May 14, 2013 | No Comments
The release of Ladies’ Night is only three weeks away (YIKES!) and we are hard at work getting last minute projects done at our new Tybee Island beach cottage, Ebbtide, before I go out on book tour for six weeks. So I thought I’d share a progress report. It’s no coincidence that Grace Stanton, the protagonist of Ladies’ Night is a lifestyle blogger and DIY guru. Any of my regular readers will recognize that I myself am a dedicated house fluffer and project plotter, but I got tons of inspiration for our Ebbtide re-do from many real-life lifestyle bloggers and DIY-ers.
Since we bought this cottage five months ago, my husband and I have busier than the proverbial one-armed paper-hanger fluffing and furnishing. Although Ebbtide is much larger and older than our other house, The Breeze Inn, thankfully, this house needed much less work.
Ebbtide, by the way, was built in 1932, and it is a classic Tybee raised cottage. The house had been in the previous owner’s family since 1945, and they’d done a great job maintaining and updating it, so most of our work was cosmetic.
Since Mr. MKA and I love to cook and entertain, job one was a new kitchen. Our wonderful contractor, Cory Scoville and his crew gutted the existing kitchen, removing a large butler’s pantry and broom closet to give us a bigger space. Here is a before picture. Hard to tell from this photo, but if you opened the pantry door, it banged into the old stove!
Cory’s crew scraped up a couple layers of vinyl to reveal the original oak floors, and they opened up the new kitchen to the adjoining dining room. They built all the kitchen cabinets on-site. We chose a soft gray and white granite called Kashmir for the countertops, and a simple white subway tile backsplash. We kept the existing fridge and added a new gas stove, wall oven, microwave and dishwasher. The new kitchen is a joy to cook in.
I loved my old enamel over cast-iron double sink at the Breeze Inn, so of course, I had to track down another for the new kitchen at Ebbtide. This sink came from the Greensboro, Georgia location of an architectural salvage shop called Pinch of the Past. I shop at their Savannah location all the time. The vintage Drive-In, Private Bath sign came from another haunt, Habersham Antiques Market in midtown Savannah.
Once the kitchen was finished, Mr. MKA and I rolled up our sleeves and tackled the fun stuff. I hit Craigslist, estate sales and antique shops far and wide for furnishings and accessories. And after much hesitation and second-guessing, we had the original dark pine board and batten walls in the living and dining room painted. Some purists have decried this as a sacrilege–but we found these rooms dark and gloomy and foreboding–and since we’re the ones paying the mortgage note, we get the final vote! The paint color is my favorite white, Benjamin Moore’s Moonlight White, with ceilings painted Benjamin Moore’s Morning Sky Blue. Here’s a shot of the living room before paint.
And here’s the after version, which includes the nifty picture ledges Mr. MKA built, with a little help from my Pinterest page and several on-line tutorials, like this one from the amazing Ana White.. All the paintings were inexpensive ones I’ve collected over the years from estate sales and junk shops. They’d hung in the den of our previous house, but since our current house in Atlanta doesn’t have a den, I had a bin-full of these just waiting for a new home. The slipcovered white twill sofa was a lucky Craigslist score–I call it the sofa of no-return because once you sink into it, you can never get out!
Also in the living room, I cribbed an idea from Miss Mustard Seed’s blog to transform a beat-up mahogany dresser with a spiffy Union Jack paint job. Many years ago I was clever enough to marry an engineer who is capable of pinpoint accuracy when taping off lines for a project like this.
Speaking of collections, I adore vintage tin litho beach toys–watering cans, sand buckets and shovels, which I’ve collected for nearly twenty years. I have part of my collection at The Breeze Inn, so I decided the rest of the toys should find a home at the beach too. We put them on a high-up shelf–where they can be appreciated, but where little hands won’t be tempted to actually take them down to the beach.
These babies are getting harder and harder to track down, and they can be quite expensive too. I found the latest addition to the collection–a toy pump and bucket, at a favorite haunt, Kudzu Antique Market, in Decatur. I love those vintage rattan peacock chairs (scored for $50 for the pair at an estate sale) you see in front of the window here, but my friend Ellen calls them the Morticia Addams chairs.
