Friday, July 31, 2009

She Writes and If You Love a Writer

I recently joined a very vibrant and useful online site for women writers called She Writes. A great community is building there and I highly recommend you check it out. It's for writers and wannabe writers of everything from novels to short stories to non-fiction and poetry and covers every aspect of the writing life: writer's block, marketing and promotion, using social networking and much more. And it also gives you the opportunity to network with other writers, which can be so invaluable.

Writer Eileen Flanagan, author of The Wisdom to Know the Difference, recently posted on SheWrites about how we writers sometimes feel pushy when marketing our books to friends and family members. This led her to write a great piece called, "If You Love a Writer." It consists of ten suggestions for all the friends of book authors who are dealing with promoting their books during a tough economy. You can read it here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Children of the Waters - by Carleen Brice

My guest today on the Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit Lit Blog Tour is Carleen Brice, the widely acclaimed author of Orange Mint and Honey, whose second book, Children of the Waters, has just been released from One World/Ballantine.

Children of the Waters strikes deep emotional chords and poses the intriguing question: Can two strangers become sisters?

Trish Taylor’s white ancestry never got in the way of her love for her black ex-husband, or their mixed race son, Will. But when Trish’s marriage ends, she returns to her family’s Denver, Colorado home to find a sense of identity and connect to her past.

What she finds there shocks her to the very core: her mother and newborn sister were not killed in a car crash as she was told. In fact, her baby sister, Billie Cousins, is now a grown woman; her grandparents had put her up for adoption, unwilling to raise the child of a black man. Billie, who had no idea she was adopted, wants nothing to do with Trish until a tragedy in Billie’s own family forces her to lean on her surprisingly supportive and sympathetic sister. Together they unravel the age-old layers of secrets and resentments and navigate a path toward love, healing, and true reconciliation..

Carleen stopped by to answer a few questions.

Name three songs that would be perfect for the soundtrack of your book.
Michael Jackson’s “Black or White,” Sister Sledge’s “We are Family” and “As” by Stevie Wonder.

How do you approach writing your novel? Do you outline the plot? Start with a character or...?

I usually begin with a premise and end up writing & plotting as I go and adjusting as everything changes the more I learn about the characters.

Who are the top three writers who have influenced your writing style?

Pearl Cleage, Bebe Moore Campbell, Alice Hoffman.

What are you reading now?

I always have more than one book going, so: Dust Tracks on a Road: The Autobiography of Zora Neale Hurston and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Read, walk, watch movies, pull weeds, herd cats.

What and where is your favorite restaurant and why is it your favorite?
A family-owned Mexican restaurant called La Cueva. I love it because the food is great and the service is wonderful. I got into the habit of going with coworkers for my birthday a few years ago, and now the waitresses expect me in May.

Carleen is at work on her third novel, Calling Every Good Wish Home, and she maintains the blogs “White Readers Meet Black Authors” and "The Pajama Gardener."

You can read an excerpt of Children of the Waters at Carleen's Web site here.

Carleen, we wish you continued literary success!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Midori by Moonlight Book Giveaway on Goodreads

Goodreads is a great community site for both readers and writers. And I'm pleased that they are doing a giveaway of three copies of MIDORI BY MOONLIGHT. Check it out here and if you're a book lover take a minute and join Goodreads.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This Little Mommy Stayed Home - by Samantha Wilde

Today's guest author on the Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit Lit blog tour is Samantha Wilde, author of the new novel, This Little Mommy Stayed Home, published by Bantam Dell.

This debut novel is a fresh and funny book about a new mother who discovers the wonders and terrors of motherhood—one hilarious crisis at a time. Protagonist Joy McGuire has gone from being skinny and able to speak in complete sentences to someone who hasn’t changed her sweatpants in weeks. But now with a new baby to care for, she feels like a woman on the brink and as she scrambles to recapture the person she used to be she takes another look at the woman she is: a stay-at-home mom in love with her son, if a bit addled about everything else.

Wilde, a new mom herself, wrote the novel after the birth of her son when she was experiencing the ups and downs of new motherhood. “I wrote the book because I couldn’t not write it," she says. "I took my lap top to my bed during my son’s naps and wrote and wrote. I wrote the book I wanted to read. The book takes a hard look at the effects of new motherhood on a woman and on a marriage through the eyes of one stressed but insightful woman. It’s a story that will keep mothers going when they think they can’t go any further.”

Wilde is the mother of two born in under two years. A graduate of Concord Academy, Smith College, Yale Divinity School and The New Seminary, she lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and children. She is the daughter of novelist Nancy Thayer. When she’s not mothering her toddler and baby, she writes, teaches yoga, and moonlights as a minister. Although she never sleeps, she’s never once been tempted to give her children away to the highest bidder (well, almost never). She’s currently using nap times to write her second novel for Bantam Dell.

Believe it or not, this busy lady did have some time to answer a few questions!

Name three songs that would be perfect for the soundtrack of your 

How about “The Eensy Weensy Spider,” “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” and “Twinkle, Twinkle.” Oh, wait. You mean there’s other music out there? I haven’t heard any in a LONG time.

What was the inspiration behind the writing of This Little Mommy Stayed Home?

I started writing it when my son was about nine months out of some desperate creative drive. I wrote during his nap times. Twice a day, one hour each time.

What is one thing you’ve learned about the publishing industry since 
getting your first book deal?

It’s an industry. Not a cozy writing club.

What are you reading now?

The Year of Living Biblically
. It’s hilarious. Since I moonlight as a minister and spent some years in divinity school, I lap up religious stuff when it’s true, witty and liberal.

What is your writing schedule like?

The only things that get scheduled around my house are naps and nighttimes. I write when I’m not nursing, cleaning, cooking, playing, or sleeping. After I got my contract, I had a babysitter for about six hours a week. Then I would write with the inevitable interruptions—screams for attention, hugs, nursing.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love to spend time with my family. I love to walk, to hike, to swim, to read, to practice yoga, to teach yoga, to be with friends, and to travel short distances to interesting places.

What is your advice for those who looking to get their novel 

Ask yourself WHY. Do you want to write? Or do you want all that comes with being published? They are not necessarily the same. And some things (many things) can be got without publishing. Like a sense of personal satisfaction and joy.

Oh! I think I hear a baby crying. Time for Samantha to go, but you can visit her and learn more at her blog.