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All Around Writers August 22, 2011

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in bestsellers, creative non-fiction, non-fiction, weekly topics, winners.
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Elizabeth Letts

In the baseball world, an athlete who competently plays any position is called a utility player. In the blue-collar world, an individual skilled in many crafts is called a Jack of all trades. There is no iconic term for a writer who successfully publishes books in several genres. Paul Theroux is renowned for both fiction and travel memoirs. The Narnia books by C.S. Lewis have entertained children for decades, yet Lewis was also a prolific writer of adult fiction and Christian apologetics. Carl Hiaasen began as a journalist, then turned to humorous crime fiction, middle grade children’s books, and even nonfiction. Abraham Verghese, author of the recent bestseller, Cutting For Stone, published two critically acclaimed memoirs before turning to fiction. This week in #litchat we’re discussing all around writers, those authors whose books are shelved in multiple sections of the bookstore.

Guest host on Friday, August 26, is Elizabeth Letts, author of The Eighty Dollar Champion. Subtitled Snowman, the Horse that Inspired a Nation, The Eighty Dollar Champion is the story of a horse with a big heart and the Dutch immigrant who saved him from the slaughterhouse. As a talented young equestrian in Holland prior to World War II, Harry de Leyer dreamed of riding for Holland in the Olympics. When the Nazis occupied his small village in Holland, Harry went from jumping horses for prizes to smuggling food in a brewer’s cart between Nazi checkpoints. Following the war, Harry and his bride left their families and war ravaged village for America to begin a new life. Like many immigrants, life was rocky in the new country, but Harry rediscovered his wings when caring for other people’s horses.

When he is hired as the riding master for an exclusive girls’ boarding school on Long Island, Harry’s fate mingles with a neglected plowhorse headed for the slaughter house. What Harry saw in the horse his children named Snowman was anything but champion, but after several fluke examples of the horse’s amazing jumping ability, Harry risks his reputation and financial stability to train the plowhorse to jump fences in a show arena as well as he does paddock fences on a farm. After a season of winning against big name horses with royal pedigrees, Harry does the unthinkable. He enters Snowman, the flea-bitten gray plowhorse, in the Super Bowl of horse shows, the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden. Before the eyes of the world’s upper crust of society, Snowman’s win of the Triple Crown — the American Horse Shows Association Horse of the Year, Professional Horseman’s Association Champion and National Horse Show Champion, proved to Harry and the world, that champions are more than just breeding, bearing, and beauty. The Eighty Dollar Champion is a double dose of inspiration, a two-in-one story of pursuing dreams, taking risks, and overcoming obstacles.

Elizabeth Letts is the award-winning author of two novels, Quality of Care and Family Planning, and one children’s book, The Butter Man. Quality of Care was a Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, and Books-A-Million Book Club selection. An equestrian from childhood, Letts represented California as a junior equestrian, and was runner-up in the California Horse and Rider of the Year competition. She currently lives with her husband and four children in Baltimore, Maryland.

Follow Elizabeth Letts on Twitter: @ElizabethLetts.


Second Chances September 20, 2010

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in Christian fiction, faith, fiction, inspirational fiction, religion and mysticism, winners.
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Charlene Ann Baumbich


Starting over. Life is full of times when people leave behind one way of life to assume another. Whether a deliberate choice, an unconscious gravitation to what is needed/missing/wanting, or a life-altering event thrust upon a person without preference or desire, stories of second chances are excellent reading. This week in #litchat we’ll discuss books with themes of second chances.

Guest host on Friday, September 24, is Charlene Ann Baumbich. Divine Appointments, the second in her Snow Globe series, features a theme of second chances for more than one character in the novel.  In its July 26 review of Divine Appointments, Publisher’s Weekly wrote, “Josie Brooks [protagonist] is not interested in disruption. Everything in her life is organized, minimal, and efficient. A successful business consultant in Chicago with a type-A personality, she ruthlessly identifies and slashes any source of economic wastefulness with complete disregard for the employees themselves. Soon, everyone at Diamond Mutual calls her “The Dragon” as she orders the termination of decent, hardworking people for the sake of profit. Josie’s rigid life, however, mysteriously begins to unravel when a strangely alluring snow globe appears at her apartment. Soon afterward, Josie is forced to confront her own flaws and fears, beginning an emotional journey toward love, friendship, mourning, and new beginnings. A wide range of characters flesh out this latest installment of Baumbich’s (Stray Affections) Snow Globe series, most emerging impressively from the narrative. Particularly noteworthy is Baumbich’s ability to make Josie likable even at the height of her self-centeredness [LitChat emphasis]. Readers familiar with the first book in the series will note that the place, plot, and characters in the second book are all new, but having a second chance is still a central theme.”

Baumbich is an award-winning journalist who speaks and writes about the layers of life as she sees them, which is often slightly off center, mostly dead-on, and always through lenses of grace. Her highly successful Dearest Dorothy series of novels celebrate octogenarian spitfire Dorothy Jean Wetstra and the residents of small-town Bartonville. Her nonfiction titles range from Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This to Don’t Miss Your Kids!. Charlene speaks to the heart, the funny bone, and a broad age span. For more than a decade, Charlene has presented her most requested talk–“Don’t Miss Your Life!”–to audiences across the country and in Canada. Her creative pedal is to the floor, her energized words are ripe, her cranky gallbladder has been “left behind,” and her message is right on time.


Read chatscripts from this week’s discussions:

September 20 & 22, 2010:  Second Chances

September 24, 2010: author Charlene Ann Baumbich, topic Second Chances

Follow Charlene Ann Baumbich on Twitter: @TwinkleChar.

March 2-6 winners March 7, 2009

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in winners.
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Here are the winners from this week’s book giveaways:

Wednesday’s 19th tweet winner:  @thrillerchick (see this)

Friday’s 28th tweet winner: @CollectedMisc
Friday’s “Get to Know Eric Barnes” question: @bookbuildersBOS

@bookbuilderBOS correctly answered the “Get to Know Eric Barnes” question, which was: “What is the name of the COO of the company featured in SHIMMER?” The correct answer was “Whitley.”

First book giveway at LitChat March 5, 2009

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in winners.
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Yesterday we gave away our first book during #litchat on Twitter. Congratulations to JT Ellison, aka @thrillerchick, who won an ARC of SHIMMER by Eric Barnes (@ericbarnes2). JT Ellison is a voracious reader who devours big, fat books and enjoys suspense and thrillers. If her name sounds familiar, it’s because she is author of three novels (see here). LitChat chased her down after she won yesterday and she’s agreed to host a litchat in April.

Don’t forget tomorrow’s litchat with our first author guest host: Eric Barnes. His novel SHIMMER will be released by Unbridled Books in June. Get to know him in advance here.

If you are an author, agent, editor or other publishing professional who would like to connect to readers through LitChat, please email us at twitchat }at{ gmail.com.