Owen Fiddler and Marvin Wilson on Tour!

Today is the day! Day 1 of the Owen Fiddler and Marvin Wilson tour!

Here’s a quick look at the tour dates and happenings: (Did I forget? There will be prizes!)

Owen Fiddler Experience Christmas Cyber Tour 2008 with author Marvin Wilson.

December 4: Diary of an Eccentric book review.

December 5: Diary of an Eccentric‘s Marvin Wilson and Owen Fiddler Q&A.

December 6: Kat Logic Blog hosts an interview with Owen Fiddler

December 7: Unwriter Blog hosts a collision between Amanda the cat and Owen Fiddler

December 8: Books and Authors Blog posts an interview with the reformed Owen Fiddler from the last part of the book in three parts. Part one, thoughts on the new President. Part two, thanks and gratefulness (for Thanksgiving), and Part 3 on Christmas.

December 9: Zhadi’s Den Blog post a short review of the book, and a humorous piece written by Marvin with a preface written by Owen Fiddler.

December 10: Savvy Verse & Wit posts a review of Owen Fiddler and an in-depth article written by Marvin Wilson, a biographical overview of the transformation from the undisciplined “freebird” Hippie of yore into the structured disciplined writer “living life on purpose” type of person he is today, and how that transformation affected and was affected by his taking up the arduous task of establishing a golden years career as a published author.

December 11: Straight from Hel Blog; Helen re-posts her review of Owen Fiddler and Marvin posts an article on novice authors dealing for the first time with a dastardly candid and task-mastering professional editor.

December 12: The Emerging Author Blog posts an interview with author Marvin D Wilson. The focus of the interview will be on writing and marketing techniques and ideas, with a flavor of Christmas-like subject matters touched on as well.

December 13: Pretty, Prosperous and Powerful Blog; Owen Fiddler asks Lacresha questions. He wants to know why the church is so judgmental, why there are so many hypocrites that call themselves “Christians” and then don’t act like Christ. Owen’s anger toward the religious and his hurting inside is attempted to be resolved by Lacresha’s addressing his spiritual needs and his misunderstanding of the difference between the religious and the truly spiritual.

December 14: Morphological Confetti Blog; Stephen posts an excerpt from the book Owen Fiddler.

December 15: The Quiverful Family Blog; Jennifer Bogart posts an interview with Marvin D Wilson focusing specifically on his redemption and salvation spiritual experience and how that has affected his writing.

December 16: The Daily Blonde Blog; Host Cheryl Phillips, in her own inimitable witty, chatty, fun-loving blond-headed-girl-next-door style, posts her piece on her impressions after having read Owen Fiddler – a spiritual/inspirational novel with SEX SCENES in it!

December 17: My Friend Amy’s Blog; Amy posts the interview with Louis Seiffer on “Inside the Actor’s Head Studio with Thames Lipton.” Louis Seiffer is the puffed up Satan-wannabe character in the book that grows in stature the more attention he is given.

I grabbed this tidbit from Marvin Wilson’s Free Spirit site:

The first three people who purchase a paperback copy of Owen Fiddler during the tour and who email me ([email protected]) with a copy of their proof of purchase invoice from either www.amazon.com or www.cambridgebooks.us will receive a FREE signed copy of my first book, I Romanced the Stone (Memoirs of a Recovering Hippie).

A free copy of Owen Fiddler will also be given to someone who leaves a comment on all 14 stops on the tour. If there is a draw between two or more, a competition for the winner will be held here on FREE SPIRIT, with the first place prize going to the commenter who posts the best answer to the question, “Why I want to read Owen Fiddler.” Any runner-ups will get an ebook copy of Owen. More fun. (smile)

Additionally, if anyone can, during the tour, purchase a copy of Owen Fiddler, pay for rush delivery, read it and post a review on Amazon before the tour ends, that person will receive a $25 gift certificate to either Borders or Barnse & Nobles bookstores, his or her choice. If more than one person can accomplish this, 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive $15 gift certificates.

