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April 23, 2010 Newsletter April 23, 2010
Above the Clouds...
As I bang out this note, I am flying to L.A. I love long flights as they give me time to write, read and think. On the ground I always have something to do and some place to be, whereas up in the air I can stay in the moment. I am one of those folks not really jazzed about the thought of WiFi in the air. I need a few hours once in a while to pretend I am catching up; of course, when I land, I am even further behind. We flew above the clouds for a while there, which always is such an unreal experience. I think I see the snow-covered Rockies out my window right now. I am glad not to be dealing with snow!

Last weekend the effects of the volcano ash (around me it’s “the volcano” as I am not even attempting that spelling) stranded many author pals in Europe and trapped many more American pals here unable to get to the London Book Fair. It was one of those frustrating times that also can bring out the best in people as many locals rallied to help those who were stranded. One of my favorite books is THE DAY THE WORLD CAME TO TOWN: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland, which describes what happened in Newfoundland right after 9/11 when planes from around the world were grounded there unable to fly into U.S. airspace. It’s a very moving story about how a town came together to make the travelers guests in their homes. I saw a documentary on the same story that was just wonderful.

Prompted by that memory, I reached out to folks at Newark Liberty Airport last weekend to see if they had any travelers in need of assistance; I wanted to extend that same courtesy to someone stranded near us. Nothing ended up coming from this, and I realized later I should have just driven out there Friday or Saturday with some bagels and books. While I would have been happy to provide people with a hot meal, a shower or a place to stay, I was also thinking about how a book might be a welcome gift as well. I am sure the bookstore at the airport did some huge business as folks tried to amuse themselves camping on the airport floor. Most people do not carry enough books with them for an extended stay at the airport!

I have four books with me for the weekend, which, given my schedule, is amusing. I am reading BROKEN by Karin SlaughterA>, and it’s just terrific. I am back in Grant County with her familiar characters. Karin’s writing is the best I have seen from her here. It was tough to put it down to pick up my laptop to write this note!

Also with me Lisa Unger’s upcoming book, FRAGILE, which will be in stores on August 3rd. I am missing her 40th birthday party in New York this weekend, so I thought I could celebrate and fete her from afar by reading her book.

Sebastian Junger will be at the Festival talking about WAR, so that is in my bag as well. He writes about the 15 months when he followed a platoon in Afghanistan to give an insider look at what war feels like. I have been watching "The Pacific" on HBO marveling at how much I did not know about the war in the Pacific. The battle for Peleliu was so brutal in last week’s episode; I confess to not knowing about this island before this, and I fear I am not alone.

Last but not least is JULIET by Anne Fortier, which will be in stores on August 17th, a historical novel that I started and look forward to finishing, with the romantic story of Romeo and Juliet at its heart. Juliet learns that her family history goes back to these historical lovers. So yes, I AM prepared with my reading, and I am sure that along the way I will pick up even more books here. Tomorrow I am planning some pool time for reading with a break for lunch with Lisa See (I cannot wait to hear about what she has been working on; I know it’s a follow-up to SHANGHAI GIRLS.)

I spent the weekend reading RICH BOY by Sharon Pomerantz, which ended as well as it started. It’s a BIG book that evokes memories of the Herman Wouk titles where you would feel like the characters were a part of your life. And there were none of the dull spots that often plague a book of this size; it moves. It will be in stores August 2nd and definitely will be one of my Bets On picks.

Speaking of Wouk, he will be at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books this weekend talking about his new book, THE LANGUAGE GOD TALKS: On Science and Religion. I am hoping to get to see his presentation as his books have brought me so many happy hours of reading through the years. One of the nice things about these festivals is that they have a mix of legends, names we know and debut writers. I look forward to reviewing the program so I can plot the panels I am going to see. I never get to everything I want, as there is so much simultaneous programming, and then there are booth signings, but it’s terrific to see what you happen upon as well as what you plan. Also, I am planning to spend some time visiting some stores in the L.A. area starting with Skylight Books tonight. Their graphic novel guru, Dan Kusunoki, is so knowledgeable about books in this format. I look forward to spending time with him and just listening to his passionate conversation about books.

This year I have been layering in extra time on trips to spend time in stores like this. I plan to be at Diesel in Malibu on Saturday night, and if there is time, I will get to Book Soup and Vroman’s Bookstore. And of course the events for me officially kick off Friday night at The Mystery Bookstore in Westwood where a number of crime writers are gathering at 5 p.m. It’s going to be a literary weekend.

