Friday, September 28, 2012

Guest post and Giveaways: Samantha Stroh Bailey talks about her voices


Today I have Samantha Stroh Bailey here at The Book Bag. She is the author of Finding Lucas, the wonderful book I talked about yesterday. Read my thoughts here. Today she is here talking about the voices in her head. And be sure to check out the 2 giveaways at the bottom of the post!

Samantha ~ I have heard other authors say that they 'hear voices in their head' and that is how they write their books: the characters are telling their stories. Not being a writer myself, that concept has always intrigued me.

When some people hear voices, we get them medical attention, others end up becoming writers. Does this happen to you? How do you come up with your stories?


This is one of the best questions I’ve ever been asked! And the answer is a resounding yes. Oh, do I ever hear voices in my head!

My stories usually come to me late at night just as I’m falling asleep, and I always forget to keep a notebook beside my bed so I have to race downstairs to jot them down. But, my ideas also come from conversations with friends and listening to strangers talk. Now, I know it’s not nice to eavesdrop, but I figure if it’s in the name of research, it’s okay. I love to watch how people move their bodies when they talk, the words they choose or don’t choose, how they respond to each other. And the stories they tell!

I love dialogue so much that I actually did my Master’s degree in socio/psycholinguistics. It sounds crazy, and it is. I researched the way cultures use language, gestures and subtle nuances to get their point across and what people are actually thinking when they’re talking. Sometimes, what we say is not what we mean, and how people do this fascinates me. I may not have a high paying job thanks to my Master’s, but it has certainly helped me create unique story lines and relatable characters.

Getting a new plot idea is unbelievably exciting for me. Once I have a plot idea, I begin imagining my characters—their names, physical attributes and personalities. As I write, they become real to me, and I know their voices, quirks and physical gestures. I do embarrassing things like stroke my arm so I can describe how it feels and I hear in my head the cadence and tone of my characters’ dialogue.

My characters talk to me in the shower, when I’m driving and when I’m out for dinner with friends and my family. It can be hard sometimes for me to concentrate on what’s happening because my characters have such loud voices! And once I’ve started a story, my characters take over, and there’s not much I can do to stop them. They decide where they go and what they do, and they make their own mistakes and successes. I create them, but they become people in their own right.

When I started writing Finding Lucas, I knew that Jamie was going to be stuck in a very unhappy relationship with Derek, and I knew that she wanted to find Lucas—her “friend with benefits” from her past. Beyond that, the story told itself. My hands flew over the keyboard, and though the ideas came from my head, my characters’ voices spoke up loudly. Even in public.

I often wonder if I’m talking to myself and not realizing it— the way you wonder if you’ve just done something embarrassing without noticing, like pull at your underwear or check to make sure you’ve put on deodorant. Luckily, I can only write when my house is completely empty, and the baristas at my local café have become friends so they don’t look twice if it seems like I have a sudden case of Tourette’s.

There is nothing in the world like being a writer, and though I might technically be considered slightly crazy, it’s a label I’ll happily accept!


Samantha Stroh Bailey has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen. In fact, she even sent her first manuscript, Freddy the Flame, to publishers when she was ten years old. Sadly, it was rejected, but a lifelong passion to write was born.

After 15 years of teaching ESL to adults, including at the University of Toronto, she decided to live her dreams of being a fulltime writer and editor. Now the owner of Perfect Pen Communications, she not only gets to write novels, but also writes and edits for magazines, websites, businesses, students and other writers.

Her work has appeared in Now Magazine, The Village Post,Oxford University Press, Abilities Magazine, on Mommyish.com and many other publications. Samantha also has a Master of Education in Applied Linguistics.

She lives in Toronto with her husband and two children. Finding Lucas is her first novel.

Connect with Samantha

Facebook|Blog | Twitter (@perfect pen)


Giveaway @ The Book Bag!

Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win
one of 3, that's right 3, Kindle e-books of Finding Lucas.
And then check out the giveaway on the tour page.

Tour giveaway

**Everyone who leaves a comment on the tour page will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Finding Lucas before October 1 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**




Thursday, September 27, 2012

Banned Books Week Hop


I want to give a big shout out to the hosting blogs of this awesome hop ~ I Read Banned Books and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Libraries and books have been a huge part of my life for my entire life. Growing up, I was a regular at our small town library and as an adult, I have worked in libraries for over 20 years.