But wait – I’m not done. Free Spirit will still have a quality post each day during the tour. Yes, the old silly is going to be working his tush off for the whole two weeks. I’ll be hanging around the host’s blog to answer questions and chat with readers all day and into the evening, also writing a post per day for Free Spirit, and also my usual work as an author with works in progress and a couple books I am editing for other authors. So I have a special award for anyone who can leave comments on all 14 days of the tour at both the host’s blog as well as Free Spirit. Hey – I’m gonna want some company over here too, y’all. (smile) Of those who can accomplish this, there will be a drawing, and I will give away up to three copies to three lucky people of the soon to be released Free Spirit Anthology, titled Between the Storm and the Rainbow. You’ll have to wait probably a couple months, but I’ll get them to you as soon as it is published.

So get started, with the stop at Diary of an Eccentric, Today!

Q&A With Abigail Reynolds, Author of Pemberley by the Sea

Abigail Reynolds, author of Pemberley by the Sea, kindly agreed to answer some questions about her novel, her writing space, and her holiday gift ideas for writers and readers. I reviewed her novel this month, check it out!

Without further ado, here’s my Q&A with Abigail Reynolds. Stay tuned for a giveaway from Sourcebooks. Thanks to Danielle Jackson at Sourcebooks.

1. Pemberley by the Sea is called a modern day Pride and Prejudice, but were there other literary couples or storylines that inspired Calder and Cassie’s romance?

My original inspiration was to see what would happen if I put Darcy and Elizabeth together in the modern world, and that’s pretty much the way it stayed.

2. Elizabeth Bennet is considered to be a strong female heroine, much like Cassie. Was it hard not to outdo Elizabeth Bennet’s strength and sharp wit when creating Cassie? Was it hard to keep Cassie vulnerable?

I found Cassie fairly easy to write, which is interesting since she is nothing like me. I had to give her a different kind of strength from Elizabeth Bennet, whose strength was displayed by turning down eligible men who could save her family from an impoverished future. That’s a bit hard to translate to modern day, so I changed Cassie’s struggle to one against an impoverished background. I think most women have vulnerable points, and Cassie does, too – especially around people she loves.

3. Did you feel obligated to maintain the happy endings Jane Austen continued to use in her novels?

Interesting question! I don’t feel obligated to maintain happy endings, but they seem to be a natural part of my writing. My goal is to write books that capture readers’ interest and leave them with a smile on their face at the end. A happy ending is part and parcel of that. Over time, I’ve moved towards endings that are happy but not fairy tale.

***This section of her answer may contain spoilers***

At the end of Pemberley by the Sea, Cassie’s brother is still in prison, and Joe Westing is lurking in the wings, bound to create some trouble sooner or later.

4. Politics is a touchy subject for novelists to tackle. Was there a great deal of research that went into those aspects of the novel?

It’s not only a touchy subject, it’s also changeable. At the time I wrote Pemberley by the Sea, Republicans were firmly in power, the Iraq war still had wide public support, and nobody was talking about national health insurance. But it was published in a completely different political climate, which takes away some of the power from Calder’s political rebellion, since he’s just saying things that are more mainstream than radical.

I didn’t do much political research, but I like to stay up to date in the news. If you listen to Senator Westing’s speaking style, I borrowed it pretty liberally from several different politicians. I didn’t intend the book to reflect a particular political reality – I left the war vague so that it could be Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gulf War, or some conflagration yet to come – because I didn’t want it to be dated.

5. Is the Westing family modeled upon a real-world political family?

It isn’t, but people usually think it is, because it’s set on Cape Cod and involves a wealthy political family. The Westings are quite different from the Kennedys, though – they’re Republican, Southern, old money. But I considered several prominent political families as I wrote it, including the Rockefellers and the Bush family.

***I didn’t see a resemblance to the Kennedys at all, but I’m a New Englander, so that could be why.***

Right now I have a dilemma with Morning Light, the sequel to Pemberley by the Sea, which has been complete for several years, because a key part of the plot is that Senator Westing is diagnosed with a tumor and pulls some strings to get special experimental treatment. If I’m not careful, I think readers will assume I’m modeling the whole episode on Senator Kennedy’s recent diagnosis and treatment – life imitating fiction.

