My son’s wedding day

June 29, 2019

My son is getting married today.

Daniel and Miriam met online, as is the way of the world now. It turned out that they lived just a block or so apart in Brooklyn. Daniel has always been cautious, but when he met Miriam a couple of years ago, I think he fell for her pretty quickly. The first story he told me about her was just a month or so after they met.

It was around Easter and Daniel had a hankering for one of those Cadbury Creme Eggs. They took a walk around their neighborhood and visited a few bodegas, but none had the elusive egg. He settled for some other candy bar and that was the end of it. Or so he thought. A couple of days later, a package arrived from Amazon. Miriam had sent him some of the eggs.

Daniel told me that story to illustrate how kind and thoughtful she was. She just kept on being that kind and that thoughtful as their relationship deepened. Her sisters both live nearby as does her cousin, and many friends. He became more and more immersed in her world, and she in his. Then they moved in together.

They came to Florida and stayed with us for a few days. He flew home with her to Chicago and spent time with her family. Her parents and sisters were going to be in Florida and we all met up for dinner. That was the first time Daniel had ever wanted us to meet a girl’s family. Her parents were back the next year, and again our families got together. I think we all knew this was serious.

All along, he sent me lots of pictures of their dating life. Dinners with her sisters or friends. Parties. Fun runs. Protest marches. The NYC Marathon (her sister ran and the whole family came out to cheer her on.) Concerts and other events. Holidays. They came back to Florida for Thanksgiving. They went to Chicago for Passover. They celebrated Rosh Hashanah at home, starting their own tradition. I had a big birthday and wanted to celebrate at Epcot Food & Wine, and they flew down for the weekend. They were a team.

We all fell in love with Miriam. How could we not? She is not only kind and thoughtful, she is brilliant, and beautiful, and when she smiles, she lights up the room. They share the same values and morals, the building blocks of a life together.

Last winter, they planned a trip to Paris. I asked Daniel if he was going to propose, and he said no. They had talked about marriage, he told me, but he hadn’t yet bought the ring. But Paris worked its magic on him and while Miriam was putting their “love lock” on a bridge, he found himself down on one knee. When she turned back around, he proposed.

The wedding plans were made, options discussed and explored. Miriam’s aunts threw her a baking shower at Sur La Table in Chicago. My daughter and I flew out for the weekend and got to meet more of her family and friends, and we loved them all. They fed us and cossetted us and made us feel like family.

Now it is finally here. Their wedding day. I couldn’t be any happier for them, and for us.

Miriam and Daniel, may you live happily ever after!

Reading Dangerously

May 21, 2019


Laurie Halse Anderson joins Colson Whitehead in ‘Reading Dangerously’ at the Freedom to Read Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Celebration

New York Times bestselling author and intellectual freedom advocate Laurie Halse Anderson will speak at the Freedom to Read Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in Washington, D.C. on June 22, 2019.  Anderson, recipient of the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association for her young adult titles “Catalyst,” “Fever 1793” and “Speak,” has been recognized for her ongoing advocacy against censorship.

Anderson is known not only for her award-winning works, but also for her willingness to tackle challenging – and often challenged – topics.  Her book “Speak,” a young adult title that deals with sexual assault, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. “Speak” has been challenged numerous times and is still touching lives and making waves despite progress and the #metoo era.

Anderson will be joining keynote speaker Colson Whitehead, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Underground Railroad,” on the stage at the 50th Anniversary celebration. The celebration will take place during the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in the Renaissance Washington D.C.’s Grand Ballroom, 999 9th St NW, Washington, D.C. and will begin at 6 p.m. The event is open to the public, and appetizers and a cash bar will be available. Tickets are $25 and available for purchase on the FTRF website or through ALA conference registration.

To mark its 50th Anniversary, the Freedom to Read Foundation has commissioned a limited-edition commemorative book, “Reading Dangerously,” to highlight its 50 years of advocacy, education and litigation on behalf of the freedom to read.  The book features an introduction by author Neil Gaiman and an essay by former FTRF director James LaRue that looks forward to the foundation’s next 50 years.  Supporters of the foundation can reserve a copy of the book and purchase tickets to the celebration through its Kickstarter campaign, online at

The Freedom to Read Foundation is a nonprofit legal and educational organization founded in 1969 to promote and protect the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press; protect the public’s right of access to information and materials stored in the nation’s libraries; safeguard libraries’ right to disseminate all materials contained in their collections; and support libraries and librarians in their defense of First Amendment rights by supplying them with legal counsel or the means to secure it.

