Friday, February 19, 2010

Firday Fun Facts: March Madness Coming Soon!

I"m up and out the door early today for a big day at work (a big "visitation"/open house to try and draw students to our program for next year) just a couple of quick notes about things coming up in March:

All Romance Ebooks is running a TERRIFIC promotion on all Samhain titles during the entire month of March: a 25% rebate! Now's the time to try that ebook, or that author, if you haven't already.

The Long and the Short of It is running an Easter Egg Hunt, where you'll have to find "eggs" on authors' websites to enter for a prize...and yes, one of those eggs will be hidden somewhere on my website!

And this is happening right now: WOW- Women on Writing's February issue is all about "Falling in Love with Romance" - take a visit and check them out. They always have great articles, interviews, contests...and I notice they're actively taking submissions for upcoming issues, so this is a great chance to get your author name out there!

Happy Friday..........

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Writers' Wednesday: The Kulak's Daughter

"I hear laughter, but it's not a happy sound..." ~from The Kulak's Daughter

One of the perks of being a reviewer for The Long and the Short of It is that I get to read fabulous books for free. What did I just finish? A middle grade historical fiction book called The Kulak's Daughter - and it was terrific.

Middle grade fiction targets a slightly younger audience than Young Adult, which means this book is suited for ages 12 and up. Still, I enjoyed it thoroughly from an adult perspective as well. It tells the story (based on the author's mother's life) of Olga, whose entire family is removed from their farm under the 1930 Stalin administration when the father refuses to give his land up to the "collective," communist efforts. The family ends up at Yaya, a Soviet "transition camp" which bears a stark resemblance to the Nazi concentration camps. The Kulak's Daughter tells the story of how Olga survives, against all odds, with the help of both her siblings and others who end up at the camp with her.

This book is well written, with great description that brings to life the Soviet Union under Stalin in the early 1930s. Beyond that, it's utterly realistic and heart-breaking, a glimpse into a foreign era I had no idea about. The characters and the story of how so many Russian families were displaced to Siberian work camps and transition barracks (just deplorable conditions) are truly compelling.

Honestly, this is a book published by a small press, by a debut author, that you'll probably never hear of anywhere else. But you should. Visit Gabriele Goldstone's website to find out more. I highly recommend it!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday Mentionables: A Weekend Away

"Where thou art - that - is Home." ~Emily Dickinson

Happy Presidents' Day!

Hubby and I spent the weekend at a Bed and Breakfast in Vermont - very charming, and very in the middle of nowhere! It's ski season here (even though there's much less snow than, say, in DC or Maryland) - and I always find it interesting the way people grow up influenced by their surroundings. We were shopping in one of the small towns nearby, and people were walking literally off the mountain in full ski gear for lunch/a break/to warm up. I used to have long conversations with a friend in grad school about this: how we're so shaped by where in the country we grow up: mountains, ocean, warmth, cold... In fact, I actually worked this notion into One Night in Napa, my upcoming release with Samhain (May 2010):

Kira took a long, satisfying drag on her cigarette and wondered how living near a certain landscape might shape you, growing up. Did children who lived in the shadows of a mountain range spend their earliest days looking up, dreaming, watching the clouds make shapes? If you moved those same children to a seaside home, would they lose that distant vision? Would they start looking out rather than up, or develop a rhythmic gait that matched the waves they slept and woke to? Did growing up inside a city of skyscrapers create tunnel vision from the day you were born? Or did living your earliest years inside gated walls mean you looked at the world in fragments, in sliced-up pieces, so that you could never see the whole of something for what it truly was?


In other news, have you been watching the Olympics? Talk about being influenced by your surroundings - so many of these atheletes were on skates/skis on their frozen ponds in the back yard almost before they could walk!

Any favorite events?