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Guest Host: Chris Cleave June 6, 2013

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in commercial fiction, weekly topics.
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Chris CleaveThere are athletes and there are Athletes. Chris Cleave portrays a trio of athletes of the capital variety in his latest novel, Gold. Kate, Zoe and Jack met on the same day in an elite training program for promising young cyclists. They’re each 19, fit, and fabulous on their bikes and off. Though they are all bound for Olympic glory, rivalries and relationships follow them through years of training, competition and everyday life.

Chris Cleave is guest host of #litchat on Friday, June 7, 2013, 4-5 p.m. E.T.

As the novel slips up and down through time, we learn that Jack, the unwitting hub of this trio, is married to Kate, but has a complicated history with Zoe, who becomes Kate’s best friend. This history greases the gears throughout the story as Kate and Jack make sacrifices on behalf of their critically ill daughter, Sophie. Kate misses her first Olympics when she must stay home with infant Sophie, still in the danger zone from her premature birth.Gold Zoe, wild and tuned for trouble, goes on to compete and wins her first two gold medals. Four years later, Zoe gets the gold again in Beijing after her closest competition, Kate, leaves the games early for a health emergency with Sophie. Shift forward four more years and Zoe and Kate must go wheel to wheel again to see who gets a chance for London’s gold.

The complicated backstories of each character—including the wonderful child Sophie—transform Gold from an ordinary tale about Olympic success, to one of sacrifice, surrender and satisfaction.

Chris Cleave’s debut novel Incendiary won a 2006 Somerset Maugham Award, was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize, and won the United States Book-of-the-Month Club’s First Fiction award 2005. It had an unusual start in life, being a novel about an imagined terrorist attack on London that was published, by awful coincidence, on 7th July 2005.  His second novel, published in 2008, is titled Little Bee in Canada and the US, where it is a New York Times #1 bestseller. It is titled The Other Hand in the UK, where it is a Sunday Times bestseller. It was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award. Cleave is working on a new novel set in London and the Mediterranean and inspired by the lives of his grandmother, who drove ambulances during the war, and his grandfather, who was part of the fledgling SAS and who was once assigned to Randolph Churchill with the order: “Look after him, David, and if at all possible keep him out of trouble.” Cleave lives in London with his wife and three children.

Follow Chris Cleave on Twitter: @ChrisCleave.

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Guest Host: Rebecca Lawton May 30, 2013

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in commercial fiction, guest host, Uncategorized.
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Rebecca Lawton - Melinda Kelley

Rebecca Lawton connects the powerful forces of human understanding and environmental action in her debut novel, Junction, Utah. Protagonist Madeline, “Mad,” Kruse is more at home on a river raft than a conventional home. Her father was shot down and went missing during the Vietnam War and her mother’s a peace and environmental activist. She gets by as a river guide—think raft pilot—for rich people wanting whitewater rafting thrills.

Rebecca Lawton and literary agent Sally van Haitsma visit #litchat on Friday, May 31 to discuss publishing Junction, Utah. Follow #litchat in Twitter to follow the chat.

When Mad and her river guide friends discover an energy company threatening the pristine wilderness they love, Mad reluctantly draws on her mother’s activism experience to fight Big Oil. Mad expects to go head-to-head with her cancer-stricken mother, endure flame fights with her ex-boyfriend, and suffer the antics of her raft passengers, but what she doesn’t expect is to fall in love. With a town, with a farm, with a farmer. Rebecca Lawton in #litchat Enter Chris Sorensen, a widower and a cowboy as rooted in the land as Mad is home on the river. Unlikely partners, Mad and Chris join forces against the encroaching oil rigs for a conclusion that will have you turning pages back and forth to fully accept.

Junction, Utah opens with a hair-raising whitewater ride down the Yampa River and never lets up as it explores the wildness within a person as well as the wilderness without.

