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Guest Host for Friday, May 24: Suzanne Palmieri May 22, 2013

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in paranormal, women's fiction.
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Suzanne Palmieri in #litchatIn Suzanne Palmieri’s charming debut, The Witch of Little Italy, young Eleanor Amore is called by “The Sight” to return home to her estranged family in the Bronx. Single, pregnant, and hurting, Eleanor feels drawn to the Amore women who recognize more than just a child growing within her. She has only been back once before when she was ten years old during a wonder-filled summer of sun-drenched beaches, laughter and cartwheels. But everyone remembers that summer except her. Eleanor can’t remember anything from before she left the house on her last day there. With her past now coming back to her in flashes, she becomes obsessed with recapturing those memories. The Witch of Little ItalyAided by her childhood sweetheart, she learns the secrets still haunting her magical family, secrets buried so deep they no longer know how they began. And, in the process, unlocks a mystery more than fifty years old—The Day the Amores Died—and reveals, once and for all, a truth that will either heal or shatter the Amore clan.

Suzanne Palmieri (AKA Suzanne Hayes) is an author, a teacher, and the mother of three. Her debut novel The Witch of Little Italy (Saint Martin’s/Griffin) is in stores now. It has sold internationally (publication dates in Italy and Brazil TBA.) Her co-authored novel, I’ll Be Seeing You (written as Suzanne Hayes with Loretta Nyhan) will be published by Mira books on May 28, 2013, and has also sold internationally. She lives by the ocean in Connecticut with her husband and three darling witches. Suzanne is represented by Anne Bohner of Pen and Ink Literary.

Follow Suzanne Palmieri on Twitter: @thelostwitch.


Guest Host: Jordan Rosenfeld March 28, 2013

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in guest host, literary fiction, paranormal.
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Guest host for Friday, March 29, 2013: Jordan E. Rosenfeld, author of Forged in Grace.

Jordan Rosenfeld in #litchatMost people walk around with scars on the inside. Grace Jensen wears them like a permanent Halloween mask on the outside, while smoldering from their pain on the inside. In Forged in Grace, Jordan E. Rosenfeld animates a woman grotesquely scarred by fire and emotionally stunted by the betrayal that made her so.

Chatscript of #litchat with Jordan E. Rosenfeld available here.

Grace and Marly were BFFs growing up in the small community of Drake’s Bay in Northern California. Marly, the beautiful one, is forced to embrace the power of her sexuality far too early. Grace, the insecure follower, idolizes Marly and plays into her recklessness. When Grace’s parents block their friendship after a late-night pick-up from an out-of-town police station, a dangerous game of adolescent angst and envy embroil the girls. Grace is severely burned, while Marly escapes with a tiny burn on her arm.


Adolescent relationships are volatile. As young people sort through who they are, the expectations of and pressures from the adults in their world—especially the trusted caretakers—can twist their psyche in harmful ways. Rosenfeld explores this concept through the eyes of the adult Grace with such insight, you don’t realize she’s also revealing the scarred heart of her best friend Marly.

After years of silence between the two women, Marly’s return to Drake’s Bay for the funeral of her grandmother kindles a reconciliation. A pariah in her small-town community, Grace accepts Marly’s invitation to Las Vegas where she can blend in with the hoards of other misfits who call the glittering desert oasis a home. This is when Rosenfeld’s insights into psyche and character ignite. With prose so raw it bleeds, Rosenfeld reveals a connection between Grace and Marly that singes the words on the page.

Ever since the fire that nearly took her life, Grace has been unable to tolerate human touch. Her doctors can’t find a physical reason why she burns with pain when people touch her. Psychologists say it’s psychosomatic. One night after Marly is beat-up by an angry lover, Grace reaches through her own pain to soothe Marly’s injuries. The next morning Marly has no swelling, bruising, or abrasions. The pain Grace felt all those years when touching people was their pain, not hers. And now she has a way of reaching into them to heal the sickness and injury. Marly-the-manipulator immediately pushes Grace into a type of sideshow act to heal the sick and wounded, which leads to more conflict between the two. The story flares up here for genuine tearful conclusions that answer the questions Rosenfeld so deftly scatters throughout the novel.

Jordan E. Rosenfeld learned early on that people prefer a storyteller to a know-it-all. She channeled any Hermione-esque tendencies into a career as a writing coach, editor and freelance journalist and saves the Tall Tales for her novels. She earned her MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and is the author of the books, Make A Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time (Writer’s Digest Books) and Write Free! Attracting the Creative Life with Rebecca Lawton (BeijaFlor Books). Jordan’s essays and articles have appeared in such publications as AlterNet.org, Publisher’s Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle, The St. Petersburg Times, The Writer and Writer’s Digest magazine. Her book commentaries have appeared on The California Report, a news-magazine produced by NPR-affiliate KQED radio. She lives in Northern California with her Batman-obsessed son and Psychologist husband.