In addition to its litigation and legal advocacy in defense of First Amendment freedoms, the foundation supports projects and programs to educate librarians and the public about the importance of defending the right to read and speak freely by providing grants to libraries, schools, and community institutions across the country. FTRF also supports and funds initiatives and scholarship programs to improve intellectual freedom education for LIS professionals and students.

The Freedom to Read Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Celebration is sponsored by Penguin Random House LLC, Penguin Random House Publisher Services, Avenue4, Gale, a Cengage Company, Association of American Publishers Foundation, EBSCO, OCLC, Bound to Stay Books, ProQuest, HarperCollins, Rakuten OverDrive, Inc., Hachette Book Group, Simon and Schuster, Author’s Guild, Library Leadership & Management Association (LLAMA), Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS), American Association of School Librarians (AASL), SAGE Publishing, Public Library Association (PLA), Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), Association of Specialized Government & Cooperative Library Agencies (ASGCLA), Visiting Librarian Service, Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) and the trustees, members, and friends of the Freedom to Read Foundation.

For additional information regarding the 50th Anniversary Celebration, please visit or contact Yumeka Brown at







Capital Crime Festival 2019

May 13, 2019

Capital Crime Festival

26-28th September 2019

(Wish I could go!)

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line up so far:

Talk about a dream lineup… 

Abir Mukherjee| Ian Rankin| Kate Atkinson | Martina Cole | Ann Cleeves| Mark Billingham | |Tom Bradby | John Connolly| David Baldacci | Frank Gardner | Robert Glenister | Robert Harris | Charles Cumming  Peter James | Lynda La Plante | Simon Mayo | Steph McGovern | Kate Mosse | Denise Mina| Leye Adenle| Dreda Say Mitchell | |Catherine Steadman | Stella Rimington | Don Winslow | And many, many more to come… 

Capital Crime today announces further names for its inaugural festival taking place this September at the Connaught Rooms in London. Mark Billingham, Martina Cole, Ian Rankin, Ann Cleeves, Don Winslow, Robert Glenister, Leye Adenle, Denise Mina, Catherine Steadman and Abir Mukherjee are among the guests announced today.

The first international crime and thriller festival in London, Capital Crime offers fans unprecedented access to their favourite crime and thriller creatives. Capital Crime is a celebration of books, films and TV and the line-up is an unrivalled mix of world class talent, rising stars and newcomers. Capital Crime is a must for fans of all things crime and thriller.

Among the stellar list of speakers are Kate Atkinson, David Baldacci, Ann Cleeves, Robert Harris, Peter James, Lynda La Plante, Simon Mayo, and Kate Mosse.  (list of confirmed guests can be found here:

The crime and thriller community is excited about Capital Crime.

Martina Cole (No Mercy – Headline – Autumn) said: ‘We have all been waiting for a London based festival like Capital Crime.  It’s fantastic to see such a diverse line up of crime and thriller writers taking part.  David Headley and Adam Hamdy have put together an amazing programme of events for the first crime festival in London and I’m thrilled to be part of it.’

Ann Cleeves (The Long Call – Pan Macmillan – September)  ‘I’m delighted to be taking part in the very first Capital Crime and can’t wait to meet readers and writers in London in September.’

Best-selling London based author Abir Mukherjee (Smoke and Ashes – Vintage – June) said: ‘London is one of the world’s great cities, the setting, and often the inspiration, for some most infamous true crimes and some of the world’s best loved fictional detectives. It’s the home of Scotland Yard, Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes and a natural location for a festival bringing together international fans and authors in a celebration of the very best and latest that crime fiction has to offer. It’s long overdue and I hope Capital Crime becomes a regular fixture in the crime fiction calendar.’

Panels of note include: The Interrogation of Mark Billingham: The bestselling author is put through his paces by Graham Bartlett, an experienced police interrogator; Ian Rankin discusses The Human Cost of Crime with Don Winslow. Also there is a quiz panel Whose Crime is it Anyway? pitting debut crime and thriller authors against each other with Paul Clayton hosting; The Forensic Mind: Denise Mina and Ann Cleeves discuss what makes a great detective, moderated by Chris Ewan;  Plus Are We Living in An Espionage Thriller: Tom Bradby, Charles Cumming, Frank Gardner and Stella Rimington offer their unique insights into events that concern us all.