Rebecca Lawton was among the first women whitewater guides on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon and on other rivers in the West. Her essay collection on the guiding life, Reading Water: Lessons from the River (Capital Books), was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and ForeWord Nature Book of the Year finalist. Her essays, poems, and stories have been published in Orion, Sierra, The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, Shenandoah, THEMA, More, and other magazines. She blogs about writing and environmental issues at Writer in Residence.

Lawton’s writing about the West has won the Ellen Meloy Fund Award for Desert Writers, three Pushcart Prize nominations (in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry), and other honors. She has received residencies at The Island Institute in Sitka, Alaska, and Hedgebrook Retreat for Women Writers in Langley, Washington.  Her debut novel, Junction, Utah, set in the resource-rich Green River valley, is available as an original e-book from van Haitsma Literary.

Lawton works as a writer and scientist and serves on the Board of Directors of Friends of the River.

Follow Rebecca Lawton on Twitter: @LawtonRebeccaC.

Follow Sally van Haitsma: @SallyJVH.

Photo of Rebecca Lawton above by Melinda Kelley.

Guest Host: Tara Staley May 9, 2013

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in commercial fiction, literary fiction.
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Tara Staley in #litchatThe prevailing winds of Kitty Hawk where author Tara Staley set her new novel, Conditions Are Favorable, can blow a person, a ship or a flying machine right off course. The known course for books featuring the Wright brother’s first flight experiments in Kitty Hawk begins with the iconic brothers as confirmed bachelors. The predominate presumption concerning their fondness for single-hood and dandified appearances positions them as latent homosexuals. Others who knew them well claimed they were simply odd and “woman-shy.” Yet, no one has ever examined the brothers through the spectrum of autism. Until now. In Conditions Are Favorable, Staley presents a daring connect-the-dots story suggesting that not only were Orville and Wilbur Wright on the autistic spectrum, they were affected specifically with the yet-to-be named Asperger’s Syndrome.

Conditions Are FavorableWith luminous prose true to the era and gentle use of the remote region’s dialect, Staley explores the religious, cultural and political edges of the period leading up to the Wright’s successful experiments in human flight. It was the age invention, the turn-of-the-nineteenth century, when two engineering brothers changed their obsession from manufacturing bicycles to designing flying machines.

Staley begins with the fictional Madeline Tate, a smart and spunky unmarried woman on the verge of becoming a spinster. Growing up among the old salts and sea pups of this remote barrier island, Madeline is something of a pearl trapped in an unyielding oyster. She longs for romance, but not with one of the grizzly-faced, whisky-soaked fishermen who overrun the island. When the Wright brothers choose Kitty Hawk as the staging place for their experiments in flight, Madeline’s life takes off. She sees them through eyes of need, desire, and adventure, spinning a romance around one of them that tests him as much as it does her. Conditions may be favorable for flight, and conditions may be favorable for romance, but are conditions favorable for love?

Staley’s debut novel Need to Breathe, published in 2012, was selected as a “LitPick of 2012″ on the popular Twitter forum #LitChat. It was also named a Top Pick by Underground Book Reviews. Staley’s writing background includes undergraduate and graduate degrees in English and Creative Writing, an RWA award for a past novel, and involvement with the North Carolina Writers Network. She is also a founding member of the online writers’ community Backspace.

As a freelancer, her work has appeared in such publications as UNCG Magazine, BizLife Magazine and the Winston-Salem Journal. She grew up, lives, and will most likely die in Kernersville, N.C. She and her husband have two sons, William (who was diagnosed with autism at age 2) and Reese. She also has a cat, a penchant for powdered doughnuts, her very own Leatherman multi-tool, and a professionally framed pencil sketch of the Wright brothers in the guest bedroom.

Read an interview by #litchat’s Carolyn Burns Bass with Tara Staley in the Huffington Post.

Follow Tara Staley on Twitter: @TaraStaley.

Guest Host: James Markert March 14, 2013

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in commercial fiction, mainstream fictio.
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Guest host of #litchat for Friday, March 15 is James Markert, author of A White Wind Blew.

