Romance novels: One of publishing’s hottest trends

February 14, 2017


From CBS Sunday Morning:

To her students at New York’s Fordham University, she is professor Mary Bly. But to legions of readers, she’s bestselling romance writer Eloisa James, a reigning queen of romance fiction. Faith Salie discusses the English scholar’s surprising double life, and talks with author Beverly Jenkins and with the writer behind the blog Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, as she explores the sex, love, empowerment and HEAs (the “happily ever afters”) of romance novels.

Andy Weir: 8 Great Questions

February 12, 2017

Author Andy Weir (THE MARTIAN) answers eight great questions! Book-related, of course.


George Saunders on the Lincoln in the Bardo Audiobook

February 10, 2017

botFrom Books on Tape:

Listeners know George Saunders from his previous bestselling and critically acclaimed short story collections, including National Book Award finalist Tenth of December, read by the Author. Now, in his highly-anticipated first novel LINCOLN IN THE BARDO, Saunders tells an incredibly entertaining story, masterfully blending historical fact with inventive fiction. Step into the studio with Saunders and producer Kelly Gildea to learn more about the “jaw-droppingly good” audio production of LINCOLN IN THE BARDO, read by the Author, Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, Julianne Moore, Ben Stiller, and many more. 

Saunders based his tale on the true story of the death of Abraham Lincoln’s son Willie at the dawn of the Civil War. Two nights after his death, Abraham Lincoln visited his son in the cemetery. Set over the course of that one night, Saunders brings the cemetery’s many ghosts alive to tell a moving and thought-provoking story about the meaning of life, death, grief, and the powers of good and evil. These ghostly voices are brought to life on audio by a cast of 166 narrators, including Academy Award winning actors, musicians, Penguin Random House employees, and Saunders’ own family and friends.

Saunders shares more about the incredible production process in this behind-the-scenes video, first revealed by Saunders explains how producer Kelly Gildea rose to the challenge of capturing 166 unique voices in one audiobook and how the audio medium truly captures the diversity of American voices he portrays in this story:


george-saunders_3Producer Kelly Gildea masterminded this unique production, featuring 166 narrators recorded at 17 different studios—a recording-breaking number of narrators for Penguin Random House Audio. It was also submitted for a Guinness World Record for most individual voices on a single audiobook!

Kelly says, “This audiobook started as a conversation between me and George Saunders where he asked, ‘I don’t have to narrate this whole thing myself, do I?’ and I thought, ‘Why is he asking that?’ I peeked at the manuscript, which is structured (somewhat) like a play, and thought, ‘How the hell are we going to do this?’

The idea for using a different voice for each character was tossed out casually at first, then explored, and then became something we couldn’t turn away from. Now, listening to it, I don’t know any other way I’d do it. George’s panoply of voices is fully represented in the richness of our audio. We had Nick Offerman and David Sedaris on board fairly quickly in the process, and the other parts filled in rapidly. Luckily, most everyone who’s read him is in love with George, and many people volunteered their time and considerable talents to contribute to this production.

It’s a unique structure, and a blast to listen to. Be prepared to experience a wide range of emotions as George’s writing walks a perfect line between poignancy and humor.”


Big Ideas Night with the parents of Trayvon Martin

February 8, 2017

In conversation with Shaun King– Random House presents a ‘Big Ideas Night’ conversation between Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin (the parents of Trayvon Martin and authors of REST IN POWER) with Shaun King from The New York Daily News. They discuss the life of their son, the Trayvon Martin Foundation, and their experience in coping with his death.

REST IN POWER: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton & Tracy Martin

Trayvon Martin’s parents take readers beyond the news cycle with an account only they could give: the intimate story of a tragically foreshortened life and the rise of a movement.

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On a February evening in 2012, in a small town in central Florida, seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin was walking home with candy and a can of juice in hand and talking on the phone with a friend when a fatal encounter with a gun-wielding neighborhood watchman ended his young life. The watchman was briefly detained by the police and released. Trayvon’s father—a truck driver named Tracy—tried to get answers from the police but was shut down and ignored. Trayvon’s mother, a civil servant for the city of Miami, was paralyzed by the news of her son’s death and lost in mourning, unable to leave her room for days. But in a matter of weeks, their son’s name would be spoken by President Obama, honored by professional athletes, and passionately discussed all over traditional and social media. And at the head of a growing nationwide campaign for justice were Trayvon’s parents, who—driven by their intense love for their lost son—discovered their voices, gathered allies, and launched a movement that would change the country.