Back on the site, I am excited that we are presenting Emily Giffin as our latest Women’s Fiction spotlight author. I loved her latest book, HEART OF THE MATTER, which is out May 11th, and I am happy to share it with you. 20 lucky winners will get a chance to preview and comment on it before then by entering our advance reader contest by Friday, April 30th at noon ET here. Emily’s fan base keeps getting bigger and bigger with every release since SOMETHING BORROWED came out in 2004. As I told you back in March, this is a moment where the flap copy is dead-on. It’s the story of “three good people caught in an untenable triangle, each questioning everything they believe about love and loyalty.” To me it’s her strongest book. I so look forward to hearing what you have to say. A reminder that if you submit your name and win, we expect you to read and comment on the book. Failure to do so can jeopardize your opportunity to be selected for future contests.

I am enjoying all the Mother’s Day blogs that we are sharing with authors and their mothers talking about their literary memories, authors talking about writing with their children, and other variations on these themes. I have the pleasure of reading ahead, and you are in for real treats with mother/daughter duo Susan Wiggs and Elizabeth Wiggs Maas talking about their wedding book, Lisa Gardner and Kelly Corrigan both interviewing their mothers. In the next few days we have mother/daughter suspense duo P.J. Tracy, Jennifer Chiaverini, and Carolyn and Lisa See coming up. And don’t forget that we have identified 36 titles that are perfect gifts for mom (moms, we have a printable list here where you can leave subtle hints of the ones that interest you), and our Mother’s Day Contest, where you can win a selection of 12 titles (one per month for mom!) is open until Monday, May 3rd at noon ET. We're also sending all blog pieces to our Facebook page. You can keep up with our daily postings here if you're not a member.

I got a lovely note from Rosalie, one of our readers, about EVANGELINE by Ben Farmer, which we are currently featuring on the site. How wonderful that someone has written the story of EVANGELINE!! When I was 11 or 12 my grandmother and grandfather went to Canada. They brought me back a leather bound book, EVANGELINE. I loved it and kept it beside my bed to read whenever I wanted. Many years later when our home was disbursed after they died, my copy of the book disappeared. I have missed it so!!!” Nice moment! This week we also have some excellent reader comments about HER MOTHER'S HOPE by Francine Rivers and THE BOOK OF SPIES by Gayle Lynds.

For those of you following the news about my hometown library’s possible closure, there was another standing-room-only meeting this week. NO ONE in the community wants to see it closed. The town council now will have to make their decision. We would love to know how you use your local library. So far 528 of you have weighed in on this subject in our current poll. I look forward to seeing more of you voting!

After I get back from L.A. on Monday, we will be gearing up for the Mystery Writers of America/Edgars celebrations next week. The awards are Thursday night; you can see the nominees here. Erin from our office and I will be there in our black tie regalia ready to clap and cheer. Always a fun night as so many author friends are in town.

For now, back to reading while I have an hour or so up in the air! For those of you who have written that you will be at the Festival, I look forward to catching up with you. For others, I look forward to sharing my report with you next week. Happy reading…read on.

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to Richelle Mead, Author of SUCCUBUS SHADOWS

Richelle Mead --- author of the bestselling YA Vampire Academy novels --- recently published SUCCUBUS SHADOWS, the fifth installment in her acclaimed series featuring “reluctant” female demon Georgina Kincaid. In this interview with’s Usha Reynolds, Mead explains what initially inspired the concept behind this paranormal urban fantasy, and elaborates on the books’ underlying messages regarding the ambiguity of good and evil. She also shares her thoughts on the concept of soulmates, recommends some of her favorite authors in the urban fantasy genre, and hints at what is next in store for Georgina.

SUCCUBUS SHADOWS by Richelle Mead (Urban Fantasy)
Georgina Kincaid has formidable powers. Immortality, seduction, shape-shifting into any human form she desires, walking in heels that would cripple mere mortals --- all child’s play to a succubus like her. Helping to plan her ex-boyfriend’s wedding is a different story. Reviewed by Usha Reynolds.

-Click here to read a review of SUCCUBUS SHADOWS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from SUCCUBUS SHADOWS.
-Click here to read Richelle Mead's bio.
-Click here to see Richelle Mead's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for Richelle Mead's books.
-Visit Richelle Mead's official website,
-Click here to see our finished copy winners.


Click here to read our interview with Richelle Mead.

Now in Stores: THE DOUBLE COMFORT SAFARI CLUB by Alexander McCall Smith
THE DOUBLE COMFORT SAFARI CLUB: The New No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Novel by Alexander McCall Smith (Mystery)
Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi head to a safari camp to carry out a delicate mission on behalf of a former guest who has left one of the guides a large sum of money. But once they find their man, Precious begins to sense that something is not right. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE DOUBLE COMFORT SAFARI CLUB.