Capital Crime is a diverse, inclusive and socially responsible festival, running initiatives including social outreach to support students exploring a literary career, an innovative digital festival and the launch of their New Voices Award. The festival is the brainchild of British screenwriter Adam Hamdy and Managing Director of Goldsboro Books, David Headley.

David Headley: ‘It is thrilling to announce more fantastic authors and creatives who are attending our first Capital Crime festival. The support and enthusiasm we have received is wonderfully encouraging and we are looking forward to an amazing inaugural event.’

Adam Hamdy: ‘We’re excited to be able to reveal more of the Capital Crime line-up. We’re very grateful for the support we’ve had from authors and the publishing community and can’t wait to bring our exciting new festival to London.’

Tickets for the festival are now on sale at

About David Headley

David Headley studied theology in London and Durham before co-founding and becoming the Managing Director of Goldsboro Books, a much admired, leading independent bookseller, based in central London.

He has gained a reputation for championing debut authors and he created the UK’s largest collectors’ book club. David has won awards for bookselling and in 2015 he was included in the Top 100 most influential people in publishing by The Bookseller.

David is also the MD of The Dome Press, a small, independent publisher based in London, and co-founder of Capital Crime.

About Adam Hamdy

Adam Hamdy is a London-born, British screenwriter and author. Adam recently signed a three-book deal with Pan Macmillan. BLACK THIRTEEEN, the first book in the new thriller series, will be published in autumn 2019. As a screenwriter, Adam is currently adapting a multi-million copy New York Times bestselling novel for a US studio. In the past year he has written screenplays for four Academy Award-winning production companies on both sides of the Atlantic. Adam has a degree in Law from Oxford University and a degree in Philosophy from the University of London. He is a seasoned skier, rock climber, and marksman.


About New Voices Award

Capital Crime will be launching an exciting competition to help undiscovered crime and thriller authors further their writing careers. Writers are invited to upload the first three chapters of their novel to the Capital Crime website and festival attendees will be able to vote for their top choice. The ten entrants with the most votes will be invited to the Opening Night Cocktail Party and the winner of the New Voices Award will be selected from that shortlist and announced on the night. 

About Capital Crime Social Outreach Initiative

Capital Crime is a diverse, inclusive and socially responsible festival. With more cuts than ever to creative programmes in schools and universities across the United Kingdom, Capital Crime wants to support the communities on their doorstep to ensure they do not miss out on the opportunity to meet leading industry professionals and authors. Capital Crime’s Social Outreach Initiative hopes to inspire and educate aspiring talent and includes events with bestselling authors and publishing professionals for state-funded sixth-form students and special ticket rates for librarians and low-income families.

Photos of the first event here: 

About the Capital Crime Digital Festival 

Capital Crime is launching a Digital Festival in conjunction with the live event. This will provide an opportunity to reach crime and thriller writers and readers all year round. The Capital Crime Digital Festival will showcase interviews, profiles and features with over 70 authors on multiple platforms after the inaugural festival. It will be regularly updated throughout the year with new and engaging content.

For more information on Capital Crime please contact:  Sophie Ransom and Phoebe Swinburn at Midas PR on @sophmidas @phoebe_swinburn or call them on: 020 7361 7860

Introducing the new Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge Device

May 2, 2019


Introducing the new Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge device, called BOOK

BOOK is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology; no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected, or switched on. It’s easy to use. Even a child can operate it.

Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere – even sitting in an armchair by the fire – yet it is powerful enough to hold as much as a CD-ROM.

BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. The pages are locked together with one of two different custom devices, a BINDER or DOUBLE STITCH BINDING, which keep the sheets in their correct sequence. Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density.

Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly to your brain. A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet.

BOOK never crashes nor requires rebooting. The “browse” function allows instant movement to any sheet, forward or backward, as one wishes. Many come with an “index” feature, which pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval.

An optional “Bookmark” accessory allows you to open this device to the exact place you left it in a previous session — even if the device has been closed. bookmarks fit universal design standards; thus, a single bookmark can be used in devices by various manufacturers. Conversely, numerous bookmarkers can be used in a single device if the user wants to store numerous views at once. The number is limited only by the number of pages in the device. You can also make personal notes next to the text entries in this device with the optional programming tool, Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Styli (PENCILS).