Five years after his tragic death, Travyon Martin’s name is still evoked every day. He has become a symbol of social justice activism, as has his hauntingly familiar image: the photo of a child still in the process of becoming a young man, wearing a hoodie and gazing silently at the camera. But who was Trayvon Martin, before he became, in death, an icon? And how did one black child’s death on a dark, rainy street in a small Florida town become the match that lit a civil rights crusade?

Rest in Power, told through the compelling alternating narratives of Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, answers, for the first time, those questions from the most intimate of sources. It’s the story of the beautiful and complex child they lost, the cruel unresponsiveness of the police and the hostility of the legal system, and the inspiring journey they took from grief and pain to power, and from tragedy and senselessness to meaning.

Advance praise for Rest in Power

“Not since Emmitt Till has a parent’s love for a murdered child moved the nation to search its soul about racial injustice and inequality. Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin’s extraordinary witness, indomitable spirit and unwavering demand for change have altered the dynamics of racial justice discourse in this country.  This powerful book illuminates the witness, the grief, and the commitment to reform that Trayvon Martin’s death has mobilized; it is a story fueled by a demand for justice but rooted in love.”—Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy

“As the fifth anniversary of this tragic crime nears, Fulton and Martin share a remarkably candid and deeply affecting in-the-moment chronicle of the explosive aftermath of the murder. Writing in alternate chapters, they share every detail of their shock, grief, and grueling quest for justice. . . . Given the unconscionable shooting deaths of young black men, many by police, that followed Trayvon’s, this galvanizing testimony from parents who channeled their sorrow into action offers a deeply humanizing perspective on the crisis propelling a national movement.”Booklist (starred review)

REST IN POWER by Sybrina Fulton & Tracy Martin. Spiegel & Grau (January 31, 2017). ISBN: 978-0812997231. 352p.

Author Blake Crouch presents WAR AND PEACE

February 5, 2017

Last Minute Book Report – After reading the book in 10 minutes, author Blake Crouch (DARK MATTER) gives a report on Leo Tolstoy’s WAR AND PEACE. It’s about conflict, maybe?

Author Brunonia Barry: How I became interested in books

January 30, 2017

Author Brunonia Barry (THE FIFTH PETAL) talks about how a Salem library started her writing career, and her earliest writing memory.

Beloved author Brunonia Barry returns to the world of THE LACE READER with this spellbinding new thriller, a complex brew of suspense, seduction and murder.

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When a teenage boy dies suspiciously on Halloween night, Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty, now married to gifted lace reader Towner Whitney, wonders if there is a connection between his death and Salem’s most notorious cold case, a triple homicide dubbed “The Goddess Murders,” in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed on Halloween night in 1989. He finds unexpected help in Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the victims newly returned to town. Neither believes that the main suspect, Rose Whelan, respected local historian, is guilty of murder or witchcraft.

But exonerating Rose might mean crossing paths with a dangerous force. Were the women victims of an all-too-human vengeance, or was the devil raised in Salem that night? And if they cannot discover what truly happened, will evil rise again?

Judge a Book

January 27, 2017

THE ANIMATORS by Kayla Rae Whitaker | Judge a Book – Play along as Judge a Book contestants at the Brooklyn Book Festival try to figure out what Kayla Rae Whitaker’s THE ANIMATORS is about ONLY by looking at its cover. An existential journey? An irreverent person? The unknown?


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“A wildly original novel that pulses with heart and truth . . . That this powerful exploration of friendship, desire, ambition, and secrets manages to be ebullient, gripping, heartbreaking, and deeply deeply funny is a testament to Kayla Rae Whitaker’s formidable gifts. I was so sorry to reach the final page. Sharon and Mel will stay with me for a very long time.”—Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest

She was the first person to see me as I had always wanted to be seen. It was enough to indebt me to her forever.

