Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Patry Francis Day: THE LIAR'S DIARY

A few years ago, I started noticing comments in my blog from a woman named Patry Francis. I didn't know who she was, I only knew that every post was warm, kind, encouraging. I saw that she was posting similar sentiments on some of the other blogs I read.

I clicked into Patry's blog and found that she was a writer with a wonderful voice and an enormous heart. So when she got a tremendous book deal for her first novel, THE LIAR'S DIARY, I was thrilled for her.

It came out in hardcover to rave reviews from readers and critics alike. And no wonder. It's a gorgeous book about a dark crime and the people it affects. In Patry's own words, "Though my novel deals with murder, betrayal, and the even more lethal crimes of the heart, the real subjects of THE LIAR'S DIARY are music, love, friendship, self-sacrifice and courage. The darkness is only there for contrast; it's only there to make us realize how bright the light can be. I'm sure that most writers whose work does not flinch from the exploration of evil feel the same."

Many of us fellow writers followed Patry's career because we were so happy for her. We couldn't wait to see what would happen when THE LIAR'S DIARY made its paperback debut. But before that happened, her blog revealed some startling and terrible news: Patry was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and was battling for her life.

The many writers who had grown to know and love Patry were stunned and wondered if there was anything we could besides send her our prayers and best wishes.

And then, my dear friend Susan Henderson brainstormed with Laura Benedict and came up with the brilliant idea of getting the blogosphere to rally around Patry and help promote her paperback release. Sue wrote to me and I immediately signed on, and was just as shocked as she was when the thing mushroomed to include over 300 bloggers!

Patry baby, that's karma in action!

Anyway, I urge you to click into Susan Henderson's LitPark to read the full story about how this whole thing got started. But even more importantly, I urge you to learn more about this wonderful book and buy a copy for yourself.

Here's copy from the publisher's site:

Answering the question of what is more powerful—family or friendship? this debut novel unforgettably shows how far one woman would go to protect either.

They couldn’t be more different, but they form a friendship that will alter both their fates. When Ali Mather blows into town, breaking all the rules and breaking hearts (despite the fact that she is pushing forty), she also makes a mark on an unlikely family. Almost against her will, Jeanne Cross feels drawn to this strangely vibrant woman, a fascination that begins to infect Jeanne’s “perfect” husband as well as their teenaged son.

At the heart of the friendship between Ali and Jeanne are deep-seated emotional needs, vulnerabilities they have each been recording in their diaries. Ali also senses another kind of vulnerability; she believes someone has been entering her house when she is not at home—and not with the usual intentions. What this burglar wants is nothing less than a piece of Ali’s soul.

When a murderer strikes and Jeanne’s son is arrested, we learn that the key to the crime lies in the diaries of two very different women . . . but only one of them is telling the truth. A chilling tour of troubled minds, The Liar’s Diary signals the launch of an immensely talented new novelist who knows just how to keep her readers guessing.

To hear a sample from THE LIAR'S DIARY audiobook from my buddy (and publisher) Eileen Hutton over at Brilliance Audio, click here.

And now here's another cool thing. Sheila Clover English, C.E.O. of Circle of Seven Productions, volunteered her time and resources to put together a video for THE LIAR'S DIARY in record time. Take a look:

I hope all this has convinced you to buy and read this exquisite book. It's in chain and independent bookstores everywhere, and also available from your favorite cyber booksellers, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Finally, here's the list of writers and other creative types who have signed on to take part in this historic blogathon (and I'm quite sure this list continues to grow):

