Tag Archives: Book Reviews

In the Spotlight: Wendy Wax’s THE ACCIDENTAL BESTSELLER

“The names have been changed to protect the innocent,” jokes novelist Wendy Wax about her new book The Accidental Bestseller. “It’s not a roman a clef, but I admit that parts of it are somewhat autobiographical. A few people may think they recognize themselves, but the real life experiences at its core are actually compilations of my own and other authors’ agonies, ecstasies and observations.”

The novel centers on a writer who, with her editor gone and her sales in a slump, discovers how merciless the business of book publishing can be. With the help of three writer friends, whose own successes range from modest sales to international renown, she faces daunting personal and professional setbacks as she struggles to pursue her dream. Wendy notes “I’ve intensified the difficulties, thrown in an empty nest, a cheating husband and taken a whole boatload of liberties, but I still see the story as a realistic look at the challenges confronting many published authors.”

In The Accidental Bestseller (Berkley Trade, June ’09), Wendy explores the depth of women’s friendships and the emotional bonds that tie people to their families, their friends and their work. The writing itself proved somewhat cathartic for Wendy, mostly because, like her protagonist, she at one time contended with the emotions and stress involved with switching publishers. She also ended up sharing other attributes with her character. Each lives in the Atlanta area, has written numerous novels, maintains strong friendships with other women novelists, is married, has two children, and enjoys spending time in the mountains of northern Georgia.

A native of St. Petersburg, Florida, Wendy has come a long way since her days at Sunshine Elementary School. As a child she read voraciously, was a regular at her local library, and became fast friends with Nancy Drew and Anne of Green Gables. Her love affairs with language and storytelling paid off beginning with her first shift at the campus radio station while studying journalism at the University of Georgia.

After returning to her home state and graduating from the University of South Florida she worked for the Tampa PBS affiliate, WEDU-TV, behind and in front of the camera. Her resume includes on air work, voiceovers and production of a variety of commercial projects and several feature films. She may be best known in the Tampa Bay area as the host of Desperate & Dateless, a radio matchmaking program that aired on WDAE radio, and nationally as host of The Home Front, a magazine format show that aired on PBS affiliates across the country.

The mother of a toddler and an infant when she decided to change careers, she admits it was not the best timing in terms of productivity. “I’m still not certain why I felt so compelled to write my first novel at that particular time,” she says, “but that first book took forever.” Since then she’s written six more books, including Single in Suburbia and THE ACCIDENTAL BESTSELLER. Her work has been sold to publishers in ten countries and to the Rhapsody Book Club. Her novel, Hostile Makeover, was excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine.

Wendy lives with her husband John and her baseball-crazy teenage sons in the Atlanta suburbs where she spends most of her non-writing time on baseball fields or driving to them. She continues to devour books and is busy producing Accidental Radio, a new feature on her web site.

You can visit her website at www.authorwendywax.com.


Who knew the truth would make such great fiction?

Once upon a time four aspiring authors met at a writers’ conference. Ten years later they’re still friends, veterans of the dog-eat-dog New York publishing world.

Mallory St. James is a workaholic whose novels support her and her husband’s lavish lifestyle. Tanya Mason juggles two jobs, two kids, and a difficult mother. Faye Truett is the wife of a famous televangelist and the author of bestselling inspirational romances; no one would ever guess her explosive secret. Kendall Aims’s once-promising career is on the skids—as is her marriage. Her sales have fallen, her new editor can barely feign interest in her work—and her husband is cheating.

Under pressure to meet her next deadline, Kendall holes up in a mountain cabin to confront a blank page and a blanker future. But her friends won’t let her face this struggle alone. They collaborate on a novel none of them could write by herself, using their own lives as fodder, assuming no one will discover the truth behind their words.

No one is more surprised than they are when the book becomes a runaway bestseller. But with success comes scrutiny and scandal. Now all bets are off….as these four best friends suddenly realize how little they’ve truly known each other.

‘The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.’ John Steinbeck

One

Kendall Aims’ writing career was about to go down for the count on that Friday night in July as she hurried down Sixth Avenue toward the New York Hilton.

It had taken many blows over the last year and a half–the first when her editor left Scarsdale Publishing to have a baby, leaving Kendall orphaned and unloved; another when her new editor, a plain, humorless woman named Jane Jensen, informed her that her sales numbers were slipping. And still another when they showed her the cover for the book she’d just turned in; a cover so bland and uninteresting that even Kendall didn’t want to open it. And on which her name had shrunk to a size that required a magnifying glass to read it.