In the male-dominated field of animation, Mel Vaught and Sharon Kisses are a dynamic duo, the friction of their differences driving them: Sharon, quietly ambitious but self-doubting; Mel, brash and unapologetic, always the life of the party. Best friends and artistic partners since the first week of college, where they bonded over their working-class roots and obvious talent, they spent their twenties ensconced in a gritty Brooklyn studio. Working, drinking, laughing. Drawing: Mel, to understand her tumultuous past, and Sharon, to lose herself altogether.

Now, after a decade of striving, the two are finally celebrating the release of their first full-length feature, which transforms Mel’s difficult childhood into a provocative and visually daring work of art. The toast of the indie film scene, they stand at the cusp of making it big. But with their success come doubt and destruction, cracks in their relationship threatening the delicate balance of their partnership. Sharon begins to feel expendable, suspecting that the ever-more raucous Mel is the real artist. During a trip to Sharon’s home state of Kentucky, the only other partner she has ever truly known—her troubled, charismatic childhood best friend, Teddy—reenters her life, and long-buried resentments rise to the surface, hastening a reckoning no one sees coming.

A funny, heartbreaking novel of friendship, art, and trauma, The Animators is about the secrets we keep and the burdens we shed on the road to adulthood.

Advance praise for The Animators

“A mix of Beaches, Girls, and Thelma & Louise . . .  If you let this story happen to you, you’re gonna love it.”Glamour

“[An] outstanding debut . . . Whitaker skillfully charts the creative process, its lulls and sudden rushes of perfect inspiration. And in the relationship between Mel and Sharon, she has created something wonderful and exceptional: a rich, deep, and emotionally true connection that will certainly steal the hearts of readers.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Unexpected and nuanced and pulsing with life . . . Sweeping and intimate . . . Empathetic but never sentimental; a book that creeps up on you and then swallows you whole.”Kirkus (starred review)

“Visceral . . . utterly compelling . . . with the nonstop tension of a soap opera.”Booklist

“A compulsively readable portrait of women as incandescent artists and intimate collaborators.”Elle

“An engrossing, exuberant ride through all the territories of love—familial, romantic, sexual, love of friends, and, perhaps above all, white-hot passion for the art you were born to make . . . I wish I’d written The Animators.”—Emma Donoghue, author of Room and The Wonder

The Animators is a heartbreakingly beautiful, sharply funny, arrestingly unforgettable novel.”—Kate Christensen, PEN/Faulkner Award–winning author of The Great Man

The 2017 Edgar® Nominees

January 23, 2017


Mystery Writers of America is proud to announce, as we celebrate the 208th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, the Nominees for the 2017 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in

The Edgar® Awards will be presented to the winners at our 71st Gala Banquet, April 27, 2017 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.


The Ex by Alafair Burke (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper)
Where It Hurts by Reed Farrel Coleman (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
What Remains of Me by Alison Gaylin (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (Hachette Book Group – Grand Central Publishing)


Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry (Penguin Random House – Penguin Books)
Dodgers by Bill Beverly (Crown Publishing Group)
IQ by Joe Ide (Little, Brown & Company – Mulholland Books)
The Drifter by Nicholas Petrie (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Dancing with the Tiger by Lili Wright (Penguin Random House – Marian Wood Book/Putnam)
The Lost Girls by Heather Young (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)


Shot in Detroit by Patricia Abbott (Polis Books)
Come Twilight by Tyler Dilts (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
The 7th Canon by Robert Dugoni (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)
A Brilliant Death by Robin Yocum (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)
Heart of Stone by James W. Ziskin (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)


Morgue: A Life in Death
by Dr. Vincent DiMaio & Ron Franscell (St. Martin’s Press)
The Lynching: The Epic Courtroom Battle that Brought Down the Klan
by Laurence Leamer (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane: A True Story of Victorian Law and Disorder: The
Unsolved Murder That Shocked Victorian England
by Paul Thomas Murphy (Pegasus Books)
While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man’s Descent into Madness
by Eli Sanders (Penguin Random House – Viking Books)
The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer
by Kate Summerscale (Penguin Random House – Penguin Press)


