community is made up of very small congregations.

I found the book to offer some good insight but I am not sure it would all be relevant to rural churches, as it seems the author has focused on bringing the mega church philosophy to rural areas and they often do not have the members or the money to instill programs that might be transforming. I thought the idea of transforming those that haven't hear the gospel is great, however, I am a little put off that he didn't recommend starting with the "ten families that have been there forever." It seems a transformation of those members already in the congregation could only produce growth and bring about a way to engage those that hadn't heard the gospel and get them involved in church. Overall, the book was just mediocre due to a few items such as what I have listed here.

This Day in Literary History

British author Kingsley Amis is born to a lower-middle-class clerk and his wife.

Amis' mother encouraged him to write at an early age, and he later attended Oxford, where he was known as an outspoken radical. In World War II, he served with the Royal Corps of Signals and later joined the faculty of Swansea University in South Wales. He married in 1949, the same year his son, Martin Amis, was born. Martin would grow up to become a famous novelist in his own right.

Amis' experiences as a professor helped inspire his first and most popular novel, Lucky Jim (1954). The book marked him as part of England's Angry Young Man movement, consisting of upwardly mobile, lower-class writers condemning England's class system. The book, a comic masterpiece satirizing academic life, made Amis a household name during the 1950s. The book was made into a movie in 1957.

Although his first novel remains his best-known work, Amis wrote more than 40 books during his career, including about 20 novels and six volumes of poetry. He spent a year teaching at Princeton University in New Jersey and later became a fellow at Cambridge. His 1986 book, The Old Devils, won the coveted Booker Prize. Known for his curmudgeonly manner, Amis was knighted in 1990 and published his caustic autobiography, Memoirs, in 1991. Amis died in 1995.

Originally published on

Book Feature: The MPire

Synopsis: Mallory Haulm picture-perfect paradise world crashes after he is summoned to return home to join The Family Business. Poised for success, Mallory focus his energy to save the ailing business, not realizing that accepting his Assigned Reigns will place in a position of unrelenting power – a power he is unaware that he possesses. As Mallory prepares to join his brothers and becomes Death, an old love from the past comes back to upset the transformation.

TL James graduated with an MBA from LeTourneau University. At LETU, James cultivated an interest in biblical studies and research. Little did James know, but her love for research would become an integral thread in her writing style.
After many sleepless nights, James began writing her first speculative fictional book, with her newly born son tucked comfortably at her side. She developed the family drama storyline that showcases her love of research, biblical studies and literary classics (i.e., Chaucer, Shakespeare and Mythology). The MPire Trilogy was born.
In 2008, TL James revived PHE Ink, a Writing Solutions Firm, after discovering a number of gaps in the publishing industry. James works with aspiring writers, one-on-one, to develop their literary voice. PHE Ink, also, assists entrepreneurs with transforming their business dreams into defined objectives and business plans.
TL James currently resides in Houston, Texas with her son and immediate family.

Find T.L. James:
Author Blog


You can see all the blogs on this tour here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

This Day in Literary History

Jeffrey Archer, bestselling novelist and politician, is born in Somerset, England.

Archer attended Oxford and later studied in the U.S. In 1969, he was elected to the House of Commons, the youngest member of Parliament elected that year. But in 1974, financial disaster struck when an investment went bad. Penniless, he resigned from Parliament and wrote a novel, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less, which became an instant bestseller, enabling him to repay his debts.

Archer was later appointed deputy chairman of Britain's Conservative Party, but he was forced to resign in disgrace again after a tabloid accused him of patronizing a prostitute in 1986. Archer sued the tabloid and won $800,000 in damages. Meanwhile, he continued writing bestsellers, including Shall We Tell the President? (1976), First Among Equals (1984), As the Crow Flies (1991), and The Fourth Estate (1996). In 1995, the queen made Archer a peer, endowing him with the title of Lord.

In 1999, Lord Archer ran for mayor of London but was brought down by another scandal, when he admitted that he had attempted an illegal cover-up of the prostitute incident 13 years earlier.