Watch the Forged In Grace book trailer.

Follow Jordan E. Rosenfeld on Twitter: @JordanRosenfeld.

Midsummer Middle Grade Reading Madness July 30, 2012

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in animals, children's literature, e-books, paranormal, self-published authors, weekly topics.
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MediaMonday for July 30, 2012: Ebook Pirating. Source media from GalleyCat, July 27, 2012.

Kids and summer reading go together like watermelon and picnics. Don’t they? On Wednesday and Friday we have guest hosts to lead discussions on great summer books for middle grade readers, including their own recently published novels.

Maggie Dana

Wednesday brings Maggie Dana into #litchat to discuss her Timber Ridge Riders line of fiction for young horse-lovers. The series includes four titles, previously published in print, but revived and now available as ebooks. Timber Ridge Stables is the home away from home of Kate McGregor, her best friend Holly Chapman, and their arch rival Angela Dean. Filled with action and intrigue, this new series is a must read for savvy girls who love horses. Dana’s polished prose and insightful characters take readers along with Kate and Holly as they dive into a stormy summer filled with secrets and lies and impossible dreams.

Maggie Dana took her first riding lesson at the age of five and hated it so much, she didn’t try again for another three years. But all it took was the right instructor and the right horse and she was hooked for life. Her new riding stable was slap bang in the middle of Pinewood Studios, home of England’s movie industry. So while learning to groom horses, clean tack, and muck stalls, Maggie also got to see the stars in action. Some even spoke to her.

Born and raised near London, Maggie now makes her home on the Connecticut shoreline where she divides her time between hanging out with the family’s horses and writing middle grade novels and women’s fiction. Her award-winning women’s fiction novel, Beachcombing, is now available as an ebook, published with the new title, Painting Naked. She is currently at work writing the next book in theTimber Ridge Riders series.

Follow Maggie Dana on Twitter: @maggiedana.

Joanne Levy in #litchat

Joanne Levy

Friday’s guest host, Joanne Levy, is author of Small Medium At Large, her first published novel. Small Medium At Large features a cast of memorable characters from both sides of the grave. When she’s struck by lightning at her mother’s wedding, Lilah Bloom receives a special gift. She can hear and speak to ghosts. Her beloved grandmother is concerned for Lilah’s dad, who has still not rebounded from the divorce from Lilah’s mother. When her grandmother charges Lilah with helping her father find a new wife, and when word gets around that Lilah can communicate to the dead, Lilah’s life goes from ordinary to spectacular.

Joanne Levy’s love of books began at a very early age. Being the youngest and the only female among four children, she was often left to her own devices and could frequently be found sitting in a quiet corner with her nose in a book. After much teenage misadventure, Joanne eventually graduated from university and now spends her weekdays as an executive assistant at one of Canada’s big banks planning meetings and thwarting coffee emergencies. When Joanne isn’t working, she can usually be found at her computer, channeling her younger self into books. Joanne lives in Ontario with her husband and kids of the furred and feathered variety.

Watch the video trailer for Small Medium At Large.

Follow Joanne Levy on Twitter: @JoanneLevy.

Immortality October 10, 2011

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in bestsellers, paranormal.
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Transcendence over death is one of the oldest themes in literature. Ancient texts dating back thousands of years before the common age and through today’s bestsellers are filled with the heroic and the hopeless attempts at man to become immortal. Whether pulpits for religious moralism, memoirs of mystical sojourns,  everlasting love stories, or pure adrenaline-pumping adventure, immortality prevails as one of the most enduring themes of great literature. This is our topic of discussion this week in #litchat.

On Friday, October 14, Alma Katsu joins us as guest  host. Her debut novel, The Taker, draws on themes of immortality and eternal love through a 200-year cycle of history beginning in the early 19th century until the present day. When Lanny, hopelessly in love with Jonathan, a man as beautiful as the sun and no less attainable, is exiled to Boston from her small Puritan hometown in Maine, she falls in with the sinister Adair who promises Lanny a means to capture her heart’s desire for eternity. Enduring unspeakable cruelty through the sadistic Adair, the glorious love she’d hoped for with Jonathan is cursed from the beginning. The novel begins in the E.R. of a small Maine hospital, where a weary Lanny is examined by Dr. Luke Findley before sheriffs can take her in for her confession to the murder of a man we learn is Jonathan.

View the book trailer here. Watch author interview here.

Alma Katsu likes to write stories that pull the reader through a journey that is sweeping in scope, a little dark and a little magical. The Taker, her debut novel, has been described as “an epic supernatural love story” at the crossroads of literary and historical with, as promised, a supernatural twist. She lives in the Washington, DC area, has a MA in fiction from Johns Hopkins University, once studied with John Irving, and counts fairy tales among her greatest influences.

Follow Alma Katsu on Twitter: @almakatsu