Alfred Hitchcock: A Brief Life by Peter Ackroyd (Penguin Random House – Nan A. Talese)
Encyclopedia of Nordic Crime: Works and Authors of Denmark, Finland, Iceland,
Norway and Sweden Since 1967
by Mitzi M. Brunsdale (McFarland & Company)
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin (W.W. Norton – Liveright)
Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula
by David J. Skal (W.W. Norton – Liveright)

“Oxford Girl” – Mississippi Noir by Megan Abbott (Akashic Books)
“A Paler Shade of Death” – St. Louis Noir by Laura Benedict (Akashic Books)
“Autumn at the Automat” – In Sunlight or in Shadow by Lawrence Block (Pegasus Books)
“The Music Room” – In Sunlight or in Shadow by Stephen King (Pegasus Books)
“The Crawl Space” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Joyce Carol Oates (Dell Magazines)


Summerlost by Ally Condie (Penguin Young Readers Group – Dutton BFYR)
OCDaniel by Wesley King (Simon & Schuster – Paula Wiseman Books)
The Bad Kid by Sarah Lariviere by (Simon & Schuster – Simon & Schuster BFYR)
Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand (Simon & Schuster – Simon & Schuster BFYR)
Framed! by James Ponti (Simon & Schuster – Aladdin)
Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry by Susan Vaught
(Simon & Schuster – Paula Wiseman Books)


Three Truths and a Lie by Brent Hartinger (Simon & Schuster – Simon Pulse)
The Girl I Used to Be by April Henry (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group – Henry Holt BFYR)
Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown BFYR)
My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier (Soho Press – Soho Teen)
Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor (Penguin Random House – Penguin Young Readers – Dial Books)

“Episode 1 – From the Ashes of Tragedy” – The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Teleplay by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski (FX Network)
“The Abominable Bride” – Sherlock, Teleplay by Mark Gatiss & Steven Moffat (Hartswood Films/Masterpiece)
“Episode 1 – Dark Road” – Vera, Teleplay by Martha Hillier (Acorn TV)
“A Blade of Grass” – Penny Dreadful, Teleplay by John Logan (Showtime)
“Return 0” – Person of Interest, Teleplay by Jonathan Nolan & Denise The (CBS/Warner Brothers)
“The Bicameral Mind” – Westworld, Teleplay by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy (HBO/Warner Bros. Television)

“The Truth of the Moment” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
by E. Gabriel Flores (Dell Magazines)

Max Allan Collins
Ellen Hart

Dru Ann Love

Neil Nyren

The Other Sister by Dianne Dixon (Sourcebooks – Sourcebooks Landmark)
Quiet Neighbors by Catriona McPherson (Llewellyn Worldwide – Midnight Ink)
Say No More by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Tor/Forge Books – Forge Books)
Blue Moon by Wendy Corsi Staub (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
The Shattered Tree by Charles Todd (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)

The EDGAR (and logo) are Registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by the Mystery Writers of America, Inc.

17 Books to Read in Early 2017

January 21, 2017

2017 starts off with some really great reads! These are the books I’ve either read or I’m planning on reading, based on reviews and buzz. All are published in January or February, 2017.

Here we go…

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THE GIRL BEFORE by J.P. Delaney: Seizing a unique opportunity to rent a one-of-a-kind house, a damaged young woman falls in love with the enigmatic architect who designed the residence, unaware that she is following in the footsteps of a doomed former tenant.



LITTLE DEATHS by Emma Flint: A gripping little-deathssuspense tale set in 1960s New York and inspired by true events follows the investigation of a cocktail waitress whose two young children have been brutally murdered and a rookie tabloid reporter who would uncover the truth.



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THE DRY by Jane Harper: Receiving a sinister anonymous note after his best friend’s suspicious death, federal agent Aaron Falk is forced to confront the fallout of a 20-year-old false alibi against a backdrop of the worst drought Melbourne has seen in a century. A first novel.



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EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO BE by Mindy Mejia: When a civic-minded high-school senior is found brutally murdered on the opening night of the school play, town sheriff and family friend Del Goodman discovers unsettling truths about the victim’s mesmerizing nature and the secrets that led to her death.



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THE SECOND MRS. HOCKADAY by Susan Rivers: A tale inspired by a true story follows the efforts of a Civil War veteran to discern the truth about his teen bride, who during the two years he was at war was convicted and imprisoned for allegedly having a baby in his absence and killing it. A first novel.