6. I loved the novel within the novel aspect midway through Pemberley by the Sea, very reminiscent of Shakespeare’s play within a play. Writing this section must have been a joy. What prompted you to include this section and were there any particular triumphs or struggles you encountered while writing it?

When I first started writing, I was looking for some kind of plot device to parallel the letter Darcy gives to Elizabeth in Pride & Prejudice. But in Jane Austen’s day, an unmarried woman couldn’t respond to a letter from an unmarried man – it would have been a scandal if anyone discovered Darcy had written to Elizabeth – and Elizabeth had no expectations of ever seeing or hearing from him again. It was Darcy’s one and only chance to explain himself. It was hard to come up with something equally unanswerable in modern society. If Calder wrote a letter to Cassie, she’d be expected write or email back, to ask him questions about it. Having the letter be a novel established some of the distance I wanted.

There were two hard things with writing those sections. The first was keeping it from slowing the pace of the story. Originally there were far more excerpts from Calder’s book, but it ended up feeling repetitious because the reader had already seen those scenes from Cassie’s point of view. In the end, I cut a lot out. The other challenge was writing the part where it cuts back and forth between Calder’s book and Cassie’s reaction to it. The pacing was really challenging there, not to mention that I had to make sure that Calder’s book was written in Calder’s writing style, but that Cassie’s reactions were in my own style.

7. Please describe your ideal writing space and how it compares to your current writing space.

They’re dramatically different! My ideal space would be sitting quietly at a table with a water view. It would NOT involve being constantly interrupted by two kids, dogs wanting to come in and out, cats who think that I should type around them as they sit on my lap, and chaos everywhere, which is how I usually write.

8. With the holidays approaching, do you have any gift recommendations for those of us with writers and readers on our lists?

My writing friends are all getting small blank books to leave scattered around the house, car, purse, wherever, because you never know when you’ll suddenly come up with the perfect line, and if you don’t write it down that second, it’s gone forever.

For the Jane Austen lover, I’d recommend In the Garden with Jane Austen by Kim Wilson, the author of Tea with Jane Austen, and, of course, any of my Pemberley Variations! In the next couple of weeks, Affinity and Affection by Susan Adriani will be available, which is a Pride & Prejudice variation by an excellent new writer.

My favorite book about writing is Annie LaMott’s classic Bird by Bird.

Thanks again to Abigail Reynolds! Thank you to Danielle at Sourcebooks for sending me this fantastic read.

And now for what you’ve all been waiting for. . . the contest to win your own copy of Pemberley by the Sea, which I highly recommend for the Jane Austen book lover on your holiday list.

1. For one entry, leave a comment here–something other than “enter me” or “pick me.” Don’t forget an email address or active blog that I can use to contact you.

2. For a second entry, leave a comment on the review post, here. If you’ve already posted on the review, I will count it as a second entry into the contest, but only if you enter on this post first. Boy, I’m diabolical!

3. For the ambitious few, blog or post the contest in a sidebar, and you get a third entry.

Deadline is December 10, Midnight EST. Sorry U.S. and Canada addresses only!

Because I am a dumbass, I am going to let you know about a contest that ends today at Diary of an Eccentric for a copy of Off the Menu by Christine Son! Don’t miss the Deadline, which is December 3, tonight! HURRY!

"Keep Calm, Carry On!"–Gods Behaving Badly

“Keep Calm and Carry On!” (Circa WWII)

What great motto to have on a wall of a writer’s study!

While I missed the discussion yesterday, Dec. 1, on BlogTalk Radio with Marie Phillips–author of Gods Behaving Badly–I was able to listen to it today.

She answered my question about her writing space in great detail, since she was sitting in her study where she does most of her writing. Fabulous. She has about 100 books that she has not read in her study! An entire wall of books, now who doesn’t have that dream? I guess I shouldn’t feel bad about my TBR pile. She has piles of books all over the floor and she says maybe she should start building furniture out of books. Marie Phillips is so witty.

Check out what else she had to say about her book, here.

Winner of Grit for Oyster!

Out of a mere 9 entrants, Randomizer.org selected #4. . .

The Winner is Wendy of Caribousmom! I’ve emailed you to get your address.