While I was tracking down more junk, er, treasures, I had Mr. MKA busy making lamps from all kinds of funky old stuff. Like these vintage galvanized tin ice cream churns I bought on eBay. I was actually looking for a pair of cool painted wooden buckets, but I found these for much less money, and I think, a lot more charm. They’re sitting on the oak buffet in the dining room, beneath the framed 1970s bathing suit my friend Barb and I found last month in a great little antique shop in Westerville, Ohio.
As part of the kitchen project, we had to install a new circuit box–not so conveniently located on a prominent wall in the dining room. I kept looking around for something to hide that box. And then I remembered the vintage 1920s wool Jantzen bathing suit I found last summer while I was junking with my pal Ki Nassauer–of Flea Market Style magazine. Mission accomplished!With the ice cream lamps completed, I sent Mr. MKA back to the workshop to craft a pair of lamps for Boomerang Boy’s downstairs bedroom. This is one of two ground-floor rooms which the former owners only used as storage. We converted them into bedrooms by painting floors and walls, updating wiring and installing window air conditioner units. The nightstands were a pair of fugly chests I found at Tybee’s city-wide yard sale for around $25. They were painted baby poop brown–with linoleum tacked to their tops.
The dented Old Pal bait bucket was Mr. MKA’s from his teen years, and I bought the Falls City bucket either at Scott’s or on eBay. Here’s the room now–with the windows draped with a huge piece of vintage bunting.
The other ground floor bedroom was formerly home to a big honkin’ hot water heater–and storage. Mr. MKA and his brother Bob the Builder transformed it by constructing a closet around the heater. Now it’s a cool space with vintage twin beds contributed by my friend Ellen, a pair of estate sale quilts, estate sale nightstands, an old wire Tom’s Peanuts rack I swiped from my booth at Seaside Sisters, and another pair of Mr. MKA’s lamps–this time hanging pendant lamps made from old minnow traps I found at Scott’s. I found a tutorial to make them from Brittany of Pretty Handy Girl, and then he free-styled them, because he could.
Because I hate bare walls, I dug around in my stash of old stuff until I came up with a vintage chicken mash sack, which had an awesome design screen-printed on both sides. I cut the sack in half and then stapled each half above the bed–directly onto the wall–because I’m KLASSY like that.
We’re still finishing up some more projects around here, but now it’s time for me to get back to work–finishing my Christmas book, which will be out this October (EEK!) and getting ready for the publication of LADIES’ NIGHT. Check my tour schedule here to see where I’ll be signing (and junking) this summer. And yes, you too can have a family vacation–or a ladies’ night of your own, at Ebbtide. We’re pretty booked for summer (heck, I can’t even stay here in June or July!) but check with the girls at Mermaid Cottage Vacation Rentals for availability starting in late August.
March 26, 2013 | Comments (1)
Of course, she isn’t really new–or at least not new to some of my readers.
Starting back in the early nineties, I penned eight of these mysteries, under my real name, which is Kathy Hogan Trocheck. At the time, I was working as a features writer for The Atlanta Journal Constitution and had two young children at home. I’d always been a mystery reader–like so many women in this country, I cut my teeth on the old Nancy Drew mysteries. By 1990, I was ready to leave newspaper journalism behind and strike out for the land of fiction.
Since I’d always read mysteries–transitioning from Nancy Drew to Mickey Spillane (I know, weird, huh?) to Agatha Christie, to those pioneers of the contemporary female P.I. novels–Sue Grafton (Kinsey Milhone), Marcia Muller (Sharon McCone) and Sara Paretsky (V.I. Warshaski)–I decided to try to write one.
That first one never sold. But the second one, Every Crooked Nanny, found a home at HarperCollins Publishers, and I went on to write a total of eight Callahan Garrity mysteries, in addition to the two Truman Kicklighter mysteries. The Truman Kicklighter titles, Lickety-Split and Crash Course, set in my hometown of St. Petersburg, are currently available only as e-books.