Originally posted on

Top Ten Fictional Fashion Icons in Films and Literature

1. Holly Golightly: In Truman Capote's novella Breakfast at Tiffany's, his heroine Holly Golightly is actually a high-class call girl. But Audrey Hepburn's cheekier, sleeker interpretation of Miss Golightly is what won over American filmgoers when it was released in 1961. Draped in enviable Givenchy gowns, diamonds and cocktail dresses, Hepburn also channeled a more relaxed 60s vibe during her "Moon River" scene, wearing a simple gray sweatshirt with her hair tied in a makeshift turban. The famous black Givenchy dress worn when Holly Golightly stops in front of Tiffany's was recently sold for 467,000£ at a London auction in December 2006.
2. Carrie Bradshaw: Candace Bushnell's vibrant characters in her based-on-the-column book Sex and the City became so popular that they were rewarded with their own TV show and two feature films. The series narrator is sex columnist Carrie Bradshaw, a feisty fashionista with a weakness for models, Fashion Week, shoes and designer clothing. Carrie's also known as a good vintage shopper, but her preference for Manolo Blahniks made the shoe designer a household name, and resulted in higher prices for his designs in the real world. Stylist Patricia Field is credited with developing fashion as its own strong character in the TV series, inspiring women to consider getting dressed as a true form of self-expression and evade head-to-toe looks.
3. Miranda Priestly: The title character in Lauren Weisberger's The Devil Wears Prada is said to be loosely based on the real-life magazine editor Anna Wintour, the so-called ice queen or editrix of American Vogue. Known for being an egomaniac with a faultless aesthetic, Priestly runs the fictional magazine Runway and makes her personal assistants' lives miserable. In the film version, audiences got to see Priestly's — played by Meryl Streep — fabulous wardrobe and even a glimpse into the famed Runway fashion closet. The film was also styled by Patricia Field.
4. Lady Brett Ashley: One of Hemingway's most complex female characters is the troubled but independent Lady Brett Ashley, an expat who lives in Paris and teases The Sun Also Rises' Jake Barnes even as she takes up with other men, including a young bull fighter in Spain. As Lady Brett Ashley miserably searches for conventional love and romance after WWI, she is still seen as a fashionable member of the upper class and is highly desirable to men; Hemingway writes that she is "damned good looking." Ashley isn't just on the cutting edge of fashion: she's a few steps ahead of the flappers of her day, choosing to wear tighter fitting clothes along with her hats and short haircut, emphasizing her masculine-like independence.
5. Scarlett O'Hara: Scarlett O'Hara is one of the most infuriating and endearing characters in American literature and film. Maragaret Mitchell created Scarlett, the strong-willed, spoiled Southern belle whose lifestyle is uprooted during the Civil War but who never compromises her flamboyant taste. Vivien Leigh played Scarlett in the 1939 film version of Gone With the Wind, just three years after it was published. From the white, puff-sleeved ball gown she wears at Tara to the green dress she has made from curtains, Scarlett's outfits are considered some of the most iconic in Hollywood filmmaking and American literature.
6. Gloria Gilbert: Writer F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda were known as America's most fashionable couple during the 1920s, and their bizarre antics inspired a generation to live in the moment. Fitzgerald's most autobiographical work was the novel The Beautiful and Damned, in which he chronicles the highs and lows of the turbulent and exhausting relationship of the Gilberts. Gloria is young and impossibly fashionable, always dressing in furs and the latest fashions in New York. While the characters are ultimately doomed, their glamorous, opulent lifestyle gives the perfect picture of the frenzy of the Jazz Age.
7. Allie Hamilton: Nicholas Sparks' novel-turned film The Notebook isn't nearly old enough to be considered a classic, but its immediately intense popularity has made it an inspirational force in pop culture and fashion. The story centers around the lifelong love story of Allie Hamilton and Noah Calhoun, who first meet during the summer of 1940. Although the story is told through switches to the past and back to the present, the flashbacks in the film offer the best look at the feminine but progressive Allie, played by Rachel McAdams. Always dressed in silk sundresses, hats or hair accessories and pumps, Allie always takes care of her entire appearance, from her red nail polish to her bouncy curls. The film also inspired women around the country to experiment with easy retro looks during the mid-2000s.
8. Daisy Buchanan: Another tragic but still influential character from the 1920s is Daisy Buchanan, from Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. The delicate Daisy is trapped in an adulterous, sometimes abusive marriage even though she has a romantic past with her next door neighbor, Gatsby. Mia Farrow played Daisy in the 1974 film version, which is generally considered the best film adaptation of the novel. Farrow is dressed in ethereal cream and white silk and linen, usually with a broad-brimmed hat and wrapped in scarves.
9. Annie Hall: Diane Keaton's portrayal of the lively Annie in one of Woody Allen's most iconic films, Annie Hall, is still referenced and celebrated today. Annie's masculine costumes are constantly reinterpreted by actresses, models and designers who still love her slouchy khaki pants, vests, neckties, hats and blazers, and that have translated well for those who would rather eschew traditional fashion trends for something more unique but ultimately, timeless.
10. Anna Karenina: The dramatic Anna Karenina in Tolstoy's epic novel by the same name is a complex character who is both selfish and self-effacing, passionate and distant. From her earliest introduction in the novel, Anna is viewed as the thoroughly fashionable visitor from St. Petersburg. Kitty, Dolly and the other female characters marvel at her stately beauty and rich clothes, which she wears throughout the book despite her tragic life as a recluse and an embarrassment to Russian society. Anna Karenina has been adapted for film numerous times, starring actresses like Vivien Leigh, Greta Garbo and Jacqueline Bisset.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Famous Cafe's in the Literary World

