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Jean Kwok is the New York Times and international bestselling author of GIRL IN TRANSLATION, MAMBO IN CHINATOWN and her latest novel, SEARCHING FOR SYLVIE LEE, which untangles the complicated ties binding three women --- two sisters and their mother --- in one Chinese immigrant family, and explores what happens when the eldest daughter disappears and a series of family secrets emerge. In this touching holiday blog post, Jean talks about immigrating to New York City from Hong Kong with her family at the age of five, the hardships they had to endure, and her very first Christmas, which turned out to be more special than she ever could have imagined.
Earlier this year, Marjan Kamali followed up her debut novel, TOGETHER TEA, with THE STATIONERY SHOP, a beautiful and timely exploration of devastating loss, unbreakable family bonds and the overwhelming power of love. Marjan spent her childhood in Kenya, Germany, Turkey, Iran and the United States. Her family thought it was important to create a sense of belonging --- and they achieved that by participating in the traditions and holidays of the many places in which they lived. In her holiday blog post, Marjan recalls returning to Iran at the age of nine and the critical role that books played during their first Christmas back --- and in the years that followed.
Sarah McCoy is the bestselling author of such novels as THE BAKER’S DAUGHTER, THE MAPMAKER’S CHILDREN and MARILLA OF GREEN GABLES, the latter of which recently released in paperback. A few years ago, Sarah flew out to Denver with her husband to visit his family for Christmas. While there, her sister-in-law suggested that they each think of an “experience gift” to give: “an activity wherein the presents were memories.” Sarah’s very special gift for her niece and two nephews was a trip to Tattered Cover Bookstore on Christmas Eve --- and what a fun, festive and memorable experience it turned out to be!
Wendy Wax is the USA Today bestselling author of 15 novels, including her latest that released earlier this year, MY EX-BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING, in which a wedding dress passed down through generations unravels the tangled threads of three women's lives. Wendy loves receiving books, and she recalls being gifted a “deluxe edition” of GONE WITH THE WIND, which introduced her to historical fiction. In this holiday blog post, Wendy explains how the classic book and its film adaptation --- specifically the character of Scarlett O’Hara --- inspired her “to write novels about women who are forced to discover just how strong they are when their lives crumble around them.”
Kim Michele Richardson is the author of THE BOOK WOMAN OF TROUBLESOME CREEK, a work of historical fiction inspired by the brave women of the Pack Horse Library Project, in which a young outcast braves the hardships of Kentucky’s Great Depression and brings truly magical objects to her people --- books. When Kim Michele read HEIDI by Johanna Spyri as a child, she realized that books were indeed prized, magical treasures. It long has been her dream to write about the power of books, and she has done just that with her latest novel, which would make a wonderful gift for the book lover in your life this holiday season.
We are kicking off this year’s Holiday Author Blog series with New York Times bestselling author Karen White, whose festive new novel is THE CHRISTMAS SPIRITS ON TRADD STREET. One of Karen’s top 10 favorite books is Helen Hooven Santmyer’s “…AND LADIES OF THE CLUB,” which her college roommate, Nancy, gave her for Christmas during their junior year. She soon became lost within its pages, and not even a ski trip to Switzerland with her family could take her away from this epic novel (all 3.2 pounds of it!). In this first blog post of the holiday season, Karen explains why this book, which she has reread several times over the years, holds such a special place in her heart.
Mark de Castrique is the author of a series of mysteries featuring Iraq War veteran Sam Blackman and his no-nonsense private eye partner, Nakayla Robertson. An interracial couple in the new South, the Asheville, NC pair love their investigations, which always carry a thread from the past. In the seventh installment, MURDER IN RAT ALLEY (which will be in stores December 31st), the Apollo moon missions, mountain music and our nation's weather data collide in their most complex and dangerous case yet. To celebrate the book’s upcoming release, Mark has written a wonderful essay about the inspiration for the series and the significance of William Faulkner’s famous quote in relation to these novels: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
November 21, 2019

Black Bean Chili

Posted by carol
Here is one of my favorite chili recipes, which I mentioned a few weeks ago. It's adapted from "Norma's Original Recipe Quick 'n' Easy Chili" from THE EL PASO CHILI COMPANY'S TEXAS BORDER COOKBOOK by W. Park Kerr and Norma Kerr. 
Negroni! That wonderful, warming concoction of gin, vermouth and Campari with a generous twist of orange peel served in insulated, lidded cups was the drink of the night at Penguin Random House’s Holiday House event at The New School in New York City. And so began an evening of holiday entertaining and self-care tips to help prepare for the season ahead.
Donis Casey is the author of the award-winning series of mysteries featuring Alafair Tucker, the sleuthing mother of 10 children, which is set in Oklahoma during the booming 1910s. In her latest novel, THE WRONG GIRL, Donis shifts her attention to one of those children, Blanche, who makes it to Hollywood during the Roaring Twenties and transforms into the celebrated Bianca LaBelle, a major star of the silent screen. A new series set in a new location and era presented many challenges for Donis, as she explains in this insightful piece.