Banned Books Week is the national book community's annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. The 2012 celebration of Banned Books Week will be held from September 30 through October 6. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982. For more information on Banned Books Week, click here. According to the American Library Association, there were 326 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2011, and many more go unreported.

The 10 most challenged titles of 2011 were:

ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

The Hunger Games (trilogy), by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence

My Mom's Having A Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint

Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit

What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones
Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit

Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Reasons: offensive language; racism

Source: http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/


The Book Bag's giveaway will be any book (up to $20) from the top 10 list of challenged books from 2011. This giveaway is open internationally if The Book Depository ships to you. If the challenged book is part of a series, the winner can select any one of the books in the series.





On Tour and Giveaways: Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey

Can you ever really go back to the past?

On her fifth anniversary with boyfriend Derek, Jamie Ross finds herself in a Montreal hotel room wondering how the carefree guy she met in a Chicago bar has turned into “the quintessential metrosexual.” Weighed down by Derek’s disdain for her second hand wardrobe, her unusual family and her low-paying job as an associate producer of a daytime talk show, Jamie reaches a breaking point. And when her new boss plans to reunite lost loves on the show, she remembers Lucas— the boy she’d loved and lost ten years earlier. What follows is a quest that is at times hilarious and at others disastrous as Jamie’s life transforms from run of the mill to absolutely crazy. But will finding Lucas give Jamie everything she’s looking for? ~~ from Goodreads

My thoughts about Finding Lucas ~~

Okay, everyone be honest here. Who hasn't sometimes thought about an old love and wonder if that love could be rekindled? Or at least wonder where that person is and if that spark would still be there?

I have to be honest, Finding Lucas did have me thinking about my past. Jamie goes in search for a former love after breaking up with her boyfriend, Derek on their 5th anniversary. She starts working on an episode for her TV show where they are going to hook up old loves. Well, that gets her thinking about Lucas, her old love and fantasing about how their love could be now.

I loved Finding Lucas and all the wonderful characters, some I loved and some I just wanted to hate. There is Derek and his controlling mother, who stop by, demanding 'financial restitution for a bad investment'. Seriously? But Jamie has a great bunch of supportive friends around her who push her to step out of her comfort zone. And those are the characters I just loved. I want friends like Jamie's - they had her back!

Finding Lucas is Samantha's debut novel and she has done a fantasic job! This is a very well written story with great characters and it was a pleasure to read. I flew through it, which is a good indicator that it's a great book. This is an author who will be added to my 'must-read' list. I can't wait to see what comes next from Samantha Stroh Bailey!

About the author


Samantha Stroh Bailey has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen. In fact, she even sent her first manuscript, Freddy the Flame, to publishers when she was ten years old. Sadly, it was rejected, but a lifelong passion to write was born.

After 15 years of teaching ESL to adults, including at the University of Toronto, she decided to live her dreams of being a fulltime writer and editor. Now the owner of Perfect Pen Communications, she not only gets to write novels, but also writes and edits for magazines, websites, businesses, students and other writers.

Her work has appeared in Now Magazine, The Village Post, Oxford University Press, Abilities Magazine, on Mommyish.com and many other publications. Samantha also has a Master of Education in Applied Linguistics.

She lives in Toronto with her husband and two children. Finding Lucas is her first novel.

Connect with Samantha

Facebook | Blog | Twitter (@perfect pen)

Giveaway @ The Book Bag!

Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win
one of 3, that's right 3, Kindle e-books of Finding Lucas.
And then check out the giveaway on the tour page.

Tour giveaway

**Everyone who leaves a comment on the tour page will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Finding Lucas before October 1 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.** 



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WWW Wednesdays September 26


WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Clicking on the book covers will take you to Goodreads
for more information about the books listed here.

What are you currently reading?

Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft by Jody Gehrman

What did you recently finish reading?

Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian

Memories by Deanna Lynn Sletten

What do you think you will read next?

The Toadhouse Trilogy (Book #1) by Jess Lourey


What's on your WWW this week?

Leave me a comment and
I'll stop by to check out your reads.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Sun Zebra by R. Garcia

This book is best described as a children's book for grownups. Its aim is to encourage us to discover (or rediscover) the amazing things that children and their magical carefree world can teach us, even as we try to teach them about the harsh realities of our own. The book is a collection of five stories that follow the "adventures in living" of an unusual little girl called Nell, her mother Rhonda, and Nell's father who is the narrator of the stories.