Patti Abbott
Mario Acevedo
Susan Adrian
Samina Ali
Christa Allan
Joelle Anthony
Jorge Argueta
Vicki Arkoff - MAD Magazine, Nickelodeon, MW Book Review
Melanie Avila
Tricia Ares
Terry Bain
Gail Baker - The Debutante Ball
Anjali Banerjee
Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Elizabeth Bartasius
Carolyn Burns Bass
Brett Battles
Laura Benedict
Pinckney Benedict
Janet Berliner
William Bernhardt
Alexander Besher
Marcie Beyatte
Brenda Birch
Roberto Bonazzi
Raven Bower
Laura Bowers
Beatrice Bowles
Tara Bradford
Gayle Brandeis
Stacy Brazalovich
Susan Breen - Gotham Writers Workshops
Heather Brewer
Eve Bridburg - Zachary Shuster Harmsworth
Sassy Brit
Heatheraynne Brooks
Debra Broughon
Josie Brown
Pat Brown
Ruth Brown
Ken Bruen
Rachel Kramer Bussel
Aldo Calcagno
Austin S. Camacho
Bill Cameron
Lorenzo Carcaterra
Vincent Carrella
Karen DeGroot Carter
Rosemary Carstens
Cynthia Clark - Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine
Jon Clinch
Kamela Cody
Oline H. Cogdill - Sun-Sentinal
Tish Cohen
Eileen Cruz Coleman
Myfanwy Collins
Dan Conaway - Writers House
Laurie Connors - Penguin
Eileen Cook
Richard Cooper
David Corbett
Auria Cortes
Bill Crider - Pop Culture Magazine
Kim Cristofoli
Ann Mare Cummins
Sheila Curran
Kristie Cutter
Jordan Dane
Josephine Damian
Daryl Darko
A.J. Davis
Kelli Davis
Alyssa Day
Alma Hromic Deckert
Jim DeFelice
Mike Dellosso
Katrina Denza
Bella DePaulo
Karen Dionne
Felicia Donovan
Julie Doughty - Dutton
Gerry Doyle
Terri DuLong
Firoozeh Dumas
Christine Eldrin
J.T. Ellison - Killer Year
Sheila Clover English - Circle of Seven Productions
Kate Epstein - the Epstein Literary Agency
Kathryn Esplin
Rachel Fershleiser at SMITH Magazine
Ryan Field
Michael A. FitzGerald
William Floyd
Natasha Fondren
Jamie Ford
Connie May Fowler
Heather Fowler
Therese Fowler
Jenifer Fox
Thaisa Frank
Michelle Gable
Gary Gach
Leighton Gage
Neil Gaiman
Colin Galbraith
Jayson Gallaway
Jane Ganahl - Red Room
Erika-Marie S. Geiss
Linda Gerber
Shane Gericke
Tess Gerritsen
Karin Gillespie
Anne Glamore
Kathi Kamen Goldmark
Jewelle Gomez
Susan Helene Gottfried
Deborah Grabien
Elizabeth Graham
Caroline Grant
Robin Grantham
Bob Gray - Shelf Awareness
Nancy O. Greene
Robert Grudin
Lisa Guidarini
David Habbin
Jim Hanas
Lynette Hart
Melanie Harvey
Michael Haskins
Melanie Lynn Hauser
Bill Hayes
Maria Dahvana Headley
Susan Henderson
Heidi the Hick
Georgia Hesse
Billie Hinton
Vicki Hinze
Lori Hope
Khaled Hosseini
Eileen Hutton - Brilliance Audio
Gina Hyams
International Thriller Writers
David Isaak
Susan Ito
Lisa Jackson
Arachne Jericho
Allison Johnson
Jen Jordan - Crimespree
Jungle Red Writers
Lesley Kagen
Polly Kahl
Jessica Keener
Charles Kelly
Lisa Kenny
Beth Kephart
Jackie Kessler
Merle Kessler
Kristy Kiernan - Southern Authors Blog
A.S. King
Jeff Kleinman - Folio Literary Management
Sandra Kring
R.D. Laban
Rebecca Laffar-Smith - Writers Roundabout
Clair Lamb
Daphne Larkin
Judy Merrill Larson
Caroline Leavitt
Virginia Lee
Leslie Levine
Mary Lewis
Richard Lewis
Sharon Linnea
Julie Anne Long
CJ Lyons
Jonathan Maberry
Amy MacKinnon - The Writers Group
Tim Maleeny
Ric Marion
Nancy Martin
Adrienne Mayor
L.C. McCabe
Damian McNicholl
Ellen Meister
Christa Miller
Kyle Minor
Jacquelyn Mitchard
P. A. Moed
Terri Molina
Pat Montandon
David Montgomery
Alexis Moore
Joe Moore - Inkspot
Amanda Morgan
Sarie Morrell
Amy Nathan
National Post
Tia Nevitt
Carolyn North
Aurelio O'Brien
Martha O'Connor
Andrea Okrentowich
Lori Oliva
Aimee Palooza
Michael Palmer
Stephen Parrish
Marie Peck
Marcia Peterson - WOW! Women on Writing
Jason Pinter
Anthony S. Policastro
Douglas Preston
Publishers Marketplace
Terese Ramin
Jody Reale
Martha Reed
Janet Reid - FinePrint Literary Management
Kamilla Reid
Lance Reynald
Michelle Richmond
Maria Robinson
John Robison
James Rollins
M.J. Rose - Buzz, Balls & Hype
Renee Rosen
Jordan Rosenfeld
Russell Rowland
Anneli Rufus
Hank Ryan
Marcus Sakey
Harris Salat -Visual Thesaurus
Rachel Sarah
Maria Schneider - Writer's Digest Magazine
Nina Schuyler
Dani Shapiro
Rochelle Shapiro
Charles Shaughnessy
Jessie Sholl
Robert Siegel
Clea Simon
Lynn Sinclair
Jen Singer
Shelley Singer
Sisters in Crime
Robin Slick
BPM Smith - Word & Bass
Bridget Smith
Claudia Smith
Kim Smith
Stephie Smith
Alexandra Sokoloff
Char Solomon
James Spring
Emilie Staat
Kim Stagliano
Maryanne Stahl
Bella Stander
Kelli Stanley
Marta Stephens
Bronwyn Storm
Jennifer Talty
Judith Tannenbaum
Mindy Tarquini
Alice Tasman - the Jean Naggar Literary Agency
Charles R. Temple
David Thayer
The Outfit
Joyce Tremel
Danielle Trussoni
Louise Ure
N. L. Valler
Barbara Vey - Publishers Weekly
Bev Vincent
Brenda Wallace
Therese Walsh - Writer Unboxed
John Warner - Tow Books
Gary Wassner
Brenda Webster
Sarah Weinman
Kimberly M. Wetherell
Dan Wickett - Emerging Writers Network
Jennifer Weiner
Laura Wellner
Susan Wiggs
Liz Wolfe
Cheryl Wyatt
Stephen Wylder
Irvin Yalom
Belle Yang
Dawn Yun
Michele Zackheim
Victoria Zackheim
Ernie Zelinski
Crystal Zevon