The first book in the series, Every Crooked Nanny, introduces readers to Callahan. She’s an Atlanta native, graduate of the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!), and she lives in a Craftsman bungalow in the real-life neighborhood of Candler Park. Callahan is a former Atlanta Police detective, who quits the force when she gets passed over for a slot on the APD’s Homicide Squad, because of sexism. A note here; when I began writing the first Callahan novel, there were no women homicide detectives on the APD. Callahan gets her private investigator’s license, but when she can’t drum up enough business, her mother talks her into buying a cleaning business called The House Mouse.
Callahan’s chain-smoking, Solitaire-dealing mom Edna Mae, shares her home, and helps ride herd over the House Mouse “girls”–a memorable crew of misfits including white trash queen Neva Jean McComb, the octagenarian Baby and Sister, and the gentle Ruby.
Following on the heels of Every Crooked Nanny came To Live and Die in Dixie, Homemade Sin and Happy Never After.
All the books are set in real locations in and around Atlanta. Callahan had many devoted fans, and the books were commercial and critical successes, but after eight of the mysteries, I had an idea for a different kind of novel, which became Savannah Blues. With the success of Savannah Blues (and my new pseudonym of Mary Kay Andrews) I morphed into writing women’s fiction–but always with a mysterious element.
Over the years, several of the Callahan titles went out of print, and the remaining ones were hard to find in bookstores. Now, however, I’m thrilled that Harper is re-issuing all the Callahans, starting with the first four in the series. Callahan has gotten a little facelift–this time the titles are debuting as trade paperbacks, with gorgeous new covers.
Even more exciting, for the first time ever, there will be Callahan audios! The audio of Every Crooked Nanny will be released today, March 26, and the other audios will follow soon. I’m so thrilled that my Mary Kay Andrews fans will finally be able to find these books again. Look for the final four books (and their audios) in the series to be released in coming months.
Can’t wait for you to meet Callahan and the girls. I hope you’ll enjoy reading her as much as I enjoyed writing about her exploits.
GIVEAWAY ALERT! We are giving away sets of all four Callahan paperbacks and all four Callahan audiobooks. Here is the entry form for the book giveaway (deadline 4/19). Here is the entry form for the audio giveaway (deadline 5/24). Good luck!
February 22, 2013 | No Comments
We’d been looking for a bigger house on Tybee Island. We love our first house, The Breeze Inn, but with two grandbabies added to the family since we restored it in 2009, it has gotten to be a tight squeeze. So we looked around. Made offers, were re-buffed. Then, in November, I got a call from our friend Diane at Mermaid Cottages. “Your forever dream house is on the market, and they’e just dropped the price,” she said. “Get here. Now!” I went. I saw. I fell in love. And although Mr. MKA was off in the wilds of the Dakotas, I made an offer. And on Dec. 19, we closed on our new old beach house. Meet Ebbtide, circa 1932. She’s an unassuming old girl from the street, but once you get inside, the magic starts to happen. She’s one house off the beach–with occasional ocean views if you know where to stand. She’s got room for the family to stretch out–six bedrooms! The entire main floor of the house is old heart pine board and batten walls and pine floors. There is a huge wrap-around porch for lounging, dining, daydreaming or catnapping.
(No worries–we are keeping the Breeze too–and you can still rent it through Mermaid Cottages) Our whole family trooped down to Tybee the day after Christmas and we began our makeover. Although the house came fully furnished, with perfectly nice things, if you know anything about me, you know I have hoarding issues. Out went most of the old furnishings–sold off through Craigslist, word-of-mouth and the Tybee Island-wide yard sale. But not the Sunbeam Bread sign in the dining room. To be honest, when I saw the house with our real estate agent, they had me at Sunbeam!
