Thursday, May 28, 2009


And so we came to the end… sort of. What's an ending without a celebration?! There's no sneaking away into the darkness for the Book Roast. The lights are on, the music's high and the party's right over here. Yes, it's a surprise party for Head Chef, Chris Eldin!

Someone grab that luscious Roast Master Chris and let’s PARTY!!!!!

Thank You! And a teary goodbye...

Hi Everyone,

It's been a bit crazy around the grill lately. People walking off with the ketchup packets. Soda spills and mustard stains on just about every patron. Even weiners under the table! (Who does that?) It hasn't been easy raising everyone's cholesterol levels and weight.

So it is with heavy and clogged-artery hearts that we must bid goodbye.

We want to thank each and every person who has dropped by the Book Roast. I can't emphasize enough how enjoyable it has been getting to know authors and writers from around the world. Look at our sidebar! We've been able to meet and hob-nob with truly wonderful people! And everyone who has participated in the roasts and has kept the energy level positive and upbeat--many special thanks to all of you! Without you, an interactive blog such as this would have fizzled out quickly.

The reasons for our having to say goodbye are primarily economic ones. We're all working longer and harder hours at real-life jobs than we did when we opened the blog. Plus, did I mention the table manners? :-)

But there are a couple of marketing reasons as well. The traffic on this blog fluctuates month by month. It has been a valuable learning experience seeing which months are better for marketing via blogs (February and March), and which months are the worst (July, August, November, December). Of course this is highly unscientific, but interesting to take note nonetheless.

We'd like to leave the comments open for discussion about online marketing for books. If you have an experience or information you'd like to share, please leave a comment! I think with all of our combined knowledge, we could help each other in this facet of the publishing industry.

Before we leave you, we'd like to give you two parting gifts!

The first one is a behind-the-scenes video (we've posted before) about the Grill. Enjoy.

The second is an invitation to go visit Ms. Spitfire at Nathan's blog! We were so lucky and happy to pull her into our venture, and we'd like to give her a very special thank you for all of her letters. It wasn't easy for her to do this on a weekly basis given everything that has been happening in the publishing industry, so we'd really like to acknowledge her and her efforts (Though she's still anonymous. Only we know who she is... Let's say she got out just in time. I saw her drinking ketchup from the bottle last week.)

Go visit Nathan and Ms. Spitfire today!!!! Her post will be up sometime mid-morning, New York time. (Or early morning, California time.)

And be sure to leave your thoughts about online marketing in the comments section.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday's Special Is...Adamant Stone!

ADAMANT STONE by Stephen Parrish
(Published by Midnight Ink, available 2010)

When the well-preserved body of 17th century mapmaker Johannes Cellarius suddenly floats to the surface of a bog in northern Germany, and a 57 carat ruby rolls out of his fist, treasure hunters from around the globe race to find the Lost Tavernier Stones of popular European folklore.

According to legend, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier was robbed of a priceless hoard while returning from his final voyage to the Orient in 1689. The hoard reputedly includes some of the world's most notorious missing jewels. Among them the 280 carat Great Mogul Diamond and the 242 carat Great Table Diamond, the largest diamonds ever unearthed whose whereabouts are unknown.

John Graf is an Amish-born cartographer who has never ventured out of Pennsylvania, let alone embarked on an international treasure hunt. David Freeman is a gemologist who has done his share of prospecting, but little of it within the boundaries of the law. Between them they have all the expertise necessary to solve the mystery. They also have enough differences to derail even the best of partnerships. And ahead are more obstacles: fortune seekers equally qualified and every bit as determined.

The race spans two continents. The finish line is in Idar-Oberstein, the gemstone capital of Germany. There, in chambers beneath an old church, where unspeakable events took place in centuries past, winners and losers alike find answers to age-old questions about the Lost Tavernier Stones.

Visit Stephen here

Chapter One from ADAMANT STONE

"There's a dead guy out there."