I am not sure if there are many literary lovers like me that like to visit sites that are in books or the areas that authors frequent/frequented. I hope that many of you do and here is a list to help you out.

1. La Rotonde: One of the most famous Parisian cafes during the great American literary ex-pat era is Cafe La Rotonde, which was actually written about in Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, although Hemingway's Jake Barnes seems to lament its overwhelming popularity: "No matter what cafe in Montparnasse you ask a taxi-driver to bring you to from the right bank of the river, they always take you to the Rotonde," Hemingway wrote. Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald and T.S. Eliot were also patrons there.
2. Le Dome Cafe: The very next line in Hemingway's quote above is, "Ten years from now it will probably be the Dome." Le Dome Cafe in Montparnasse in Paris was actually the first major cafe in that area to attract ex-pats and intellectuals. La Rotonde, Le Select and La Coupole were its competitors, but the Dome is now a more established seafood restaurant, no longer catering to up-and-coming artists and writers.
3. The Literary Cafe: St. Petersburg's Literary Cafe supposedly entertained many top Russian writers, including Chernyshevsky and Dostoevsky, and is said to be the last cafe that poet Alexander Pushkin visited before dying in a duel.
4. Les Deux Magots: Now a popular tourist spot, Les Deux Magots is known as Hemingway's favorite spot in Paris. But the St. Germain-des-Pres cafe also served many other legendary writers and artists, including Rimbaud, Simone de Beauvoir, André Gide, Jean Giraudoux, Jean Paul Sartre, and even Picasso. It's one of the oldest cafes in Paris, and pays tribute to its old but polished heritage in its current design and character (though is most likely more expensive than it was in Hemingway's day).
5. Cafe Braunerhof: Like Paris, Vienna is a city dotted with cafes, many of which were home to famous writers, artists and intellectuals. The Cafe Braunerhof located near the Habsburg city palace is said to be lauded writer Thomas Bernhard's favorite spot, and where we worked on some of the most important works in the German-speaking world after WWII.
6. Cafe de Flore: Now a popular hang-out among the fashion set and other glamorous types, Cafe de Flore — principal rival to Les Deux Magots —was another office for Hemingway and his contemporaries. In 1994, Cafe de Flore began handing out its own annual literary prize — the Prix de Flore —to promising young authors of French-language literature. Besides a cash prize, the winner gets to drink a glass of the white wine Pouilly-Fume at the cafe every day for a year.
7. Dingo Bar: Now the restaurant Auberge de Venise, the Dingo Bar was another Montparnasse staple that opened in 1923 and catered to English and American ex-pats in Paris, like writer Djuna Barnes and publishing house owner Nancy Cunard. It's also the spot where Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald met for the first time.
8. Cafe Montmartre: This cafe is actually located in Prague and was sometimes called by its nickname, Montik, or The Monty. Some of the most important writers from Germany and Czechoslovakia — like Franz Kafka, Eduard Bass and Max Brod — all came here.
9. Pedrocchi Cafe: Padua's Pedrocchi Cafe is one of the biggest cafes in the world and was known as a favorite hang-out for Lord Byron and French writer Stendhal.
10. Harry's New York Bar: Actually located in Paris, Harry's New York Bar was named for its early manager, a Scotsman. It opened in 1911, and Harry was supposedly responsible for making it a legitimate ex-pat cafe during the next decade, attracting Sinclair Lewis, Humphrey Bogart, Hemingway, and others. Side tip: Harry's New York Bar is also where the Bloody Mary was first concocted.
11. Antico Caffe Greco: Situated near the Spanish Steps in a very posh area of Rome, the Antico Caffe Greco — founded in 1760 — is also the city's most famous. Over the past centuries, writers like Lord Byron, John Keats, Henrik Ibsen and Hans Christian Andersen became patrons.
12. La Coupole: La Coupole is another historical Montparnasse cafe, which opened in 1927, soon after Le Select, and aimed to compete against Le Dome for the expat intellectual clientele. The massive cafe could seat 600 people, including famous guests like Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre. La Coupole is now an official historic monument.
13. La Closerie des Lilas: Also situated in Paris' Montparnasse is La Closerie, which opened in 1847 and attracted everyone from Henry James to Leon Trotsky to Gertrude Stein and Hemingway, who references nearby statues and descriptions in The Sun Also Rises.
14. Caffe Giubbe Rosse: One of Florence's most famous cafes is Caffe Giubbe Rosse, named for Garibaldi's Red Shirts, and also inspiration for the waiters' uniforms. Celebrated for its role in producing the Futurist movement, Caffe Giubbe Rosse was also a favored spot for many notable Italian poets.
15. Grand Cafe: The Grand Hotel in Oslo is home to the Grand Cafe, a famous restaurant and meet-up. It's where the Nobel Peace Prize banquet is held each year, and is said to be the daily lunch spot of Henrik Ibsen. Roald Dahl also stayed at the hotel during his youth.