She landed on the ropes when the print run for this new book was announced. Kendall’s first thought was that someone had forgotten to type in the rest of the zeros. Because even she, who had given up on math long ago, could see at a glance that even if they sold every one of these books, which now seemed unlikely, she’d never earn out the advance she’d been paid.

Looking back, it seemed as if one day she was perched prettily on the publishing ladder, poised to make all the bestseller lists, the next the rungs had given way beneath her feet leaving her dangling above a bubbling pit of insecurity and self doubt. Not to mention obscurity.

Tonight her publisher, like all the other publishers participating in this year’s national conference of the Wordsmiths, Incorporated., or WINC as it was affectionately abbreviated, had hosted an obligatorily expensive dinner for its stable of authors. There, Kendall had smiled and eaten and pretended that she was happy to write for them while they pretended that even after eight years spent proving otherwise, they still intended to make her a household name.

Now, one filet mignon, two glasses of wine and a crème brule later, Kendall hurried through the hotel lobby barely noticing the knots of chattering women scattered through it. The waistband of her pantyhose pinched painfully and her toes, more used to Nike’s than Blahniks, throbbed unmercifully. She felt, and she suspected, looked like what she was—a suburban Atlanta housewife whose children had left the nest and whose husband barely noticed her. At 45 not even expensive highlights and a boatload of Lycra could disguise the fact that her body had given up its struggle against gravity.

She reached the lounge and was already scanning the crowd for familiar faces when two women stepped up beside her. One was tall and blocky, the other short and round. A cloud of nervousness surrounded them.

“Let’s just walk through and pretend we’re looking for someone.” The tall one was clearly in charge, her broad shoulders set in determination.

“Do we have to? We don’t know anyone and we aren’t anyone either,” the other one whispered. “What if we do see an agent or an editor? What are we supposed to do then?”

Kendall flushed with memory. She might have been either one of these women ten years ago. Shy, insecure and dreaming of publication, she’d been stuck on the fringes of her first national conference desperate to sell the book she’d somehow managed to write, but unable to imagine how it could possibly happen.

“We’re just going to make a quick pass,” the taller one promised. “At least we’ll be seen. And be sure to keep an eye out for any opportunities. Half the point of being here is to network.”

“But…”

“Come on. Just follow me. The worst thing that’s going to happen is nothing.”

Kendall smiled, drawn out of her own misery for the first time since she’d arrived in New York early that afternoon. She and Mallory and Tanya and Faye had met at their first Wordsmiths, Incorporated conference in Orlando; all four of them wannabes who’d stood knees knocking, waiting for their turn to pitch an idea during editor and agent appointments. Fifteen minutes to try to sell yourself and your talent to a twenty something girl who held all the power and couldn’t understand why you, who might be as old as her mother, or possibly her grandmother, were unable to keep your voice from cracking as you delivered your carefully memorized pitch.

They’d bonded then and there, four women of disparate ages and even more disparate backgrounds drawn together by their fear and longing.

Read more excerpt at Wendy Wax’s website here!

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Mailman, where are you?

the-obama-revolution1What an exciting day! I’m telling you, if you told me I couldn’t do something, I’d at least try, especially when the passion takes over, but I received an email from the author of this book right over here to the left. Yes! I know you can’t believe it, either! Now, if Obama sends me a note, I believe I will have done everything in this life and don’t need to do anymore.

Putting political persuasion aside, no matter who you voted for, Obama is our President and he’s going to be a very good President. Trust me on this one.

But look, I’ve got to tell you about my note from the author of The Obama Revolution. I had emailed him through a form on his website, or was it Facebook? I’m not sure, anyway, the message got through to him and look what he left in my email box!

Hi Dorothy,

Thank you so much for your kind email! I am excited that you will be reading and reviewing The Obama Revolution. I have been extremely impressed by Phoenix Books and the professional manner in which they turned this book around in record time. Like you, Barack Obama’s campaign kindled a fire in me that continues to burn. The book gives the first in-the-trenches look at a campaign that made history not only by the excitement it generated but also by the participation it garnered from Americans everywhere. I hope that you will have the opportunity to get a copy soon and let me know your thoughts!

Best,
Alan

Is this guy the bomb or what? I am so thrilled to be reviewing this book. Mailman, where are you???

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Book Review: BLOG BLAZERS by Stephane Grenier

Author: Stephane Grenier
Title: Blog Blazers: 40 Top Bloggers Share Their Secrets
Hardcover: 232 pages
Publisher: Levac Publishing House (Nov. 2008)
Genre: Computers & Internet
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0981085202
ISBN-13: 978-0981085203

First Sentence: The idea to write this book came to me almost a year before I actually sat down to write it.