Click here to read a review of THE DOUBLE COMFORT SAFARI CLUB.'s Fifth Annual Mother's Day Contest: Books Mom Will Love

Mother’s Day is a time to recognize the woman who raised and nurtured you. Why not brighten her special day with some great books? From April 16th through May 3rd, readers will have the chance to win one of our 15 Mother’s Day Gift Baskets. Each basket is filled with a selection of 12 books from our 36 featured titles, giving mom a book to read each month and making Mother’s Day truly a yearlong celebration. Also included are a variety of gifts to treat her: a plush blanket, a Crabtree & Evelyn Shower Flower, H2O+ Body Butter, a Jane Sun Tea soothing mask, Rose Garden Sachets, garden gloves, and, of course, some chocolates. (Please note: Colors may vary on items.)

Our featured Mother’s Day titles can be found here. With books that are moving, uplifting, humorous and informative, look no further than for the perfect gift for mom.

Click here to read all the contest details.

Mother's Day Author Blogs: Celebrating Authors and Their Mothers

Here at, Mother’s Day will be a month-long celebration with the help of some of our author friends and their mothers. During the next few weeks, we will be featuring daily blog posts from mother/daughter writing teams like Mary and Carol Higgins Clark; author moms and their author children like Sandra Brown and her son, Ryan; mothers sharing what it was like raising a future author; and authors paying tribute to their moms.

Reading these pieces will give you a new understanding and insight into the role mom played as authors got their start or followed into the literary world.

Contributing authors have included:
-Mary and Carol Higgins Clark
-Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor
-Francine Rivers and Shannon Rivers Coibion
-Sandra and Ryan Brown
-Shirley and Mandy Jump
-Rebecca Goldstein and Yael Goldstein Love
-Malena Watrous and Deborah Johnson
-Susan Wiggs and Elizabeth Wiggs Maas

Coming soon:
-Janet and Alex Evanovich
-Carolyn and Lisa See
-Lisa Gardner
-Kelly Corrigan
-P.J. Tracy
-P.C. and Kristin Cast
-Sandra Dallas
-Jennifer Chiaverini

We suggest you bookmark this page or set up an RSS feed so you can read these pieces every day!

Click here to read our Mother's Day Author Blogs.


New Featured Women's Fiction Author: Emily Giffin, Author of HEART OF THE MATTER

New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin returns with her much-anticipated new novel, HEART OF THE MATTER. Here, she further explores the seemingly idyllic marriage of Tessa and her surgeon husband Nick, who finds himself tempted by the mother of one of his young patients.

HEART OF THE MATTER will be in stores on May 11th, but we have 20 copies to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, April 30th at noon ET.

-Click here to read an excerpt from HEART OF THE MATTER.
here to read Emily Giffin's bio.

-Click here to see Emily Giffin's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for HEART OF THE MATTER.


Tessa Russo is the mother of two young children and the wife of a renowned pediatric surgeon. Valerie Anderson is an attorney and single mother to six-year-old Charlie --- a boy who has never known his father. Although both women live in the same Boston suburb, the two have relatively little in common aside from a fierce love for their children. But one night, a tragic accident causes their lives to converge in ways no one could have imagined.

Click here to read more about Emily Giffin and HEART OF THE MATTER.


Featured One to Watch Author: Ben Farmer, Author of EVANGELINE

Inspired by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem of the same name, EVANGELINE is a brilliant debut novel by Ben Farmer. As the British drive the French out of mid-18th-century Acadia (present-day Nova Scotia), two lovers are separated on the eve of their wedding. They desperately search for each other during the course of 10 years across the landscape of pre-Revolutionary America.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from EVANGELINE.
here to read Ben Farmer's bio.

-Click here to read critical praise for EVANGELINE.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about EVANGELINE:
EVANGELINE is both a sweeping love story and a harrowing journey from Nova Scotia to New Orleans in pre-Revolutionary America. As the British drive the French out of mid-18th-century Acadia (present-day Nova Scotia), the beautiful 17-year-old Evangeline Bellefontaine is torn by British soldiers from her fiancé, Gabriel Lajeunesse, on the eve of their wedding. Heartbroken but determined, Evangeline --- along with illegal trapper Bernard Arseneau and priest Felician Abadie --- sets out on an extraordinary 10-year journey to the French-Spanish colony of Louisiana to seek her long-lost love.