James Markert in #litchatNovels about illness and dying are often fraught with excessive emotion or didactic preaching about getting the most out of your waning life. Although James Markert’s A White Wind Blew features a doctor still grieving his wife’s death while doing penance as a physician at a lavish tuberculosis hospital during the dry 1920s, it skirts the maudlin with a poignant story about death and dying, grieving and healing, and facing sickness again.

Set in the historic Waverly Hills Tuberculosis Sanatorium near Louisville, A White Wind Blew features a stellar cast of characters, beginning with Wolfgang Pike. A White Wind BlewDr. Pike was named after his musical father’s favorite composer. But most of the patients at Waverly Hills call him Father. Before meeting his late wife, Rose, he was studying for the priesthood. After Rose’s death he reasserted his desire to be a priest and here’s where the story begins.

Fathers weighs heavily on Wolfgang. There’s God the Father whom Wolfgang believes he failed in marrying Rose, and there’s his own now dead father whom Wolfgang feels he’s failed in becoming a doctor instead of a professional musician an composer. These two failures provide the conflicts that drive Wolfgang to continue working at Waverly rather than returning to the monastery.

And then there’s Nurse Susannah. As hard as he tries, Wolfgang can’t see her as only a sister figure. When a former concert pianist, shell-shocked by the last decade’s war and his missing fingers, checks into Waverly, Wolfgang draws on his substantial musical abilities to draw the music out of the man. While doing so, he unites some of the Negro patients from the decrepit Negro hospital down the hill, with the white patients in the luxury hospital. The KKK is on the rise during the prohibition years and Waverly is not immune to the wicked infection of these masked marauders.

Wolfgang faces the dying and the dead every single day, but his real nemesis is Dr. Barker, whose jealousy over Wolfgang’s ease with the patients and gentle nurturing through music lead him to unkind acts against Wolfgang, knee-jerk decisions that disappoint and confuse everyone at Waverly.

As the last musical note is played, mysteries are revealed. Patients die and patients take the long walk out the gates cured of the scourge that was tuberculosis in those days. Wolfgang must make a decision once again whether he’s truly called to the priesthood, or destined to be a simple man serving God through medicine, music and marriage.

Markert is a novelist, screenwriter, and producer from Louisville, where he lives with his wife and two children. He has a history degree from the University of Louisville, where, in his senior year, he was honored as the school’s most outstanding history major. He won an IPPY Award for The Requiem Rose, published by Butler Books. With Requiem’s local success, James signed with Writers House Literary Agency in New York, and the book was sold to Sourcebooks, Landmark in January 2012. Rewritten and retitled, it was released in North America in early March 2013 as A White Wind Blew. James is currently working on his next novel, The Strange Case of Isaac Crawley, a story that takes place in the late nineteenth century and involves the theater scene, a lunatic asylum, and the theatrical version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde… and possibly a few gaslights, cobblestones, and an eerie fog.

Markert is also the screenwriter and co-producer of the romantic tennis comedy, 2nd Serve, which had its world premiere in New York at the Woodstock Film Festival in October 2012, with a national release in the summer of 2013. 2nd Serve was produced by Sundance award winner, Gill Holland, directed by Emmy-nominated Tim Kirkman, and stars Josh Hopkins (Cougar Town). Markert has recently finished another screenplay, From Weed-2-Seed, a drama/comedy about fresh and fast food, and is currently working on a historical horse racing film. His comedy short film, Swimming for Rio: The Jimmy Chaser Story is due to be shot sometime in 2013.

Follow James Markert on Twitter: @JamesMarkert.

Historical Fact & Fiction February 27, 2013

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in commercial fiction, historical fiction.
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Author Timothy L. O'Brien in #litchatWhat relationship does historical fiction have to historical fact? The mere word fiction implies that the story is not true. Does that mean it’s false? Or does it only mean that the historical elements of the story are being told through an author’s impression of historical characters, imagined dialog and recreated events? How much latitude is acceptable for interpreting history through a contemporary lens? We’ll discuss these questions and more during Wednesday’s #litchat, then on Friday, Timothy L. O’Brien joins us to discuss his novel, The Lincoln Conspiracy.