Kommissar Gerd Pfeffer first heard it from the dispatcher, who was quoting the boys who found the body. He repeated the phrase in his mind as he drove to the scene: There's a dead guy out there. It would make an appropriate epitaph, he thought. There had been lots of dead guys out there. There would be lots more.

A narrow, overgrown road led Pfeffer into the Holmmoor, a bog north of Hamburg. Thickets on either side of the road strummed his car in irritating chords. Not far ahead, a gallery of rubberneckers, some with binoculars, peered into the woods. The focus of their attention was half a dozen police officers huddled like marooned buccaneers under a tarpaulin they had erected on an island of stable ground.

Pfeffer parked his car on the road because the rains had turned the berm into a Purgatory of mud-choked grass. The rest of the trip would be on foot, and cautiously: he was crossing from the real world into The Bog.

It was one of the oddest calls he had received during his career as a homicide detective. Two boys had spent the weekend camping in the bog, on a patch of ground that had not yet thawed. Their campfire thawed it, and combined with the heavy downpours of late, as well as the strange temperature fluctuations of a typical Hamburg spring, up the body came.

First, the boys said, the peat began to crack. A fissure radiated slowly outward from the center of the fire, rending the mossy soil along a zigzag path as though etched by a lightning bolt.

Fingers emerged from the crack. The boys saw only their black tips, and thought they were knobby roots, or maybe pieces of glacial till.

The tips grew into appendages. The appendages joined in a palm. When a thumb finally appeared, the boys extrapolated what lay beneath.

They laughed; it couldn't be happening. They rolled on the ground laughing. Their sides ached and their eyes filled with tears, it was so funny. Then the realization sank in that here indeed was a human hand, and following it now was an arm. And soon to come, no doubt, was the rest, some of which—the head in particular—might be too gruesome to behold.

They ran, stumbling on rubbery legs, their young minds filled with images of a root-hairy dead man loping after them. By the time the police arrived the arm had finished sprouting. It jutted straight into the air, flecked with peat, its fingers splayed widely like the comic image of a drowning man counting to five. The police immediately concluded the body was one of the so-called Bog People, dozens of whom—some more than two thousand years old—had sprung out of the ground throughout that part of Germany.

Pfeffer stepped from one clump of grass to another, advancing toward the tarpaulin. Walking on the peat gave him the sensation of unsure-footedness, as though he might sink up to his neck on any step. He did sink—four inches here, eight inches there, nothing there—you never knew. The water, stained by the peat, was the color of strongly brewed tea.

The bogs around Hamburg had been disgorging Iron-Age corpses for as long as Pfeffer could remember. Humic acids in the peat acted as embalming fluids that stained hair and beards red and tanned skin black. Bones decalcified, turning the corpses into leathery bags filled loosely with internal organs and a menu of last suppers, typically barley and linseed gruel. Most strikingly, features were so well preserved that except for the tanning a modern-day public could see exactly what the victims looked like. Could stare them in the face.

They died with quiet dignity. Or cringing in horror, some of them. And the resignation or anguish or shock their expressions communicated at the moment of death, when a relative or friend weighted them down in watery graves, was preserved for the millennia.

As Pfeffer reached the tarpaulin the rain started up again. A young Polizist emerged from under the tarp covering his head with a clipboard. He greeted Pfeffer with a firm handshake, then led him safely around shaking pools of stained water. The other officers remained under cover. They stared in fascination at a lump of soggy human remains.

The victim—for so they were calling the thing—lay on his right side with his right arm stretched out straight above his head. He resembled other Bog People in that his skin had darkened to the value of burnt umber and his woolly hair and prickly beard were the color of rust. And it was clear he had been murdered or sacrificed: deep, angular stab wounds perforated his chest and abdomen.

But his garb was more modern than that of other Bog People, who typically wore only sleeveless capes, probably because the linen used for the rest of their outfits couldn't survive the peat acids. Pfeffer estimated the victim's clothing was from the Middle Ages, or some other time long ago, but clearly not the twenty-first century: he wore breeches that stopped just below the knee, stockings over his calves, and broad metal buckles on his shoes.