In came my stuff–a whole truckload of beat-up, threadbare rugs from our basement, a pair of Craigslist four-poster beds painted white, a set of rattan chairs from the Scott’s antique market, nightstands and a headboard from a hotel liquidation place, and more unused basement treasures. I did buy two brand-new armchairs for the living room, from T.J. Maxx. I found the first chair at TJs in Savannah, posted a look-out for its twin on Facebook, and an alert reader found me the mate at the TJ in Smyrna, Ga. Mr. MKA and his brother have been hammering and sawing and making some changes, and I have been painting and waxing and distressing. And shopping. The biggest change we are making in the house is putting in a whole new kitchen. Whee! Complete with my beloved porcelain over cast-iron vintage double sink, which I bought at a great architectural salvage place in Greensboro, GA. called Pinch of the Past. Those old pine walls are gloomy, so some of the rooms–especially the master bedroom, will be painted my favorite Ben Moore Moonlight White. We’ve got some great looking lighting coming in too, and lots more, but here are some before and in-process pics to enjoy. Watch this space for more pictures as we finish up our beautification process. Ebbtide will be making her debut as a Mermaid Cottage in late March!
November 10, 2012 | No Comments
As I write this, I’m snug in our little beach cottage on Tybee Island, Georgia. I have heat and electricity, cable, internet and access to all the necessities of life–including food and gas and Diet Coke and cheap Chardonnay. But many of the victims of Hurricane Sandy are without the comforts of home.
Which is where you and I come in. For weeks now I’ve been plotting a little holiday surprise–the E-publication of an original Christmas short story called Fatal Fruitcake, featuring my mystery series protagonist Callahan Garrity. Callahan, for those of you who don’t know, was the star of eight mysteries I wrote under my own name, which is Kathy Hogan Trocheck. In March, HarperCollins is going to re-issue all the Callahans as trade paperbacks by Mary Kay Andrews writing as KHT. So I thought it might be fun to give my MKA and KHT readers an advance taste of Callahan–and of some holiday shenanigans.You can buy it here for your Kindle. And you can currently buy it here for your other e-Readers, including iPad, Kobo and Nook.
Fatal Fruitcake is not a novella or a novel. It is a SHORT STORY. The story is 17 pages long, plus, at the end, I’ve included my own personal recipe for not so fatal fruitcake. Personally, I detest all those weirdly colored candied fruits that go in most fruitcakes, so I adapted my recipe to use dried fruits I like. I don’t specify that you wrap the cake in cheesecloth and drench it with likker for the weeks leading up to Christmas, although I suppose you could do that if you wish.
After Superstorm Sandy turned out to be such a nasty surprise to so many folks in the Northeast–including many of my dear publishing friends in New York and New Jersey, I got a new idea. In addition to making the book available for e-readers, I decided to do a small limited edition printing of Fatal Fruitcake. My talented friend Lauren Lee designed what I think is an adorable cover for the story. And I’ve lined up six retailers in Georgia who will be selling the 500 signed and numbered copies of the short story. My plan is to donate a dollar from the sale of every $9.95 copy of the story to the American Red Cross, to go towards disaster relief. And I’ll also donate a percentage of the sales of the electronic version of the story to the Red Cross.
I’ve also set aside the very first copy of Fatal Fruitcake, and it’s available now through Sat. Nov. 17 on eBay. The buyer will receive Fatal Fruitcake #1, along with some holiday surprises, including an autographed copy of my Christmas novella Blue Christmas..
Want your own limited edition, signed and numbered copy of Fatal Fruitcake? Contact these retailers to make arrangements. And please note that I will not be selling the copies myself–cause I’ve got a book to finish!
I hope you’ll want to help me help our neighbors who’ve been victims of this devastating storm. Growing up on the Gulf Coast of Florida, I’ve lived through storm evacuations, and when I was a newspaper reporter, I witnessed and wrote about the destruction Hurricane Hugo wrought on Charleston and the low country of South Carolina. I’ll never forget the sight of all those downed trees and homes waist-high in muck, mud and water. In our own small way though, we can hopefully help speed hurricane relief efforts.
Thanks, y’all…and happy holidays!
August 31, 2012 | No Comments
Waaaay back in March I was thrilled to be invited to go on a little Atlanta junk jaunt with flea market rock star Ki Nassauer, the editor and magic-maker behind Flea Market Style Magazine. Ki flew in from L.A. where she lives, her friend flew in from Minnesota to act as her assistant, and we hooked up with an Atlanta-based photographer. What followed was 48 hours of hard-core, full-on extreme junking. Did I love it? You betcha! And here’s the brand-new magazine, with a great ten-page feature on our odyssey.
