From the moment you open Inside These Walls
by Rebecca Coleman, you're transported to the world of a women’s prison and introduced to Clara Mattingly who is serving a life sentence for murder. Rebecca’s writing is superb, and Clara is instantly a likeable and sympathetic character, whom you will cheer for, even though she’s also a cold-blooded killer.
Rebecca isn’t tricking the reader into liking Clara. It’s obvious that there’s more to the story than just murder—that Clara has the proverbial skeletons in her closet. After twenty-five years behind bars, she’s choosing to forget the past and stay focused on her present, which in prison means keeping her head down and staying out of trouble.
The problem is Clara’s famous, and so other inmates love to pick on her, which often results in serious injuries. Her crime, along with her boyfriend Ricky, was made into a movie. Hollywood turned their story into an almost Charles Manson type of drama, where Ricky led Clara and his other friends into a 24-hour crime spree that resulted in several murders.
Clara lives her prison life helping her blind cellmate and working on Braille textbooks, while remembering her life as an artist and her love for ballet before the night that changed her life forever. You'll keep turning pages because of the author’s set-up, trying to discover how did this bright, young, talented girl follow her boyfriend and murder people?
Rebecca reveals the true story once an unexpected visitor appears to see Clara in prison, and her heart immediately yearns for love and freedom. At the same time, a reporter writing a book about Ricky asks Clara for information, even though she has never before granted an interview. Because of the visitor, Clara decides it’s time to reveal the truth; and as the book progresses to the end, you discover the circumstances leading up to the crime.
Themes in this book include religion—Clara is Catholic and does follow her faith in prison, including going to confession and taking communion; forgiveness; self-preservation; abuse; independence and freedom; friendship; loyalty; love; truth and more.This is the perfect book club choice, as readers will debate Clara’s crimes, her confessions, her circumstances and even the ending. On Rebecca’s website (http://www.rebeccacoleman.net
), book clubs can sign up for a possible Skype or phone visit from the author. Inside These Walls
is one of those novels that will keep you up past your bedtime because you want to discover the secrets Clara has kept and what landed her in one of the worst places imaginable—prison. Here are a few words straight from Rebecca about her novel and writing career: WOW: What made you want to write about a woman in prison--and then in a high-profile case?Rebecca:
Once the story started taking shape, it became more interesting to make it a high-profile case because it would make sense why someone would want to interview Clara for a book. But as to why I wrote it in the first place--the only truthful answer is. . .because it's the story that showed up in my head! I never start out with a specific topic in mind--I want to write about an emotion, and then I find a story that gives a structure and a progressive arc to that emotion. With Inside These Walls,
it was about the feeling of being given a second chance at something very, very important and how far a person would go not to squander that chance. And what could challenge that more than being in prison?WOW: Thanks for explaining how the story took shape. It's always interesting to hear from successful authors how their brain works. How did you get your agent, Stephany Evans (in other words--meet at conference, slush pile, etc)?Rebecca:
I sent her a query letter by e-mail, but it was an unusually nervy move for me. Normally I'd go to an agency's website, look to see who the newest agents were, and query them, thinking they were still building their lists and would be more open to a new, untested writer. I'd gotten stacks and stacks of rejections. Then my first book, The Kingdom of Childhood
, became a semifinalist in Amazon's ABNA contest, and that gave me the courage to query higher up the food chain. I have to say, Stephany is the perfect agent for me. She is conscientious and tenacious and attentive. I ended up feeling glad for all the rejection because in the end it gave me the opportunity to work with Stephany.WOW: The advice we all hear is that finding the perfect agent should fit like finding the perfect spouse or mate. We're so happy that has happened for you. What's up next?Rebecca:
Thanks for asking! I'm working on a new story that features a character my readers have seen before--that's all I can say.WOW: Now, that's a teaser. I can't wait to find out about that! How do you balance writing and marketing?Rebecca:
It's a serious challenge! You have to schedule the business part, so the creative aspect doesn't eat all your time. It's easiest for me to spend the first hour of a work day dealing with Twitter and e-mail, then set myself free to write for the rest of the day. It's tough because writing asks you to lock yourself in a room with your imaginary friends, and marketing requires you to go out there and take risks with real people. A lot of writers write specifically because they don't want to do that.WOW: Very true! What's one piece of advice you would give to new writers?Rebecca:
Don't be a diva. To succeed in this business, you need to be able to take criticism, be enjoyable to work with, be flexible, and make many more friends than enemies. If you can do all that and be true to yourself as a writer, then nothing can hold you back.WOW: Thank you for that wonderful advice. Please keep WOW! readers informed on your next book. We'd love to hear about it. Readers, don't forget, you can enter to win a copy of this wonderful book, Inside These Walls, by entering the Rafflecopter form below! Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway
Reminder: New literary agents
(with this spotlight featuring Claire Anderson-Wheeler of Regal Literary) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent
who is likely building his or her client list.
About Claire: Claire Anderson-Wheeler is the newest agent to join the team at Regal Literary Management
. Prior to that she worked at Anderson Literary Management in New York, and at Christine Green Authors’ Agent in London, UK. She holds an LLB from Trinity College, Dublin, and a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, UK. Claire is Irish, was born in DC, and grew up in Dublin, Geneva, and Brussels. For more on Claire’s tastes, you can read an online interview here
She is seeking: YA with a strong voice (realistic or high-concept), works of narrative non-fiction and pop culture/pop psychology, literary fiction, and commercial women’s fiction driven by strong contemporary issues.
How to submit: Please email your query letter, attaching a full synopsis (i.e. please include spoilers) and the first three chapters as MS Word documents. Thanks!
What could be better than one guide on crafting
fiction from wise agent Donald Maass? Two books!