So it wasn't an ancient pagan sacrifice after all. Nor was it a recent murder.

An oval signet ring encircled the victim's right middle finger, on the hand that had sprung up on the boys. Bezel-set in the oval mount was a dark stone slab. Pfeffer used his thumbnail to scrape the ring clean of peat. Carved in the slab were the initials "JC" and an image of one woman helping another to place a basket of grapes on her head.

The young Polizist had been watching him closely while he examined the body, and as Pfeffer inspected the ring the young man suggested, "Jesus Christ?"

Pfeffer shook his head. "He would put his own initials on a signet ring, don't you think?"

Squatting in the spongy grass, he surveyed the scene for a moment, then asked, "Have you turned him over?"

"We dug him up and laid him there, otherwise he hasn't been touched. I was waiting for you to arrive before I moved him. You know how bent out of shape the anthropologists get when they find anything disturbed."

Pfeffer thought the way the dead man clenched his left fist was odd, as though he had been holding something dear to him when he died. Furthermore—and this had been fermenting in the detective's subconscious the entire time—there was just the hint of an amused smile on the man's face. But surely that was only Pfeffer's imagination. Or one of those ironic effects of the retarded rate of decay in the peat. People did not, in fact, smile as they were being stabbed. They didn't. Really.

He looked into the man's eye sockets. They had obviously sunken since his death, but it was nevertheless obvious they had been deep-set to begin with and had done their share of glaring at lesser intellects. Pfeffer shivered as he experienced the sensation the cavities were looking back.

"Open it," he ordered.

"Excuse me?"

"The fist. Pry it open."

The Polizist motioned for another officer to step over and help him. As they gently lifted the arm the young man said, "Sir, if I may, are we doing this out of curiosity?"

"Call it professional intuition. I want to see what he held onto for dear life."

"But the anthropologists . . ."

"Open it."

Getting the fingers to uncurl required the use of pocketknives. The glinting red object that rolled onto the ground, before the fist clamped tightly closed again, caused the remaining officers to collide with one another as they evacuated their tarp shelter and pressed in for a closer look. It also sent a buzz into the road-kill gallery, whose frustration over a dearth of news had only festered under the drizzling rain.

If Pfeffer hadn't known better, he'd have guessed the thing was genuine.

The drizzle increased to a steady downpour, and the young Polizist, studying the corpse, blurted out something spontaneously: "As if he had been poured in tar, he lies on a pillow of turf and seems to weep the black river of himself."

"What the hell does that mean?"

"Nothing. Just an English poem I read once. Come to think of it, it was Irish."

Pfeffer took another look at the Bog Man's leathery face. His skull had long since decalcified, leaving the outer skin pinched and distorted. His features were already caving in from rough handling and sudden exposure to ruthless compounds in the air.

It was a smile, Pfeffer was sure of it. The man had known something profoundly amusing the moment he died, so amusing he was still grinning even after being stabbed in the chest. Even after centuries of submersion under the quaking peat.


Answer the following question for a chance to win a piece of the Berlin Wall (yes, you heard that right!!):

How would Steve describe the family jewels?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday's Special Is...Mercury Falls!

MERCURY FALLS by Robert Kroese

Rob, aka Diesel, is one of the newer members of the Book Roast team, but his style and brand of humor have made him fit right in! We've appreciated his help and support, and think he has a darn good book! Plus, he uses his wicked computer skills to keep Google, Inc. up and running. Without further ado, let's sit back and peek inside the briefcase...

It's the end of the world – again – and this time Christine Temetri is paying attention.

Signs of the Apocalypse? Yawn. The End of Days? Please. In case of rapture, please leave a message. Years of covering the antics of End Times cults for The Banner, a religious news magazine, have left Christine not only jaded but seriously questioning her career choice.

That is, until she meets Mercury, an anti-establishment angel who’s frittering his time away whipping up batches of Rice Krispy Treats and perfecting his ping-pong backhand instead of doing his job: helping to orchestrate Armageddon. With the end near and angels and demons debating the finer political points of the Apocalypse, Christine and Mercury accidentally foil an attempt to assassinate one Karl Grissom, a thirty-seven-year-old film school dropout about to make his big break as the Antichrist.