Because you can’t junk on an empty stomach, we started our day with scones from my neighborhood sugar shack, Sweet n’ Sinful Bakery, where our friend Layne treated us to her bacon-cheddar scones. Mmmm. Bacon. Then we motored down to Scott’s Antique Market for set-up day. It was Ki’s first trip to Scott’s, and even though she shops flea markets all over the country, she was amazed at the depth and variety of primo junk at Scott’s.
Let me tell you, we hit Scott’s like a ton of bricks, shopping both the North and South buildings, plus the outdoor vendors on both sides, with the photographer snapping away, and Ki and I honing in on our favorite junk. We did stop for lunch, and Ki had to experience boiled peanuts. Let’s just say this Midwest gal was NOT a fan.
From Scott’s, we hit three more Atlanta area antique markets, including Kudzu, in Decatur, where Ki fell in love with all the mid-century loveliness, not to mention owner Kate and George’s shop dogs Bella and Charley. I seriously had to drag the girl out of there so we could hit some more of my favorite junk honey-holes.
Part of Ki’s mission while she was in town was to sample some down-home Southern cuisine. Her first night in town we did the BBQ thing at Fox Bros. on DeKalb Avenue. Sooeeeey pig! She especially loved the sides–like Fox Bros’. famous Tominators–barbecue drenched and cheese topped tater tots. The second night we had dinner at Leon’s Full Service gastro-pub in Decatur. And yeah, the star of that show was Leon’s pommes frites with all those luscious dipping sauces.
On Friday, we went way north–all the way up to Alpharetta to Queen of Hearts Antique Mall, where I actually scored two or three treasures for my antique booth at Seaside Sisters on Tybee Island. Then it was back to midtown Atlanta, where we wandered the aisles of Antiques & Beyond on Cheshire Bridge Road. Ki, who is a horsey kind of girl was seriously jonesing for a vintage coin-operated horse ride, but since it wouldn’t actually fit in her carry-on luggage, she had to leave it behind. This time. Of course we had to make one more food stop before I dropped the girls off at the airport, and Ki wouldn’t let me pass by Kitsch’N 155, the very cool retro diner lunch spot on Clairmont Road in Decatur.
The junk divas flew home, and I went back to work on TFB (the friggin’ book) for next summer. I went on tour for SPRING FEVER, which took me all over the country. And then, early in the second week of July, when I just happened to be home between tour stops, Ki called. There was a lil’ glitch with the photos of our junk jaunt. Actually, a major glitch. All of the photos from our two-day session were gone. Long story short, I invited Ki to come BACK to Atlanta. Luckily, it was a Scott’s weekend–I say lucky because Scott’s is only open the second weekend of every month. And luckily, I was home and free for two days. And Ki was available too. So we did it all over again–only in ONE day instead of two. Somehow, we did it. We junked ourselves into a frenzy, re-shot the feature, and 24 hours later, Ki was back on a plane to California to face magazine deadline hell. All that serious junking was fun–but it was also work, hard, hard work.
The good news is, the second set of photos were great. I got to see my new junk buddy again, I scored more treasures–including the framed glass pinball backboard you see in one shot, the deluxe vintage birdcage, and the fabulous fifties terra-cotta flamingo–which is currently roosting in the front yard of our Tybee Island beach house, The Breeze Inn. And shortly after that second excursion, I got to hang out and go junking with Ki in California, where we agreed we must be sisters from another mother.
I hope you’ll run out and snag a copy of Flea Market Style for yourselves. It’s full of so much vintage junk eye candy you’ll run the risk of overdose. You can’t subscribe to the magazine, it’s newsstand sales only, but you should be able to find it at magazine stands all over the country. I know here in the South I’ve seen it at Publix, Kroger, Wal-Mart, Target and Books-A-Million. And if your favorite store doesn’t carry FMS? Feel free to throw yourself big ol’ HISSY FIT. And Enjoy!
