Archive for November, 2011

Mark Twain: The Father of American Literature

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Author: Sherry Helms

“Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.”- Mark Twain.

Mark Twain, the great American novelist and humorist, was named “The Father of American Literature” by William Faulkner. He gained popularity mostly for his two best novels- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- that was later called “The Great American Novel”. He has been one of the greatest humorists of American Literature.

His novels were instances of beautiful combinations of fiction, realism, social criticism, satire, humor and also American cultural history. His novels were at some parts autobiographical too. Through the course of his writing journey, not only Twain developed as a human being but his views and social and political outlooks also got to be developed from time to time. From being an ardent imperialist and “red- hot imperialist”, he got completely transformed to anti- imperialism and that also started reflecting in his works. (more…)

Author Interview: Laura Dave on her The Divorce Party

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Laura Dave, the world famous author of acclaimed novels like “The First Husband”, “The Divorce Party” and “London is the Best City in America”, engages in a conversation with us about her novel “The Divorce Party”. Laura gives us a wonderful interview on her book, her characters, her personal favorite readings and many more.

Tell us something about yourself- your first writing experience, how you follow your passion for writing, your hobbies, likes and dislikes etc.

My love of writing really started with a love of reading.  From the time I was very young, I’ve been reading like a fiend!  I enjoy reading everything (mysteries, science books, thrillers, literary novels, love stories) and believe it is still the best way to get excited about my next story or book.

Why are you interested mostly in writing women’s fiction?

I like writing about relationships — romantic, familial etc.  And exploring relationships –while interesting to many people — is especially interesting to women.  Though, as a caveat: some of the loveliest notes I’ve received have been from male readers, who have connected to my books.  That always makes me so happy too.

What is your personal definition of love, marriage and relationship in a woman’s life?

I think the answer is different for every woman, but particularly at this moment in my life – I prioritize my family and my husband above all else.  Their happiness means so much to me. (more…)

Process and its Evolution

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Author: Aliette de Bodard

I used to be a very methodical writer: when I wrote my first professional novel (1), Servant of the Underworld, I planned basically every scene in the book–until about 3 chapters from the end, where I wrote something akin to “the characters have a climactic battle and somehow save the world”. That was the only freedom I left me: when I wrote the book, every interaction between the major characters had been meticulously mapped and plotted; and the only bits and pieces I inserted were brief moments of pause and/or witty banter.

It sounds rather mechanical; and it was to some degree; but I’m the kind of writer who works much better with a solid idea of where they’re going. And, since I am also the kind of writer who goes way over the prescribed length, outlines are an easy tool to make sure I’m still on target with my word count: I know how long a scene takes on average, and I can keep track of how many scenes I’ve written, and how far I’m still from the ending.

But I’ve come to see another thing about outlines: the over-detailed outline I used to rely on was a kind of crutch. Writing is a bit like juggling for me: I can only have so many balls in the air at the same time; and struggling with plot, character and length was just too hard at a time when I hadn’t mastered any of those. (more…)

The Scary Truth

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Author: Stacey Kade

So, we’re finally past Halloween and the corresponding influx of scary movies on television and in movie theaters. And I must confess: I’m relieved.

Because…well, here’s where I have to admit my dirty little secret: Ghosts terrify me.

It’s true. Anything ghost-related, aside from, say, Ghostbusters or Casper is going to give me nightmares. Like wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-drenched-in-cold-sweat type of bad dreams. Just the trailer for Paranormal Activity III (or any of those movies, really) made me squeeze my eyes shut, sing to myself so I didn’t hear the scary “we’re being haunted” noises, and fumble for the remote to change the channel to something safer (which is WAY harder to do with your eyes closed, I might add).

Of course, it’s not all that strange to be afraid of the supernatural, particularly ghosts, so you might be thinking, “So what?”

Yeah, well, here’s where it gets weird. For someone who fears ghosts, haunted houses, spectral possession, Ouija Boards, the whole kit and spiritual caboodle, the smart thing, the logical action, would be to avoid thinking of such ideas. Right? (more…)

Author Interview: Deborah Underwood on her The Loud Book

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Deborah Underwood, the bestselling children’s author of “The Quiet Book” and “The Loud Book” fame, shares her ideas, her messages and her personal favorites with her readers over here. Learn more about Deborah and her writing from her interview. Make sure you read them loud to your kids.