The four Nell stories that marveled readers at Scribd.com are put together here for the first time in this collection, which also includes an all-new story, Birdman and the Fairy Tale. ~~ from Goodreads

My thoughts on The Sun Zebra ~~

I just loved the stories in this book. Nell is such a dear, sweet little girl who is so inquisitive and smart. I just fell in love with her. And her mother and father are awesome parents who nurture her, love her and encourage her.

There are five stories in The Sun Zebra and each one is more magical then the next. All of the stories take Nell's imagination and curiosity about the world to teach us grown-ups some life lessons. All of them are wonderful but I would have to say that The Sun Zebra and The Meaningless Christmas Tree are my favorites and stuck with me long after I was done reading them.

Even though I am an adult and love reading grown-up books, I also love delving into children's books. This one is the best of both worlds. These are great stories that show a child's imagination and wonder at work and at the same time they contain words of wisdom for all of us.

Such beautiful writing, such beautiful stories. Thanks R. Garcia for the Nell stories, I would love to read more!

About the author

R. Garcia is the peculiar eclectic writer. He was born on a Caribbean island and lived in several Latin American countries before residing permanently in the United States. Along the way he obtained a Ph.D. in a scientific discipline and produced several highly technical publications.

However, one fine day he decided to fulfill his dream of writing something besides technical articles. This he began to do by publishing his work under the pen name "Phantomimic" on the document sharing site Scribd.com, where his stories have accumulated more than one hundred thousand reads and hundreds of comments. Based in part on this enthusiastic response to his work, he decided to take it to the next level. His first book on the Amazon Kindle is the collection of short stories entitled: The Sun Zebra.

He is currently working on a second book of short stories but these are very different from those in the Sun Zebra. They are darker and oriented towards the psychological/paranormal realm. He is not called the peculiar eclectic writer for nothing!

Connect with R. Garcia

I received a complimentary e-book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Guest post: Romi Mooni talks about her series, Year of the Chick

Welcome to The Book Bag, Romi. I have really enjoyed your books and I love your sense of humor. Last-Minute Love is book two in the Year of the Chick series. Tell us how the idea for this series can to be. Did you know when you wrote Year of the Chick that this was going to be a series? If not, when did that become apparent?

And are there more stories that will make up this series? How many more do you foresee being written?

Thanks for the opportunity to guest post Susan, and I love your topic because it really makes me think about how I even got here!

So it's true, "Last-Minute Love" is book two in the "Year of the Chick" series, but I really had no idea that book one would even turn into a series!

When I wrote the first book "Year of the Chick" in 2009, it was inspired by my blog of the same name. That blog was an "at times based-on-real-life and at times ridiculous" endeavour, about a quest to find love and avoid arranged marriage (this part is very much based on real life, haha).

When I went through the whole process of finding a literary agent but failing to find a publisher, the "Year of the Chick" book kind of...started to gather dust on my hard drive.

By May 2011 I had self-published my first book, which wasn't "Year of the Chick" but rather a parody collection of essays. I spent that summer learning about screenplays and then writing one, since I'd had a real-life experience which really felt like a movie (heartache and all!). To my excitement, the screenplay "Best Before" fared well in several of the international competitions I'd entered, which made me think: this might actually be a story that people would like to read!

Then I thought: if this screenplay is inspired by real life just like "Year of the Chick," then I could adapt it into the sequel of "Year of the Chick." Which means I should totally self-publish "Year of the Chick"!

(and yes, I literally had these conversations with myself, exclamation marks included)

And so, in November 2011, I self-published "Year of the Chick." It wasn't easy finding an audience initially, but after a couple of giveaways that helped increase my exposure and garner some positive reviews (along with some post-free sales), I was reminded of that sequel-like screenplay. This led to taking a week's vacation in March and writing the entire first draft of the sequel. Having the screenplay helped, but you can't exactly copy and paste short scene descriptions and dialogue blocks, so it was definitely an organic first draft, to the tune of 61,000 words written by week's end (and yes I almost went insane from that word count!).

The sequel "Last-Minute Love" has been out for over three months now, and the feedback and following it's received has been amazing. There will definitely be a book three, but much like the first two books, I need the right inspiration and events to transpire in my life, before I can write the next book. I have a plan for that which I won't discuss here (it would be a spoiler for "Last-Minute Love"!), but I'm willing to wait a bit, because I'm not the type of author who will churn out books like they are made in a factory...it will only happen when I feel that I can put my best writing foot forward (but my goal for the release? September 2013).