July 26, 2012 | Comments (2)
I’ve been rippin’ up and down the country all summer long, touring for my latest book, Spring Fever. But this week, I decided to take a little time off before heading to Anaheim where I’m attending the Romance Writer’s of America Conference. On Monday I flew out to Los Angeles to do a fun meet-up with my friend Ki Nassauer of Flea Market Style magazine. Ki’s apartment is a fun mash-up of mid-century modern flea market finds mixed with many of the fun junk projects we’ve seen in past issues of the magazine. Since she’d just put the fall issue of the magazine (the one that features a junking trip with moi) to bed, she was ready for some fun. And did we have big fun! We started the trip with a big helping of old school–choosing to do the fun but cheesy Hollywood Home of the Stars tour. Ki researched all the different tours, so we chose the one that puts you in an open-air van, mostly because towns like Beverly Hills don’t allow the big double-decker buses on their streets. While we were waiting for our van pick-up, we moseyed over to the Madame Toussad’s Wax Museum to show some Lucy Love.
Then we climbed aboard our van and took off with our driver, Josh, giving us an unintentionally hilarious, if semi-dubious narration of the haunts of Hollywood stars. “Look!” he exclaimed at one point, “That was Janet Jackson just driving by in that black SUV!” But the scenery was great, and we were able to get great views of some neighborhoods where stars could have lived. We went up the steep incline of Mulholland Drive and stopped at the observation point to look down and spot the iconic Hollywood sign.
Then we all climbed back aboard and cruised the Hollywood Hills and vicinity area for glimpses of the famous and near-famous. We saw the alleged chimneys of Katy Perry’s house, Jennifer Anniston’s alleged driveway, Tom Cruise’s alleged flagpole (no jokes, please!) and Ringo Starr’s alleged carport, not to mention Ellen DeGeneres’s alleged construction site. We drove over to Beverly Hills and admired the spotless streets and beautiful landscaping. And tall palms. Very tall palms.
The one actual alleged star’s home we got to see was Lucille Ball’s house, which was on a pretty corner lot, one of very few properties in the area not obscured by tall hedges or imposing fences. We’ll probably never know if anything we saw was actually real, but when you’re having fun and leaving the driving to somebody else, who really cares?
On Tuesday, we set out to do what we do best; junking! Since it was a mid-week day, there were unfortunately no flea markets to explore. Damn! I guess shopping The Rose Bowl will have to remain on my bucket list until my next trip out. The next best thing was a shopping center called Whizin Market Square in Agoura Hills that was chock full of antique shops. First stop was A Beautiful Mess, where owner Kymberley has curated a gorgeous collection of rustic and industrial finds in a setting straight out of a movie set.
Like this bed. I hope my drooling all over it didn’t embarrass Ki.
Our next stop was right next door at Agoura Antique Mart, where this eye-catching vignette made us both stop and reach for our cameras.
Even though I have to fly home with already over-stuffed luggage, I picked up a few treasures, including this adorable find.
We had to force ourselves to stop for lunch, but the menu at Hugo’s had tons of yummy, healthy options, including this surprisingly delicious sipper.
Guess I’ll be shipping some stuff home, huh? After lunch we headed over the mountains to the beach, specifically Venice Beach. For this East Coast girl it was wonderful to get that first glimpse of the blue Pacific Ocean as we rounded a bend in the road. After admiring the beaches, it was back to shopping. We stopped in at Urban Country in Venice to browse around at the owner’s truly unusual offerings of antique signage, carnival and amusement park pieces and more, like this huge paint on canvas vintage “freak show” poster.
It was getting late in the day by the time we finished shopping all the cool spots in Venice, but Ki didn’t want me to miss Santa Monica, so off we went. We walked around seeing the sights and then stopped at a trendy bar/restaurant called The Misfit for drinks and dinner. And before heading back home to L.A. we just had to walk down to the historic Santa Monica Pier so I could take in the vintage amusement park.
Sadly, there was no time to indulge in cotton candy, the photo booth or the roller coaster. Just time for one more snapshot before two tired junkers headed back to the barn.Where we were awakened at 3:15 a.m. by an earthquake tremor–just a minor 3.8 on the Richter scale, but boy, what a hello from California! Thanks, Ki, for the best mini-vacay ever!