This Day in Literary History

Noah Webster, a Yale-educated lawyer with an avid interest in language and education, publishes his American Dictionary of the English Language.

Webster's dictionary was one of the first lexicons to include distinctly American words. The dictionary, which took him more than two decades to complete, introduced more than 10,000 "Americanisms." The introduction of a standard American dictionary helped standardize English spelling, a process that had started as early as 1473, when printer William Caxton published the first book printed in English. The rapid proliferation of printing and the development of dictionaries resulted in increasingly standardized spellings by the mid-17th century. Coincidentally, Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language was published almost exactly 63 years earlier, on April 15, 1755.

Originally published on

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bea's Gift Baskets Facebook Party Info

M&M Candies are a favorite of many and their slogan, "Melts in your mouth, not in your hands" still holds true some 80 years after Forrest Mars, Sr., founder of the Mars Company saw soldiers in the Spanish Civil War eating chocolate pellets covered with a shell of tempered chocolate. With some work to create what he saw, Mars received a patent for M&Ms on March 3, 1941 and production began at a factory in Newark, New Jersey.

The candies bear the initials M&M after Mars himself and Bruce Murrie, the son of Hershey's Chocolate president. Murrie held 20 percent interest in the new venture. It was a brilliant business decision Hershey had control of the rationed chocolate. This partnership allowed the candies to be made using Hershey's chocolate.

Initial production created five colors: violet, green, red, yellow and brown. The candies were distributed in cardboard tubes.
At the onset of World War II, M&Ms were exclusively sold to the military. This caused an increase in production and required a larger factory.
In 1948, Mars would buy out Murrie's 20 percent in the company and replace the cardboard tube packaging with black cellophane, which is very similar to the bag we see today.

In the 1950's Mars used a black M on the candies. It was the first time the candies appeared with a letter, which later become the well-recognized white M we use today. The decade of the 1950s also launched Mars production when Midwest Research Institute in Kansas City, Missouri created a process where 3,300 pounds of the chocolate centers could be coated every hour!

At the onset of 1954, Peanut M&Ms were introduced along with the signature slogan, Melts in your mouth, not in your hands" and the lovable M&M characters made their television debut! It would not be until 1960, however, that the Peanut M&M's were colored in red, green and yellow.

The 1960s found Mars manipulating the centers of M&M's trying Almonds. These were not popular. In 1988 the company reintroduced the almond centered M&Ms as a limited edition during Easter and Christmas. It wouldn't be until 1992 that Almond M&M's became a standard part of production.

In 1976, due to concerns of Red #2 dye causing cancer, Mars dropped the red M&Ms and replaced them with orange. Mars did this as a means to satisfy their consumers as the M&M candies did not contain the dye.