Thanks again to all the entrants.

Stay tuned for another giveaway tomorrow, December 3! A perfect gift for the holidays. . .

Safelight by Shannon Burke

Shannon Burke’s Safelight is an ambitious undertaking that examines the decline of New York City and the decline of a paramedic, Frank Verbeckas. Through sparse and compelling language, dialogue, and plot points, Burke expertly immerses the reader into a series of dramatic scenes in which Verbeckas struggles to find himself amidst crime, disease, and the tragic death of his father.

Verbeckas is a paramedic and photographer, but his gift is capturing the reality that surrounds him, which in his eyes is the illness, death, and disease of the patients in crumbling New York City. His brother, Norman, is a top surgeon at a local hospital, and despite his arrogant manner and self-confidence, Norman struggles to break through his bully-like exterior to help his brother.

On page 138 of Safelight, the description used easily sums up the tumultuous relationship between Norman and Frank:

His eyes went wild. He swung with his right and hit me on the side of the mouth. I stumbled against the sink and he came in towards me. He was about four inches taller and sixty pounds heavier. I jabbed with my left but he twisted, dodged, and had me in his grip. He threw me against the wall. I went at him. He had me in his grip again. He threw me. I went at him, then stopped. We stood there, huffing and puffing in that tiny room.

The short, clipped descriptions of this fight between brothers quickly provides the reader with an inside perspective of how Frank compares himself to his brother and how they relate to one another.

Through a series of disjointed, but related paramedic scenes, the reader gains a sense of Verbeckas’ struggles and his downfall seems almost inevitable. However, meeting Emily, a professional fencer and HIV positive woman, becomes the catalyst that spurs Verbeckas’ transformation. Burke utilizes his sparse narrative to describe the stillness Frank feels in the presence of Emily (see page 134)

Her small, dark figure against the ruin, in that green pine stillness. Along an old mill there was a slow-moving stream, the water clear in the shallows but a deep, translucent copper color in the middle.

Being Burke’s first novel, the reader probably would not have noticed the recurrence of black flies, but given my recent review of Black Flies and my recent interview of Shannon Burke, I noticed the black flies made it into this first novel as well.

I also enjoyed the Burke’s descriptions of Frank’s photography and how he frames scenes in the camera’s viewfinder. As an avid photographer, these scenes were well described. Readers will appreciate the stark images and heart that permeates the narrative of Safelight. The evolution of Frank Verbeckas is swift and satisfying.

About the Author:

Shannon Burke was born in Wilmette, Illinois and went to college at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He has published two novels, Safelight and Black Flies, and has been involved in various films, including work on the screenplay for the film Syriana. From the mid to late nineties he worked as a paramedic in Harlem for the New York City Fire Department. He now lives in Knoxville, Tennessee with his wife Amy Billone and their two sons.

Our First Hosted Reading Challenge

Can you believe it? Anna (Diary of an Eccentric) and I have launched our very first challenge. Its been a long time in the planning, but here is the official unveiling here at Savvy Verse & Wit.

What: War Through the Generations: Reading Challenges (because you know there has to be more than one reading challenge)

Where: Click on the blog title and go participate

When: First Challenge is WWII beginning Jan. 1, 2009 and lasting 12 months through Dec. 31, 2009

Why: Because we’re bookworms and love reading books, fictional and nonfictional. And because you want to read about the impact of war on characters and real people. Perhaps because you think we can learn from our mistakes. Doesn’t really matter? It’s books.

As Anna says so eloquently, “We spent a few months hammering out our goals, setting up the blog, pondering buttons and banners, and we’re finally ready to go live. Thanks to Monica at Monniblog, we have an awesome banner and some rockin’ buttons!”

The Rules:

1. Sign up and establish your reading goal, which must be a minimum of 5 books in 12 months; Don’t worry you can do it.

2. If you sign up by Jan. 31, 2009, and meet or exceed your reading goal for the challenge, you will be entered into a drawing for one of the prizes, which are to be determined.