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I have been blogging for approximately four years. I have been an online entrepreneur for two years and all of my business depends on blogging. During the four years I have been a blogger, I learned a few tricks of the trade and I incorporated that knowledge into forming my online business. Had I read Blog Blazers: 40 Top Bloggers Share Their Secrets to Creating a High-Profile, High-Traffic, and High-Profile Blog by Stephane Grenier before all those endless days and nights learning the craft, I can’t imagine all the time I would have saved.

Stephane interviewed 40 top bloggers including Seth Godin (the blogging guru of all time), Aaron Wall (SEO Book), J.D. Roth (Get Rich Slowly), Yaro Starak (Entrepreneur’s Journey) and thirty-seven others who are well-respected and whose blogs gets mega hits all in the name of showing other bloggers how to do it right.

It’s a mega-house of information.

I love the way Stephane did this.  I had just finished another book similar that had nothing but articles for other authors and while it was okay, it still didn’t give me that punch.

Stephane goes for the nitty gritty and asks these top bloggers what we would love to know – their top secrets for creating a high traffic blog and they deliver such as:

  • What makes a blog successful according to you?  Is it traffic, reach, revenue, etc.?
  • When did you decide you finally reached success with your blog?
  • How long did it take to become a successful blogger?
  • What’s your best advice in  regards to  content and writing for bloggers?
  • What are your main methods of marketing your blog?

And many more questions that we as bloggers who are trying to get the traffic, trying to make the money, trying not to give up as a blogger because it’s just too much hard work.

I love this book.  It’s the Bible of Blogging.  The only drawback I have is that I wish I had thought of doing this myself!  Stephane rocks.

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Book Review: AMAZING GRAYS: A WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MAKING THE NEXT 50 THE BEST 50 by Maggie Rose Crane

amazing-grays5Amazing Grays: A Woman’s Guide to Making the Next 50 the Best 50
Maggie Rose Crane
Self-Help
FTA Press
281 pages

Maggie Rose Crane has written an informative and engaging book for boomers who are unwilling to become feeble old women with boobs in their laps, dreams on the shelf, and “Memory Lane” their only destination. This book is for maturing women who are staking their claim as part of a dynamic and growing movement of ‘Amazing Grays’, women who want to challenge stereotypes about aging and amazing-grays1create a fresh start for the second half of life – but aren’t quite sure how to pull it off.

When an epiphany in the hair salon convinced Maggie to try life without hair dye, she found herself face to face with the fears and questions that unsettle many maturing women living in a culture obsessed with youth and manufactured beauty…
Who am I now that I’m no longer young and fertile? Will I still be desirable as I age? Will I be invisible? Is this the beginning of the end? Is it too late to make a difference? And how on earth do I stop coloring my hair if I want to?

Balanced somewhere between a memoir and a how-to, Maggie uses her personal journey as a springboard to shatter stereotypes about aging. She shares her most poignant insights and experiences on what it means to be a woman “of a certain age,” and offers suggestions on how to mindfully chart a graceful course through the physical changes, emotional challenges and mental gauntlet of aging. With honesty, humor and plenty of research, Maggie lights the way for women who want to live with vibrancy and joy – regardless of their hair color!

In this provocative and touching book, Maggie explores, with humor and compassion, the many aspects of growing older – from changing social and family roles to changes in body and appearance, even changes in perspective and purpose. She shares how redirecting her focus from her packaging to her essence gave her the perspective to age mindfully and joyfully (after, of course, a bit of kicking and screaming).

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to do something so outrageous that it didn’t matter what anything thought, you were going to do it anyway because you knew it was the right thing for you to do?

For years, Maggie Rose Crane colored her hair, until one day she declared her independence and gave up the dye to become the person she really wanted to be. What happened was a transformation took place that even Maggie didn’t know would happen.

In her book, Amazing Grays: A Woman’s Guide to Making the Next 50 the Best 50, Maggie shares her journey as she transforms from someone she thought she had to be into a woman she know she had to be. It is in her book that she shows other women how to be the women they are meant to be, too, despite time not being on their side.

Written for baby boomer women everywhere, Maggie explains why it doesn’t matter what color your hair is or how many years the clock says you are, women of a certain age can still be “vibrant, healthy, wise, engaged with life, sexually active, spiritually connected, physically fit and alive well past 100”!