Abraham Lincoln is a fascinating historical character. His life was rife with the dramas and intrigues that make good fiction. Shelves and more shelves are full of books about him, his presidency, his family, and his assassination. With so much written about him already, what can a contemporary author bring to Lincoln’s story?

The Lincoln ConspiracyO’Brien presents Lincoln and his assassination through a diverse and memorable cast of characters, some fictional, and some drawn from the pages of history. Leading the way is Temple McFadden, a detective with the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department. His wife, the beautiful and capable Fiona, and his good friend, the educated freeborn negro, Augustus work along side McFadden as he dodges bullets, deciphers code and pushes against powerful enemies. The story doesn’t grow from the point of view of the assassination investigation as one might suspect with a D.C. detective as the leading character, but begins several weeks later. John Wilkes Booth has already been assassinated and his co-conspirators jailed. What Detective McFadden discovers after he takes possession of a couple of diaries from a dead man is a wider conspiracy involving some of history’s most colorful characters.

O’Brien masterfully recreates nineteenth century Washington D.C. down to the dung-filthy lanes and avenues, the sewage-strewn rivers and streams, the expanding skyline and burgeoning neighborhoods. Students of history and Civil War buffs in particular will enjoy the cameo appearances of such historical dignitaries as outspoken abolitionist Sojourner Truth; the founder of Pinkerton Security, Allan Pinkerton; Secretary of War Edwin Stanton; renowned Civil War photographer Alexander Gardner, and George Armstrong Custer. The Lincoln Conspiracy is the first of a series of historic thrillers O’Brien is writing about the days following the Lincoln assassination.

O’Brien is the Executive Editor of The Huffington Post where he oversees all of the site’s original reporting efforts. O’Brien edited a ten-part series about severely wounded war veterans, “Beyond the Battlefield,” for which The Huffington Post and its senior military correspondent, David Wood, received a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2012. Previously, O’Brien was an editor and reporter at The New York Times, where he helped oversee a team of Times reporters that was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in Public Service in 2009 for coverage of the financial crisis. The Times series that emerged from that work, “The Reckoning,” was also a winner of a 2009 Loeb Award for Distinguished Business Journalism.

Prior to becoming Sunday Business editor at The New York Times in 2006, Tim was an award-winning staff writer for the Times. Before returning to the Times in 2003, Tim was the senior feature writer at Talk, a magazine founded by former New Yorker editor Tina Brown. Tim was with Talk from 2000 until it ceased publishing in 2002. Before joining Talk, Tim was a reporter with the Times and, prior to that, The Wall Street Journal.

O’Brien has a B.A. cum laude in literature from Georgetown University, an M.A. in U.S. History from Columbia University, an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University, and an MBA from Columbia University. He has lived and worked in Europe, South America and Asia.

O’Brien is also the author of a biography of Donald Trump, “TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald,” which Warner Books published in 2005. His previous non-fiction book, “Bad Bet: The Inside Story of the Glamour, Glitz, and Danger of America’s Gambling Industry,” was published in 1998.

Follow Timothy L. O’Brien on Twitter: @TimOBrien.

Storify archive of chat with Timothy L. O’Brien is here.

Transformations February 13, 2013

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Jojo Moyes photo © Phyllis ChristopherIn the best novels the leading characters undergo a transformation that moves the plot of the book as it creates connections between readers and characters. On Wednesday in #litchat we’ll discuss novels where character transformation is achieved, where it fails, when it’s believable, and how it effects the ending. Joining us in the #litchat salon on Friday, February 15 is novelist Jojo Moyes, whose new novel, Me Before You, challenges character transformation in unexpected ways.

