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June 22, 2009 Newsletter May 22, 2009
The Isle of Man, Drumming On...and The Sequel

This holiday weekend finds my older son, Greg, on the Isle of Man. I asked if he was opening an offshore account. He remarked no worries; he instead was looking for Jeremy Clarkson from "Top Gear," the British car show that the boys and my husband think is soooo clever and funny. (The kind of show that will drive me out of the room when the theme music comes up.) He also reminded me that Thomas the Tank Engine (whose theme music also can drive me from the room, but also makes me wistfully remember Greg’s toddler years) and his friends live on the Island of Sodor and that Rev. W. Awdry took the name from the Isle of Man's diocese, which is 'Sodor and Man'. See what traveling is teaching him? It makes me wonder WHY I am paying for college. Maybe I should just send him on vacations. And Greg, that is a joke.

Every year on Memorial Day we head to the local town parade. It’s very very hokey, but I get very very into it. We bring chairs and see friends we often only catch up with once a year. They know we will be on the grass in front of the 7-Eleven (which I still remember as getting its name because it was open from 7AM-11PM, which as a kid I thought was very clever and very revolutionary since nothing was ever open THAT late). The older veterans march by, and as fewer and fewer of them line up each year, I confess I get rather teary. I also have my annual thought when the firetrucks (like 10 of them), ambulances and police cars go by, of how this would not be a great morning for your house to go on fire.

The middle school band plays; the high school band plays. I always have been partial to the drums. The drumline I think is rather the best part of the band. So, imagine my maternal glee in learning that Cory, my younger son, will be playing the bass drum. I am far more excited than he is. He swapped the snare drum with some other boy who asked nicely. I think the mere thought of his walking two miles with the drum and its harness is making him weak. The drum is very large for him to be carrying. I will be juggling the video camera and the still camera documenting this moment. May the weather cooperate so I get this moment of knowing my son is setting the beat.

This is a weekend to rest up as next week is Book Expo America --- otherwise known as BEA --- the annual book industry trade show. During this event Perseus Books is going to be publishing a book and YOU have the opportunity to be a part of it. It’s called BOOK: The Sequel, which will be a book of first lines that would open the sequels of books --- and you can be part of this. Here’s how to participate. Think about a book you have read. And write the first line of the sequel. Submit it here. It can be anything. Just write that one sentence and you could be published.

The book will come together in 48 hours at BEA --- editing, cover design, POD printing, as well as an audiobook and an eBook --- and will be available for purchase the Monday after the show. There are some really clever examples of sequel first lines already up on the site. So take a moment, embrace the inner author in yourself and write one line. Then check back on the site on May 30th to see if YOU are a published author. You also can follow on Facebook and Twitter. I already am thinking about what book I want to write my line about.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago,
THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY, which has already enjoyed 33 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, is now available in trade paperback. To celebrate, the Random House Publishing Group is holding a special contest for book clubs. From now thru July 31st, you can enter the GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY “Take Your Book Club to Guernsey” Sweepstakes for a chance to win a 4-day/3-night trip to Guernsey (October 2 - October 5, 2009) with up to five members of your book club! If any of you are members of a book discussion group and are interested in entering this contest, click here for details. And I can see my son Greg forming a discussion group now as he has wanted to visit Guernsey!

This week we are kicking off one of my favorite promotional contests of the year --- our 5th Annual Beach Bag of Books Contest. Yes, my house is filled with MANY beach bags, beach towels and other beach-themed items. As I wheeled two carts around a store the other night, people were asking when and where the party was. I then had to explain all about the promotion, which meant I was handing out business cards so people knew where to enter. Yes, this was amusing.

Our first featured title is THE LATE, LAMENTED MOLLY MARX by Sally Koslow. I love this book. In April, as I was reading an advance reading copy at the beach, she had me at the first page, and I found myself sitting in the deck chair reading until the sun was setting. From her perch "somewhere above" Molly watches over her loved ones as they peel away the layers of her life to learn what happened to her and whether her death was an accident or something else. The book is smart, it's brisk, it's clever. It’s set up like a mystery, but as Sally said at a reading last night, it’s really about the mystery of human relationships. By the way, I described the book to a friend at lunch yesterday and he said, "it’s like the narrator in 'Desperate Housewives.'" Yes, somewhat, but a lot snappier and wittier. You can read Bronwyn Miller’s review here, you can read Sally’s blog post on here and you can enter the contest here.

