Monday, June 30, 2014

What's on Your List?

Hello, dear readers.

Summertime and the reading is easy. Here are some pieces on my to-read list for the season.

The Sea Garden by Deborah Lawrenson

I absolutely loved Lawrenson's last book, The Lantern, and am really looking forward these three novellas that combine mystery, history, romance, and World War II. Here's one of the reviews.

The Sea Garden weaves a double spell: Lawrenson steeps her story of the invisible heroes of the French Resistance crossing borders-and here, crossing time-deep in the eerie beauty of the South of France. The result is a marvelous strange fruit: think Graham Greene with a dash of Poe.” (Sarah Blake, author of The Postmistress)

Longbourn by Jo Baker

Longbourn is billed as Pride and Prejudice's Upstairs, Downstairs.

Reel me in, right? It's a refreshing take on Miss Austen's classic, which focuses on the servants, rather than the Bennet family. Can't wait!

“A triumph: a splendid tribute to Austen’s original but, more importantly, a joy in its own right…Like Austen, Baker has written an intoxicating love story but, also like Austen, the pleasure of her novel lies in its wit and fierce intelligence…Baker not only creates a richly imagined story of her own but recasts Austen’s novel in a startlingly fresh light…Inspired.” —The Guardian

One More Thing by B. J. Novak

I was a huge fan of The Office, particularly for it witty writing. B.J. Novak was responsible for most of my favorite episodes, so I was delighted when I received his book of short stories for Mother's Day.

“His more concise stories come across as brainy comedy bits, while his sustained tales covertly encompass deep emotional and psychological dimensions… Novak excels at topsy-turvy improvisations on a dizzying array of subjects, from Aesop’s fables to tabloid Elvis to our oracular enthrallment to the stock market…Novak’s ingeniously ambushing stories of longing, fear, pretension, and confusion reveal the quintessential absurdities and transcendent beauty of our catchas-catch-can lives.” —Booklist, starred review

So, Bibliophiles, how about you? What novels are on your bedside tables this season?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Six Great Summer Reads All in One Place

I was very happy to see my second novel, Until My Soul Gets It Right, appear in this lovely magazine along with five other best-selling women authors. Who knows? You just might find your next summer reading book inside. Click here to check it out.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Printers Row Lit Fest Sale 2014

Celebrate Literature No Matter Where You Live

You probably know that I'm going to be signing books at Chicago's Printers Row Lit Fest tomorrow from 10 AM to 2 PM, in the Chicago Writers' Association Tent. I'm pretty excited. So excited, in fact, that I wanted to share it.

I know you can't all be in Chicago with me that day, so I've decided to pass along the festival savings to everyone.

For one week, JUNE 7-14, A WHISPER TO A SCREAM and UNTIL MY SOUL GETS IT RIGHT will both be ON SALE for Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords. Each will be just 99¢, down from the regular price of $5.99.

Just click on the links below anytime between June 7-14 to take advantage of the savings.

Please tell your friends. Thanks much!

Amazon (Kindle)

Barnes & Noble (Nook)

Smashwords (E-book)
Coupon Code: YU77N

Amazon (Kindle)

Barnes & Noble (Nook only)

Smashwords (E-book)
Coupon Code: WB25S

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Bibliophile's Guide to Chicagoland

My series, The Bibliophiles, takes place mostly in the Chicago suburbs, but in my latest book, Until My Soul Gets It Right (The Bibliophiles: Book Two), Catherine Elbert decides she needs to escape her family’s Wisconsin farm for some greener pastures, farm pun intended. ((Groan.)) Anyhow, Catherine bounces from coast to coast in search of her true self, traveling from Portland, Maine clear across the continent to San Diego, California. Eventually, she ends up in Chicagoland, my home turf.

Chicago is a great literary city with a reputation for gritty, social realism both in its fiction as well as its poetry. Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie, a tale of what can happen when a country girl loses herself in the big city is set here, as well as James T. Farrell’s Studs Lonigan, which focuses on the lives of Irish-Americans during the Great Depression. Upton Sinclair’s famous The Jungle portrays life working in Chicago’s early meat-packing plants. A part of the old Union Stock Yard Gate is still standing today on Exchange Avenue and Peoria Street.

More recently, Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time-Travelers Wife takes place in Chicago, along with the non-fictional Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson. Hard-boiled detective V.I. Warshawski lives here, as does her creator, Sara Paretsky. Presumed Innocent author Scott Turow also calls Chicago home.

Here are some of Chicago’s great literary sites.

Carl Sandburg House, 4646 N. Hermitage Avenue, Chicago. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Sandburg (1878-1967) is best known for the famous “Chicago” poem in which he describes “The City of the Big Shoulders.” Sandburg lived here when he wrote for The Chicago Daily News. He is also penned a six-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln, the last of which earned him the Pulitzer Prize in History in 1940.

Poet Carl Sandburg. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Nelson Algren House, 1958 West Evergreen Street, Chicago. Algren (1909-1981) often wrote about the American Dream gone awry while he lived on the third floor of this building. Winner of three O. Henry Awards, both the International Writers Guild PEN and Chicago Tribune have fiction contests named after Algren. He won the National Book Award for his 1949 novel, The Man with the Golden Arm.

Nelson Algren. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

The University of Chicago, Hyde Park, on Chicago’s south side. Among its many illustrious alumni are Saul Bellow, author of Adventures of Augie March, and Studs Terkel, known for his personal stories of average people in Working and Division Street: America.

The University of Chicago. Photo courtesy of the Tailgater's Handbook.

The Newberry Library, 60 West Walton Street, Chicago. Chicago’s independent research library, it houses a collection of rare books, manuscripts, music and maps spanning six centuries, including letters from President John Adams and his family and manuscripts from Nelson Algren, Sara Paretsky and Ben Hecht.

The Newberry Library. Photo courtesy of www.

Gwendolyn Brooks Home, 4334 S. Champion, Chicago. The first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize, Brooks is best known for her Selected Poems and A Street in Bronzeville, as well as many essays and reviews. She was Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968 and taught at many local colleges.

Gwendolyn Brooks. Photo courtesy of

Ernest Hemingway House and Museum, 200 N. Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois. Out in the near-western suburbs stands the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway, the Nobel Prize-winning author of A Farewell to Arms, The Old Man and the Sea, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Sun Also Rises. Hemingway spent his first twenty years in Oak Park and attended Oak Park-River Forest High School.

The Ernest Hemingway House. Photo courtesy of the Oak Park Journal.

Which Chicago literary site would you be most interested in visiting?

This post originally ran on Julie Lindsey's blog, Musings from the Slush Pile.