How much do you enjoy writing books for kids and their world?

I love writing books for children. Books were really important to me when I was growing up. I read all the time–even in the bathtub! I hope to write books that kids will enjoy as much as I enjoyed my childhood favorites.

Say something about your book “The Loud Book” and how did you come up with the idea of writing a book on every kind of kid- friendly loud noises?

THE LOUD BOOK is an exploration of various louds that a child might experience–everything from “Alarm clock loud” to “Dropping your lunch tray loud.” Some are joyous, some are embarrassing, some are scary, and some are lovely.

Kate O’Sullivan, the editor of THE QUIET BOOK, was actually the one who suggested THE LOUD BOOK! I was really happy to be able to work with her and with Renata Liwska, the illustrator of THE QUIET BOOK, again. (more…)

Book Review: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Author: Sherry Helms

Walter Isaacson, the world renowned author of biographies of famous personalities like Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein, stuns the world again with his latest venture- the biography of Steve Jobs. And moreover, Isaacson is the authorized biographer of Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs had so much faith in Isaacson’s literary genius that he never interfered into his writing or never ever tried to have a read, he just cooperated him in his writing in every possible way.

The book takes you back to those days when laptops, iphones and tablets were distant dreams. You can completely get inside the world of Steve Jobs full of his satisfied feelings after his first Apple innovation transformed the face of technology and of the entire business world. After reading STEVE JOBS, the success mantra he used to follow will get completely instilled into your mind and soul- his faith in “power of the will to bend reality”. Isaacson’s biography will let you know why Apple’s employees never used to get irritated with Job’s continuous refusals and aggressive behaviors as that only motivated them to get the best out of every imagination and creation. (more…)

Country Life, YA Style

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Author: Jan Blazanin

A & L Do Summer is a genuine “back to my roots” story. Every character, location, and event contains a sliver of truth from my teen years.

I was raised in a converted railroad depot seven miles west of Adel, a small Iowa town. By the time my parents moved into the Kennedy Station depot, all that was left of the once-thriving railroad community was a tumbledown blacksmith shop, an abandoned grain elevator, and freight trains that rumbled by day and night.

My parents owned just five acres, which meant I wasn’t a farm girl or a “town girl,” but somewhere in between. Aspen and Laurel, the teen best friends in A & L Do Summer, give readers a peek into my feelings about not quite fitting in. Cottonwood Creek, the fictional setting of the novel, was modeled after Adel’s brick streets, towering trees, and the eccentric characters a kid never forgets. (more…)

Author Interview: Lisa See on her latest novel Dreams of Joy

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

The New York Times bestselling author of “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan”, “Peony in Love” and “Shanghai Girls”- Lisa See has always excellently encouraged the themes of love, bonding, family relationships and love for country among her readers through her extraordinary pieces of writing. In her interview with us Lisa discusses how her themes become recurrent in her latest novel “Dreams of Joy”- that continues the story of Pearl and May from Shanghai Girls, keeping the focus of the novel on Joy, Pearl’s Nineteen year old daughter. To know more about her marvelous work “Dreams of Joy” just get to know what she has to say about her book.


Give us a brief description of the plot of your latest bestseller Dreams of Joy.

Dreams of Joy is a story about a mother and daughter who leave the United States and go to the People’s Republic of China in 1957.

“Mother love, romantic love and love for country” have been recurrent themes in your novels- How do you come up with your wonderful themes?

The one thing that’s constant in the example you gave is loveI try to have an emotional theme in all of my books, whether it’s jealousy, envy, mother love, or romantic love.  But even jealousy and envy come back to love.  In fact, wouldn’t you say that all emotions—even hate—come back to love.  It is the root, I believe, of all our emotions. (more…)

The Lighter Side of Alyssa Day

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Alyssa Day, one of the most popular American Romance writers of the Warriors of Poseidon series fame, is thrilled to give us some answers on some never- before- asked questions on her series. Here are those rare answers from her to her readers who have been in love with her Atlantean warriors so far.