We have a review of THE PHOTOGRAPHER, my current Bets On pick. We also have a review of Raymond Khoury’s new book, THE SIGN, as well as an interview with him. You may remember him as the author of the bestsellers THE LAST TEMPLAR and THE SANCTUARY. I have this book lined up for the weekend and am looking forward to it, as when I was in London last year I had drinks with Raymond and he shared a bit of the storyline. There is something very special about hearing the early nugget of a book like that and seeing then how it takes shape.

We are featuring our first round of advance readers’ comments for CRAZY FOR THE STORM by Norman Ollestad this week, with many more to come next week. Click here to read them. We’ve also received great feedback from our advance readers of WICKED PREY by John Sandford, which you can read here. It’s always fun to read what our readers have to say.

Cory just got home and I banged on the drum. Very satisfying. He rolled his eyes; he all but offered for me to take his place in the parade. Memo to self: look much less enthused about things you want your child to do. Ignore. Then they will be excited.

Okay, it’s time to hit the hammock with a book and a cocktail. I have three more pots to plant, but those can wait for tomorrow. I already decided those will be filled with Gerber daisies. The rest of the flowers are in and I think it FINALLY will be warm enough to haul the hibiscus plants back outside. They wintered over well and became hibiscus bushes. The pool is still way way too cold, but I am trying to remember where my wetsuit is!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful holiday weekend. Make some great memories, and please don’t forget our fallen heroes who we memorialize on Monday. Here comes summer.....

Carol Fitzgerald (


Author Talk: Raymond Khoury, Author of THE SIGN
In this interview, Raymond Khoury --- author of the bestsellers THE LAST TEMPLAR and THE SANCTUARY --- discusses what inspired his latest thriller, THE SIGN, and explains how he researched specific types of technology in order to portray it in a realistic and feasible manner. He also comments on the muddled line that separates religion and politics in today's society, and shares his thoughts on movie and mini-series adaptations of his books.

THE SIGN by Raymond Khoury
Across the Internet and around the globe, a stunning controversy threatens to consume the world: Has God finally decided to reveal himself? Or is something more sinister at hand? THE SIGN deftly and expertly switches among three different locales --- Antarctica, Egypt, and Boston, Massachusetts --- drawing seemingly disparate events closer together while slowly revealing their common threads. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

here to read a review of THE SIGN.
here to read an excerpt from THE SIGN.
-Visit Raymond Khoury’s official website,
Click here to read an interview with Raymond Khoury.

Our Summer Beach Bag Contest is Back! Spotlight This Week on THE LATE, LAMENTED MOLLY MARX by Sally Koslow
Whether your "beach" is on sand, your backyard deck or a grassy meadow in the country, the summer months mean it's time for "beach reading." is celebrating the lazy days of summer reading with our Fifth Annual Beach Bag of Books feature and contests.

During select weeks from May 22nd through September 4th, a different title or collection of titles will be featured with a contest prize --- a beach bag stocked with the featured book(s) and summertime essentials. Five FABULOUS beach bags will be given away each week, as well as five copies of the featured book(s) to additional winners.

This week, we’re kicking off our Beach Bag of Books feature with THE LATE, LAMENTED MOLLY MARX by Sally Koslow, a hilarious, deeply moving and thought-provoking novel that is part mystery, part love story and all heart. In a pink and orange hobo-style beach bag, winners will find a wide striped orange towel, fish-shaped towel clips for your lounge chair, pink and green flip-flops, a pink gel eye mask and a bottle of H2O+ Tango Mango Moisture Boosting Body Balm, as well as a copy of THE LATE, LAMENTED MOLLY MARX. We have five to give away, as well as five additional prizes of copies of THE LATE, LAMENTED MOLLY MARX.