Portable, durable, and affordable, BOOK is being hailed as a precursor of a new entertainment wave. BOOK’s appeal seems so certain that thousands of content creators have committed to the platform and investors are reportedly flocking to the medium. Look for a flood of new books at your local library or bookstore!

Welcome to Throwback Thursday; I originally posted this in 2001! Still holds up. Wish I knew who wrote it but I could not find a definitive answer. Another internet mystery…

What I’m Reading: Alyson Richman

April 22, 2019

Author Alyson Richman shares three books that she hasn’t been able to put down!

Click to purchase

THE SECRET OF CLOUDS by Alyson Richman

Named One of the Best 2019 Winter Books by PopSugar and Chosen as One of 9 Books to Read (or Gift!) This February by Instyle!

From the #1 international bestselling author of The Lost Wife and The Velvet Hours comes an emotionally charged story about a mother’s love, a teacher’s promise, and a child’s heart….

Katya, a rising ballerina, and Sasha, a graduate student, are young and in love when an unexpected tragedy befalls their native Kiev. Years later, after the couple has safely emigrated to America the consequences of this incident cause their son, Yuri, to be born with a rare health condition that isolates him from other children. Maggie, a passionate and dedicated teacher agrees to tutor Yuri at his home, even though she is haunted by her own painful childhood memories. As the two forge a deep and soulful connection, Yuri’s boundless curiosity and unique wisdom inspires Maggie to make difficult changes in her own life. And she’ll never realize just how strong Yuri has made her—until she needs that strength the most….

A novel that will make readers examine what it means to live life with a full heart.



A letter to authors from a rabid reader & reviewer

March 31, 2019

Dear authors,

I am writing you this letter because I love you and feel that you need a tiny bit of advice. Certainly not all of you, but some of you. Especially the newbies.

I am here to discuss your web presence and why it is important.

You may not know that I have been reading about a book a day for most of my life. I have long championed books and reading, and I was one of the first book bloggers out there. I started writing about books in the early 1980’s on CompuServe (if you’re old enough to remember that!) then discussed books in various chat rooms on AOL (waving at “Men with Minds”) then started my own website in 1994 using (the long defunct) GeoCities. I found it a great way to remember books I’d read and books I wanted to read.

A year or so later, a publicist (I think it was Miriam Parker from Time Warner, and I really, really wish I could remember the title of the first book I gave away!) reached out to me, asking me if I wanted to give away some of their books. I loved getting free books and figured other people would too so I jumped all over that. Oh, I was getting my free books from work, I was a bookseller for Borders. Another defunct company. We received galleys and one of the benefits of working there was getting a book allowance each month to purchase books. Plus a deep, dirty secret was that we were allowed to borrow books! Hardcover only, one at a time, and the book jacket was kept in the store to keep it pristine and help keep track of the books that were borrowed. But I digress.

In 1998, my husband bought me my own domain name  and I started a book review site. It’s ridiculously easy and pretty cheap to buy a domain name; I use GoDaddy.Here we are, more than twenty years later, and I am proud to say that in addition to posting to thousands of reviews, I’ve also given away thousands of books. Yes, thousands. Sadly, I never really kept track of the books I gave away, an opportunity lost. But I do remember the very first book I reviewed for a professional, authoritative journal – Must Love Dogs by Claire Cook, for Library Journal.

Anyway, that’s enough background on how I ended up here. Now here is my two cents.

If you are a published author, if you have a book for sale anywhere, then you need a website. There is just no avoiding it. I am constantly amazed at how many authors don’t feel the need for one. Every month I give away a bunch of signed books in partnership with the International Thriller Writers organization (free membership for authors!) When I publicize those books, I like to include ways for readers to connect with the authors. It doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but especially today, here in 2019, there is just no excuse for not having a website and yet several times a year I can’t find a website for an author.

I don’t care if your day job is doctor, lawyer, or CIA chief, if you are selling books, you need a website. You don’t have to build it yourself! Here, contact, they have been doing author websites since 1998! They are super easy to work with, really creative and professional and not only will they build you a website, they will take care of it for you. At, from what I understand, a very reasonable cost. Don’t like them? There are lots of others. Go to a few of your favorite authors websites and scroll down to the bottom. There you will usually find information on whoever built the site. If you can’t find it, ask me. I’m a librarian, I do research for a living and I’d be happy to help, gratis.

