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White Readers Meet Black Literature January 31, 2011

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in African-American literature.
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Carleen Brice

Throughout the month of February, the United States honors the history and contributions of African-Americans. LitChat is pleased to open this month with a week devoted to African-American literature. Joining us as moderator throughout the week is Carleen Brice, author of the critically acclaimed novels Orange Mint and Honey and Children of the Waters. Orange Mint and Honey was adapted into a Lifetime Original Movie and titled Sins of the Mothers and aired in 2010.

A strong advocate of reading and literature, Brice reaches out further with White Readers Meet Black Authors, “Your official invitation into the African American section of the bookstore! Carleen Brice’s sometimes serious, sometimes light-hearted plea for EVERYBODY to give a black writer a try, blog.”

In addition to fiction, Brice also wrote Lead Me Home: An African American’s Guide Through the Grief Journey (HarperCollins), and edited the anthology Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife (Beacon Press, Souvenir Press). Her book Walk Tall: Affirmations for People of Color sold over 100,000 copies and was in print with traditional publishers for 10 years. It is now available from iUniverse.

In 2008, Brice won the Breakout Author of the Year Award from the African American Literary Awards Show and in 2009 she received the First Novel Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. She was a finalist for the 2009 Colorado Book Award in literary fiction, and is a two-time finalist for the Colorado Book Award in nonfiction (for Lead Me Home and Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number).

She lives in Colorado with her husband where she gardens and works on her third novel, Calling Every Good Wish Home.

Follow Carleen Brice on Twitter at: @CarleenBrice.

I’d Rather Be Writing January 24, 2011

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in memoir.
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Kim Stagliano

Books don’t write themselves. Readers pick up a book and within the thousands of words they find adventure, romance, mystery, suspense, information and personal experiences. Few authors support themselves and/or their families on book royalties alone and have other jobs that pay the bills. While their jobs might inform their work, they also take time away from writing. This week in LitChat we’re going to discuss tips and tricks writers use to get books written in, “I’d Rather Be Writing.”

Joining us as guest host on Friday, January 28, is Kim Stagliano, author of All I Can Handle, I’m No Mother Teresa – A Life Raising Three Daughters With Autism. The extended title alone says much about Stagliano. Most people have their hands full juggling a job and family, but throw autism into the mix and watch it froth. Add three autistic daughters and it overflows. While Stagliano admits she’s not a saint, just look what she does. A staunch autism advocate and warrior mom, Stagliano writes fiction, is managing editor of the daily online news site, Age of Autism, and is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post.

Her memoir, All I Can Handle, I’m No Mother Teresa – A Life Raising Three Daughters With Autism, released last November. Contrasting the snappy sense of humor that gets her through the day with the gritty elements of life with autistic children, Stagliano offers whip-sharp perceptions of life everyone can relate to.

Follow Kim Stagliano on Twitter: @Kim Stagliano.

Quick Change Authors: Writing in Multiple Genres January 15, 2011

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in bestsellers, chick lit, children's literature, coming-of-age, commercial fiction, fiction, historical fiction, YA fiction.
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Lauren Baratz-Logsted

It’s been said that a good writer can slip between genres without leaving tracks. Ken Follett made his name with action-packed cold war suspense, but turned the clock back hundreds of years with his medieval historical fiction. Margaret Atwood’s science fiction holds its own against her literary work, while Joyce Carol Oates writes in several genres using two additional pen names. The bard himself wrote comedies, tragedies and sonnets.

This week in #litchat we’re discussing what it takes to write well, publish and be read in multiple genres. Joining us on Friday, January 21, 2011, is Lauren Baratz-Logsted. One of the most prolific authors of our day, Baratz-Logsted has successfully published children’s early readers, young adult, chick-lit, adult suspense. Just last week Baratz-Logsted wrote “the end” on the ninth book in her popular children’s series, THE SISTERS EIGHT.

A graduate of University of Connecticut at Storrs, in 1994 Logsted-Baratz left her job at a bookstore to take a chance on herself as a writer. Success did not happen over night. Between 1994 and May 2002 – when Red Dress Ink called with an offer to buy THE THIN PINK LINE – Lauren worked as a book reviewer, a freelance editor and writer, and a window washer, making her arguably the only woman in the world who has ever both hosted a book signing party and washed the windows of the late best-selling novelist Robert Ludlum. Since Red Dress Ink’s call in 2002, Baratz-Logsted has been very busy writing novels and checking her Amazon ranking on a daily basis. She still lives in Danbury, with her husband and daughter, where she has lived since 1991.

Follow Lauren Baratz-Logsted on Twitter: @LaurenBaratzL

Note: There will be no moderated #litchat on Monday, January 16, while we observe the Martin Luther King holiday in the United States.

Read chatscripts from this week’s #litchat:

January 19, 2011: Quick Change Authors

January 21, 2011: Quick Change Authors, Lauren Baratz-Logsted

The Triangle of Trust January 10, 2011

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in Uncategorized.
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Johanna Harness

Everyone picks books for different reasons. Some read only within a certain genre—romances, cozy mysteries, crime thrillers, etc.—while others read from a wide assortment to include both non-fiction and fiction. No matter the reason— the genre, the page-length, or reading format—each book is contained within a triangle framed by author, publisher and reader. This week in #litchat we’re discussing the literary triangle of trust.

Topic schedule for this week will be broken up as follows:

  • Monday: “What does it mean when a reader trusts an author?”
  • Wednesday: “How does an author establish trust?”
  • Friday: “What is the role of publishers in the triangle of literary trust?”

Joining us as guest moderator all week is Johanna Harness, founder of the Twitter community known as #amwriting. A writer of YA fiction, Harness began the #amwriting hashtag just by throwing together “I am writing” into a tag to share her personal writing progress. Before long other writers picked up the tag and a writing community was born. Harness won the inaugural Eight Cuts Chris Al-Aswad Prize for outstanding contribution to breaking down barriers in literature and the arts, held in honour of the brilliant young man who built Escape Into Life.

Follow Johanna Harness on Twitter at: @JohannaHarness.

Johanna Harness spends much of her time in other worlds, connecting with imaginary people and telling lies.

She enjoys the rest of her hours in modern-day Idaho, where she makes her sheep, cats, goldfish, and kids very happy.

LitChat’s Favorite Books of 2010 January 3, 2011

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in Uncategorized.
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Each year ends with dozens of Best Of lists, including books. Instead of a Best Of list, LitChat’s offering a list of favorite reads of 2010, not based on literary merit, author’s laurels, or publishing hype. There were many notable books published this year and we had to limit the list at 10. The favorites are presented in ABC order by title. For better or worse, here’s the list. What were your favorites of 2010?

Ape House Sara Gruen
Freedom Jonathan Franzen
Man in the Woods Scott Spencer
Solar Ian McEwan
Takaro Gorge Jacob Ritari
The Girl Who Fell From the Sky Heidi W. Durrow
The Help Kathryn Stockett
The Nobodies Album Carolyn Parkhurst
The Swan Thieves Elizabeth Kostova
Wench Dolen Perkins-Valdez
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