Combine a repressed, out-of-work waitress with a boring, self-absorbed boyfriend and put her as a caretaker for a handsome, rich, self-absorbed quadriplegic and you have Me Before You. Sounds pretty predictable, doesn’t it? Well it is. Up to a point. Louisa (better known as Lou) falls in love with her charge, and he with her—the predictable part—but the bittersweet ending blows this story from the predictability pit.

Me Before You.CoverIt all comes down to this. Although he’s recovered physically as well as a quadriplegic can after being hit by a motorcycle two years prior, Will is addicted to a sexy lifestyle, extreme adventures and high-stakes finance. Although there’s no reason why he can’t go back to work buying and selling companies and making oodles of money, he secludes himself within a handicap-equipped bungalow behind his parents’ house. Although he has tons of money to spend on extreme disability sports and adventures, he mopes around while reliving his action-adventure exploits. Although he has more wealth and security than the average quadriplegic, he makes a life-vs-suicide pact with his parents, agreeing to give semi-independent life as a quadriplegic six months before seeking assisted suicide in Switzerland.

Lou is the catalyst to Will’s situation. Hired to be a companion and caretaker, Lou plunges right in with activities designed to relight the fire in Will’s life. When she learns of the life-vs-suicide pact, she pushes the boundaries of her own self-repression in order to change Will’s mind about suicide. Soon Lou herself becomes Will’s project. At Will’s urging, she begins reading good books, watching foreign films, listening to classical music—and enjoying it. She overcomes her aversion to libraries, discovers some online disability forums where she gleans insights about care-taking and how to help Will re-engage with life.

Readers will remember the twisty ending long after closing the covers of Me Before You.

Jojo Moyes was born in 1969 and grew up in London. After a varied career including stints as a minicab controller, typist of braille statements for blind people for NatWest, and brochure writer for Club 18-30 she did a degree at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, London University. In 1992 She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to attend the postgraduate newspaper journalism course at City University, and apart from 1994 when she worked in Hong Kong for the Sunday Morning Post, she worked at The Independent for ten years, including stints as Assistant news editor and Arts and Media Correspondent.

She has been a full time novelist since 2002, when her first book, Sheltering Rain was published. She lives on a farm in Essex with her husband, journalist Charles Arthur, and their three children.

Follow Jojo Moyes on Twitter: @JojoMoyes.

Photo of Jojo Moyes © Phyllis Christopher.

Powerless Women in Fiction November 5, 2012

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in commercial fiction, MediaMonday, multi-cultural fiction, women's fiction.
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MediaMonday for November 5, 2012: Should Authors Write Consumer Book Reviews? Source media by Carolyn Kellogg from November 2, 2012 Los Angeles Times Jacket Copy, Why is Amazon Deleting Writers Reviews of Other Author’s Books?

Roberta Gately in #litchatSome women’s lives read like fiction. Open a newspaper and stories of abuse, neglect, poverty, and a myriad of other devices rob women of voice and power in cruel and inhumane ways. On Wednesday in #litchat, Robyn McIntyre will lead discussion on how abused, displaced and/or powerless women feature in fiction. Friday’s guest host, Roberta Gately, will continue the topic with discussion of her new novel, The Bracelet.

While training in Geneva for her new position with a UN-sponsored program in Pakistan, Abby Monroe witnesses the death of an exotic young woman. The image and mystery of the death follows her to Peshawar, where she works amid danger and despair at a UNICEF clinic monitoring childhood immunizations. Sparks fly when Abby, fresh from a recent break-up, meets arrogant New York Times reporter Nick Sinclair. A caring person, Abby is swept into a human trafficking ring where women and children are enslaved and UN moguls double-play both sides for profit and power. The death Abby witnesses in Geneva becomes a chilling coincidence when she strings the details together and must flee for her life.