July 18, 2012 | Comments (12)
As a thoroughly modern American woman, I am also thoroughly in favor of reinvention whenever necessary. If you read my recent piece on The Huffington Post, maybe you saw that I’ve recently shed over 55 pounds by seeing a nutritionist, eating healthy and taking up walking.
So the folks at HarperCollins and I thought it only fitting that we do a little freshening up of my older titles. After all, SAVANNAH BLUES, my first novel published as Mary Kay Andrews, came out ten years ago. I think the story of Weezie Foley and her best friend BeBe Loudermilk is pretty timeless, but who doesn’t enjoy a little tweaking with their look?
So . . . behold! A fresh, glorious new look for six of my favorite books. It’s the editorial equivalent of Botox, don’t you think?
To celebrate my backlist make-over, we’re asking that you share the news with your friends. Chances are you’ve got a friend who never read HISSY FIT. Or maybe your college roomie was travelling abroad when DEEP DISH came out. I’d love it if you’d help me spread the word. Share the link for this blogpost, share my Facebook post about this newly revamped look (and suggest your friends like me on Facebook), or re-tweet my tweet on this same topic. This is a modern-day version of “I told two friends, and so on…”
Three winners will be chosen at random to win a complete set of the six re-packaged paperbacks. To enter, click here and fill out the form. It’s a snap. Cool, huh?
Good luck! And thanks in advance for helping me spread the word.
July 11, 2012 | Comments (1)
I have finally finished reading all of your entries in my June is Audiobooks Month giveaway contest. I love when we do these contests because I get to learn so much about my readers and their tastes and I always walk away with new suggested reading (or listening) material.
So many of you told me how listening to books on your iPod helps you get through your exercise routines. Like Diane P., the show-off, who says she listens on both her morning run and her evening walk. Lazy, that one. But I did love her comment that books “take me places where my feet can’t.” And for that reason, Diane is one of our four winners.
No surprise that there are lots of you out there who love to pass long car trips while listening to an audiobook. I heard from readers who said they listen to Sarah Addison Allen, Karen White, and Jill Conner Browne’s Sweet Potato Queens books while commuting; Jack Higgins, James Patterson, and Laura Hillenbrand on road trips; and Janet Evanovich, Harlan Coben, and Meg Cabot en route to the coast. It sounds like there is a lot of gas being wasted by those of us who get hooked on a story and keep driving around to find a good stopping point. By the way, if anyone is looking for Diane W., you can find her in the parking lot at her job listening to John Grisham novels.
Sharon F. is an artist who listens to Clive Cussler, Stuart Woods, Jim Butcher, John Sandford, Margaret Truman, Tess Gerristen, and Dick Francis while she paints in her studio. I picked her as another winner because I love the image of artists feeding off of one another’s creativity.
I heard several heartwarming stories about how audiobooks have helped those with health problems to pass the time while recovering from medical procedures and to while away trips to the hospital or stints at physical therapy. Joan G. is a perfect example of this and our third winner. When complications from glaucoma surgery limited her eyesight, her daughter suggested she try books on tape. With the help of a caring librarian, Joan selected some love stories, thrillers and classics to enjoy while lying on her bed propped up on fluffy pillows. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she found a new way to stay in the reading game.
Beth is the last of our four winners because her story made me laugh out loud. Her friend’s mom had a new car with a multi-disc changer. She loaded up the CD trays on a trip to visit the girls at college, but neglected to turn off shuffle. “It took a couple chapters to figure out why she thought the book wasn’t very good!”
Some heartfelt recommendations made me take note of books like Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson, and Once Upon a Secret by Mimi Alford. It is no surprise that many of you loved The Help and the Harry Potter books on audio. They are fantastic and live up to the hype. Kathy C. says she has listened to Mary Ann Shaffer’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society at least half a dozen times. I may have to listen to that one (at least once) myself.
