Category: e-books

Thanks, Booklist

top-10_womens-fiction_adult_f2Every now and then as a novelist you get some unexpected affirmation from those whose opinion of your work matters a great deal. When I learned A Fall of Marigolds had been named in BookList‘s Top Ten Women’s Fiction for 2014, I was humbled to the core.This centutry-old magazine is published by the American Library Association, and is used to help libraries decide what to put on their shelves and to help library patrons and students decide what to read, view, or listen to.

This list comprises the top 10 women’s fiction reviewed from the last 12 months and covers “chick lit to tearjerkers, heavy issues to lighthearted comedy.” According to BookList, one of the key ‘appeal factors’ for its Women’s Fiction Top Ten list is “that sense of recognition the target audience—yes, women—gets from identifying with the heroines, and these novels deliver something for just about anyone.”

I am beyond grateful and so honored to be among these other writers and I know I will be adding some new books to my TBR ladder to the sky, too. Here’s the list. Have you read any of the books here? Tell us all about it. Or tell us what your list of best books for 2014 is so far.

BookList’s TOP TEN WOMEN’S FICTION:

The Apple Orchard. By Susan Wiggs. “Art specialist Tess has a successful professional life but is lacking in the family department. When she’s named heir to one-half of an estate and discovers the other half goes to the sister she never knew she had, her life gets turned upside-down.”

The Bookstore. By Deborah Meyler. “Between studying art history at Columbia University on a prestigious scholarship and a two-week fling with a magnetic, wealthy man, 23-year-old Esme Garland from England is happily settling into life in Manhattan when she discovers she’s pregnant. This character-driven novel is witty and poetic.”

A Fall of Marigolds. By Susan Meissner. “The heartbreaks of two women, separated by decades, come together in the history of a scarf that holds special meaning to each woman. Christian fiction author Meissner’s first mainstream women’s fiction novel hits all of the right emotional notes without overdoing the two tragedies.

Golden State. By Michelle Richmond. Estranged sisters Julie and Heather are brought together as Heather goes into labor and Julie, a doctor, rushes to her side to assist. But the sisters are separated by forces beyond their control, as their city, San Francisco, is in chaos, shut down by political protests. Perfect for fans of issue-driven women’s fiction.”

Ladies’ Night. By Mary Kay Andrews. “Grace, an interior-design blogger, discovers her husband is cheating on her. She begins therapy with a group of other “marital misfits,” and the women soon start meeting at Grace’s mother’s bar, where they plot revenge but eventually learn to move on.”

Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe. By Jenny Colgan. “In this fun and fast-paced read, Issy Randall loses her job and her boss/boyfriend in one embarrassing swoop. She decides to take her severance pay and open a bakery in her London neighborhood.”

Sweet Salt Air. By Barbara Delinsky. “Two girlhood friends who’ve been estranged for the past 10 years reunite to collaborate on a cookbook, both of them harboring secrets. Never fear; Delinsky knows when a happy ending is in order.”

Time Flies. By Claire Cook. “In this delightful beach read, two best friends reunite for their high-school reunion and overcome their fears. The banter is a lot of fun, and the characters’ realization of what is important is certain to make readers yearn for reconnections of their own.”

Who Asked You? By Terry McMillan. “Told from the perspectives of several of the characters, this novel offers an array of personalities and everyday life challenges within a story of close friends, family, and neighbors as they grow and change over many years.”

The Whole Golden World. By Kristina Riggle. “Dinah’s world is about to fall apart—her teenage daughter has been caught half-naked in her teacher’s car. Rain, the teacher’s wife, is watching her life fall apart instead of rejoicing in the news that she’s finally pregnant. Fans of Jodi Picoult will devour this story.”

Seahorse, resurrected

There was a time, not so long ago, when a book would go out of print and that was that. If it was a title you wanted to own, you had to haunt used bookstores and estate sales looking for it. Sometimes you would find it, sometimes you wouldn’t.

Those were sad days.
Think what you will about electonic readers and the saucy way they plan to take over the book world, but they do for books what the print world could not – keep them available to be read.
I am happy to tell you that another one of my older books (older is a relative term, it’s less than ten years old) that had been out of print, is now alive again in e-book form with Greenbrier Books. A Seahorse in the Thames is a tale about finding beauty in unexpected places and I was inspired to write it based on a true event. A few years back, a London fisherman found a seahorse dancing about the weeds in the Thames, an arguably busy river that has been industrialized to the point of non-beauty. And yet, there in the reeds, where you’d least expect to find it, was a seahorse. A bit of beauty in a most unexpected place. I took that little idea and crafted a story about a young woman whose life seems to be uncharmed. She longs for a beautiful life; and she is nearly ready to believe it has passed her by until circumstances make her kneel down and look at a little bit of wonderful beckoning to her.