We bundle them together at a discount in our shop
Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:Notes to the First-Time Novelist
.NEW Literary Agent Seeking Clients: Sara D’Emic of Talcott Notch
.Your Novel’s Missing Ingredient? It Could be YOU
.Sell More Books by Building Your Author Platform
.Follow Chuck Sambuchino on Twitter
or find him on Facebook
. Learn all about his writing guides on how to get published, how to find a literary agent, and how to write a query letter
Want to build your visibility and sell more books?
Create Your Writer Platform
shows you how to promote yourself and your books through social media, public speaking, article writing, branding,
and more. Order the book from WD at a discount
By: C. C. Gevry,
A. R. Talley (April R Talley) received her Bachelor of Arts degree in mass media communications from the University of Akron, in Akron, Ohio. Previous to the completion of her degree, she was employed by Osmond Productions working on the production staff of The Donny and Marie Show and several other shows produced at Osmond Studios in Orem, Utah. She later worked as vice president and part owner of a dance and sportswear clothing boutique. She has been married for over thirty years, the mother of seven children, and grandmother to six. Now, she keeps herself busy caring for the two children she still has at home, volunteering for her church, reading and writing. David’s Song is her debut novel and the first of a trilogy. You can follow April on her blog – talleyar.blogspot.com, or on twitter – A.R. Talley@ARTalley13, or on Facebook – ARTalley7
Thank you for joining us today, April. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?
Well, as the bio said, I am a wife and mother and grandmother…although I don’t think I’m old enough to be the latter. I was born in the month of April, that’s how I got my name. My mother was very original – good thing I was not a boy. I live in Ohio with my husband and two of my children who are still in school. I am relatively new to the writing game. I started writing about 5 years ago. I wish that someone would have told me when I was much younger that I could write down all those stories I had floating around in my head, because I LOVE doing it. I also love music and reading. I play the piano. I also enjoy poking around in the garden, decorating, and traveling (especially cruises because I can sit on the deck of a ship and read…best of both worlds!)
When did you first get bit by the writing bug?
Like I said above, I started writing about 5 years ago. And I guess you could say that the bug bit hard. In the last 5 years I have completed 4 novels and have the beginnings of 2 more.
Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?
I don’t consider David’s Song a YA novel, but I have written one. I wrote it after finishing the David’s Song Trilogy. And I decided to write in the YA genre for two reasons. 1. I enjoy reading YA fiction. And 2. I really like teenagers. I think they are interesting and fun to be around.
What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?
My favorite part of writing for the YA group is also the most challenging part – and that is getting the language right. Teens and Young Adults speak very differently than I did when I was that age. I found myself asking my teenagers and college age kids if I was getting right. When I did, it was fun to play with the language.
Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?
By latest book, I assume you mean David’s Song. This book is about a young woman, Annie, who while in college meets and falls in love with two men. One breaks her heart and the other marries her. Several years later, while on a get away with old college roommates, Annie meets up with David, the boy who broke her heart. At this time, she’s having some marital difficulties and is feeling insecure and vulnerable. David feeling a spark of old feelings, courts and attempts to woo Annie away from her troubled marriage. The story culminates as Annie is faced with the choice of her marriage – or a chance at lost love. You’ll have to read the book to find out which she chooses.
What inspired you to write it?
I was inspired to write the story after meeting up with a man who I had a crush on in college. We were nothing more than casual friends at the time. But I started wondering what would have happened if things had worked out differently.
Where can readers purchase a copy?
Readers can purchase a print or ebook copy online at Barnes and Noble, Amazon (look for it under the author name of A.R. Talley), or at Authorhouse.com.
What is up next for you?
Up next is getting the second book of the trilogy printed. It’s titled Jeremy’s Promise, and readers can actually get a sneak peek at the end of David’s Song. I’m hoping to release Jeremy’s Promise this fall.
Do you have anything else to add?
Just want to thank you for this chance to share a little bit about me and my work. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it!
Thank you for spending time with us today, April. We wish you much success.
ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A $50 AMAZON GIFT CARD OR PAYPAL CASH. ENDS 5/12/13. CLICK HERE.
Hello readers! I have another WOW! Women On Writing blog tour to participate in today. If you missed yesterday’s review and giveaway of BEYOND BELIEF: The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme Religions, go to it now!
Today, I am hosting Elaine Drennon Little, and her novel from WiDo Publishing, A Southern Place. This is a terrific, heart-wrenching novel–it’s being billed as a southern saga.
Read my review and then enter to win a copy of the book through the Rafflecopter form below! This is the last stop of the tour AND the last chance to win. Plus, check on the entry form for a special FRIDAY THE 13th entry!! (Insert scary music here. . .)
Elaine Drennon Little introduces readers to a dysfunctional family full of misunderstood souls in her debut novel, A Southern Place. The pages of Little’s novel are filled with characters readers will feel like they could reach out and hug—that’s how much detail and work this talented author put into her first book. It’s a character-driven ride, mostly through the late 1950’s South, focusing on hard-working, proud individuals who can’t catch a break.
Little chose to tell the story through the eyes of five characters, and this is where the strength in the book lies. When the novel opens with Mojo, the youngest of the cast, beaten almost to death and in the hospital in the late 1980s, the sheriff reveals how awful her background is and how she really hasn’t got anybody left in the world. Readers will be forming an opinion on Mojo’s family before finishing that beginning section; but as the author spends the majority of the book in the point of view of Mojo’s mother, uncle, and father (whom she doesn’t know), opinions will soon change. That’s the beauty of Little’s first novel—she drives home the point that appearances are not always the truth; life is seldom what it seems. No one knows what happens behind closed doors.