To enter, fill out this form and answer the following question by Thursday, May 28th at 11:59PM. You can find the answer by reading the excerpt here.

What is the name of Molly’s child?

THE LATE, LAMENTED MOLLY MARX by Sally Koslow (Fiction)
Ever wonder who would attend your funeral? Newly deceased Molly Marx gets to see that and more as she tries to decipher her past mistakes in life and the mysterious circumstances surrounding her death. Sally Koslow’s second book is a hilarious, deeply moving, and thought-provoking novel that is part mystery, part love story, and all heart. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

-Read more about Sally Koslow and THE LATE, LAMENTED MOLLY MARX here.

-Visit Sally Koslow’s official website,
Click here to read all the details of our Summer Beach Bag Contest.

Now in Stores: GONE TOMORROW by Lee Child
GONE TOMORROW: A Reacher Novel by Lee Child (Thriller)
When Jack Reacher witnesses up close and personal a suicide on a Manhattan subway, he knows that there is more than meets the eye. Now he’s in deep, trying to detonate a shocking secret for which both the feds and Al-Qaeda are willing to kill to keep from being revealed. Soon, Reacher is being hunted down from all sides --- which is exactly how Reacher wants it… Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from GONE TOMORROW.

Click here to read a review of GONE TOMORROW.

Now in Stores: THE LAST CHILD by John Hart
THE LAST CHILD by John Hart (Thriller)
THE LAST CHILD is a tale of boundaries: county borders and circles on a map, the hard edge between good and evil, life and death, hopelessness and faith. Perfectly blending character and plot, emotion and action, John Hart again transcends the barrier between thriller and literature to craft a story as heartrending as it is redemptive. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE LAST CHILD.

Click here to read a review of THE LAST CHILD.

BOOK: The Sequel

Ever wonder what happens to Harry Potter after 20 years of marriage and a steady government gig?

Or what Karl Marx would say about today’s financial crisis?

If the Bible had a sequel, what would its first sentence be?

Write that sentence and you could be published! It’s easy!

1. Pick a book.
2. Imagine its sequel.
3. Write the first sentence.
4. Give it a great title.
5. Click Submit Sequel Now! to enter.

Follow the countdown to publication on Twitter, spread the word on Facebook, and find out on May 30th whether you are a Published Author!


Click here to find out how you can be a part of BOOK: The Sequel.

Now Available in Paperback: THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (Fiction)
January 1946: writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name.

-Click here to read a review of
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for
-Click here to learn more about the “Take Your Book Club to Guernsey” Sweepstakes.


Featured One to Watch Author: Norman Ollestad, Author of CRAZY FOR THE STORM: A Memoir of Survival

From the age of three, Norman Ollestad was thrust into the world of surfing and competitive skiing by the intense, charismatic father he both idolized and resented. In CRAZY FOR THE STORM, Ollestad’s riveting memoir of survival, the author recounts how these exhilarating tests of skill prepared him to become a fearless champion --- and ultimately saved his life. CRAZY FOR THE STORM will be available in stores on June 2nd.

-Click here to read an excerpt from CRAZY FOR THE STORM.
-Click here to read Norman Ollestad’s bio.
-Click here to read critical praise for CRAZY FOR THE STORM.
-Visit Norman Ollestad’s official website,
-Visit the publisher’s website,
-Click here to watch a video in which Norman Ollestad discusses CRAZY FOR THE STORM.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

-Click here to read the first round of advance readers' comments about CRAZY FOR THE STORM. More to come next week!

February 1979: 11 year-old Norman Ollestad is the lone survivor of a harrowing plane crash that kills his magnetic, adrenaline-addicted father, a man who stopped at nothing to mold his son into a fearless surfer and ski champion. Set amid the uninhibited beach culture of Malibu and Mexico, this story of an extraordinary father-son bond has also been hailed by Susan Cheever as “a heart-stopping adventure” that asks “what it means to lead a life without limits.”


