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Happy NaNoWriMo!

6 Nov

National Novel Writing Month (also known as November, or NaNoWriMo) is upon us! I have never participated but I saw this list of books written during NaNoWriMo that were ultimately published here, here and here.

I’m pretty impressed. It’s a huge and awesome commitment. So if you’re participating this year, good luck! And may the publishing industry smile upon you when your work is finished.

I believe the only two I have read are Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. But I’m interested in reading Ian O’Neill’s Endo, a mystery set in the world of cycling, and Ransom Stephens‘ The God Patent, about someone who used a programming patent to patent God and ultimately tries to enforce his patent.


Chick Lit from Across the Pond

15 May

I read tons of chick lit, or women’s fiction. The general concept is that these books are written by women for women. Chick lit doesn’t do the genre justice, and it should never be viewed as a derogatory term. These are books for women, by women, that span across all genres and address social values, family relationships, romantic love and friendship. They appeal to me because if I pick up a book like The Devil Wears Prada , or Circle of Friends ,  I’m certain to identify with something in the main character – be it her job, her love triangle, her self deprecation or her strengths.

At some point in high school after working my way through most of Maeve Binchy’s novels, I realized that my favorite chick lit comes from British and Irish authors. The cities of London and Dublin hold a mythical appeal to me, for whatever reason. So, without further ado, here are my five favorite chick lit authors from across the pond!

1. Maeve Binchy. Favorite novels include Light a Penny Candle Circle of Friends  and Nights of Rain and Stars . Continue reading

Authors Being Awesome: Danielle Steel

8 May

Danielle Steel, by the numbers, is incredible. She’s written 72 books, sold between $500 million and $800 milllion dollars of her novels and is now the fourth best-selling author of all time.  Her books are the perfect blend of scandal, romance and drama – I recommend grabbing one off the new book shelf in your local library the next time you get a chance. But that’s not why I’m writing about Steel.

Primarily, Danielle Steel is amazing due to her dedication to an incredibly important cause – the detection and treatment of mental illness.  Steel’s son Nicholas Traina committed suicide in 1997 after a long battle with bipolar disorder.  She  used much of the proceeds from her non-fiction book His Bright Light about Nick’s life, death and illness to fund the Nick Traina Foundation, which funds organizations dedicated to treating mental illness. She’s been recognized over and over for her dedication to the cause – she lobbies in Washington, works with community organizations and donates millions to the cause.

Aside from her good works, it appears that many of Steel’s passionate and illicit romances are inspired by her own personal life. The novel’s that launched Steel’s career, Passion’s Promise and Now and Forever, were inspired by her affair and marriage to a prison inmate. And yes, you hear that correctly. Continue reading

Authors Being Awesome: Hugh Laurie Edition

1 May

This one’s sort of cheating, but I think it’s still qualifies as awesome.  A better title might be “Actors Being Awesome,” because most Americans know Hugh Laurie as the sarcastic, pill popping, mystery illness diagnosing doctor on House. Aside from being British, an accomplished jazz musician and America’s favorite curmudgeon, Laurie wrote a suspense novel called The Gun Seller.

While I haven’t read it, you can check out Cannonball reviews of the book here and here.  Laurie’s also a comedian, and apparently the book is a bit crazy, a bit funny and an overall good time.

Laurie actually wrote and submitted the book under a pseudonym, because he didn’t want to be one of those “celebrity authors.”  After the book sold, his publicist convinced him to use his actual name to promote sales.  There were rumors of a second novel to be published in 2009, but that has yet to materialize.  So, there are possibly more Hugh Laurie novels on the horizon!

Authors Being Awesome: Suzanne Collins & R.L. Stine Edition

27 Apr

R.L. Stine was my jam when I was little. Between my brother and I, we probably have the entire Goosebumps series stowed away in a box in the attic. Grimm’s fairy tales were wildly popular with children because children are drawn to stories that elicit gut reactions – blood, guts, gore, horror, death. R.L. Stine capitalized on that for a new generation, and it was wonderful.

And, at this point, it’s unlikely that you don’t know who Suzanne Collins is. Three words: The Hunger Games. You know, that wildly successfully young adult trilogy turned wildly successful film franchise starring Jennifer Lawrence?

What do they have in common? They helped create a part of pop culture revered by teens and twenty-somethings everywhere. They wrote for 1990s Nickelodeon television shows! Continue reading

Authors Being Awesome: Dennis Lehane & Michael Connelly Edition

23 Apr

Castle is an ABC procedural about mystery writer Richard Castle, who shadows Detective Kate Beckett for inspiration while simultaneously helping her solve real life crimes. Is it a little farfetched? Yes. But Nathan Fillion is incredibly charming, and Seamus Dever is adorable.

Anyways, the fictional Richard Castle has long running poker night with real life mystery writers! It makes me so happy whenever the poker games pop up on the show. James Patterson (the Alex Cross series, the Women’s Murder Club series), Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Shutter Island) and Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch series) have all  done cameos.  For more details on the authors featured, check out this Yahoo! article.

Michael Connelly also has a surprisingly wonderful deadpan sense of humor, as evidenced by his classic line “Know what I did after I wrote my first novel?” Continue reading

Authors Being Awesome: Jennifer Weiner Edition

20 Apr

Imagine that you finally have the opportunity to meet one of your idols. Author, actor, singer, whoever. What would you do? I’d totally freak out. I’m thinking something in the style of a screaming teenage girl at a 1960s Beatles concert. Or, more likely, I’d be so paralyzed with anxiety I’d simply creepily gawk at them from 200 yards away.

Want to know what Jennifer Weiner, author of some really wonderful women’s fiction (In Her ShoesGood In Bed), did when meeting one of her idols?  The story starts with her getting drunk and ends with her talking to him about penises. For real.

Continue reading

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