Once Little flashes back to the past to the late 1950s, readers meet Phil (Mojo’s daddy, even though it’s a huge secret), a rich kid whose learning disabilities are an embarrassment to his successful and powerful father. Calvin, Mojo’s uncle, works on Phil’s daddy’s plantation, and is well-respected—that is until a farming accident leaves him with a hook instead of a hand. Then, there’s Delores, Calvin’s younger sister and Mojo’s mama. She, like Mojo, is a good, kind woman who just wants to take care of her family and do the right thing. She’s willing to take just about any job she can and lend an ear to any poor soul. This is how she gets together with Phil, starting a short and passionate affair.
Once all the pieces of the plot are in motion, Little alternates point of view between the three main characters, showing readers how one choice can lead to a life full of heartache. Sometimes, though, the characters’ misfortune isn’t a result of their own choices, like when Cal is involved in the farming accident. If readers are a fan of Les Miserables, they may be reminded a bit of this classic novel while reading A Southern Place. Not because it takes place in 19th century France, but because these Georgian 20th century characters are down on their luck and often wind up in poverty and sickness.
Little grew up on a farm in southern Georgia, where much of her novel is set. She taught music for 27 years in public school and graduated with an MFA in 2008. She currently lives in northern Georgia with her husband, and she blogs at http:// elainedrennonlittle.wordpress.com/.
When the novel ends, readers have a real understanding of how the beginning could happen—just how did young, innocent Mojo wind up beaten to a pulp in the hospital? Little brings the plot full circle and even ends with a bit of hope. This Southern saga is sure to leave readers wanting more from Little soon.
Fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Reminder: Newer agents are golden opportunities
for new writers because they're likely building their client list; however, always
make sure your work is as perfect as it can be before submitting, and only query agencies
that are a great fit for your work. Otherwise, you're just wasting time and postage.
About Jessica: Jessica Alvarez joined BookEnds,
LLC in April 2011. Mere days after graduating from New York University with a
B.A. in English Literature, Jessica began her publishing career in 2001 as an editorial
assistant at Harlequin Books. There, she had the opportunity
to acquire and edit a wide array of women's fiction, specializing in historical romance,
romantic suspense, and inspirational romance.
She is seeking: women's fiction, erotica, urban
fantasy/paranormal, romantic suspense, and single title and category romance submissions. A
New Jersey native, Jessica resides in the Garden State with her husband, young son,
two energetic dogs, and an indeterminate number of fish.
How to submit: Query jalvarez[at]bookends-inc.com. "BookEnds agents do reply
to all submissions and e-queries and hope to do so in a timely manner. Our response
time goals are 4 weeks for queries and 12 weeks on requested partials and fulls. Unfortunately,
at times circumstances mean we fall behind in our responses. We do try to post status
updates through Twitter, Facebook, and occasionally on the blog. If you haven't received
a response to a query after 8 weeks, we ask that you simply resend the query. It's
possible that it was eaten by a spam filter either on our end or yours."
Want more on
It's August--the perfect time to curl up with a great new novel. Enter DAUGHTER OF PROVIDENCE, the debut novel from Julie Drew, on sale today.
DAUGHTER OF PROVIDENCE is the story of Anne Dodge, raised by her old-money father in a small town in Rhode Island. When Maria Cristina, the half-sister she never knew she had, comes to live with them, Anne sets off on a journey of discovering truths about her family--and herself.
A wonderful read for book clubs or anyone looking for a beautifully written novel told by a character that Publishers Weekly called "a memorable heroine and narrator."
TO WIN ONE OF THREE SIGNED COPIES OF DAUGHTER OF PROVIDENCE:
- comment on our blog
- like or comment on our Facebook
- retweet or reply on Twitter
You can also find Julie at www.juliedrew.com and @JulieDrewAuthor.
Good luck! Winners announced next Thursday.
Praise for DAUGHTER OF PROVIDENCE
"[A] terrific debut novel...a great summer read." --The Akron Beacon Journal
"Set in a decaying industrial town during the Great Depression, Daughter of Providence is an engrossing story of discovery, tragedy and redemption. Julie Drew is not just a skilled storyteller. She's an historian who creates a rich background of a city in the throes of unionism, class breakdown, and social and sexual upheaval. This is a book that stays with you." --Sandra Dallas, New York Times best-selling author of The Bride's House
"In real life, binding societal expectations take over the show. ‘Success' is first class, and the heart is second class. In this moving tale, Daughter of Providence , we get to see the first class price tag is paid with those hearts." --Carolyn Chute, author of The Beans of Egypt, Maine
"First novelist Drew draws a careful portrait of both social and family problems." --Kirkus
"With a dead body in the opening pages, the upward sweep of a family drama, and assured, lyrical prose, Julie Drew leads us deep into a time and place -- Depression-era New England -- and takes us through an unforgettable summer of loss and understanding. The story is brisk and compelling, channeled through Drew's magnetic protagonist, 24-year-old Anne Dodge, a charming, confident focal point for this exceptional debut novel." --David Giffels, author of All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-down House
Guess the Plot
1. When a love spell gone wrong shrinks Lizzie to 3 inches high she wonders how she'll ever impress hunky Brad from next door. But that's the least of her problems when she discovers the vampiric weeds in her back garden orchestrated the whole thing for one purpose...dinner!
2. Just as dandelion leaves have tiny teeth that annoy you if you lie on them naked for a while, Julia Marsh's family have kept secrets from Julia, secrets about family members Julia didn't even know existed. Which annoys Julia. See, it's an analogy.
3. A new serial killer leaves a bizarre signature - he hacks out his victims teeth and puts dandelions in the gums. As investigators waste time arguing over whether his nickname should be "dandelion mouth" or "the floral dentist," he manages to kill three more times.
4. Going to Lewanski School for Witches wasn't that hard for Megan. Dragon Handling, Wand Making, Potion Brewing--all cake. But when Mr Larch, orders them to get deadly dandelion teeth from the Troll Swamp, suddenly that nursing school all the other girls went to doesn't look so bad.