The 1980s were a time of celebration as M&M's went international and beyond hitting markets in Australia, Europe, Hong Kong, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Malaysia and the United Kingdom. Then in 1983, M&Ms found their way into outer space and have been a part of all missions since!

In 1984 M&M's was the official snack food of the Olympic Games held in Los Angeles, California.

In 1990, became a sponsor for NASCAR, creating the M&M team with drivers: Ernie Irvan, Ken Schrader, Eliott Sadler and Kyle Busch.
Peanut Butter M&Ms were introduced in 1991.

Fans were invited to vote, in 1995, on a color to replace the tan M&M. Votes were cast by calling 1-800-FUN-COLOR and the consumer's choice was BLUE.
1996 gives M&M fans the opportunity to create their own colored M&Ms, from 21 color choices, with ColorWorks.
The popular Green M&M makes her television debut and M&M World in Las Vegas opens its doors to the public.

In 1998, M&M went back to tubes with the introduction of the M&M Minis. It was also in this year that M&Ms became the "candy of the new millennium" as MM is the roman numeral for 2000. The following year, Crispy M&Ms were introduced and were yielded the greatest profit of any M&M variety.
Mars calls on the public again in 2002 with their "M&Ms Global Color Vote". Three choices for a new M&M color were options: aqua, pink and purple. Purple won and was featured as a limited time only color. is introduced in 2004, giving consumers the option to print on M&Ms, with personalized phrases on each candy on the opposite side from the "m". There are 17 vibrant color options available.

In 2005 Mars joins the force with the launch of their "MPire" campaign that introduced the Dark Chocolate M&M to the public.
To draw more attention to the site, in 2007, M&M's produced a 50-foot, smiling Lady Liberty M&M statue to kick off a campaign encouraging Americans to create their own M&M characters at
Pretzel M&Ms were introduced in 2010 and the M&M packaging designs changed to show M&Ms on the wrapper
Bea's Gift Baskets offers the Maximum M&M experience with several baskets featuring America's favorite candies.

Bea's Gift Baskets and Gifts, owned by Bea Alexander, is committed to providing only the finest gourmet gift baskets and gifts. Chosen for the 31st Annual Emmy Awards Gift Baskets, and named by NAPW as Professional Woman of the Year (2011), Bea's Gift Baskets and Gifts specializes in fabulous containers with elaborate designs for any occasion, and always offers the latest trends in gift basket design. The company offers a variety of gifts including gourmet baskets, personalized gifts. There's something for any occasion all available worldwide. For more information on Bea's Gift Baskets and Gifts, please visit their Web site at or call (704) 240-4438.

Bea's Gift Baskets Facebook Party

I love Bea's Gift Baskets! I have posted about them before and wanted to share a fun event they are sponsoring tonight. They are having a Facebook party tonight on their facebook fan page that will include an egg hunt and other fun events. They are posting questions on the fan page today until the party starts and where you can find the answers. Go and keep track of the answers so you are ready when the event starts. The event will take place from 7:30-9:30 pm EST tonight. Go Here and like their page and leave a comment telling them you were sent there by Laura at The Book Tree blog. They are giving away a gift to the blogger that brings in the most people to like their page and I am hoping all of my fantastic blog readers will help me win. I hope to see you all at the party tonight!

Poetry for Wednesday

The Beekeeper's Daughter
By: Sylvia Plath

A garden of mouthings. Purple, scarlet-speckled, black
The great corollas dilate, peeling back their silks.
Their musk encroaches, circle after circle,
A well of scents almost too dense to breathe in.
Hieratical in your frock coat, maestro of the bees,
You move among the many-breasted hives,

My heart under your foot, sister of a stone.

Trumpet-throats open to the beaks of birds.
The Golden Rain Tree drips its powders down.
In these little boudoirs streaked with orange and red
The anthers nod their heads, potent as kings
To father dynasties. The air is rich.
Here is a queenship no mother can contest ---

A fruit that's death to taste: dark flesh, dark parings.

In burrows narrow as a finger, solitary bees
Keep house among the grasses. Kneeling down
I set my eyes to a hole-mouth and meet an eye
Round, green, disconsolate as a tear.
Father, bridegroom, in this Easter egg
Under the coronal of sugar roses

The queen bee marries the winter of your year.

This Day in Literary History

Southern writer Eudora Welty is born in Jackson, Mississippi.