Click here to read more about Ben Farmer and EVANGELINE.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Kristen Heitzmann, Author of INDIVISIBLE
A down-on-his luck police chief makes a startling discovery in the serene Colorado mountain town of Redford in INDIVISIBLE, a psychological thriller from Kristen Heitzmann that releases on May 4th. What Jonah Westfall uncovers could threaten the civilians of this small town with catastrophic events.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from INDIVISIBLE.
here to read Kristen Heitzmann's bio.
-Visit Kristen Heitzmann's official website,

-Click here for more information about INDIVISIBLE.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

Police Chief Jonah Westfall knows the dark side of life and has committed himself to eradicating it. When a pair of raccoons are found mutilated in Redford, Colorado, Jonah investigates the gruesome act, knowing the strange event could escalate and destroy the tranquility of his small mountain town. With never-ending conflict with Tia Manning, a formidable childhood friend with whom he has more than a passing history, Jonah fights for answers --- and his fragile sobriety.
Click here to read more about Kristen Heitzmann and INDIVISIBLE.


Author Talk: Sue Miller, Author of THE LAKE SHORE LIMITED

Sue Miller is the bestselling author of 11 books, including THE SENATOR’S WIFE, LOST IN THE FOREST and THE WORLD BELOW. Her latest work, THE LAKE SHORE LIMITED, is a story within a story that examines the feelings of trauma and loss experienced by four people after the death of a loved one on 9/11. In this interview, Miller discusses what initially inspired the plot of this novel, and explains the role each of the four characters plays in the book’s theme of understanding the transformative power of art. She also gives us insight into her lengthy writing process and shares details about a few upcoming projects in the works.

THE LAKE SHORE LIMITED by Sue Miller (Fiction)
The lives of four people intersect through a play loosely based on the 9/11 death of a man named Gus. Leslie, Gus's sister, believes she knows how his lover Billy grieves for her brother, but Billy holds tight to a dark secret. When Leslie's friend Sam meets Billy, his feelings are complicated, while Rafe, an actor in Billy's play, experiences devastating revelations about his own life. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read a review of THE LAKE SHORE LIMITED.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE LAKE SHORE LIMITED.


Click here to read an interview with Sue Miller.

Now in Stores: PARROT AND OLIVIER IN AMERICA by Peter Carey

PARROT AND OLIVIER IN AMERICA by Peter Carey (Historical Fiction)
Olivier is the traumatized child of aristocratic survivors of the French Revolution. Parrot is the motherless son of an itinerant English printer. They are born on different sides of history, but their lives will be connected by an enigmatic one-armed marquis. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an excerpt from PARROT AND OLIVIER IN AMERICA.

Click here to read a review of PARROT AND OLIVIER IN AMERICA.

Book Club Leaders: Your Chance to Attend BookExpo America (BEA) in New York City!
BookExpo America (BEA) is the premier publishing event for the book industry and is welcoming a select group of Book Club leaders to participate at the event! BEA offers a wonderful opportunity to meet authors, learn about upcoming fall titles, attend special events and soak up all the excitement the book industry has to offer. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to get a jump on the fall season and learn about all the upcoming titles for your clubs to consider. BEA will accept Book Club leader registrations on a first-come, first-served basis with a total of 250 being accepted. Three-day admission into BEA is $140 pre-show. BEA takes place May 25-27th in New York at the Javits Convention Center. May 25th is dedicated to education and special events, and the show floor is open on May 26-27th. We hope to see you there!

-Click here for a schedule of events.
-Click here for hotel information.

Click here for more details about BookExpo America.


Calling All Kids and Teens! Vote by May 3rd for Your Favorite Books, Authors and Illustrators of 2009 in the Children's Choice Book Awards

The Children’s Book Council has announced the finalists for the third annual Children's Choice Book Awards. The favorite book finalists were determined by close to 15,000 children and teens. Thousands more can cast their votes for their favorite books, authors and illustrators at bookstores, schools, libraries and at until May 3rd.

The Children’s Choice Book Awards winners will be announced live at the Children’s Choice Book Awards gala on May 11th in New York City as part of Children’s Book Week (May 10-16th), the oldest national literacy event in the United States.


Click here to cast your votes for the 2010 Children's Choice Book Awards.