Click here to read more about Norman Ollestad and CRAZY FOR THE STORM.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Kevin Wignall, Author of PEOPLE DIE

Kevin Wignall knows how to craft a gripping espionage thriller. In 2008, his novel WHO IS CONRAD HIRST? was nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for an Edgar Allan Poe Award. In PEOPLE DIE, Wignall's first title re-released by Pinnacle Books, a renowned assassin finds himself on the run for his life.

here to read a third excerpt from PEOPLE DIE.
here to read Kevin Wignall’s bio.
here to see Kevin Wignall's backlist.
here to read critical praise for PEOPLE DIE.
-Visit Kevin Wignall’s official website,
here to see our advance copy winners.

More about
In the assassination game, everything can change with a single bullet. For the first time, the predator now finds himself the prey. How can a hit man outsmart another hit man? International hit man JJ must stay one step ahead of his enemies as he fights to expose a dangerous conspiracy --- and live to kill another day.


Click here to read more about Kevin Wignall and PEOPLE DIE.

Now in Stores: THE MOMENT BETWEEN by Nicole Baart
THE MOMENT BETWEEN by Nicole Baart (Fiction)
Abigail Bennett was completely in control of her life until tragedy suddenly pushed her to the brink of something she’s never experienced: obsession. Now, she’s given up everything to chase down the object of that obsession. His name is Tyler Kamp.

THE MOMENT BETWEEN is a complex novel about the emotional risks of relationships between a 30-year-old unmarried accountant looking to reinvent herself, her troubled sister, and the man who becomes, for very different reasons, their shared obsession.

-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE MOMENT BETWEEN.

Click here to read more about THE MOMENT BETWEEN.

What's New on is back with a new update, including reviews of top new manga and graphic novel titles like THE PHOTOGRAPHER and THE BEST OF SIMON AND KIRBY. Legendary comics writer Chris Claremont discusses Wolverine, the character he helped turn into a star, and artist Arthur Suydam reveals the inspiration behind his decades-long series Cholly & Flytrap. Plus, librarian Cathy A. Camper explains how her library's zine publishing division joined forces with Portland's famous Stumptown literary festival, a rare feat that brought the community together and encouraged them to read more. And teacher John Weaver, who wrote one of the most popular features ever to appear on the site (how he taught Watchmen to his high school students), returns with a follow-up article detailing what he learned, what worked, and what he'll do differently next time. There's also graphic novel news and updates for all the latest up-to-the-minute comics and manga coverage on GNR now!
Click here to visit

What's New on is our website for Christian readers, with monthly updates of reviews and interviews, as well as discussion guides, book excerpts, a monthly newsletter and more.

Here are some of the titles currently being featured on

-BELOVED COUNTERFEIT: Fairweather Keys Series, Book 3 by Kathleen Y'Barbo
-ENDURING LOVE: Sydney Cove Series, Book 3 by Bonnie Leon
-GETTING IN SHAPE GOD'S WAY: 4 Keys to Making Any Diet or Fitness Plan Work by Ron Kardashian
-A GIFT OF GRACE: Kauffman Amish Bakery Series, Book 1 by Amy Clipston
-JILLIAN DARE by Melanie M. Jeschke
-NOTHING BUT TROUBLE: PJ Sugar Series #1 by Susan May Warren
-PARENTING YOUR TEEN AND LOVING IT: Being the Mom Your Kid Needs by Susie Davis
-A PASSION DENIED: The Daughters of Boston, Book 3 by Julie Lessman
-RAISING BOYS TO BE LIKE JESUS by Sharon Norris Elliott
-ROSE HOUSE by Tina Ann Forkner
-TOUR DE FORCE: A Love Story by Elizabeth White
-A VOTE OF CONFIDENCE: The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs, Book 1 by Robin Lee Hatcher

We are also featuring two very special giveaways on the site this month. Click here to learn how you can be one of 45 winners to receive a finished copy of SAINTS IN LIMBO by River Jordan. Click here to enter to win a copy of A GIFT OF GRACE by Amy Clipston as well as an Authentic Amish Gift Basket.