Welty, whose father owned an insurance company, led a sheltered life. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1929 and studied advertising at Columbia University School of Business. When she returned to Mississippi in 1931, she worked as a radio writer and newspaper society writer while working on fiction on the side. She also worked for the Works Progress Administration, taking photographs and recording interviews with Jackson residents. She remained an avid photographer throughout her life.

Welty's first short story, The Death of a Traveling Salesman, was published in 1936. For the next two years, her work appeared regularly in the well-respected Southern Review. Her first book of stories, A Curtain of Green, was published in 1941, followed by the Wide Net in 1943 and The Robber Bridegroom in 1942. She won the prestigious O. Henry Award for best short fiction of the year in 1942 and 1943 and won the Pulitzer Prize for her 1972 novel, The Optimist's Daughter.

Welty died on July 23, 2001.

Originally published on

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

This Day in Literary History

Scott Turow, author of Presumed Innocent, (1987) is born in Chicago.

Turow started writing as a child, inspired by his mother, who wrote articles for local publications outside Chicago. He attended Amherst College, then studied and taught fiction at Stanford before enrolling in Harvard Law School. Based on his experiences at Harvard, he wrote One L: What They Really Teach You at Harvard Law School (1977). He joined the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago after law school, working on a sting operation to convict corrupt lawyers and judges. After eight years on the project, he left to practice criminal defense at a large Chicago law firm. While holding both jobs, he commuted to work on the train, where he wrote his first novel, Presumed Innocent, in a spiral notebook. The book was made into a hit movie in 1990 starring Harrison Ford. Turow continued to work part time as an attorney while turning out more bestsellers, including The Burden of Proof (1990), Pleading Guilty (1993), The Laws of Our Fathers (1996), and Personal Injuries (1999).

Turow is a pioneer in the legal thriller genre, paving the way for other bestselling writers such as John Grisham.

Originally published on

National Library Week

In celebration of National Library Week, the American Library Association has released the top ten most challenged books. Here is the list and I would love to hear your thoughts. Is there one that you think that should have been included or do you think one of these should not have been included?

1.And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group

2.The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence

3.Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, and sexually explicit

4.Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
Reasons: drugs, offensive language, and sexually explicit

5.The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence

6.Lush, by Natasha Friend
Reasons: drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

7.What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones
Reasons: sexism, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

8.Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint

9.Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie
Reasons: homosexuality and sexually explicit

10.Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: religious viewpoint and violence

Book Review: 21-Day Kickstart

Title: 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart
Author: Neal D. Barnard, MD
ISBN: 978-0-446-58381-7
Publisher: Grand Central Life and Style
Published Date: February 2011
Pages: 348

I received a free copy of this book for my honest review.

For years, Dr. Neal D. Barnard has been at the forefront of cutting edge reseach on what it really takes to lose weight and restore the body to optimal health. Now, with his proven, successful program, in just three short weeks you'll get fast results-dro0p pounds, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, imporve blood sugar, and more.

About the Author:
Neal D. Barnard MD, is a clinical researcher, author, and health advocate. He is an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and president of the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. He has been the principal investigator or co-investigator on several clinical trials studying the effects of diet on health. He is also the author of several books and is a frequent lecturer.

My review:
Dr. Barnard's book is advocating a plant based, completely vegan diet to get yourself back in optimal health. His idea is that you need to cut out all animal products for 21 days and you will feel better than ever and once you have tried it for 21 days, you will not want to go back to eating the way you were before. The book tells the benefits of eating vegan and explains what that does for your body and health and then also explores what happens to your body and health when you do not eat this way.

Once the book has discussed how to follow this vegan life choice, each day for the 21 day diet has a few pages for you to read to give you motivation and encouragement. These daily readings also give great tips on things such as food that conquers pain, sleeping patterns, and choosing good carbs.

The book contains a menu plan and a large section of recipes to help you follow the vegan lifestyle with the 21 Day Kickstart. The recipes do sound good, although a few of them do use items that may be hard to find in some areas. I enjoyed the book as I always want to learn how to eat better and get healthier. I have added more veggies to my diet but it is hard giving up all meat, but I am working on that too. If anyone did this diet and gave up meat completely, I would love to hear how it worked for you.

Monday, April 11, 2011

National Library Week

Did you know? This week is National Library Week and a great time to visit one near you. I have great memories of being a young girl and going to the library each week to check out a new stack of books. What are your library memories? You can go here to check out a great post about this week.