This Week's Reviews
ELEGY FOR APRIL by Benjamin Black (Mystery)

April Latimer has vanished. A junior doctor at a local hospital, she is something of a scandal in the conservative and highly patriarchal society of 1950s Dublin. Though her family is one of the most respected in the city, she is known for being independent-minded. Now April has disappeared, and her friend, Phoebe Griffin, suspects the worst. Frantic, Phoebe seeks out Quirke, her brilliant but erratic father, and asks him for help. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

INFAMOUS by Ace Atkins (Historical Thriller)
In July 1933, the gangster known as George "Machine Gun" Kelly staged the kidnapping-for-ransom of an Oklahoma oil­man. He would live to regret it. Kelly was never the sharpest knife in the drawer, and what started clean soon became messy, as two of his partners cut themselves into the action; a determined former Texas Ranger makes tracking Kelly his mission; and Kelly's wife, ever alert to her own self-interest, starts playing both ends against the middle. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

BITE ME: A Love Story by Christopher Moore (Fiction)
BITE ME takes readers down the same bloody path of carnage as all the other vampire stories --- complete with deranged vampiric animals, idolatrous human minions, snarling nosferatu killers and the humans who hunt them --- all while making you laugh raucously at the ridiculousness of it. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

MEN AND DOGS by Katie Crouch (Fiction)
When Hannah, drunk and spurned, falls from a three-story balcony in an attempt to visit her recently departed husband, she impales a nail in her skull. She must return home to Charleston --- the place that has haunted her since childhood when her father vanished. That disappearance has twisted Hannah's existence into knots. Can she solve the mystery and repair her life? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

A MURDEROUS PROCESSION: A Mistress of the Art of Death Novel by Ariana Franklin (Historical Mystery)
In 1176, King Henry II sends his daughter Joanna to Palermo to marry his cousin, the king of Sicily. Henry chooses Adelia Aguilar, his Mistress of the Art of Death, to travel with the princess and safeguard her health. But when people in the wedding procession are murdered, Adelia and Rowley must discover the killer's identity…and whether he is stalking the princess or Adelia herself. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

HAUNT ME STILL by Jennifer Lee Carrell (Mystery)
A deleted scene from Macbeth is said to describe a rite of black magic. Now practitioners of the dark arts are trying to get their hands on it, as is Shakespearean scholar Kate Stanley. The superstitions surrounding the play wreak havoc on the lives of those involved. There was a reason the scene was deleted, and Kate is about to find out why. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

CITY OF LOST GIRLS by Declan Hughes (Mystery)
After flamboyant Irish film director Jack Donovan receives threatening letters while making a movie in Dublin, he hires PI Ed Loy to investigate. But the disturbing letters aren’t Donovan’s only problem. Soon after they arrive, beautiful young women hired by Donovan as extras go missing. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

IMPERFECT ENDINGS: A Daughter's Tale of Life and Death by Zoe FitzGerald Carter (Memoir)
Author Zoe FitzGerald Carter has had a different experience from many. Her mother had advanced Parkinson's Disease and sought assistance to end her own life. This extraordinary memoir acquaints us with the person who was Margaret Draper, recounting past experiences and telling about the realities --- and the tenderness and agony --- of witnessing her death. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

THE TALE OF HALCYON CRANE by Wendy Webb (Paranormal Suspense)
One day, Hallie James receives a letter telling her that her mother has passed away --- a woman who Hallie thought had died years ago in a fire. It turns out her entire life has been a lie, and who she is will change dramatically when she finds her past waiting for her. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

Click here to read this week's reviews.

Poll and Question of the Week: Library Visits


What do you do at the library? Please check as many as apply.

Borrow books
Borrow audiobooks
Borrow DVDs
Borrow CDs
Read books
Read newspapers
Read magazines
Use the Internet
Conduct research
Attend programs and/or workshops
Attend book club meetings
None of the above.
I do not go to the library.

-Click here to answer our poll.


What are some of the best books that your librarians have suggested to you? Name up to five.

-Click here to answer our question.


Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win THREE Books!
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 BEATRICE AND VIRGIL by Yann Martel, DELIVER US FROM EVIL by David Baldacci and THE DOUBLE COMFORT SAFARI CLUB: The New No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Novel by Alexander McCall Smith. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon ET on Friday, April 30th 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 April 30, 2010 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: THE BLACK CAT: A Richard Jury Mystery by Martha Grimes, DELIVER US FROM EVIL by David Baldacci, THE DOUBLE COMFORT SAFARI CLUB: The New No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Novel by Alexander McCall Smith, EVERY LAST ONE by Anna Quindlen and THE SHADOW OF YOUR SMILE by Mary Higgins Clark. Audri from Westmont, IL was last month's winner. She won CAUGHT by Harlan Coben, HELL GATE by Linda Fairstein, HUSH by Kate White, SHATTERED by Karen Robards and THINK TWICE by Lisa Scottoline.

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

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