Meanwhile, fundamentalist firebrand Harold Giddings has heard The Call: denounce Karl to the world and unleash the Apocalypse. But was it God or the devil who dialed his number?

Christine’s betting her soul that Harold got his wires crossed. Now, to save the world, she's got to outsmart Harold, negotiate the byzantine bureaucracies of Heaven and Hell, and convince the apathetic Mercury to take a stand, all the while putting up with the obnoxious mouth-breathing Antichrist.

Visit Rob here.

Read more about Rob's book here.

Excerpt from MERCURY FALLS

The Antichrist was clearly out of his element.

All that was really expected of him was to cut the ceremonial ribbon in front of the newest Charlie’s Grill, but he was having difficulty with the giant ceremonial scissors. Finally, he bit into an edge with his teeth and tore the ribbon the rest of the way. Red-faced and drenched with sweat in the 100 degree heat, he muttered an obscenity and stomped off.

The crowd cheered this display of mildly Satanic behavior.

“The Antichrist, Karl Grissom!” shouted a diminutive man who had presumably been standing next to Karl the entire time.

The crowd clapped politely for the Antichrist and the man they assumed was the Antichrist’s dwarf henchman, but was, in fact, the director of marketing for Charlie’s Grill, Inc. The dwarf henchman marketing director proceeded to hand out free cheeseburgers while the Antichrist made his way to the parking lot. A local high school marching band began to play a jazzed up version of the Charlie Nix movie theme.

Behind a line of police tape, in the parking lot of the Burger Giant next door, a group of several dozen protesters held signs with slogans like “Pray for Karl Grissom” and “Karl Grissom GO TO HELL.” Despite their lack of both logical consistency and complimentary cheeseburgers, they were a spirited group.

Having fulfilled his contractual obligations as Antichrist, Karl plodded through the crowd toward his mother’s Saturn. This whole business was getting a little old. He had half a mind just to call it quits. And at this point he didn’t even know about the man with a high-powered rifle who was lying in wait on the roof of the Burger Giant.

The man’s name was Danny Pilvers. Danny was wearing army camouflage and had his cross-hairs trained on Karl Grissom, the Antichrist. As Danny was on the opposite side of the roof from the crowd and was making a point of being very still, no one seemed to have noticed him.
Danny’s hands shook, not because he was afraid, but because he was angry. He was angry with Karl the Antichrist. He was angry with Katie Midford and her dwarf henchmen. He was angry with Charlie Nix, despite the fact that Charlie Nix was only a twelve year old boy, and a fictional one at that. Danny was angry at all of these people because he believed that they made a tapestry of religion. Hadn’t the angels told him so?

The angels had not, in fact, told him so. What they had said was “travesty.” In fact, they had repeated it several times. “A travesty,” they said. “A travesty of religion.” Finally they had given up, satisfied that Danny understood the gist of what they were saying.

Danny took a deep breath, trying to steady his hands. “A tapestry of religion,” he muttered, and flicked off the gun’s safety.

Please answer the following question to win a $15 gift certificate to Amazon:

What is the best religion?
Okay, that's not the real question.

The real question is:

What kind of car should Satan be driving?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday's Special Is...Children of the Mist!


Two minds united against a common foe. Two hearts afraid to show their love: Long ago Tamarith fell in love with a man she can never have, and is convinced she will never love another. However, she cannot help but be intrigued by a handsome stranger whose psychic powers exceed even her own. Vidarh seeks only to find his true purpose in life and to win the regard of his father, who eschews his son’s psychic abilities. Thrown together by a common threat to their planet, then torn apart by an evil greater than any they could have imagined, can Vidarh save the lovely Nifl woman who has captivated him, before it is too late? Will Tamarith and Vidarh overcome the deadly enemy who threatens to destroy all they know and love? Will they find the happiness they both seek? Or are they fated to live their lives alone?