5. What's a witch to do when alien plant monsters invade, cats go on strike, and the town council condemns her condo? Create a better love potion with the help of an Egyptian zombie. Also, illicit fertilizer usage.
6. 10-year-old Lizzy loves Dandelion wine. Too bad some of the crushed dandelions get stuck in her teeth. Too bad—for her parents—that they decide to make fun of her for it. And . . . maybe they should have hidden the family axe.
23-year-old Julia Marsh gets a mysterious voice mail from her father: he must talk to her face-to-face and is catching the next plane to Chicago. When his plane crashes, Julia returns home to mourn and find out what her father thought was so important. Coming home isn’t what she expects. Instead of comforting each other, her mother turns to a friend and her younger sister keeps pushing her away. [But all] her attempts to learn why her father had to see her [questions] are met with deflections.
Julia discovers an old version of her father’s will that divides his assets between her and Amy, a girl listed as his eldest daughter. [Nothing to his wife? Easy to guess when that marriage hit the skids.] The more Julia pushes to learn about Amy, the more her mother retreats and the angrier her [younger] sister becomes.
An estranged uncle crashes the memorial service, revealing an extended family Julia’s parents worked hard to hide. Desperate to hold onto her father through memories, hers and other’s, [others'] Julia seeks out her uncle,
I've been trying to wrap the basic marketing language around the book I'm close to finishing, and am having a tough time classifying it. My main character is a tough, no-nonsense, middle-aged woman who kidnaps her granddaughter, and the story takes place in large part on the road in rural Alaska. It's edgy and stark, a little frightening in places, though it isn't horror/crime/mystery, and while the heart-warming moments are few and far between, it DOES revolve around this woman's relationship with her son and daughter-in-law and the tough choices we make as parents.
As I get ready to query, would calling this women's fiction, since the primary market would most likely be women, throw an agent off since it seems to depart from the loose definitions of women's fiction I'm seeing? Is there a better way to wrap it?
As I often say, it's all about the voice. Women's fiction is not simply a book whose target audience is women. It's also a book about a woman's personal growth and change and it tends to be strongly emotional. It sounds like your book is women's fiction, but without reading it I have a hard time judging.
By: Jodi Webb,
Blog: WOW! Women on Writing Blog (The Muffin)
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, author blog tour
, women's fiction
, Karen Berner
, author interview
, A Whisper to a Scream
, book giveaway contest
, Add a tag
& book giveaway contest!
Does it drive you crazy to happen upon the third or fourth book in a fabulous series? You love the book but aren't sure if you're "getting" it all. Who are these people? Why do they keep talking about landscaping or Shakespeare or pineapples? Well, today's your chance to get in on the ground floor of an up-and-coming book series the Bibliophiles
with Book One: A Whisper to a Scream
. Don't miss it...Book Two will be released early next year!
How are friendships created? Shared history. Common interests. Membership in the same community, whether it be an actual community, a work community, even the "we ride on the same commuter train every morning" community. What if the only tenuous tie binding you together was a once a month meeting at a Classics Book Club? Could you create a friendship? Could you confide the secrets in your heart...even if you each want what the other has?
In A Whisper to a Scream
, Annie and Sarah are two women who become unlikely friends after both joining a book club. For a long time each of them has held secret wishes in her heart, just whispers really. But those secret wishes have been growing more and more insistent, the call to change her life screams to each woman. Can these polar opposites help each other decide whether to choose new lives or settle for the old familiar ways?
Paperback: 278 pages (and e-formats)
ISBN-13: 978-1456593650Twitter Hashtag: #Bibliophiles1A Whisper to a Scream
, the first book in the Bibliophiles
series is available for purchase in both print and e-formats at Amazon
and Barnes and Noble
.Book Giveaway Contest:
If you would like to win a copy of A Whisper to a Scream
, please leave a comment at the end of this post to be entered in the random drawing. The giveaway contest closes this Thursday, December 15 at 11:59 pm PST
. For an extra entry, link to this post on Twitter with the hashtag #Bibliophiles1
, then come back and leave us a link to your tweet. We will announce the winner in the comments section of this post on the following day Friday, December 16. Good luck!About the Author:
Karen Wojcik Berner lives a provincial life tucked away with her family in the Chicago suburbs. It was good enough for Jane Austen, right? However, dear Miss Austen had the good fortune to be born amid the glorious English countryside, something Karen unabashedly cov
& book giveaway contest!
Remember those car trips of your childhood? Trapped in a vehicle with people (also known as siblings) who wouldn't stop talking or kicking your seat or flicking your ear? Eating cold lunches at picnic tables and greasy fried food at questionable diners? Feeling if you didn't escape the Midwest flatness (or the mountains or the shoreline) you would go crazy? Would you voluntarily take that same trip today?West of Wawa
is about taking that seemingly endless car trip except instead of family you're traveling with a revolving cast of complete strangers and instead of a few days the trip last for weeks. Loveless and jobless, Benny thinks maybe she'll find what she's looking for on a bus trip across Canada. Her adventure—like life—is a mixture of humor, horror, the unexpected, and boredom that readers won't soon forget.
Paperback: 260 pages
Publisher: Inanna Publications
Twitter Hashtag: #WestOfWawaWest of Wawa
is available online at Amazon
as well as at your local bookstores.Book Giveaway Contest:
If you would like to win a copy of West of Wawa
, please leave a comment at the end of this post to be entered in the random drawing. The giveaway contest closes this Thursday, March 1 at 11:59 PM PST
. For an extra entry, link to this post on Twitter with the hashtag #WestOfWawa
, then come back and leave us a link to your tweet. We will announce the winner in the comments section of this post on the following day Friday, March 2. Good luck!