So that's about it, except for this ... Patry, go lick this thing.


Monday, January 28, 2008


By Karen Neches

Today's a special blogging day, as the book I'm featuring was written by the fearless founder of the Girlfriend's Cyber Circuit. Karen's not just a generous and hard-working supporter of her fellow authors, but an incredibly talented and brilliantly creative writer. Check out the summary of new book, EARTHLY PLEASURES:

Welcome to Heaven. Use your Wishberry to hustle up whatever you want. Have an online chat with God. Visit the attractions such as Retail Rapture, Wrath of God miniature golf and Nocturnal Theater, where nightly dreams are translated to film.

Your greeter might just be Skye Sebring who will advises her newly dead clients on what to expect now that they’re expired. “Heaven is like a Corona Beer commercial” she assures her charges. “It’s all about contentment.”

So different than Earth where chaos reigns. Unfortunately for Skye, she’s been chosen to live her first life. She’s required to attend Earth 101 classes, which teach all of the world’s greatest philosophies through five Beatle songs.

Skye has no interest in Earthly pursuits, until lawyer Ryan Blaine briefly becomes her client after a motorcycle accident. Just as they are getting to know each other, he is revived and sent back to Earth.

She follows his life via the TV channel “Earthly Pleasures” but discovers he has a wife as well as a big secret. Why then does he call a show for the lovelorn to talk about the lost love of his life?

In Earthly Pleasures (Simon and Schuster, February 2008, $14) great love can transcend the dimensions, narrowing the vast difference between Heaven and Earth.

To me that's an irresistible plot!

I asked Karen to play along with my GCC Does Hollywood blog, and wasn't surprised to learn that she's already getting interest from movie people. Here's the book's pitch:

EARTHLY PLEASURES is about a greeter in Heaven named Skye Sebring who falls in love with a mortal on Earth. She follows him back to Earth—a strange world she knows nothing about—until she learns that all life’s lessons can be learned from the lyrics of five Beatle songs.

Hollywood may have its own ideas about who to cast in the roles, but here's who Karen pictures:

My main character, Skye Sebring, would be played by Kate Hudson because she has a sunny, angelic look.

Her love interest, Ryan would be played by Matthew McConaughey because he’s so good with Kate and Ryan can be cocky at times.

One of the main characters is a 85-year old black woman named Caroline and I’d like to Cicely Tyson in that role (with appropriate make up of course.)

God, who is female in my novel, would have to be played by Bette Midler because that’s who I modeled Her after. (Note: the author of this blog thinks The Divine Miss M. is a sublime choice!)

I hope this entices you to rush out to your favorite chain or independent bookstore to buy a copy of EARTHLY PLEASURES. If you prefer to shop online, visit Amazon, Barnes and Noble or any cyber bookseller. For more information, visit Karen's website at karenneches.com.

