• authors,  books,  fiction

    Thank you!

    VINTAGE is a USA TODAY bestselling book! Thank you to all the readers, booksellers, librarians, and bloggers who helped make it happen.

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  • fiction,  giveaways,  vintage,  writing

    Vintage Cover Reveal and Giveaway

    I am beyond excited to share with you the cover for my debut novel, VINTAGE, which will be released on March 25, 2014, and is available for pre-order now at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, IndieBound, or your favorite bookstore.   When my publisher, William Morrow/HarperCollins, first shared the cover with me, I couldn’t believe that it looked almost exactly like the cover image I’d had in my head. I had always pictured VINTAGE with a shop window on its cover, since the story centers on a Midwestern vintage clothing shop and a group of women who eventually transform the store and each others’ lives. And now, I am so very…

  • authors,  books,  fiction,  literature,  madison,  recipes,  seasonal,  summer,  sweets

    A French Dessert and a Fresh Read

    For me, one of summer’s great joys is scarfing down mass quantities of berries and stone fruits. Another one of the season’s pleasures is sitting in a shaded spot, curled up with a good book. When the two converge? Serendipity. Last week, the fruit box delivered by my CSA farm was packed tight with eight pounds of sweet cherries. My husband, son, and I stuffed as many into our mouths as we could. Immediately. When we wiped the red juice from our faces, though, we still had quite a few cherries left. Enter, The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane, the delightful debut novel by Kelly Harms that I happened to be…

  • creativity,  fiction,  film,  reviews

    In Defense of Gatsby

    I went to see the The Great Gatsby a couple of weekends ago, and I loved every over-the-top second of it. (No spoilers here, by the way, even if you’ve never read the novel). I know it’s been skewered in reviews. The Washington Post gave it two stars. Ouch. CNN called it garish, and The Independent said it lacks subtlety. Well, yes. I don’t know about you, but I don’t expect subtlety when I see movies directed by Baz Luhrmann. I mean, this is the director who gave us the epic Australia. He gave us Prince tunes and drag queens in his 1996 version of Romeo and Juliet. The whores’…

  • books,  fiction,  holiday

    Love Stories We Love

    Valentine’s Day has got me thinking of my favorite love stories in fiction. There are so many of them, and I’m sure even more favorites will spring to mind as soon as I publish this post. Here are just a few that stand out for me. You’ll see they are just as varied in genre as they are in publication date. What can I say? Love takes many forms. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.  This book weaves a love story through time, as Henry journeys in and out of Clare’s life. It sounds fantastical—and it is—but Niffenegger makes the time travel element both plausible and enchanting. Her descriptions…

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  • art,  design,  fiction,  film,  storytelling

    Moonrise Kingdom: A Study in Styling and Storytelling

    Over the weekend, I went to see the new Wes Anderson movie, Moonrise Kingdom. It was delightful in every way–a study in styling and storytelling. First, there’s the story itself. There’s nothing unusual about the plot, and I mean that as a compliment. The story is a straightforward one, of friendship and family. Of community and outsiders. Of innocence and coming-of-age. But, in its very simplicity, the story is extraordinary because of the way it is told. Wes Anderson is a master of setting. Moonrise Kingdom takes place in the summer of 1965 on a fictional island called New Penzance. And, from the opening to the closing credits, every detail…

  • agents,  books,  creativity,  fiction,  poetry,  writing

    The “YES” (in other words, agented!)

    I have a quote, framed and printed on a letterpress card, next to my desk. It’s a reminder to help me through all the “nos” and the “maybe ifs” that come with being a writer and putting my work out into the world. Today, I’m here to attest that it’s true. That after the final no, there really is a yes. And sometimes, in the midst of all the work and the worry, there is more than one yes. And then you get to be the one to say yes. YES! Today I accepted an offer of representation from a literary agent for my novel, Gently Used.  And not just…

  • books,  fashion,  fiction,  literary looks,  nerdiness,  style

    Literary Looks: The Sun Also Rises

    Lately, I’ve been feasting on a lot of good reads. To celebrate, I’m compiling the first of a series of literary looks inspired by books and writers. My book club recently finished The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. It’s a well-researched, fictional account of Hemingway’s relationship with his first wife, Hadley, told from her point of view. During their 5-year marriage, Hemingway wrote and sold his first novel, The Sun Also Rises (1926), which is set in Pamplona among the bullfights and running of the bulls during the Feast of San Fermin. Remembering that novel got me thinking about Spanish style, and prompted this literary look, which would be perfect for watching the festivities in…

  • creativity,  fiction,  music,  nerdiness,  writing

    What Oscar Wilde and Dolly Parton Have in Common

    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” — Oscar Wilde I’m not usually in the business of providing inspirational quotes on this blog. My cynical nature, further honed by law school, prevents me from getting jazzed up over “Just Do It”-type mantras (in fact, sports analogies actually unmotivate me). However, I came across the Oscar Wilde quote above on another writer’s blog, The Siren’s Song, and it stuck with me. It got me thinking about the link between individuality and creativity. Lately, I’ve been listening to old Dolly Parton songs. And I’ve come to admire her– rhinestones, fake 40DDs and all. Yes, that’s right. If you would have told me,…

  • books,  fiction,  reviews,  writing

    Book Review: An Urban Fairy Tale

    The Ballad of West Tenth Street: A Novel by Marjorie Kernan My rating: 4 of 5 stars A friend from my writing group (and the fastest reader I know) recommended this book to me. The back cover of The Ballad of West Tenth Street calls the novel an “urban fairy tale.” The story revolves around two Greenwich Village brownstones and their eccentric inhabitants. In one of the houses lives Sadie Hollander, the tipsy widow of a British rock star, and her adolescent children, Deen and Hamish. Her oldest child, Gretchen, lives away from home in a mental hospital. She was the only child who truly knew her father before he…

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