About the Author:
Originally from South Africa, Lisa has been a Canadian citizen since 2003—although she still retains a lilting voice that causes fellow Canadians to ask, "You aren't from Canada, eh?" With a Bachelor's of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy, Lisa has also lived and worked in the United States, Australia, and Great Britain.
Lisa thought she was on her way to fame and fortune when the South African edition of Cosmopolitan
bought two of her poems in 1986. Sadly, the road to being a published writer was not as easy as she hoped! Throughout her writing career, Lisa has tried her hand at everything from children's picture books to short stories to novellas to feature magazine articles. Her first novel The Hungry Mirror
, which won an IPPY Gold Medal for Women's Fiction in 2011, was inspired by her work as art director for magazines including Vogue
and Marie Claire.
Lisa is now working on her next novel Between the Cracks She Fell
.Find the Author Online:
It is widely believed that March is the cruelest month, boasting thirty-one days of wet and chilly weather, not one of them a holiday. Arguably its one redeeming factor may be the opportunity given to society to celebrate one of its most outstanding, intelligent, and beautiful groups of the population—women, of course. Since its official U.S. origination in 1981, Women’s History Month has been
Blog: WOW! Women on Writing Blog (The Muffin)
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, author blog tour
, Elisa Lorello
, book giveaway
, women's fiction
, book categories
, Ordinary World
, Faking It
, Add a tag
Author Blog Tour & Book Giveaway Comments Contest!
Elisa Lorello grew up on Long Island, NY as the baby to six older siblings. Growing up during the '80s, Elisa covered her walls with Duran Duran posters and used lots of hairspray. She explored many passions, including drawing, tennis, and music, but in her early 20's, exercised her gossiping skills while working as a manicurist.
In 1995, Elisa left Long Island to attend the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth for both her bachelor and master's degrees. In 2000, as part of her graduate education in Professional Writing, she became a teaching associate, and met two professors of rhetoric and composition who took her under their wings. This union of teaching, rhetoric, and writing ultimately became Elisa's calling, and remains so to this day. She now lives in North Carolina where she teaches academic writing at North Carolina State.
In 2004, Elisa began her first novel, Faking It. Since then, Elisa has written a sequel, Ordinary World, and is currently co-writing a third novel with a friend and former student. That is, when she can tear herself away from her favorite form of entertainment--Facebook.
Find our more about Elisa by visiting her websites:
Elisa's website: www.ElisaLorello.com
Elisa's blog: I'll Have What She's Having
Facebook: Faking It Fans
By Elisa Lorello
Andi Vanzant had everything she wanted--a husband, a home, a job she loved, a cat named Donny Most. Then a drunk college student plowed into her husband's car and she lost everything...except the cat.
Andi's faced with a nightmare world and the work of trying to transform it into an ordinary world. She's certain that life will never be ordinary again but begins to find her way with the help of an unlikely support group that spans the world--a widowed mother on Long Island, a supportive boss in Massachusetts, an old boyfriend in Italy, and a fortune telling housewife in Peru.
Ordinary World is the story of a woman accepting losses and embracing gifts. To some degree it is the story every woman fears and every woman must some day live.
Genre: Chick Lit/Women's Fiction
Ordinary World is available in both print and Kindle versions.
Reminder: Newer agents are golden opportunities
for new writers because they're likely building their client list; however, always
make sure your work is as perfect as it can be before submitting, and only query agencies
that are a great fit for your work. Otherwise, you're just wasting
time and postage.
About Taylor: She
is a proud graduate of The College of William and Mary and holds a BA in English,
with a minor in Hispanic Studies. She was the copy chief of her college newspaper
for three years and does freelance writing for a local paper. Before joining the Sandra
Dijkstra Literary Agency in 2009, Taylor was the submissions coordinator at Bliss
Literary Agency, Intl.
She is seeking: Young adult fiction—specifically
contemporary, paranormal, urban fantasy, and any story with a captivating voice. Taylor
is also interested in commercial fiction, women’s fiction, and multicultural fiction.
She is looking for engaging and unforgettable characters and stories that stay with
you long after you turn the final page.
How to contact: Hard copy submissions only
to Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, (Attn: Taylor Martindale),
PMB 515, 1155 Camino del Mar, PMB 515, Del Mar, CA 92014. Send
a query, 1-2 page synopsis, and sample pages (no more than 50, double spaced, single
sided, and unbound). Please only submit to one agent at the agency. Include all contact
info. Let the agency know if this is a simultaenous submission. (Similarly, be sure
to let us know if we have your work exclusively.) Every
submission is read, though due
to a large number of unsolicited submissions, the agency can only respond when interested.
Will respond if interested within 8 weeks.
Want more on this subject?
Welcome to the Book Blog Tour of Jill Mansell's Rumor Has It!
This man doesn't seem to match his reputation. . .
Newly single Tilly Cole impulsively moves to a small town, only to find she's arrived in a hotbed of gossip, intrigue, and rampant rivalry for the most desirable man -- irresistible Jack Lucas, whose reputation is beyond bad. Tilly has no intention of becoming another notch on his bedpost. But the thoughtful, caring guy she comes to value as a friend doesn't seem to fit the town's playboy image.
Till doesn't know what to believe -- and Jack's not telling.
In Rumor Has It: In a town this small, a secret is hard to keep, Jill Mansell comes up with another hilarious madcap and satisfying read! In the best British chicklit tradition, Mansell creates slightly spacey but sympathetic women romantic lead characters. When Tilly comes home to find her apartment ransacked, it takes a while before she realizes that her boyfriend has left her. Tilly's response is to take the commuter rail to the small town of Roxborough -- to visit her best friend, Erin, for cheering up.