If you haven’t read it and like a different kind of love story, well here you go. It’s a great price at under five bucks, too. Here’s the Amazon link for Kindle and the B & N link for Nook.

Have you ever found beauty in an unexpected place? Do tell… 

A love letter

Dear Books with Pages:

Before you get all hot and bothered by what I am about to tell you, know from the get-go you are still my first love. I will never abandon you. You will always have a place in my house, in every room, just like you do now. That will never change. Not in my lifetime. Not for me.
You will still draw me with your intoxicating scent and smooth touch. I will still slip you into my carry-on when I travel. When I turn out the light at the end of the day, you will still be on my bedside table, just inches from my sleeping form – often the last thing I touch before falling into dreamland.
Now go back and that read that again. And again.
Brace yourself.
I got a Kindle for Christmas.
And I actually asked for it.
Dear, dear Books with Pages, hear me now. I am finding out why people love e-Readers. Did you know, Books with Pages, that in a matter of seconds I was holding Anna Karenina in the palm of my hand? Just like that – for free? And that Medici book I need to read for research? In seconds I had it. In my hand. Okay, not for free. But still. In seconds. In less than half an hour I can literally have 50 books in the palm of my hand. It’s astounding.
I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, “Those are not books. Those are words floating around in an invisible world and which can disappear the moment the cyber-world has a major hiccup. Or the moment you lose that little bit of plastic and wires. Or you drop it into the ocean. Or the tub. Or a vat of melted chocolate.”
My beloved, I totally get what you are thinking. I thought that too and that’s why I waited until the end of 2010 to finally own a Kindle.
But here’s the thing, Books with Pages. You are not the paper you are written on. You are not. That is just your outward form. Just like I am not a skeleton wrapped in muscle and skin. The soul of me is like the soul of you. It transcends the physical. You are the words and they come to us in many forms. On paper, on audio, on E-readers, and on the voices of our mothers when they read us bedtime stories. The words stay with us, inside us. And the words that change us stay with us forever. Surely you know pages won’t stay with us forever. And neither will E-readers for that matter. Even our mothers will eventually leave us. But the words that your writers used to give you life will not disappear. As long as there is just one person who remembers the story, you will never disappear.
So you see, dear Books with Pages, your immortality has not suffered. Your beauty has not diminished. Perhaps in decades to come you will become more Art and less Text but that is not such a bad thing. I have always thought your lovely spines looked beautiful on my shelves. And maybe, maybe in centuries to come, you will become treasured heirlooms and museums will honor you in ways you can’t even begin to imagine.
But you have not been replaced, usurped, or forsaken.
You are more than your pages.
You are the boundless expression of your creator.
Just like me.
And I will always love you. . .

The book with no pages

A while back, when e-books were the newest electronic thing and authors like me were squirming because e-books don’t look like books or feel like books or a smell like books, we didn’t quite know what to make of them. And when people asked us how we felt about them, all we could do is shrug our shoulders and offer a creased brow of concern.

How are you supposed to feel about something you aren’t quite sure is good or bad for you career-wise? And if you decide it’s bad, what is the use of hanging onto that negative attitude when you can do nothing to stop that thing from happening?

Someone asked me this very question a couple days ago when I announced on Facebook that The Shape of Mercy in e-book format is a featured 99-cent download for the month of June. Truth be told, I have neither good vibes or bad vibes about e-books. I cannot make someone who loves e-books buy my bound book. People who love e-books want books in e-book form. If my books aren’t in that format, they will likely never read anything written by me and I will have lost an entire segment of readers.

The scary thing is, that segment of readers – readers of e-books – is growing all the time. I must embrace that notion or be content with reaching only certain kinds of readers, not every kind. That doesn’t seem like a great idea. When books began to show up on tape and then CD, did we not think this was an innovation that would gain for us new “readers?”

Someday I would like to own a Kindle. I truly would. I am in the middle of writing a novel with a Civil War thread and I have more than a dozen research books lying around. The thought of having all those books inside a device I can fit in my purse is invigorating, from a research standpoint. Will I still buy other books on paper? To my dying day.

Every new advance that replaces – to a large extent – something old creates devotees of the older thing who refuse to budge. Not budging makes them happy and they usually harm no one. There are probably a few people out there who refuse to write a novel on a computer, they use their typewriter. And then perhaps there are even fewer people out there who refuse to use a typewriter and instead write on a legal pad with a fountain pen. And maybe there are fewer still who write with a quill on parchment. And maybe there is one person out there who insists on writing his story on the wall of his cave. Who knows?

I am okay with the e-book revolution. I will always love the “real” thing better, not because a story is better told on paper but because books with pages are part of my lifetime experience on the planet. I like them. I love them. I like having them near me after I’ve read them, and I like that their lovely, colorful spines whisper hello to me each time I pass one of the many bookcases in my house.

But if you want my book in e-book fashion, well, you can have it. . .Please do.