By the way, your website needs to look professional. You don’t have to spend a ton to make it look good but if you’re going to do this, do it right. I have seen some author websites that are truly awful. Even some NYT bestselling authors! I have even gently suggested that they might want to freshen up their web look. Not everyone takes my advice. So sad. Let’s face it, I am opinionated – hence the book reviews! Anyway…

Meet Loki. Yes, he is smiling. And reading on my iPad.

You also need a social media presence. At minimum, Twitter and the big, bad, evil empire itself, Facebook. You don’t have to link your personal FB page, you can build a Fan Page, it’s easy peasy. Here are directions courtesy of WikiHow. Once you have a fan page and Twitter feed, you don’t have to do a lot but you have to be there and check in once in a while. Instagram would be good, too. Post pictures of your book covers, author events, and your dog. Depending on the type of book you write, Pinterest. Have you been interviewed on TV? Then build yourself a YouTube channel. Have something to say? Say it on your blog or reddit or tumblr! This is not difficult or time consuming. I’ve even provided you with links! Just click and do it. Oh, and if you’ve published a book, you’re already on Goodreads so you might as well link to your page on your website.

If you’re not sure what authors should do or not do. go look. Here are a few that have great web presence: Lisa Scottoline; Chris Bohjalian; and just in case you think you have to be a NY Times bestselling author to have a strong web presence, check out Nancy J. Cohen, she has an amazing web presence. She could teach classes on it. In fact, she has! Which reminds me, if you belong to a writing organization like Mystery Writers of America, ITW or Romance Writers of America, etc. they often have great information on how to do all this stuff on their websites and at their conferences.

Which brings me to my next point.

If you do have a social media presence, or are in the process of creating one, please, please make sure you include links to your feeds on your website. Why do I have to Google the shit out of you to find your Twitter feed? That defeats the purpose! And just a bit of advice here, you may not want to create a FB or Twitter page based on your character’s name or book title. What happens when you branch out into something else? Be forward thinking, use your real name or your pseudonym. If you have to add “writer” or “author” or “books” to it to get that name, do so. Maybe shorten it up a bit by using initials, like Robyn Carr, or as I think of her, @RCarrWriter does.

Okay, I think that’s it. This stuff has been weighing on me for years. Years! Frankly, it amazes me that publishers aren’t forcing their authors into this stuff. The smart ones do. Oh, and if you’re self published, that is no excuse! It’s even more important for you to be out there and accessible to your readers. Will you get cranky hate mail? You may. Feel free to delete. Will you get into Twitter wars? With any luck, yes! Just remember that old adage, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Librarian at work (you can tell by the glasses)

Please, if you have any questions about any of this and don’t have a teenager to ask, I am here for you and happy to help. Librarian, remember? I am really good at finding information and happy to help you in any way I can. No, I won’t build you a website but short of that, ask me.

Thanks for reading; now go sell some books!

with love,

your favorite BookBitch

PS: I cannot believe how many exclamation points I’ve used in this letter. Rant. Letter. Whatever. Just FYI, I loathe exclamation points. I feel that the words should be powerful enough on their own but apparently not here, not today. Moving on now…



What I’m Reading: Michael Beschloss

January 21, 2019

Michael Beschloss, author of many super interesting books including his latest, PRESIDENTS OF WAR,on what he’s reading. I’m curious!

Merry Christmas 2018!

December 25, 2018

Thank you to all my readers, those who comment, those who email, and those who just lurk. I know you’re there and I appreciate every one of you!

Last week I had another eye surgery and am slowly recovering. Hopefully, this will be the last, at least for a long, long time. I’m very hopeful that my vision will return soon. Fortunately, I am still able to read! This, working on a computer, is especially difficult right now. But this too shall pass.

I wish you all a joyous holiday season. I hope you get to share it with people you love and of course, good books to read!

George R. R. Martin’s Guide to New York City Pizza

December 20, 2018

Just for the fun of it!

Lee Child announces a (fake) Jack Reacher mashup series

December 3, 2018

Author Lee Child announces a new mashup book series for his butt-kicking character Jack Reacher… it’s Reacher in classic literature, as you’ve never seen him before!