Friday, October 23, 2009

Chug chug chug... Shuck shuck shuck...

Like Lisa, I must apologize for my post-y absenteeism of last week. Life got stupid. 'nuff said.

Like Jillian and Maureen, I too am chugging forward on a first draft - for me it's for Book the Third in the Wondrous trilogy. Chug. Chug chug.

Like all of us here at TNG, I can't wait to dive in to WHISTLIN' DIXIE IN A NOR'EASTER. Giddy at the prospect, in fact!

Of course, that'll only be after I'm well and truly done with the chugging.

And then... oh then... the world is my booky oyster, I tells ya! Shuck it, baby!

(Not that I've really thought about this in great depth. The idea of leisure time at the moment is just some silly young thing's madcap daydream! But okay. I'll play along.)

W'DIAN'E is, of course, first on the list. After that, let's see...

I want to read CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins. Loved THE HUNGER GAMES, looking forward to this sequel and hoping it holds up.

I think I might pick up one of the recent Southern Gothic YA's, like BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (it's not out yet, but by the time I'm ready to read it, it probably will be...) or Rosemary Clement-Moore's SPLENDOR FALLS.

I also think I want to read RAMPANT by Diane Peterfreund. (Two words: Killer. Unicorns.)

And I have a shiny new series box set of Eoin Colfer's ARTEMIS FOWL books. Maybe I'll start with those. I adore Eoin, loved his contribution to the HITCHHIKER series (which I was lucky enough to read in freakin' mauscript form before I got to interview him!) and reading the whole series back-to-back has a very "sink into a story for a good long stretch" appeal to me at the moment.

What about you guys? Tell me, what oysters are on your platter that you just can't wait to shuck open and gobble down? Share the TBR love!!! SHARE!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Wishlist!

Like Maureen, I’m finishing up a draft this week, and also like Maureen, I don’t usually read other books while I’m writing. That doesn’t mean there aren’t books I want to read, and even possibly, um, already may have sneaked in a few pages of (because that huge pile on my night table is just so tempting!) So as soon as I finish revising up this draft in the next few weeks, I’m definitely tackling that TBR pile!

First up is Lisa’s book Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter. I read the first few chapters the afternoon it arrived from Amazon, and I can’t wait to read the rest. For now, I have it on the top of the pile just so I can stare at the gorgeous cover every time I walk by!

Then I’ve got Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella. I bought this on impulse when I was in Target with my son, and I also already read the first few chapters when I first brought it home. It looks like a really fun, modern ghost story/women’s fiction book, and I can’t wait to read the rest.

I put A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore on my Kindle the day it came out, and also, yeah, you guessed it, read the first chapter right then and there. Lorrie Moore is my writing idol, part of the reason I decided I wanted to become a writer. Her use of language is always so engaging, that I feel like I learn something new about writing every time I read something by her. Can’t wait to savor this one.

After I tackle the books I’ve already started, there’s a few I want to read that I haven’t even bought yet: Going Bovine by Libba Bray (I’ve read so many good things about this book, and it sounds different than anything else out there) and Liar by Justine Larbalestier (I love the concept of an unreliable narrator). I also want to get The Best American Short Stories 2009 (I love this anthology every year!) and like Lisa, I still haven’t read The Time Traveler’s Wife, but I’ve been meaning to for years now. And now that I've looked at the rest of some of the other Novel Girls' lists, I'm realizing I also have to add Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe, and Family Affair by Caprice Crane.

Now, if only this draft would revise itself, so I could curl up and dig in (and have the time to read past the first few chapters!)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

There aren't enough hours in the day!

First, my apologies for missing last week's post on fall. I'm learning that I'm not the best manager of time. Well, let me restate that. I don't operate well when I have this much going on in my life.

Last week I was in Memphis to promote Whistlin' Dixie. Since the book is set in Memphis and it's my hometown, the Memphis media was quite generous with promotional opportunities and it had me running all over the place. My book signing at Davis-Kidd was my definition of spectacular (thanks to all my childhood friends and others that I worked with over the years) and although that's a good thing, the adrenaline racing through my body caused me to lose way too much sleep.

Fortunately my tour had a stop-over in Seaside, Florida and I've been able to catch up on a few nights sleep and strike through some much overdue items on my to-do list.

The tall tower on the nightstand next to my bed, a.k.a my TBR list, has not gotten any shorter in months. I haven't had time to do any reading so unfortunately it's turn into a nagging voice that whispers, "That's right, just look at all the money you've spent on your reading obsession. Are you trying to spend all of the money that you'll make on your own book? You don't have time to read anyway."

Nevertheless, the tower grows ever larger. Because I am so very happy when I'm reading. I'm anticipating that when I get home I'll be able to quiet the voice in my head and dive in.