Hywela Lyn (usually known by her second name ‘Lyn’, which is easier to pronounce, is intensely proud of being Welsh, although she currently lives in England with her husband Dave and rescued Jack Russell, Bouncer. She has made up stories in her head for as long as she can remember, inspired by the beautiful Welsh scenery and its legends, and acting out her characters' roles in her mind. She is passionately fond of all animals and the outdoors. She has two horses, Harry and T’pau and usually manages to have a horse somewhere in her stories.

CHILDREN OF THE MIST will be released on June 19, and can be purchased here.

Visit Hywela here.


With a resolute set to his shoulders, Vidarh retrieved his torch and made his way into the cave. Just inside the mouth, he found a hollow behind a rock in which to hide the saddle and bridle. At least it would be safe and dry there, so long as no hungry rodent decided to nibble at it. He strapped on his pack, containing a change of clothing and a few personal items, and set off along a narrow passageway at the back of the cavern.

Tamarith directed him along the various twists and turns of the labyrinth. At first, the going was easy. The walls of rock gave off a soft, diffuse luminescence, augmenting the light from his torch. After walking for so long he began to think the tunnel he followed led nowhere, the luminosity grew stronger, and the passage opened out into a large amphitheatre. The light reflected back from the walls revealed seats, formed out of pale green stone, arranged in tiers forming a semi-circle. At one end was a pool, shimmering in the soft light. Multi- colored stalactites glistened like jewelled candelabra from the roof of the cave. At the far end was a high dais flanked on each side by another passage.

Vidarh paused for only a moment to take in the beauty around him. He was familiar with the Conference Chamber of the community of Gladsheim. His mind had been there many times but this was the first time he had physically entered the place.

Instructed to take the left fork, he progressed along the labyrinths, noting the downward slope of the passage. Occasionally, when he came to a branch in the tunnel, he would stop and listen to Tamarith's voice in his mind as it guided him along the right path.

You don't have far to go. I will keep sending you the directions. You should be near the river now.

Yes. I hear it up ahead.

Be careful. We had heavier than usual snowstorms last winter. With the coming of spring, the melting snow and ice has swelled the volume of water.

Vidarh made his way along the tunnel, partly guided by his telepathic link with Tamarith, and partly by his own senses. Eventually widened out into a large cave, through which the underground river roared as it cut its way through the mountain.

On the shingle of the boulder-strewn shore, several small boats bobbed against their moorings. After ensuring his pack was securely fastened around his waist, he climbed into one, and lashed the torch to the prow. He cast off, and took up the paddle. The river bore the craft along at a tremendous rate and it needed all his skill and attention to save the craft from dashing against the rocks. He'd heard about the fabled river of Mimir, but this was not the tranquil stream of his imagination.

The walls still reflected a phosphorescent glow. Vidarh noticed several gigantic, human-like statues on the banks as he passed, but had no time to contemplate or admire them. Rounding a bend, he came upon a wall of water ahead, cascading from the roof in a fury of white froth. The torrent boiled and raced. He gritted his teeth as he headed into the maelstrom.

There was no way he could control the boat's frantic motions as it heaved and bucked like an unbroken colt. He threw down the paddle, gripped the sides of the vessel, and sent a desperate message through the ether.

Tamarith, I'm in trouble. Please—send me images of your location, quickly I need to know what it looks like where you are.


Please answer the following question for a chance to win a free copy of CHILDREN OF THE MIST:

Do you like boats? (Any boating stories you'd like to share?)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fridays special is...Bobby's Diner!

The title of today's book sounds like competition for our beloved Book Roast. Pull up a chair and tuck in your napkin to find out more about writer Susan Wingate and her novel, BOBBY'S DINER.