And will there be a book four? I haven't decided that yet, but for now I'll say "let's see how book three and life itself goes, and in the meantime, I hope readers will follow along with my journey!"

Sincerely,
Romi



**Everyone who leaves a comment on the tour page will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Last Minute Love before October 8 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**


About the author

I am Canadian, and here are some strange personal facts:

- I wore denim-top-to-bottom in high school (there is a direct inverse relationship between how much denim I wore and how few tongues were launched down my throat at school dances...or anywhere in high school at all).

- A homeless lady in New York once told me "You're just a bitch on vacation with no money!"

- I always hated those insufferable couples who would cuddle and make out on the subway...until I became half of one. But now I'm back to being none of one so I hate them again.

The thing I love most in the world is writing. When I first started publishing on Amazon it was my "crazy" humour side (The Book of Awful and NOT Love Poems For Real Life). Since then, everything has focused on my Year of the Chick series, because it's the most important thing to me in the world right now. I guess that would tend to happen, when your writing is inspired by real life, including all the satisfaction and risks that come from that.

My Year of the Chick series can be described as "edgy rom-com," which helps me account for the blunt conversations and mortifying family moments in the book ;-).

Book 3 in the Year of the Chick series will be written and released in 2013; until then I have some adventures to go on!

Connect with Romi!


Buy the Book!

(Also available for Kobo and iTunes!)

Year of the Chick which is book one in the series
is available for free at all e-tailers!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

On Tour and Giveaway: Last-Minute Love by Romi Moondi

What's a girl to do when she meets the Internet man of her dreams, he's better than she expected, but he lives an ocean away? And let's not forget her parents,who are trying to lock her up in arranged-marriage doom...

In this fast-paced story of culture clash and romantic pursuits, there's a big fat Indian wedding, the struggle to keep a long-distance flame alive, and an unexpected mystery man who could set a new course in motion.

All the while, our heroine abandons what was once an all-consuming man-search, which helps her remember the person she used to be, and the person she hopes to become; the history-loving nerd, the hopeless romantic, and the emerging author with dreams of ditching the corporate rat race.

This is the book of living in the moment, making the grand gesture, and putting it all on the line. This is when Romi Narindra comes alive...

Last-Minute Love is book two in the fictional Year of the Chick series. It follows closely from book one, but contains enough detail to be read as a stand-alone.

DISCLAIMER: this book contains occasional F-bombs and mild sexual references; hide your daughters! ~~ synopsis from Goodreads

My thoughts on Last-Minute Love ~~

Last-Minute Love is book 2 is a series. I read book 1, Year of the Chick, at the beginning of the year and loved it ~ it was so hilarious! Read my thoughts here.This book is just as entertaining, maybe not quite as funny, but by this point I have come to know and care about the main character, Romi and I don't really need all those LOL moments. It's still a funny read and I was thoroughly entertained.

I loved this part ~ Romi falls down on the icy sidewalk ~ that part's not funny, this is.... 'A gloved hand in a wool coat reached out to help me up, and for a second I thought it was just like the movies, where some knight in shining armour would swoop in out of nowhere and change the very course of my life. I turned to him as I stood back up. He was practically seventy years old. Welcome to real life.... '

And ... 'the only thing that's better than a guy? Ice cream... '

And ... 'People fade in and out of your life, but they never have to actually leave. And when they do abruptly leave, that just means something isn't being dealt with.'

Romi is getting on with her life and still hoping to find love. And she has dreams of going to Paris. Who wouldn't love to do that? Maybe in Paris, she will find love? But to get to Paris, her first book has to sell enough copies and she has to get her second book written.

I love how this book is a autobiographical-fictionalized story of Romi's life. I loved reading about how she promoted her first book and kept checking her sales on Amazon. She was living that life and writing about it as I and a lot of other readers were discovering her funny sense of humor. It almost felt like I was a part of her story.

By the end of Last-Minute Love, Romi has made some major changes in her life and I can't wait to see what happens next! Hurry Romi, get book 3 written for us!

Come back tomorrow when Romi talks about how this series, that didn't start out as a series, came to be.