Click here to visit

This Week's Reviews

LOITERING WITH INTENT: A Stone Barrington Novel by Stuart Woods (Mystery)
LOITERING WITH INTENT takes Stone Barrington to Key West and gives him access to classy hotels, million-dollar yachts and a beautiful Swedish doctor who has no known inhibitions. And all he has to do is get the millionaire son of Warren Keating to sign an agreement that would sell the family enterprise and make everyone involved a ton of money. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

BAD MOTHER: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace by Ayelet Waldman (Memoir)
Covering topics as diverse as the hysteria of competitive parenting, the relentless pursuits of the Bad Mother police, balancing the work-family dynamic, and the bane of every mother’s existence, BAD MOTHER illuminates the anxieties that riddle motherhood today, while providing women with the encouragement they need to give themselves a break. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

PYGMY by Chuck Palahniuk (Fiction)
Chuck Palahniuk’s newest novel is perhaps his most straightforwardly satirical, as readers are given an outsiders’-eye-view into the most classic of targets: Wal-Mart, the decaying family, high school and religion. PYGMY continues his tradition of protagonists designed to make us feel worse about ourselves while not entirely fitting the bill of the contrarian ideals they supposedly uphold. Reviewed by Max Falkowitz.

THE FAMILY MAN by Elinor Lipman (Fiction)
In this warm-hearted comedy, Henry Archer reunites with Thalia, the stepdaughter he adopted and then lost 25 years before during his divorce. Henry is delighted to assist his newfound, highly cherished daughter as she negotiates love interests --- both genuine and false, complete with tabloid appearances and paparazzi. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

BAD THINGS by Michael Marshall (Thriller)
On a beautiful summer afternoon, four-year-old Scott Henderson walked onto a jetty over a lake in Black Ridge, WA, and never came back. His father’s world changed --- horribly, irrevocably --- that day. Now, three years later, John’s fragile new life is shaken once again when he receives an email from a stranger claiming to know the truth. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

THE DEVLIN DIARY by Christi Phillips (Historical Fiction)
London, 1672. Physician Hannah Devlin is ministering to the sick when she is summoned by a court official to care for King Charles's favorite mistress. Over 300 years later, an historian uncovers a decades-old diary belonging to Hannah that chronicles a fascinating tale of murder and deceit at court. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

SECRETS TO HAPPINESS by Sarah Dunn (Fiction)
In her heartfelt, funny second novel (following THE BIG LOVE), Sarah Dunn uncovers urban foibles, bizarre relationships and the ongoing quest for love, even if her characters can’t quite unlock the elusive secret to happiness. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.


Read this week's reviews here.

Poll and Question of the Week: Twitter

Are you on Twitter?

Yes, I follow and post faithfully.
Yes, I follow faithfully.
I am on once in a while.
I have heard about this, and would like to try it.
I have no interest in this.

-Click here to answer our poll.


On Twitter you would post a tweet of 140 characters (not words, but characters). Give us 140 characters about a book that you love.

-Click here to answer our question.

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- THREE Prizes

Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't.

This week we have three great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of THE LATE, LAMENTED MOLLY MARX by Sally Koslow, SHANGHAI GIRLS by Lisa See and THE SIGN by Raymond Khoury. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on June 5th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.


As always, here are a few housekeeping notes. If you are seeing this newsletter in a text version, and would prefer to see the graphics, you can either read it online or change your preferences below.

Those of you who wish to send mail to, please see the form on the Write to Us page. If you would like to reach me, please write Writing any of the respond buttons below will not get to us.

Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by May 31, 2009 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: GONE TOMORROW: A Reacher Novel by Lee Child, ROAD DOGS by Elmore Leonard, THE SCARECROW by Michael Connelly, SHANGHAI GIRLS by Lisa See and THE SIGN by Raymond Khoury. Jacki from Burlington, VT was last month's newsletter winner. She won BONEMAN'S DAUGHTERS by Ted Dekker, CURSED: A Regan Reilly Mystery by Carol Higgins Clark, FIRST FAMILY by David Baldacci, JUST TAKE MY HEART by Mary Higgins Clark and TEA TIME FOR THE TRADITIONALLY BUILT: The New No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Novel by Alexander McCall Smith.

Happy reading! Don't forget to forward this newsletter to a friend or to visit our other websites from,,,,, and

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