Tilly comes across an ad for a "Girl Friday" job in Roxborough just as she decides that she's ready for a change of scenery. A string of events make it possible for Tilly to chuck her old life and start anew, surrounded by a new set of friends. Among the different characters, we meet:
- Max - a loving father, who has recently come out of the closet and separated from his wife;
- Kaye - Max's ex-wife, a famous daytime television star in the US, based in California;
- Louisa - Max and Kaye's teenage daughter, ginger haired, pale, lively, and fun. Louisa draws everyone together and decides quite early on that Tilly would be a good addition to the household;
- Jake - Max's best friend, the most sought-after bachelor in the area, deadly good looks, wealthy, and not looking for a serious relationship; and
- Erin - Tilly's best friend from college, the owner and manager of a vintage/high end thrift shop in Roxborough.
As Tilly, Max, Louisa, Kaye, and Erin are upbeat and supportive of each other as they each face their personal crises. Coincidences, misunderstandings and mishaps abound to create a fun, romantic comedy. Mansell's humor, sense of timing and wit come together so well to make Rumor Has It
a surefire hit! If you're looking for a hilarious and satisfying read in the realm of women's fiction, I highly recommend Rumor Has It!
ISBN-10: 1402237502 - Trade Paperback $14.00
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (May 1, 2010), 416 pages.Review copy provided by the publisher.
About the Author, in her own words:Jill Mansell
lives with her partner and children in Bristol and writes full time. Actually, that's not true; she watches TV, eats gum drops, admires the rugby players training in the sports field behind her house, and spends hours on the Internet marveling at how many other writers have blogs. Only when she's completely run out of ways to procrastinate does she write.Thank you so much to SourceBooks for this review opportunity!
This new series is called "Successful
Queries" and I'm posting actual query letters
that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting
the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why
the letter worked.
The 37th installment in this series is with agent Rebecca
Strauss (McIntosh & Otis) and her
author, Allie Larkin, for the women's
fiction novel, Stay (which
was just published this week by Dutton!).
Dear Ms. Strauss,
What happens when you find love and he finds your best friend instead?
If you're Savannah Leone, you tear off your orange satin maid-of-honor gown, get drunk
on Kool-Aid and vodka, and buy a German Shepherd from Slovakia off of the Internet.
In Stay, Savannah, "Van," struggles with the marriage of her best friend to
the man she's secretly in love with, the loss of her mother to cancer, and all the
confusion that goes along with the "now what" stage of twenty-something life. She's
lost her sense of which end is up, so she's acting on impulses that lead her to love,
strength, and a ninety-five pound dog named Joe.
Her inexperience with dogs leads her to consult Dr. Alex Brandt, a vet with floppy
blond hair and a winning smile. But just as things are starting to heat up with Alex,
the newlyweds come home from their honeymoon, forcing Van to decide between past relationships
and the promise of new ones.
Stay is women's fiction and is approximately 80,000 words. I've also written
an outline for a sequel.
I live in upstate New York with my 95-pound German Shepherd, (who is from the Catskills,
not Slovakia), and write AlliesAnswers.com, a daily eco-friendly blog. My short story,
"Bathtub Mary," will appear in the March 2008 issue of The Summerset Review.
I've enclosed the first two chapters and a synopsis. Thank you for taking the time
to review my materials.
Commentary from Rebecca
So, what grabbed my attention? Well, in addition to doing everything right in terms
of process (she spelled my name correctly and wrote in a professional manner), Allie
looked at my submission guidelines—and
followed them. Huge points! She did her research; she saw which genres I represented
and what materials I requested. This set Allie's letter apart from many others. I
know, I know. This all sounds
Guess the Plot
Love Like the French
1. Hot sticky buns dripping with white sauce from a well packed sausage amidst the moans of “ooooh”, “ahhhh”, and “oo la la”; the smells and sound of Rococo delight permeating throughout the entire hall. Nobody knows food love like the French!
2. Celie La Belle has sold millions of books about her life in a little French town. But when a disgruntled ex decides to expose her as Sherry Brewster of Dayton, well, c'est la merde.
3. Dana is obsessed with romance, foreign movies, and Paris. When she gets a shot at studying abroad, she's determined to fall in love - but quickly discovers none of the French boys has any idea what a proper courtship should look like.
4. Cate's life is perfectly sensible compared with the French, who are all wack-jobs. But when she falls for the hunky Monsieur Brousseau, she learns there's a lot about the French she didn't know--like the real reason French women don't get fat.
5. Jean-Claude and Henri are both in love with Isabelle but she burns with love for Anne-Marie who is enamored of Laurent. When Isabelle organizes a surprise party for the friends, alcohol and swimming lead to tragedy and all of their lives are changed. Especially Henri because he's dead.
6. Klutzy Francophile Sally Merton has the best of all worlds until a witch puts a mix-up curse on her. Now she's eating like the English, loving like the Germans, and dressing like the Russians. Kill me now, she thinks.
Dear Mr. / Ms. Agent,
Cate has been wearing her G-string back-to-front all day. She hasn’t felt especially uncomfortable. [You wanna know uncomfortable? I once wore my shoes front to back all day.] No more than usual anyway. But she’s had a lot on her mind lately.
It’s not just that her husband is dead. That happened two years ago. It’s mostly just the day-to-day chaos of her life. This week alone her brown-nosing colleague has been defaming her at work, her flatmate has turned her spare room into some kind of hostel, and of course, there was that sweaty indiscretion with the office mail-clerk… [We don't need to know that Cate isn't any more uncomfortable than usual, or that her husband being dead isn't what's mostly been on her mind. That's wasted space. Combine the first two paragraphs into something like:
Cate has been wearing her G-string back-to-front all day. Forgive her; she’s had a lot on her mind lately. This week alone her brown-nosing colleague has been defaming her at work, her flatmate has turned her spare room into some kind of hostel, and of course, there was that sweaty indiscretion with the office mail-clerk…
All that leaves out is the dead husband, but you tell us she has a dead husband later on.]