Please stop back in tomorrow to help me celebrate Patry Francis day!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


If you're the parent of a little boy, you might one day fall asleep at ten p.m., only to be awoken a half hour later by your 13-year-old son, standing at the door of your bedroom, choking back tears as he tells you he doesn't like the new socks you bought him.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Joshilyn Jackson

Do you love Joshilyn Jackson, bestselling author of GODS IN ALABAMA and BETWEEN, GEORGIA? I do. In addition to being a writer of prodigious gifts, Joshilyn is generous and wise and funny.

Unfortunately, she's feeling under the weather these days, and is leaving the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit, our little blog group. It really is quite a bit of work to keep up with these entries, so I understand. She'll be missed, for sure, but I appreciate that she spent so much time in the group. She truly gave and gave.

The good news is that Joshilyn is coming out with a new book in March, and it looks every bit as captivating and emotionally haunting as her previous novels. It's called THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING.

Here's a description:

Laurel Gray Hawthorne needs to make things pretty, whether she's helping her mother make sure the literal family skeleton stays in the closet or turning scraps of fabric into nationally acclaimed art quilts.Her estranged sister Thalia, an impoverished Actress with a capital A, is her polar opposite, priding herself on exposing the lurid truth lurking behind middle class niceties. While Laurel's life seems neatly on track--a passionate marriage, a treasured daughter, and a lovely home in suburban Victorianna--everything she holds dear is suddenly thrown into question the night she is visited by the ghost of a her 13-year old neighbor Molly Dufresne.The ghost leads Laurel to the real Molly floating lifelessly in the Hawthorne's backyard pool.Molly's death is inexplicable--an unseemly mystery Laurel knows no one in her whitewashed neighborhood is up to solving.Only her wayward, unpredictable sister is right for the task, but calling in a favor from Thalia is like walking straight into a frying pan protected only by Crisco. Enlisting Thalia's help, Laurel sets out on a life-altering journey that triggers startling revelations about her family's guarded past, the true state of her marriage, and the girl who stopped swimming.Richer and more rewarding than any story Joshilyn Jackson has yet written, yet still packed with Jackson's trademarked outrageous characters, sparkling dialogue, and defiantly twisting plotting, THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING is destined both to delight Jackson's loyal fans and capture a whole new audience.

I'm so reading this book as soon as it comes out.

But back to Joshilyn. She's always been very good to her readers, and continues that tradition with a giveaway tied to this book. Two lucky readers will win a drawing for the these beautiful hand-crafted postcard quilts, which were specially-made as companion pieces to the book. I think they're knockouts (click images for larger view):

For more information on the drawing, visit joshilynjackson.com or follow this link.

Meanwhile, please join me in sending healing energy Joshilyn's way. A speedy recovery, Joss!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Another Fine Mess ...

My husband lost his job recently, which has resulted in a bit of belt tightening around here. Some of the choices we've had to make are pretty difficult, others not so much.

For instance, deciding to give myself a pedicure was a no-brainer. Me and my sensitive little tootsies actually hate professional pedicures to the point where I need to bite a bullet to get through it. (What we suffer for beauty!) So it wasn't much of a sacrifice the other day when I found myself in my bathroom, one foot on the floor the other in the sink as I saturated cotton balls with acetone and struggled to remove the old polish embedded in my toenails.

I guess I was feeling pretty smug that I'm still limber enough to get myself into such a position, because in the middle of the operation I got careless and accidentally knocked the bottle of brand new crimson polish off the counter onto the white tile floor, where the glass virtually exploded, sending blood red lacquer everywhere. The little room looked like the aftermath of some grisly crime.

Murder, however, would have been an easier clean-up. A little soap and water and you're done. This was the mess to end all messes, requiring open windows and all the noxious nail polish remover I could get my gloved hands on.

As I got to work, I cursed myself for my recklessness. Considering my history with nail polish remover, you'd think I'd have learned to be more careful.

Once, in my single days, I gave myself a manicure sitting cross-legged in my bed wearing nothing but a short nightgown. And I mean nothing. I had the open bottle of nail polish remover wedged into the vee created by my bent knee. I don't know what distracted me, but at some point the bottle tipped over, spilling the entire contents into my naked private parts.

Kids, don't try this at home. Spilling nail polish remover on a mucus membrane is not a fun way to spend an evening.

I leaped from the bed screaming, "I spilled nail polish remover in my vagina! I spilled nail polish remover in my vagina!"

My roommate, Fern, came running from her room. "Get into the shower, you idiot!" she yelled, laughing.

I couldn't listen. I was too hysterical. I just kept running around the apartment, flailing my arms and repeating that phrase (which is sure to get me some interesting google hits). Fern laughed harder and harder as she chased me, trying to corral me into the bathroom. Finally she grabbed me, laughing so hard tears streamed down her face. By the time she pushed me into the bathroom, pulled off my nightgown and threw me into the shower, I was laughing, too.