3. Grab one of Monica’s ROCKIN’ Buttons:

4. Check out the list of WWII books, we’ve compiled (OK, mostly Anna compiled this list–Way to Go!)

5. If you have comments, suggestions, book suggestions, or just want to chat about the blog, books, WWII, or whatever, send an email to warthroughgenerations AT gmail DOT com or stop by the blog.

P.S. The blog won’t just be a reading challenge, we’re also planning on posting personal war stories, newsworthy stories, and other discussions. Feel free to contribute.

My Dearest Dewey!

I have very few words to express the emptiness I feel after reading the sad news of Dewey’s passing last Tuesday, Nov. 25. Dewey, the creator and host of The Hidden Side of a Leaf, Weekly Geeks, Bookworms Carnival, and many other fun blog-related challenges and carnivals, has passed away.

Her family experiences a different sort of loss that I do, and I would love to extend my condolences to them in their time of loss.

She brought a significant ray of light into the blogging community, with many of us hanging on her every typed word and her views on the books she read. She was full of energy and we will all miss her greatly. I for one will be looking for her posts for sometime to come as the news really sinks in, but I guess that shows how much I will miss her presence here. . .in the community she loved. . .and helped get me hooked on.

I hope that we as a community can offer our support for her family and keep her Weekly Geeks and Bookworm Carnival traditions going even though she will not be here.

Mailbox Monday #6

This is the first Mailbox Monday that will actually appear on a Monday! Amazing. No tours for me this week! But here’s what I got in the mail over the past week. There are some great ones in here. Mailbox Monday is sponsored by Marcia at The Printed Page.

From Hatchette Group! Thanks Valerie. Check back for a review and giveaway of this novel.

I won a copy of this much-talked-about novel from Anna at Diary of an Eccentric. The author, David Ebershoff, sent the novel to me via priority mail, which was certainly unexpected.

I received this novel from Danielle Jackson at Sourcebooks. I cannot wait to read this one. It did really well in the United Kingdom.

I recently received this book from Minibook Expo. Another WWII novel. I cannot wait to read this one.


Don’t forget my contest for the writing guide Grit for the Oyster. You have two chances to enter: the review and the guest post

Deadline is December 1, Midnight EST.

Julie Gabriel, Author of The Green Beauty Guide

Later this month, I’ll be hosting a TLC Book Tour stop for Julie Gabriel, author of The Green Beauty Guide, on December 9th.

However, until then, I wanted to let you know that you could catch her on XM and SIRIUS Radio on Martha Stewart Living Radio, which is Sirius 112 and XM 157, 10 AM EST on Monday, December 1.

I urge all of you to check out the radio show and share your thoughts here on Savvy Verse & Wit. I unfortunately will be at the office and unable to listen in, but I hope that some of you can and will share your thoughts.

What Type Are You? Memes. . .

I was reading a post over at Book Zombie about TypeAlyzer, and I thought I would give it a try. Are you ready to check out this result?

ESTP – The Doers

The active and play-ful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

I’m not even sure how I feel about this result or what it says about my blog. Check yours out if you dare.


My dear blog buddy, Sheri, at A Novel Menagerie tagged me for the 7 random things about me meme, so I am finally obliging her.

1. I love comic book movies, but I don’t really dig actual comic books.

2. I would love to live in a world where vampires are real, though not as vicious as some movies have made them.

3. My TBR pile is getting larger and larger; I’m scared a may need a separate apartment for the books.

4. I collect things I don’t need, simply because I box them up for holidays or birthdays into the future and forget that I purchased the items in the first place. I guess its a good thing Monniblog inspired me to pledge that I would throw out or donate 50 items by January 2009.

5. I’m frightened of failure, at least in the sense of writing a novel.

6. I have a serious music addiction that ranges from opera and classical music to industrial rock, among a number of other genres.

7. I love Christmas and giving gifts even though I’m not Christian.

Who should I tag for this meme? How about these 7:

1. Monniblog
2. A Circle of Books
3. Book Zombie
4. Bermudaonion
5. Pop Culture Junkie
6. Redlady’s Reading Room
7. The Printed Page

Anyone else, please feel free to share.


Don’t forget my contest for the writing guide Grit for the Oyster. You have two chances to enter: the review and the guest post

Deadline is December 1, Midnight EST.