If only she’d gone to St. Marc earlier, Cate would have felt much better about things. [What is St Marc? A spa? A
Guess the Plot
The Burning of Issobell Key
1. The tragic story of how the first annual Pyromaniacs Anonymous meeting at Issobell Key went terribly, terribly wrong.
2. Issobell accepts fiance David's invitation to move to an island colony in his home state of Washington. But the religious sect he grew up in acts weird, all this talk of the "Burning Woman" festival. She's getting a baaad feeling.
3. Vacationing in Scotland, Lou takes an interest in the 300-year-old case of Issobell Key, who was burned as a witch. Lou tries to prove Issobell didn't commit all those murders. Not that exonerating her will bring her back to life . . . unless she really was a witch.
4. Salem-born Issobell has it tough. Saddled with illiterate parents, warts and a fondness for newt-eye soup, it was only a matter of time before the mob turned on her. As the flames rise, she wonders how life would have been different if only she'd preferred minestrone.
5. Hundreds of years ago, she was convicted of witchcraft as a teenager and burned at the stake. Now her ghost is back for revenge. The first thing she has to get used to in the American suburb where she's been reincarnated is 21st-century spelling. "Issobell"!? Now she feels like roasting someone.
6. When her neighbor in the tiny Cotswold village of Boring-on-End meets an untimely end as result of an exploding gas cooker, amateur sleuth Amelia Pettipants knows it wasn't just because Issobell made one mean curry. Or maybe it was, and someone's out for revenge . . . someone with a history of stomach problems. Which means 75% of the village are suspects.
PLEASE be brutal! Thanks. [Sure, you say Be brutal, but later when you're in tears because I've suggested you give up this hopeless writing pipe dream and become a pole dancer in some skid row dive, how do I know you won't send your ex-con boyfriend over to teach me a little etiquette, Attica-style?] [On the other hand, how often do I get the opportunity to tell people, Be careful what you wish for?]
Dear Evil Editor,
The Scottish highlands have a rich history of magic and romance, but 26 year old Lou wasn’t looking for either when she traveled there with her best friend. Recently unemployed, Lou [Better to say "Unemployed"; if you call her "recently unemployed" we might think she is no longer unemployed. "Recently laid off" is okay, as is "recently fired." Even better, however, is to not mention her employment status at all, as it has nothing to do with the rest of the sentence or the rest of the query.] wasn’t really looking for anything in particular, [If you're gonna tell us in sentence 2 that she wasn't looking for anything in particular, there's no need to tell us in sentence 1 that she wasn't looking for magic or romance. However, I recommend keeping the romance and magic and ditching the anything, as I much prefer in particular to vague.
Why is women’s humor subject to so many labels?
When I wrote my first novel, The
Journal of Mortifying Moments, I didn’t think about genre. I didn’t think
about how my book would be marketed, where it would ultimately reside in the book
store, or what color the cover would be. I just wanted to tell a story with heart
and humor; a story that would be fun to read and fun to write.
"WHAT IS CHICK LIT, ANYWAY?"
In 2003, I submitted my manuscript to various agents and publishers and got my fair
share of rejections. But one day in August, I received calls from an editor in London
and an agent in New York. They were both excited about my book because it was funny,
well written and "chick lit" was such a hot genre.
Chick lit? Wasn’t that gum? I’d never heard the term before. But I thought it was
kind of cute, and kind of clever. And I was excited to be a part of this hot new trend. The
Journal of Mortifying Moments ultimately sold to Ballantine Books and was released
with a very pink cover. I’d published a chick lit novel. I was over the moon!
TOO MANY PINK BOOKS
But around the time my pink book hit the shelves, I noticed that there were a lot
of other pink books out there. Perhaps it was this saturation that led to something
of a chick lit backlash. This cute and clever term had suddenly become an insult.
The genre was sniffed at by critics and journalists who dismissed it as mind numbing
fluff. I soon realized that books with a female protagonist, a sense of humor, and
a pink cover, were somewhat marginalized.
In 2006, an anthology was released called “This Is Not Chick Lit, Original Stories
by America’s Best Women Writers.” In the foreword, ironically titled “Why Chick Lit
Matters,” editor Elizabeth Merrick wrote that chick lit “numbs the senses” and “reduces
the complexity of the human experience.” One of her contributors, Curtis Sittenfeld
(Prep, American Wife) was an even more vocal critic. In the New York
Times, Sittenfeld wrote that calling a female writer’s novel "chick lit" is catty,
not unlike calling her
Guess the Plot
Trial of the Heart
1. Jennifer is a family lawyer who specializes in divorce. David is a family lawyer who specializes in fathers' rights. Can they somehow overcome all odds while--oh, screw it. They hop in the sack the minute they meet and spend the rest of the book bitching about it.
2. Emily's family was killed by egotistical Conway Duke. As she fights for justice, Duke becomes seriously ill. Should she ease his suffering by forgiving him, or should she try to get his trial date moved up?
3. When a donor is found for her husband Mark, 51, Sarah is elated- until the next person on the list begs them to let her have the heart for her 13 year old son. Sarah is all set to flatly refuse, but Mark isn't. Can Sarah live with either decision? Can Mark? Can the reader, without barfing?
4. Detective Swanson says the murders were caused by the heart of Ignatius Trematode, which has been beating in a jar at the medical school for 28 years. But Prosecutor Umbridge is skeptical that a heart could poison Mrs. Trematode and cause her boyfriend to jump off a bridge . . . until Umbridge, himself, sleepwalks to the railing of that very same bridge. Then he schedules a trial and seeks the death penalty!