**Everyone who leaves a comment on the tour page will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Last Minute Love before October 8 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**


About the author

I am Canadian, and here are some strange personal facts:

-I wore denim-top-to-bottom in high school (there is a direct inverse relationship between how much denim I wore and how few tongues were launched down my throat at school dances...or anywhere in high school at all).

-A homeless lady in New York once told me "You're just a bitch on vacation with no money!"

-I always hated those insufferable couples who would cuddle and make out on the subway...until I became half of one. But now I'm back to being none of one so I hate them again.

The thing I love most in the world is writing. When I first started publishing on Amazon it was my "crazy" humour side (The Book of Awful and NOT Love Poems For Real Life). Since then, everything has focused on my Year of the Chick series, because it's the most important thing to me in the world right now. I guess that would tend to happen, when your writing is inspired by real life, including all the satisfaction and risks that come from that.

My Year of the Chick series can be described as "edgy rom-com," which helps me account for the blunt conversations and mortifying family moments in the book ;-).

Book 3 in the Year of the Chick series will be written and released in 2013; until then I have some adventures to go on!

Connect with Romi!


Buy the Book!

(Also available for Kobo and iTunes!)

Year of the Chick which is book one in the series,
is available for free at all e-tailers!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

WWW Wednesdays September 19


WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Clicking on the book covers will take you to Goodreads
for more information about the books listed here.

What are you currently reading?

Memories by Deanna Lynn Sletten

 Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian
I am still listening to this one on CD for my book group this month. We meet next week ~ I better get on it! 

What did you recently finish reading? 

Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey
for CLP Blog Tours
My thoughts will be posted next week. 

The Sun Zebra by Rolando Garcia
My thoughts will be posted soon.

What do you think you will read next?

Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft by Jody Gehrman
This one looks so good ~ I am excited to start it! 


What's on your WWW this week?

Leave me a comment and 
I'll stop by to check out your reads.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Winner @ The Book Bag!


We have another winner @ The Book Bag!

Rafflecopter picked #3 Beth D.

Congrats Beth!!

An email will be on it's way to you soon.
Enjoy!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Timeless Blurb Reveal and Giveaway!


IT'S A RACE AGAINST TIME.

In Remembrance, Lizzie and Drew changed the course of fate so they could be together. 

In Vengeance, Chelsea set fate back on its original, deadly path. 

Now, strange things keep happening to Lizzie. Things that are omens of darkness to come. A curse has doomed her to die an early death, just as she did in her past life. To make things worse, even if she can figure out who cast the curse, it's irreversible. There's only one option left for her to save herself. It's crazier than anything she's heard yet, and to do it, she'll need Drew and Chelsea's help.

Because to make things right, they must go back to when it all began …


Visit Michelle's website to purchase Remembrance
the first book in the series. 

To celebrate the release of the Timeless back cover blurb, 
Michelle will be giving away these awesome prizes!:

- One signed paperback of Timeless (to be sent as soon as possible after the release date)

- A choice of one of these time travel novels: 

    Waterfall by Lisa Bergren 
    Tempest by Julie Cross 
    Hourglass by Myra McEntire 
    TimeRiders by Alex Scarrow 
    Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone 
    Timeless Love by Judith O’Brian

Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Showcase Sunday #12


Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits & Tea, where we show off the books and eBooks we receive each week.

Come join the fun!
Click on the book covers to find out
more about the books on Goodreads.

For Review

Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos
for TLC Book Tours

Bought 

Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio
I love, love, love Sarah Jio's other books so I just had to pre-order her newest one. And it can earlier than I thought it was going to. What a wonderful surprise!

Swapped

The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes
from PaperBackSwap

What are you showcasing this week?

Leave me a comment or a link so I can stop by and check out your books!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister

Lending a sympathetic ear and dispensing sage words of advice is all part of the job for psychologist Pilar Alvarez, and she’s everything a good therapist should be: warm, compassionate, supportive. She listens, she cares, and she has all the answers, but how’s the woman everyone turns to in their hour of need supposed to cope when her own life starts to fall apart?

While working hard to make a success of her recently-opened practice in trendy South Beach, Pilar must also find time to cater to the demands of her boisterous Cuban family, which includes younger sister Izzy, an unemployed, navel-pierced wild child who can't stay out of trouble, and their mother, a beauty queen turned drama queen who’s equally obsessed with her fading looks and getting Pilar married before it’s “too late.” Although she’d like to oblige her mother and make a permanent love connection, Pilar’s romantic prospects look grim. Her cheating ex, who swears that he’s reformed, is stalking her. A hunky, but strictly off-limits, patient with bad-boy appeal and intimacy issues is making passes. And the sexy shrink in the suite across the hall has a gold band on his left ring finger.