A special thanks to my friends at Macmillan Audio, Penguin Audio, and Harper Audio who all contributed prizing for this giveaway. The prizes are pretty amazing. Aside from copies of several of my books, the winners will get audios by writers as varied as John Sandford, Betty White, Clive Cussler, Lydia Netzer, Alex Berenson, and Beth Harbison.
Thanks for entering and congratulations to our winners. Happy reading and listening, y’all!
May 24, 2012 | Comments (5)
The long Memorial Day weekend kicks off the month of June. And you know what that means! It’s National Drive Safe Month, National Fresh Fruits and Veggies Month, National Tennis Month, National Iced Tea Month, and yes, the long-awaited National Potty Training Awareness Month. Wonder if there’s a greeting card for that? But most importantly, June is Audiobooks Month!
My long love affair with audiobooks started when our two children were young and we were facing a long car trip from Atlanta to St. Pete, Florida for a week at the beach. My husband had, to my secret relief, already banned listening to even another minute of the kids’ favorite Raffi tunes, including the still maligned “Apples and Bananas.”
In my search for another diversion, I discovered the shelf of audibooks at our public library—back then they were cassette tapes. I selected a classic I’d never actually read myself, Robert Louis Stephenson’s Treasure Island, reasoning that since we were headed to the beach, the tale of a boy being shanghaied into service on a pirate ship would appeal to all of us—especially our then six-year-old son Andrew. By happy accident, it turned out that the version I checked out was the unabridged BBC production, with a marvelous narrator who kept us all enthralled for the entire 16-hour round trip down Interstate 75.
Based on that success, on the next car trip we listened to another unabridged classic, Jack London’s Call of the Wild. After that, nearly every visit to St. Pete or Savannah, our two most frequent destinations, was done to the accompaniment of an audiobook. After the classics, we branched out to mysteries and thrillers. I still have fond memories of all of us laughing at the antics of the inept crooks in Donald Westlake’s Bank Shot. And Andrew, all these years later, still does a keen imitation of a kidnapped child portrayed in one of Dick Francis’s mysteries. We listened to a lot of Dick Francis, back in the day, mostly because his stories were reliably free of alarming amounts of gratuitious sex—although not violence—our blood-thirsty son was never fazed by the frequent beatings endured by Francis’s hapless protagonists.
These days, the kids are no longer trapped in our back seat. So I pick and choose audios based on our own interests. Thrillers, if my husband is along, and all kinds of books if I’m travelling solo. I used to rely mostly on the audios sent me by my generous publishers, or on the narrow range of bestsellers carried at Cracker Barrel. But recently I discovered Audible.com, and now my choices are all over the map. I love to download books to my iPhone and listen on my earbuds, either in the car on long trips, or just on my daily two-mile walks. Non-fiction? I loved listening to Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken. Thriller? Robert Crais’s Taken made me quicken my pace on long walks around my neighborhood. Regency Romance? I adore Eloisa James and Lisa Kleypas’s novels.
I always enjoy hearing from fans that they enjoy the audiobooks of my novels. This summer, they’re in for a real treat. We have a new narrator, Kathleen McInerney, who I think brings wonderful energy and imagination to my new novel Spring Fever.
Knowing I’ll be clocking a lot of miles while on book tour for SPRING FEVER this summer, I’ve already downloaded my next few reads. As a longtime Carole King fan, I can’t wait to listen to her narrating her own memoir, A Natural Woman. And my pal Lisa Scottoline has a brand new thriller out too—Come Home, that I know will make the miles pass like a blur. And if my husband happens to join me on one of those trips, I’ll even share Michael Palmer’s Oath of Office, if he’ll let me stop at the outlet mall!
How about you? Do you have a favorite audiobook, or narrator, or audiobook experience? Leave me a comment by midnight, Friday, June 8th, and to celebrate this glorious occasion we’ll pick some random winners to receive an assortment of great audiobooks by some of my favorite authors.
April 25, 2012 | No Comments
Hey y’al!. Because I know you love your mamas (and grandmas, and sisters and aunts and grandmas, and daughters and sisters-in-law and mothers-in-law) and your best buddies…well, you get the picture, I’ve got a little Mother’s Day prezzie for you.