BOBBY’S DINER is a story of a woman trying to find herself in a town where nobody wants her. Georgette Carlisle, twenty-five when she saunters into the rustic town of Sunnydale, Arizona, snags husband, Bobby, away from another woman, Vanessa Carlisle. After he dies - fifteen years later when the story begins - he leaves his restaurant called Bobby's Diner to both women. But, that's not the only problem. Bobby's Diner, situated on an attractive highway corridor property, is slated as the next boutique tourist site and sits smack in way of Zach Pinzer's dreams and future with Chariot International Incorporated, a large developer headquartered in Phoenix. Even after Zach arranges to destroy their property and fatally wounds their beloved busboy and gardener, he nearly kills Roberta, Vanessa's daughter. Georgette and Vanessa hold fast to the only thing they have, each other, and they fight. Georgette's story tells a tale of life, love, death, grief, pain, loneliness, and redemption. And, she finds her true family with the most unexpected people.


For the reading of Bobby’s will, the attorneys sat Vanessa—the ex, Roberta (Bobby and Vanessa’s daughter), and me in a conference room together. I was instructed to bring a lawyer, as were the other two ladies. I didn’t. That sort of thing isn’t in me. Vanessa did. The lawyer read Bobby’s will. It was pretty much as I expected. I got the house we shared, most of the money accounts, Roberta received $200 thousand dollars in a fund her father had set aside for her upon his death. Then, the lawyer read further. Bobby did something none of us expected. He gave me half the interest in the diner and Vanessa, the other half!

Just like Bobby to be equitable.

Finally, the lawyer read a statement Bobby had handwritten before he died. The note said something about his guilt for leaving Vanessa, but his great love for me, about Vanessa’s interest of nearly half her life spent building the diner, and my creativity to keep it going. Have you ever heard the term ‘livid’ before? Well, Vanessa’s face turned every shade of livid I’ve ever seen. I remember sitting there and imagining her head filling up like one of those water balloons at the fair and exploding right off her shoulders. Her lawyer patted her hand and told her “not to worry.” I giggled to myself at the mess of it all, said my “thank yous” and “goodbyes” to his former family and the lawyers, and I left feeling pretty good too considering what had just happened. Financially, I was solid and didn’t need to worry about money for a while, anyway.

I closed the diner for three weeks. When I went back to reopen, Vanessa was there waiting outside the door. She offered to buy my interest. I told her I had no intention of selling and offered to buy hers. She fumed at my boldness and told me she’d never sell. Bobby knew I was stubborn as a mule in a blizzard and he knew his former wife had some of my same shortcomings.

“Well, isn’t this a fine mess.” Vanessa threw her hands up and when they came down, they landed on her lap as she sat hard against the window’s ledge.

“Guess Bobby had the last laugh, huh?” I looked out onto the day with one hand protecting my face from the bright sun. It was early spring then and the cacti were putting on a show that would embarrass the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, gorgeous.

“Since this place is now legally half mine, I want a key.” Vanessa was indignant.

“Fine. After José gets here, I’ll have him run up to Charlie’s to get his copied.”

Vanessa let out a small huff and stood back up. “What are we supposed to do now?”

“Well, the diner needs managing. I guess we manage it.”

“Together?” She put her hands on her hips.

“What else can we do?”

“It just won’t work.”

“Why is that, Vanessa? After all these years, do you still hate me so much?”

“Oh, hell, I could care less about you.” She turned away and looked out over the burgeoning desert. “How’s this gonna look to the folks around here? Did you ever think about that?”

“I just put my husband in the ground. I guess I haven’t had too much time to worry about what people are thinking.”

“He was my husband too.” She scowled when she looked at me. I couldn’t very well argue her point and decided by the look of her, saying nothing was best.

Visit Susan's website and find purchasing information here

Check out Susan's blog here

Win a copy of Bobby's Diner with a fun and creative answer to the following question....

What would you like to find on the menu at Bobby's Diner?

Thursday's Special Is...Repeat After Me!

REPEAT AFTER ME by Rachel DeWoskin

Rachel DeWoskin has been lauded for her “razor-sharp descriptions” (The Wall Street Journal), her “considerable cultural and linguistic resources (The New Yorker), and her rare ability to offer “a real insider’s look at life in modern China” (The Economist). Now DeWoskin, author of the hilarious and poignant memoir Foreign Babes in Beijing, returns with a new novel about a young ESL teacher, a troubled Chinese intellectual, and a very unexpected New York romance.