A nurse, humanitarian aid worker, and writer, Roberta Gately has served in third-world war zones ranging from Africa to Afghanistan. Her first novel, Lipstick in Afghanistan, imagines another nurse in a war-torn country, this time post-9/11 Afghanistan. Gately has written on the subject of refugees for the Journal of Emergency Nursing and the BBC World News Online.  She speaks regularly on the plight of the world’s refugees and displaced.

Follow Roberta Gately on Twitter: @RobertaGately.

Inside A Child’s Mind August 20, 2012

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Matthew Dicks in #litchatLast Wednesday in #litchat we discussed children in danger and children as victims in fiction. We’re taking the discussion a step further on Wednesday by looking into what goes on in a child’s mind to signal danger or safety. Guest host on Friday is Matthew Dicks, whose brave new novel, Memoirs Of An Imaginary Friend, goes deep into the mind of an unusual boy.

Memoirs of An Imaginary Friend is the first person story of Budo, the companion of eight-year-old Max. A fully realized boy in every way, Budo is every bit as real to Max as his mother and father or his beloved teacher, Mrs. Gosk. Although the narrative never comes out and names it, readers understand early that Max is autistic. Through Budo we learn that imaginary friends have short lifespans. They live only as long as the imaginer believes in them. Budo explains how imaginary friends are restricted to the richness of the imaginer’s imagination, that many of them are as simple as a hair bow with eyes, or as playful as a puppy. Budo’s friendships with other imaginary friends outside of Max’s perception provides some of the most poignant moments in a book alive with poignant moments.

Underlining the story is Budo’s own thirst for life–he lives only as long as Max continues to believe in him. At five years old, Budo is one of the oldest imaginary friends alive. Budo explains how most imaginary friends fade away as the imaginee matures and no longer needs them. Because of Max’s extraordinary imagination, Budo can walk through doors, wander around on his own, and learn from watching television and observing people. When Max begins keeping secrets from Budo, Budo sets out to find out why. What he learns forces the beginning of the end for Budo and the end of a harrowing experience for Max.

Matthew Dicks is an author, elementary school teacher, DJ, and a host of other interesting pursuits. In addition to Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, he is the author of Something Missing and Unexpectedly Milo. He is currently at work on a memoir, a rock opera and several children’s books. In addition to fiction, he writes poetry, essays and opinion pieces, and has been published in newspapers, poetry journals, and educational journals throughout the United States. At the request of his UK publisher, he took a pen name and is published under the name Matthew Green in the UK and its affiliated markets. Green is his wife’s maiden name. Dicks lives in Connecticut with his wife and two children.

Follow Matthew Dicks on Twitter: @MatthewDicks.

MediaMonday for August 20, 2012: The State of Book Reviews, discussion of recent complaints from some critics that book reviews are too nice. Source media by Laura Miller in Salon, August 17, 2012.

Saying Goodbye August 5, 2012

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MediaMonday, August 6, 2012: How Storytelling Makes Us Human. Source media from August 3, 2012, New York Times Books review by David Eagleman of Jonathan Gottschall’s The Storytelling Animal.

Laurie Frankel in #litchatDeath is inescapable. The sting of death is universal, it’s bite pierces through layers of self-protection and into the heart. On Wednesday in #litchat we will discuss novels about death and its effect on those left behind. Then on Friday, we’ll visit with Laurie Frankel, author of  Goodbye For Now.

What if you could communicate with a dead loved one through your computer? In Goodbye For Now, Frankel puts a 21st century spin on the seance when protagonist Sam Elling writes a computer program that allows his girlfriend to communicate through email and video chat with a digital rendering of her recently desmised grandmother. The program is so effective at easing Meredith’s grief and helping her move on, the couple see a business opportunity with the program. The result is RePose, a service that allows people to speak to their dearly, and sometimes not-so-dearly, departed loved ones. Some people use RePose for that final farewell, while others use the service to avoid it. As the business grows, so does Sam and Meredith’s concern for what would happen if one of them should pass away.