If you don't think she repeated the story for an entire month to anyone who would listen, you didn't know Fern. And I have to admit, it got funnier each time.

Now that both these stories are behind me, I'm trying to glean some wisdom from these episodes. And what I came up with is this: Life is a messy affair. The husband who is good and honest and smart and loyal and hardworking loses his job unfairly, and the family suffers. The best friend who could make you laugh through your pain gets cancer and dies. All you can do is try to clean up the best you can and get on with it. Sure, small reminders of the mess will remain forever, but that's okay. It's how it should be. Most of the time you won't even notice it. But once in a while, your eye will catch a smudge of pink that never came out of the grout. Like the permanent mark on your heart, it connects you to your past, and makes you remember.

So you'll flush the toilet, wash your hands and leave the bathroom. And then, if you're very lucky, you'll start making messes all over again.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


By Colleen Thompson

Though author Colleen Thompson was good enough to participate in my GCC Does Hollywood blog entry, I want to start off with her personal statement about THE SALT MAIDEN because I find it so intriguing:

Some novels begin with a character, others start with a what-if question or a situation, but my sixth romantic thriller, The Salt Maiden (Leisure/Dec. 2007) was inspired by a place I visited a few years back, a sunburned, sand-scoured desert community in the dead center of the least populated county in the U.S. With water too briny for human consumption and land too dry to support any but the hardiest of desert plants, it’s an eerily daunting landscape, one that made me wonder, What on earth would bring a person out here?

Apparently my subconscious took it as a challenge, and came up with a Houston veterinarian, Dana Vanover, in search of her troubled missing sister, the birth mother of a child in desperate need of a bone-marrow transplant. In spite of her ambivalence about her sister, Dana braves heat, rattlesnakes, and hostile locals — as well as her attraction to the handsome sheriff who wants her gone.

Doesn't that sound fantastic? No wonder the book is getting tremendous buzz. (To see for yourself, click here to read some review excerpts.)

Now here's how Colleen would pitch the book to our fictional Hollywood producer:

The Salt Maiden is the story of a woman's quest to save her missing sister. With a child's life hanging in the balance, Dana Vanover refuses to let anything stop her, from rattlesnakes to small town hostility to her desert-hot attraction to the sheriff determined to run her out of town.

And here's what she said when I asked who her dream cast might be:

That's a tough one. Maybe Josh Brolin in the role of Sheriff Jay Eversole since I think he'd do a great job of playing a tormented but honorable hero.

Hilary Swank, I think, could make a great Angie Vanover, as she has the depth to play this deeply-conflicted but tenacious woman.

THE SALT MAIDEN is available in paperback at your favorite chain or independent bookstore. To buy online, visit amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com or any cyber bookseller. For more information, visit Colleen's website at colleen-thompson.com.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


By Eliza Graham

I'm so ashamed! I'm very, very behind in my blogging for the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit, which is a terrible thing, especially when the person I owe a blog to is so talented and deserving.

PLAYING WITH THE MOON is the debut novel of Eliza Graham, and from what I hear, it's a beautiful and mesmerizing book. Eliza agreed to play along with my GCC Does Hollywood blog program, and here's how she would pitch the book to our fictional producer:

PLAYING WITH THE MOON is about what happens when you return to the childhood home you left sixty years ago in traumatic circumstances. It's about what happens when you confront memories both disturbing and consoling. It's about coming to terms with lost loves and lost dreams.

My kind of novel! And here's her fantasy cast:

Dame Judi Dench will play the elderly lady, Felix, who knows whodunnit sixty years ago. Her younger self will be played by an actress who's good at rock climbing, which narrows down the field. Unless I find a stuntwoman.

Minna, the modern protag., will be played by Anne Hathaway, star of BECOMING JANE and THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. The British version of the film (there are two versions because the budget's so big) will star Keeley Hawes of SPOOKS (BBC show) fame in the same role.

The part of Private Lew Campbell will be given to a young African-American man of incredible good looks, intelligence and charisma. I will need to interview at least one hundred gorgeous men to find him. It will be hard but sometimes we need to suffer for our art. (Your trusty correspondent wonders if model Tyson Beckford is ready to make the switch from modelling to acting. Whoosh!)

Smart readers in the U.K. have been flocking to this book, and I think smart U.S. readers should, too. PLAYING WITH THE MOON is just a click away at Amazon.com. For more information, visit Eliza's blog at elizabethgraham.blogspot.com.