When a series of personal and professional disasters lead Pilar into the arms of one of her unsuitable suitors, she's left shaken, confused, and full of self-doubt. With time running out, she must make sense of her feelings and learn to trust herself again so that she can save her business, her family, and most importantly, her heart. ~~ synopsis from Goodreads

My thoughts on In Need of Therapy ~~

I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I loved being a part of Pilar's life for a few days. Pilar is a psychologist who does a wonderful job of helping her clients figure out their lives as well as trying to figure out her own. I loved the parts of the book where she meets with her clients, maybe because psychology has always been an interest for me. Tracie writes very believable scenarios and fun, little bit crazy, likable characters.

Besides all the quirky clients and the wonderful Pilar, there is Izzy, Pilar's younger sister, who is too old to live at home anymore but doesn't think there is anything wrong with living and mooching off of her older sister. And then there is Pilar's mom, a drama queen who is determined to hook her daughter up with Victor, the ex-boyfriend, turned stalker, but who is the perfect catch in mom's eyes. And Ford, the psychiatrist who moves into the office down the hall with his adorable little son. He becomes a very good friend but is off limits to Pilar. Loved them all.

In Need of Therapy is very well written and was a true pleasure to read. I became totally immersed in Pilar's life and was actually kind of sad when it ended. I love Tracie's writing style and I will be watching for whatever she writes next. But first, I have to go read her first book, Blame it on the Flame - it looks like a winner too!

Connect with Tracie
Author of In Need of Therapy and Blame It on the Fame


An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O'Hara. Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her 4th grade class performed an original holiday play that she penned (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she, also, starred in and tried to direct the production.) Her dreams of authorial success were put on the backburner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a "real" job in order to pay her bills. Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years. When it ended, Tracie decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. Her debut novel, the Hollywood-themed BLAME IT ON THE FAME, was released in January, 2012. And she's following that up with the fun summer read, IN NEED OF THERAPY.

Tracie blogs about books and other fun stuff at http://traciebanister.blogspot.com/

WWW Wednesdays September 12



WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Clicking on the book covers will take you to Goodreads
for more information about the books listed here.

What are you currently reading?

Last-Minute Love by Romi Moondi
I read the first book in this series, Year of the Chick. My thoughts are here, it was a hoot. 

 Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian
I am still listening to this one on CD for my book group this month. 

What did you recently finish reading? 


Don't Let Me Go by Catherine Ryan Hyde
This book is by the author that wrote Pay It Forward. Did you ever see that movie? I loved it! I had no idea this was the same author, the story just intrigued me. It's a great read. My thoughts are here

What do you think you will read next?

Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey
I do have a little time before this tour so maybe I'll just pick something from my TBR list. I have plenty there that I have been wanting to read. 

What's on your WWW this week?

Leave me a comment and 
I'll stop by to check out your reads.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11


Let us never forget



Catherine Ryan Hyde talks about her voices

Yesterday, I posted my thoughts on Catherine Ryan Hyde's book Don't Let Me Go. Today, Catherine is here at The Book Bag talking about the voices in her head. And be sure to stop at the end of the post to enter the 2 giveaways.

Hi Catherine, I have a question I always like to ask authors, so here goes ~~

I have heard other authors say that they 'hear voices in their head' and that is how they write their books: the characters are telling their stories. Not being a writer myself, that concept has always intrigued me.

When some people hear voices, we get them medical attention, others end up becoming writers. Does this happen to you? How do you come up with your stories?


Susan, this lead-in to a post made me laugh out loud. For a couple of reasons.

First, you’re separating out writers from those who need medical attention. Are you sure that’s wise? Also, I’ve joked about the “hearing voices” thing on many occasions.

When people ask me how I come up with my stories, I try to describe how it feels when a character comes into your head with a story to tell. But I always preface it by saying, “I’m going to be very careful in how I describe this to you, the way characters come talk to me. Because there’s still such a thing as the mandatory three-day psych evaluation.”

The difference between those strapped down and me? Maybe not as wide a chasm as I might like. But I think the main distinction is that, although I experience this conversation as though the character is separate, I know I’m really just hearing from another part of my imagination and experience. I don’t get confused about what’s real and what is not. May that never change!