Laurie Frankel lives in Seattle with her husband, her three-year-old son, her border collie, and many, many books. She’s an East coaster originally, a fact people often guess before she’s even opened her mouth. Her first novel, The Atlas of Love, came out in August 2010, so August seems to be her month. Her second novel, Goodbye For Now, comes out August 7, 2012 in the U.S.  Goodbye For Now has been optioned for film and translation rights have sold in 27 territories. Laurie was just named one of ten women to watch in 2012. She is a proud core member of the Seattle7Writers. Until last June, she was teaching writing, literature, and gender studies at the college level. Now she is thrilled, honored, grateful, and occasionally terrified to be writing full-time.

Click here to read the chatscript from Laurie Frankel’s visit to #litchat.

Watch the video trailer for Goodbye For Now.

Follow Laurie Frankel on Twitter: @Laurie_Frankel.

This Week in LitChat March 4, 2012

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LitChat’s World Read Aloud Day 2012 photo-trailer is up. Watch it on YouTube.

This Wednesday is World Read Aloud Day. LitChat is among the hundreds of individuals and organizations participating with public events that feature the written word spoken aloud. Read about LitChat’s WRAD event here. Championing the World Read Aloud Day is author Pam Allyn, founder and executive director of LitWorld. (The similarity in names between LitChat and LitWorld is a happy coincidence. We are two separate organizations with similar missions.)

Allyn joins us as guest host of #litchat on Monday, March 5, to discuss the importance of reading and the efforts of LitWorld to foster literacy around the world. Allyn is the author of the acclaimed and award-winning What To Read When: The Books and Stories To Read With Your Child-And All The Best Times To Read Them (Penguin Avery). Her most recent books are Pam Allyn’s Best Books for Boys: How To Engage Boys in Reading in Ways That Will Change Their Lives (Scholastic) and Your Child’s Writing Life (Penguin Avery). Her work has been featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Oprah Radio, The Huffington Post and in The New York Times. Allyn is also the executive director and founder of LitLife, a national organization dedicated to school improvement.

LitChat is hosting a live World Read Aloud Day event at the Depot in Hillsborough, NC on March 7, from 5:30-7:30, with readings by John Claude Bemis, Bill Floyd, A.J. Mayhew, Aaron Belz, Barbara Younger, Linda Hanley Finigan, and Clay Carmichael. The event is free and open to the public. More info here.

If you donate $10 or more to LitWorld between now and March 7th, specifying LitChat as a reference, we will send you a free book. If you do this, please email a copy of your donation receipt to twitchat>a<gmail>.<com, along with your mailing address so we can send your free book. LitWorld is a 501c3 registered non-profit.

On Wednesday, March 7, we’ll discuss ways to enrich people’s lives through reading aloud. The popularity of audio books proves that listing to the written word is not just for children.

Friday Guest Host: Cristina Alger

Then on Friday, March 9, Cristina Alger joins us as guest host to discuss her debut novel, The Darlings. A fully realized cast of characters bring Manhattan and the financial district to life in this novel that eerily echoes the Bernie Madoff debacle and the crush that followed. When the manager of a super-producing hedge fund is suspected of suicide, all eyes look to Delphic, an investment partner with the dead financial master. Founder and CEO of Delphic, Carter Darling, resurrected his family name and fortune from the ruin of his father and will now do anything to save his family from the fall-out. A study of scandal, greed, and pride, The Darlings, examines the dilemma of family loyalty without melodrama or preaching.

With keen insight and insider expertise, Alger, herself an attorney and a Manhattanite of the upper crust, takes readers into the lives of the super-rich and powerful of Manhattan for a sophisticated weekend read.

Alger graduated from Harvard College in 2002 and from New York University School of Law in 2007. She has worked as an analyst at Goldman, Sachs, & Co. and as an attorney at Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale, & Dorr.  She lives in New York City, where she was born and raised.The Darlings is her first novel and she is currently working on her next book.

Follow Cristina Alger on Twitter: @cristinaalger.