Why do you think readers love paranormal novels so much?  Why are they so interested in escaping reality when they could be doing something worthwhile, like moderating the presidential debates or working in fast food management?

I do love a good debate (and a good French fry), but I think people need a way to escape from the worry and cares of life sometimes.  Whether it’s checking out the latest vampire movie or reading about heroic Atlanteans who save the world, it’s lovely to know that the good guys are going to win, nobody’s mortgage will be foreclosed upon, and happily ever after is the reality, not a fantasy, if only just for that little while.

I’ve received enough fan mail from people going through hard times to know that we all need a little hope.  When I was a kid, it was John Wayne.  You knew he’d save the day.  Today it might be a supernatural creature saving the day, but it’s the same thing.  It’s vastly comforting as well as entertaining to see the bad guys get what they deserve and for true love to conquer all.

Do you think writers’ brains are wired differently than those of normal people?  You, in fact, have been accused by your family, your friends, and even your editor once in a memorable phone call, of having a dark and twisted mind, haven’t you?  Do you think you put the Abby in Abnormal?


Your Warriors of Poseidon novels, about a race of Atlantean warriors sworn to protect humanity, are hero-driven stories about, let’s face it, a bunch of totally hunky hot guys.  Does your husband ever get jealous?

No.  He calls them the “oddly hairless men” from the book cover photos.  Also, he flies for the U.S. Navy and is fairly hot and hunky himself.

What’s next from Alyssa Day? 

The final book of the first arc of the Warriors of Poseidon, HEART OF ATLANTIS, will be out in May! And my new urban fantasy romance series, THE LEAGUE OF THE BLACK SWAN, debuts next fall.

Popular Thanksgiving Books: Have Fun with Thanksgiving Tales

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Author: Sherry Helms

“So once in every year we throng

  Upon a day apart,

  To praise the Lord with feast and song

  In thankfulness of heart”- Arthur Guiterman.

Our much awaited Thanksgiving Day is not very far when we are going to celebrate our longstanding traditions to give thanks for having a good harvest throughout the year. It is a day of rejoice when we celebrate all the fruits of our collective hard work. The day also brings more excitement with it as we start planning for the upcoming Christmas celebrations from this day only. Amid so much fun and frolic we always need some of our best friends to be our companions and while talking about best friends how can we forget “books” that give unconditional companionship in happiness as well as the trying times.

The entire Thanksgiving weekend can be enjoyed with great fun with a collection of best Thanksgiving tales. Here is a list of books that you may try on this Thanksgiving weekend. They will also be some good gift-packs to convey your warmhearted thanks to your near and dear ones.

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed A Pie: This is the most hilarious Thanksgiving classic where an old lady comes to Thanksgiving dinner and swallows a whole pumpkin pie. And then she gobbles the entire Thanksgiving feast. This book with its wonderful illustrations is a great delight for kids and a fantastic read for adults as well.

‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving: Dav Pilkey twists the rhyme of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and this is a great Thanksgiving offering for any child. After reading this wonderful book by Pilkey it is going to be your favorite Thanksgiving book- a true piece of entertainment.

The Very First Thanksgiving Day: The day for thanks and blessings is going to be a fabulous treat if you read this Rhonda G. Greene book where you would rejoice the new beginnings with a grand Thanksgiving feast. There are some colorful illustrations that make the book more appealing.

Thank You Sarah: This is again a historical tale on Thanksgiving that teaches how the almost disappearing American tradition was again brought to life by a woman, Sarah Hale. Join the journey and explore something new in American history. This gives you a good feeling about your old traditions and Sarah will definitely inspire you to make some difference in this mundane world.

Thanks for Thanksgiving: Julie Markes reminds you how to make your Thanksgiving Day most memorable one: just celebrate it with your family as nothing comes before family in our lives. This renders a meaningful light to this fantastic tradition. Just enjoy this Thanksgiving with your family and make it the best ever in your life.

Thanksgiving on Thursday: The Magic Tree House series continues with this adventurous book on Thanksgiving, bringing out some new challenges and adventures for jack and Annie. This is great combo pack of information and entertainment, going to be a brilliant read for all.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!! Read more and enjoy a lot.

Stay Connected