I always start my stories with a character. I never start with a plot. I think it’s important to put my focus on who something is happening to, rather than what happens. Because if I care deeply for someone, I care about everything that happens to them. Big, small, and in between. If I don’t, there’s almost no story you can draw me into.

So what I’m looking for is a person (imaginary) with a story to tell. At first I’ll “see” them more than hear from them. I’ll see an image of them, usually with the emotional heart of the situation as a backdrop all around them. I’ll take some time to feel what that character is feeling. There may be many emotions flowing through that character before the story is told, but one always seems to form the natural heart of the work. When I have a good bead on that, I’ll invite this character to start telling me their story. Which is really just another way of saying I imagine a story to fit them. I think the advantage of phrasing it the first way is that it preserves the illusion that this is someone else. Which I think (hope) helps my characters not to keep turning out as thinly disguised versions of me. And so long as I know that their separateness is an illusion, I think I’m on solid ground.

But the creative process is a funny thing. I think writers play games with it because we know there’s a degree to which it’s out of our control. So whatever gets words on the page. And the more vivid the experience for the reader, the better. So…if the author can’t get lost in the head of the main character, how can the reader do the same?

This reminds me a little of the experience I used to have with movies when I was younger. I’d go see them in theaters, and, in the dark, completely lose track of myself and experience life through the movie. Then, when it was over, I’d stumble, blinking, out into the light, surprised that the real world was still there. That it had been there all the time.

That’s what an author is doing, I think, when we talk about hearing the characters’ voices in our heads. We are voluntarily stepping out of our own lives to step into the fictional world of someone else. So long as we know that’s what we’re doing, I think we’ll be okay. And if we’re really lucky, and do our job well, the reader can get similarly lost.

You could do worse than to lose yourself in a book. Whether it’s already written and published or not.




Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of 18 published and forthcoming books. Her newest releases are When You Were Older, Don’t Let Me Go, Jumpstart the World, When I Found You and Second Hand Heart. Forthcoming is Walk Me Home(Transworld UK, Spring 2012).

Other newer novels are Becoming Chloe, Love in the Present Tense, The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance, Chasing Windmills The Day I Killed James, and Diary of a Witness. Both Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List. Jumpstart the World was chosen as a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards, received a third place Rainbow Award for Young Adult/Coming of Age Fiction and a tie for first place in Bisexual/Transgender Fiction. Love in the Present Tense enjoyed bestseller status in the UK, where it broke the top ten, spent five weeks on the national bestseller list, was reviewed on a major TV book club, and shortlisted for a Best Read of the Year Award at the British Book Awards.

Older works include the story collection Earthquake Weather, and the novels Funerals for Horses, Pay it Forward, Electric God, and Walter’s Purple Heart.

Pay It Forward was adapted into a major motion picture starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than 23 languages for distribution in over 30 countries. The mass market paperback was released in October 2000 by Pocket Books and quickly became a national bestseller. It is still in print, and was rereleased in a trade paperback edition in April of 2010.

More than 50 of her short stories have been published in The Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, The Sun and many other journals, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog is my Co-Pilot. Her stories have been honored in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and nominated for Best American Short Stories, the O'Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in Best American Short Stories.

She is founder and former president (2000-2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation. As a professional public speaker she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with Americorps members at the White House and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.

Connect with Catherine!



Buy the Book!


**Everyone who leaves a comment on the tour page will be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Don't Let Me Go before September 24 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**

Catherine has 4 backlist titles that will be available for Kindles coming in October! Check out:

And When You Were Older (available now in the UK) will be will be on sale in the US in November - print and eBook!

~ Enter the Rafflecopter below ~

a Rafflecopter giveaway






Monday, September 10, 2012

On Tour and a Giveaway: Don't Let Me Go by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Former Broadway dancer and current agoraphobic Billy Shine has not set foot outside his apartment in almost a decade. He has glimpsed his neighbors—beautiful manicurist Rayleen, lonely old Ms. Hinman, bigoted and angry Mr. Lafferty, kind-hearted Felipe, and 9-year-old Grace and her former addict mother Eileen.

But most of them have never seen Billy. Not until Grace begins to sit outside on the building’s front stoop for hours every day, inches from Billy’s patio. Troubled by this change in the natural order, Billy makes it far enough out onto his porch to ask Grace why she doesn’t sit inside where it’s safe. Her answer: “If I sit inside, then nobody will know I’m in trouble. And then nobody will help me.”