This Day in Literary History

The witty and caustic Dorothy Parker resigns her job as drama critic for The New Yorker. However, she continues to write book reviews until 1933, which are published in 1971 as A Month of Saturdays.

The funny, sophisticated Parker symbolized the Roaring Twenties in New York for many readers. Parker was born in New Jersey and lost her mother as an infant. Shortly after she finished high school, her father died, and she struck out on her own for New York, where she took a job writing captions for fashion photos for Vogue for $10 a week. She supplemented her income by playing piano at nights at a dancing school.

In 1917, she was transferred to the stylish Vanity Fair, where she became close friends with Robert Benchley, the managing editor, and Robert Sherwood, the drama critic. The three became the core of the famous Algonquin Round Table, an ad hoc group of newspaper and magazine writers, playwrights, and performers who lunched regularly at the Algonquin Hotel and tried to outshine each other in brilliant conversation and witty wisecracks. Parker, known as the quickest tongue among them, became the frequent subject of gossip columns as a prototypical young New Yorker enjoying the freedom of the 1920s.

Parker lost her job at Vanity Fair in 1919 because her reviews were too harsh. She began writing reviews for The New Yorker, as well as publishing her own work. Her 1926 poetry collection, Enough Rope, became a bestseller, and her short story collection Big Blonde won the prestigious O. Henry Award. Despite her carefree reputation, Parker was cynical and depressed, and tried to kill herself twice.

In 1933, she married actor Alan Campbell, moved to Hollywood, and became a screenwriter. Parker collaborated on more than 20 screenplays, including A Star Is Born (1937) and its remake in 1954. She and Campbell divorced in 1947 but remarried in 1950. The outspoken Parker embraced radical politics, taking a stand against fascism and supporting communism. Although she never joined the Communist Party, she and Campbell were blacklisted from Hollywood during the McCarthy-era House Un-American Activities Committee hearings and never worked in film again. Parker died in 1967.

Originally published on

Book Feature and Giveaway: Never A Gentleman


Miss Grace Fairchild is under no illusions about her charms. Painfully plain, she is a soldier's daughter who has spent her life being useful, not learning the treacherous ways of the ton. She may have been caught in a scandal with society's favorite rogue, but how can she marry him when it means losing herself?


Diccan Hilliard doesn't know which of his enemies drugged him and dumped him in Grace's bed, but he does know the outcome. He and Grace must marry. To his surprise, a wild, heady passion flares between them. Yet Diccan is trapped in a deadly game of intrigue Grace knows nothing about. Will his lies destroy Grace just as he realizes how desperately he needs her? And how can he hope for a future with her, when an old enemy has set his murderous sights on them both?

2010 saw Eileen extend her range into historical romance. BARELY A LADY, the first book in her DRAKE'S RAKES series for Grand Central, garnered a place on multiple 'best of' lists. With 2011's NEVER A GENTLEMAN, she continues to follow the lives of a group of British aristocrats who are willing to sacrifice everything to keep their country safe. Eileen spent time not only in England and Italy, but India to research the series (it's a filthy job, but somebody has to do it).

A retired trauma nurse, Eileen lives in her native St. Louis with her husband, children, and large and noisy Irish family, of which she is the reluctant matriarch. She has animals but refuses to subject them to the limelight.

Dreyer won her first publishing award in 1987, being named the best new Contemporary Romance Author by RT Bookclub. Since that time she has also garnered not only five other writing awards from RT, but five RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, which secures her only the fourth place in the Romance Writers of America prestigious Hall of Fame. Since extending her reach to suspense, she has also garnered a coveted Anthony Award nomination.
A frequent speaker at conferences, she maintains membership in Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and, just in case things go wrong, Emergency Nurses Association and International Association of Forensic Nurses.

Eileen is an addicted traveler, having sung in some of the best Irish pubs in the world, and admits she sees research as a handy way to salve her insatiable curiosity. She counts film producers, police detectives and Olympic athletes as some of her sources and friends. She's also trained in forensic nursing and death investigation, although she doesn't see herself actively working in the field, unless this writing thing doesn't pan out.

Follow Eileen:
Blog Talk Radio Interview
Authors Unplugged

I have three copies of this book to giveaway. It is open to US and Canada and the winners will be chosen on April 18.