Maggie’s book is a guide for baby boomer women that will lead them down the right path to fulfilling their life’s goals, even when they have declared themselves “a certain age.” She shows us how to become body wise and how to navigate through the changes. She explains how we age and the key factors in aging. She explains why we need to keep moving and how to deal with menopause that often slows us down.

Maggie Rose Crane opens our eyes to the simple fact that aging does not have to be something to dread once we understand what is going on with our bodies. She helps us learn what we can do to make this time of our life the best time of our life.

I fully recommend Maggie Rose Crane’s Amazing Grays: A Woman’s Guide to Making the Next 50 the Best 50 if you are approaching your 50s or already there.

What I love about this woman is that she’s daring. I love her chutzpah!  I have colored my hair for years and still I could not have the courage this woman had to completely give up the bottle.  I so admire women like that!  Maybe one day!

The book was expertly written; no typos or grammar flubs.  This is the kind of book I love having come across my desk.  Such a joy to read!

The fact there is no part II?  Maggie?

Purchase Amazing Grays: A Woman’s Guide to Making the Next 50 the Best 50 at the author’s website by clicking here!

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The Sunday Salon

The Sunday Salon.com

Hard to believe summer’s over here on the island.  The tourists are still doing their tourist thing and I am so going to miss watching their antics out on my front deck.  The one thing I won’t miss is having the tourist kidlets riding their bike through my carport, but what I will miss more than anything is the walk down my dock to sit on the bench to get a little reading done.

Speaking of reading, as you know, I’m so into A FULL HOUSE – BUT EMPTY by Angus Munro.  If I can get my tours finished, I can jump back in it.  Angus writes with such natural style…it’s a treat if you ever were to pick up the book and read it yourself.  It’s set in the depression years, which so few people nowadays can remember because that was oh so long ago.  I might even get Angus to write us a guest post about growing up in the Depression years…would you like that?

I got an interesting book in the mail about a week ago.  SADDLE UP YOUR OWN WHITE HORSE – 5 PRINCIPLES EVERY WOMAN NEEDS TO KNOW by Saundra Pelletier (and it came autographed!).  It’s definitely on my TBR list for a review, but I couldn’t help but to sneak inside to see just what this book was all about.  It’s about empowerment.  Who doesn’t need that in their life?  It’s going to be a good one and I’ll be giving a review soon, but I especially like the chapter titled “Women Must Lead in Their Relationships with Men.”  My kind of thinking.  I’ll let you know more about the book in a future post, but I think it’s going to be good.

The one thing I’ve not liked about this island is that you just can’t get any inside work done and if you saw my TBR pile, you’ll see what I mean.  I’ve got to be OUTSIDE constantly!  What a pain when you have so much inside work to do!  The kids are out on the boat with their father and I so would have loved to join them, but ack, work comes first.

So, what did you do over the weekend?  And, please, drive safely!

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BOOK GIVEAWAY: READ WELL, THINK WELL by Hal W. Lanse

It’s time for a book giveaway! Education expert Hal W. Lanse is giving away copies of his latest book, READ WELL, THINK WELL!

In order to win, here are the rules:

  • You must comment below with your working email address so that we can contact you.
  • If you blog about this contest, leave a comment, telling us where you are blogging about it and that gives you 2 entries!
  • Contest starts today and ends on September 29. The winner will be announced on this blog on Sept. 30.

Others are joining in the fight to help kids learn how to read! Visit their stops, too, leave a comment and you could win a copy there, too!

Participants in the READ WELL THINK WELL BACK TO SCHOOL BOOK GIVEAWAY EXTRAVAGANZA include:

Amateur de Livre
Cheryl Rainfield
Plot Dog
The Book Connection
The Book Stacks

If you would like to offer this free book giveaway on your blog, contact us and we’ll add you to the lineup!

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Angus Munro’s A FULL HOUSE – BUT EMPTY

I started on this book a few days ago and because of work commitments, I haven’t been able to pick it back up but let me tell you, this is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Little Angus Munro was brought up by his father because his mother left the family when he was just three. I have to tell you, I cried on the first page…and this is only because I was relating because it’s not a depressing book at all; in fact, it’s quite an uplifting book.

It’s set in the Depression years when food was scarce and poverty was at an all-time high, but somehow the families, including the Monros’, survived and made the best of it using what resources they had or could get. It’s quite a remarkable story and I’m really enjoying it.

I have talked to the author and I told him how much I was enjoying the book and I think it made his day. I’ll be discussing this book more in detail, but I do have to mention that he will be on a virtual book tour next week and you can find out more about him and his book then.

Meanwhile, more book talk coming up on…

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