Her answer changes everything. ~~synopsis from Goodreads

There are a couple of giveaways going on that you can enter. CLP Blog Tours is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky winner. Check out the tour page, linked at the bottom of this post. The Book Bag is also holding a giveaway for a copy of Don't Let Me Go. Enter using the Rafflecopter below.

My thoughts on Don't Let Me Go ~~

I absolutely fell in love with Grace. What a sweet, caring, wise beyond her years, 9 year old. Her mother is an addict so Grace has to become her own caretaker, in a sense. She befriends Billy, the former dancer who is agoraphobic and has not left his apartment in 12 years. She says to him, when he asks her why she sits outside all the time, “If I sit inside, then nobody will know I’m in trouble. And then nobody will help me.” That just breaks my heart. And that is sort of what has happened to Billy, he sits inside all the time and no one knows he needs help.

Grace's apartment house is full of strangers who go out of their way to avoid each other. Some of them have never even talked to one another, they all just live their own separate lives. And no one is really very happy. Grace changes all that, when one by one she gets them to care for her and then to open up their lives to the others who live around them

Billy and Grace form a very special bond that is just beautiful to watch unfold. They really help each other and protect each other. All of the residents pull together to help Grace survive since her mother isn't there for her. Grace is such a precocious little girl and I loved her honesty - she just tells it like it is, even if they don't want to hear it. One example ~ "It's like people who want to feel only happy but not sad," she said. "it never works. You either feel things or you don't. You don't get to pick and choose. At least, I don't think so." 

Ms. Hyde also wrote Pay it Forward, which was made into a movie, a movie that I love. I didn't know this book was written by the same person. Because I knew that when I started the book, I was comparing Don't Let me Go to Pay it Forward. There are some similarities; a precocious youngster with a addictive parent, who befriends others with problems of their own and who tries to make the world a better place. But very soon, I stopped comparing the two and was totally immersed in Grace's world. Did I mention that I loved Grace?

This is a beautiful story about how much better the world can be if we all just take the time to reach out to those around us. It's not a preachy story but a wonderful look at a group of people who come to love each other, faults and all.

Other than this book and the movie, Pay it Forward, I am not familiar with other works by Ms. Hyde. I will definitely be reading more of her books. Thanks for the beautiful story, Catherine Ryan Hyde!

Author Bio:


Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of 18 published and forthcoming books. Her newest releases are When You Were Older, Don’t Let Me Go, Jumpstart the World, When I Found You and Second Hand Heart. Forthcoming is Walk Me Home (Transworld UK, Spring 2012).

Other newer novels are Becoming Chloe, Love in the Present Tense, The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance, Chasing Windmills The Day I Killed James, and Diary of a Witness. Both Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List. Jumpstart the World was chosen as a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards, received a third place Rainbow Award for Young Adult/Coming of Age Fiction and a tie for first place in Bisexual/Transgender Fiction. Love in the Present Tense enjoyed bestseller status in the UK, where it broke the top ten, spent five weeks on the national bestseller list, was reviewed on a major TV book club, and shortlisted for a Best Read of the Year Award at the British Book Awards.

Older works include the story collection Earthquake Weather, and the novels Funerals for Horses, Pay it Forward, Electric God, and Walter’s Purple Heart.

Pay It Forward was adapted into a major motion picture starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than 23 languages for distribution in over 30 countries. The mass market paperback was released in October 2000 by Pocket Books and quickly became a national bestseller. It is still in print, and was rereleased in a trade paperback edition in April of 2010.

More than 50 of her short stories have been published in The Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, The Sun and many other journals, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog is my Co-Pilot. Her stories have been honored in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and nominated for Best American Short Stories, the O'Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in Best American Short Stories.

She is founder and former president (2000-2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation. As a professional public speaker she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with Americorps members at the White House and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.

Connect with Catherine!



Buy the Book!



**Everyone who leaves a comment on the tour page will be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Don't Let Me Go before September 24 and sends their receipt to Samantha(at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**

Catherine has 4 backlist titles that will be available for Kindles coming in October! Check out:
Funerals for Horses
Earthquake Weather
Electric God
Walter's Purple Heart

And When You Were Older (available now in the UK) will be will be on sale in the US in November - print and eBook!

 ~ Enter the Rafflecopter below ~

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