5. Internet scammer Joseph Nwoye falls in love with one of the rich American ladies he's been fleecing. She's sure to discover his deceptions--unless he can cover his lies by actually getting a job as CEO of the Bank of Nigeria. One man finds redemption through the love of a woman.
6. The Spleen had enough malice to commit perjury. The Kidneys were too bashful to take the stand. The Liver (“Lily”) refused to testify, even though she was the key witness. The Spine was nowhere to be seen. Only Large Intestine had the guts to speak out about what happened, at the . . . Trial of the Heart.
Dear Evil Editor,
Emily Hennas has the power to ease a man’s suffering. Yet, that same man is responsible for murdering her family. After her husband, son and daughter are killed by a drunk driver, the egotistical Conway Duke, Emily is left alone to raise her youngest son. [While drunk drivers deserve no sympathy, we generally reserve the term "murder" for those who kill intentionally.] She moves to New York and faces the most difficult decision of her life: keep fighting for the justice her children deserves [deserve], or forgive Conway Duke for causing their deaths. [I don't think we need the first two sentences. They vaguely state what we get with more specificity later on. What we do need is an idea of what kind of justice Emily is seeking. Was there a trial? What punishment has Duke received? Surely he would have been charged with manslaughter.]
Driven by anger and survivor’s guilt, shadowed by the memory of her emotionally abusive husband, Emily engages in a legal fight hindered by an obsession for hoarding, [I don't know how a hoarding obsession hinders a legal fight, and the query is no place to explain it, so leave out the hoarding.] fears for her surviving child, and an overprotective brother. She forges an unlikely friendship with Nicho
This series is called "Successful
Queries" and I'm posting actual query letters
that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual
query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter
The 49th installment in this series is with agent Shira Hoffman (McIntosh
& Otis) and her author, Eleanor Brown, for
the novel, The
Weird Sisters (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam; Jan.
20, 2011). The
Weird Sisters was given a starred review by Publishers Weekly and named
one of Amazon "Best Books of January 2011."
Dear Ms. Winick:
Because you represent upmarket and women’s fiction, I hope you will be interested
in my novel, The Weird Sisters.
The Andreas sisters are failures: in love, in career, in life. And so they have come
home to the small college town where they grew up: to their professor father, whose
devotion to Shakespeare freezes their communication in the words of a man who has
been dead for 400 years; and to their quiet mother, who is fighting breast cancer.
The prototypical oldest sibling, Rose (Rosalind) was sure that if she followed all
the rules, she would have everything. Instead, she has nothing. She has lost her job,
her fiancé has abandoned her, and she is trapped by the safety she has spent her life
Always afraid that she would be lost in the middle, Bean (Bianca), escaped to the
glamour of New York. Her return is anything but glamorous; she was fired for embezzling
funds from her employer. Praying that the love of a holy man will wipe her sins clean,
she seeks forgiveness by pursuing the town’s handsome new reverend.
For seven years, Cordy (Cordelia), the baby of the family, has been a ghost. She dropped
out of college to take to the road, skipping from place to place like a stone on water,
trading passing love for shelter. But that life has lost its luster, and she has come
home with only one thing to show for her time on the road: a pregnancy of uncertain
My writing has been published in anthologies, magazines and journals, including the Philadelphia
City Paper and Crab Orchard Review. In 2005, I won the RWA-sponsored “Get
Your Stiletto in the Door” contest. I hold an M.A. in Literature, and teach English
in South Florida.
The Weird Sisters is comple
We're thrilled to introduce Kristina McMorris, an amazing author and new friend. Inspired by the true story of her own grandparents' courtship during World War II, Kristina captures the heartache and sacrifice of love and war in Letters from Home, an award-winning debut novel that is timeless, tender and unforgettably moving. It's the must-read novel of the season!
Kristina has such a fantastic video for her book that we wanted to share this with you first so you can get to know her a little better. [If you're reading this via Feedburner e-mail and can't see the video below please visit www.tinyurl.com/McMorris or click on blog title link.]
Book Giveaway Contest: If you'd like to win a copy of Letters from Home, please leave a comment at the end of this post to be entered in random drawing. The giveaway contest closes this Thursday, February 24th at 11:59 PM, PST. We will announce the winner in the comments section of this post the following day, Friday February 25th. Good luck!
----- More about the book:
In the midst of World War II, a Midwestern infantryman falls deeply in love through a yearlong letter exchange, unaware that the girl he's been writing to is not the one replying...
Chicago, 1944. Liz Stephens has little interest in attending a USO club dance with her friends Betty and Julia. She doesn't need a flirtation with a lonely serviceman when she's set to marry her childhood sweetheart. Yet something happens the moment Liz glimpses Morgan McClain. They share only a brief conversation--cut short by the soldier's evident interest in Betty--but Liz can't forget him. Thus, when Betty asks her to ghostwrite a letter to Morgan, stationed overseas, Liz reluctantly agrees.
Thousands of miles away, Morgan struggles to adjust to the brutality of war. His letters from "Betty" are a comfort, their soul-baring correspondence a revelation to them both. While Liz is torn by her feelings for a man who doesn't know her true identity, Betty and Julia each become immersed in their own romantic entanglements. And as the war draws to a close, all three will face heart-wrenching choices, painful losses, and the bittersweet joy of new beginnings.
Beautifully rendered and deeply touching, Letters from Home is a story of hope and connection, of sacrifices made in love and war--and the chance encounters that change us forever.
Letters from Home is scheduled for release in trade paperback from Kensington Books (2-22-11; U.S.) and Avon/HarperCollins (5-5-11; U.K.). Various book club rights have been sold to Reader's Digest and Doubleday, and the film rights are represented by the prestigious Creative Artists Agency of Los Angeles.
It's available for purchase at Amazon, B&N, IndieBound,