Here's the contents of that tower next to my bed:

South of Broad by Pat Conroy sits at the top.
The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells is right underneath.
The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Society by Annie Barrows is next, followed by Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.
Then a lady at my hometown Borders took me by the hand and led me over to this book that she insisted I read. THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN by Garth Stein.
The Last Song by Nicolas Sparks is there and
The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
might be on the bottom (I bought it a while back) but I think I'm looking forward to reading that one the most!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Once I Finish This Draft...

I, too, am SO excited that this week we're talking about books on our TBR list. Like Tracy, I've been trying to finish up my next book--which I should have done this week. (Thank the dear Lord!)

So I have quite a healthy TBR pile sitting next to my nightstand, laughing at me as I try to finish this draft. See, I don't allow myself to read other people's books while I'm in the middle of draft. I'm afraid there will be some unintentional cross-contamination, not to mention the huge potential for using it as a procrastination tool! I also like to give myself a few little gifts when I finish a first draft and really, what better reward than an armful of new books?

First on my list is fellow Novel Girl Lisa Patton's book Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter! I cannot wait to dive into it--especially since Lisa and I share an agent and editor. I also may or may not spend a few hours just staring at the beautiful cover!

Also on my list are the following:

1. Pat Conroy's South of Broad. I've been a fan/follower/worshipper of Pat since about 1999 when I read Beach Music. This is his first novel in years and it KILLS ME that I haven't read it yet.

2. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe. Really, what better time of year to read a creepy book about the Salem Witch Trials? I saw the cover for this book in Target and knew I had to have it--once I finish this godforsaken draft. (Can you guys tell I hate first drafts?)

3. Family Affair by Caprice Crane. I follow Caprice on Twitter and she's hysterical. Every tweet is like a headline from The Onion. Her book is about a woman who sues her ex-husband for custody of...his family. Cool premise, no?

4. The Last Will of Moira Leahy by Therese Walsh. This book caught my eye in Barnes and Noble last week. The cover is simply stunning (Shaye Areheart Books does amazing covers!). The plot centers around one twin's search for the mystery behind her sister's death. There's a Japanese dagger with mysterious powers involved. Sign me up!

5.Jennifer Weiner's Best Friends Forever. Here's where I get to brag a bit. I actually met Jen this weekend at the Cincinnati Books by the Banks festival. She came over and said hi and was so normal that I could've sworn that she was just a patron and not a NYT bestselling author. Then, she bought my book and had me sign it. How freaking cool is THAT?

So, folks. Looks like I have my reading cut out for me, huh? Hopefully, by Friday, I'll be shouting, "I'm FREEEEEE" from the rooftops and settling in with stacks of good books and hiding the Borders receipt from my husband.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I am very excited that our topic today is about the books on our to-be-read shelf. For the last two months, I haven't been able to read fiction because I've been so focused on finishing my book, A BREATH OF MAGIC. When I'm that deep into one of my own stories, reading fiction can hurt my forward motion, so I try to stick to TV shows and non-fiction.

But, I turned in A BREATH OF MAGIC today, so that means I can read as many of the lovely books in my to-be-read pile as possible over my two-week break. First on my list?

Lisa's book, of course. I've been dying to read WHISTLIN' DIXIE IN A NOR'EASTER forever. And ever. And now, I can!

Then, I'll be moving on to:

  • La Vida Vampire by Nancy Haddock
  • An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner

I have plenty of other books waiting to be read, including several Jude Deveraux titles, but the above four are on my must-read-as-soon-as-possible list. First, though, I have to clean up my after-meeting-deadline house, and finish the memoir (Melissa Gilbert's) I've been reading the last couple of weeks.

Oh, did I mention I turned my book in today? Yes? Cheer with me, please! A BREATH OF MAGIC was a difficult story to write, and there were times in the process I wondered if I'd ever actually finish. But now, after I've written and edited and polished and turned the sucker in, I realize it's very likely the best, most emotionally profound, story I've ever told.

I can't wait to see what others think.

Hope you all have a great day! And I'd love to hear what's on YOUR to-be-read list.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cover and Cover Copy!

I'm popping in this Sunday with you the so-gorgeous cover for my next release (coming in May, 2010), A BREATH OF MAGIC. Check it out:

A Breath of Magic

And, here's the back cover copy!


Chloe Nichols is holding her breath. All her life, finding true happiness with a family has seemed as easy as…well, snagging a bubble off the wind—a bubble that her current boyfriend seems dead-set on bursting. Yes, every time Chloe brings up her one true desire, Kyle makes an excuse. But he hasn’t reckoned with the awesome power of Gypsy magic. Or with loyal kith and kin. One way or another things are about to be set right. Happy endings can sometimes come after you convince a man he loves you, right? Chloe was just giving Fate a puff in the right direction….