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IDAHO by Emily Ruskovich: A tale told from multiple perspectives traces the complicated relationship between Ann and Wade on a rugged landscape and how they came together in the aftermath of his first wife’s imprisonment for a violent murder. A first novel.





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NORSE MYTHOLOGY by Neil Gaiman: The New York Times best-selling author presents a bravura rendering of the major Norse pantheon that traces the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and the exploits of its characters, illuminating the characters and natures of iconic figures Odin, Thor and Loki.




THE REFUGEES by Viet Thanh Nguyen: The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer presents a new collection of stories, written over a 20-year period, which explores questions of home, family, immigration, the American experience and the relationships and desires for self-fulfillment that define our lives.



Click to purchaseLILLIAN BOXFISH TAKES A WALK by Kathleen Rooney: Embarking on a walk across the unsafe landscape of Manhattan on New Year’s Eve in 1984, 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish recalls her long and eventful life, which included a brief reign as the highest-paid advertising woman in America, whose career was cut short by marriage and loss. Fall 2016 Library Journal Editors’ Pick.



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LINCOLN IN THE BARDO by George Saunders: A literary ghost story. A long-awaited first novel by the National Book Award-nominated, New York Times best-selling author of Tenth of December traces a night of solitary mourning and reflection as experienced by the 16th President after the death of his 11-year-old son at the dawn of the Civil War.




someone-to-holdSOMEONE TO HOLD by Mary Balogh: Declared illegitimate and without a title, Camille Westcott leaves London to teach at the Bath orphanage where she meets artist Joel Cunningham with whom she shares a mutual contempt until her sittings with him take a passionate turn.




DEVIL IN SPRING by Lisa Kleypas: New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas combines the worlds of the Wallflowers with Marrying Winterborne in this irresistible story of how Sebastian’s son Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, meets his match in the eccentric and headstrong Lady Pandora.




the-orphans-tale-by-pam-jenoffTHE ORPHAN’S TALE by Pam Jenoff: The Nightingale meets Water for Elephants in this powerful novel of friendship and sacrifice, set in a traveling circus during World War II. Cast out after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby, 16-year-old Noa snatches a Jewish infant bound for a concentration camp before passing herself off as a circus performer and inciting the wrath of rival aerialist, Astrid. By the best-selling author of The Kommandant’s Girl.


on-turpentine-lane-by-elinor-lipmanON TURPENTINE LANE by Elinor Lipman: An endearing romantic comedy. Living in her suburban hometown while her fiance is off on a crowdfunded cross-country walk, Faith discovers mysterious artifacts in her home’s attic that make her question a promising new relationship and everything she believes.



the-fortunate-ones-by-ellen-umanskyTHE FORTUNATE ONES by Ellen Umansky: It is 1939 in Vienna, and as the specter of war darkens Europe, Rose Zimmer’s parents are desperate. Unable to get out of Austria, they manage to secure passage for their young daughter on a kindertransport, and send her to live with strangers in England. A unique Chaim Soutine work of art connects the lives and fates of two different women, generations apart, in a debut novel that moves from World War II Vienna to contemporary Los Angeles. Yes, another Holocaust book. What can I say, I read a lot of these. Never forget.




insane-clown-presidentINSANE CLOWN PRESIDENT: Dispatches From the 2016 Circus by Matt Taibbi: Just in case you weren’t sure about my politics – I want to read this just for the title alone. Plus I love Taibbi. Discusses the 2016 election, including the major shifts in perception of national institutions, the democratic process, and the future of the country.



a-really-good-day-by-ayelet-waldmanA REALLY GOOD DAY by Ayelet WaldmanHow Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life: A lighthearted account of the author’s experiment with microdoses of LSD in an effort to treat a debilitating mood disorder details what she has learned about the misunderstood drug and how she believes psychedelics can be appropriately used as therapeutic medicines.

Big Ideas Night: On President Trump

January 20, 2017

Random House presents a “Big Ideas Night” panel with Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chris Hayes, Rebecca Traister, Sherrilyn Ifill, and moderator Chris Jackson. They discuss the fallout of the 2016 Presidential election, and what a Trump presidency could mean for America.

Watch at your own risk.