Aysha is a 22-year old New Yorker struggling to put pieces back in place after her parents' divorce and her own shattering nervous breakdown. With her college career on hold, she teaches English to foreigners just to keep her own days straight until a young Chinese student named Da Ge walks into Aysha's classroom fresh from Beijing and challenges her shaky stance until upside-down and right-side up become impossible for either to identify. From rollicking performances in ESL class to dinner dates in Chinatown, Da Ge takes Aysha on a tour of her own world, and at first seems to offer an escape from grief in the form of a bewildering, exhilarating romance. But reeling from the recent Tiananmen Square massacre and electrified by American culture shock, Da Ge also turns to Aysha for a kind of comfort she can't identify and he ultimately can't accept. When he asks her to marry him, his secrets turn out tragically familiar. As Aysha tries to collect, understand, and honor Da Ge's words, her exploration gives all of us a view into how we recover from trauma, both personal and political -- only to find ourselves in the most astonishing places.

An intercultural love story that spans decades and continents, from Tiananmen Square’s June 4th to the World Trade Center’s September 11th, New York City's upper west side to the terraced mountains of South China, Repeat After Me is a manic story of love and misunderstanding, of fantasies and frenzied cities. Funny, irreverent, touching and provocative, Rachel DeWoskin’s novel is above all an exploration of how to write your own story, how to decide where the record begins.

Excerpt from REPEAT AFTER ME

I met Da Ge on a Tuesday afternoon in the fall of 1989. New York was orange and confident then, leaves breezing the curbs and towers poking above the skyline. I was teaching English as a second language at a school called Embassy when he arrived two weeks and fifteen minutes late. He stood in the doorway watching the class with an expression it was hard to identify—some combination of grin, smirk, and sneer. I thought he might be shy.

“Hi,” I said, “come on in.”

He didn’t move. “I’m Da Ge,” he said, hacking the G out of his throat. Dah Guh. I thought maybe people mispronounced his name all the time. Or that he was a chain smoker and couldn’t speak without choking. When he looked up, it was from the tops of his eyes, with the sullen affect of a teenager.

“The G is hard,” he added. “Dah. Guh.” I smiled, delighted that he knew the difference between a hard and a soft consonant. Maybe he’d be my teacher’s pet.

Although I must say he didn’t look the part. My students and I stared at him, curious. He was wiry, wearing ill-fitting jeans held up by a metal belt. He had a double-breasted navy blue wool coat, which although clearly expensive, gave him a bird-scaring affect. A scar extended from his left cheekbone to his jaw, raw and raised enough to seem recent. His hair flopped over his eyes, and he pushed it out of the way several times. He had the cumulative undereye shadows that mark a real insomniac, and surprisingly shiny shoes. He carried a blue backpack.

When he turned to take a seat, I noticed that the backpack had a cartoon duck and rabbit on it, both wearing spacesuits. Planets floated by. Under the duck were the letters “Ur,” followed by a hyphen. Under the rabbit it said, “anus.” It took me a minute. Uranus! It was a teachable moment; I should have explained why it’s safest not to hyphenate certain words. But I was too chicken.

“Hi, Da Ge,” I said. “I’m Aysha Silvermintz. You can call me Aysha.”

He didn’t respond. I turned to the class.

"Run,” I said.

“Ran,” they said back to me.


Someone said, “Will ran,” someone else, “Running!”

“Ingyum,” I coaxed. “Tomorrow I . . .” She looked away.

“Someone help her,” I said. No one responded.

“Da Ge?”


“Do you know the future tense of run?”

He stared at me lazily, moving his eyes from my shoulders down to my waist and then back up. I felt something like irritation rise hot to the roots of my hair in a blush.

“Run,” he said. I tried to mask my annoyance.

“What does it require in front of it?”

“Something to chase.”

So his English was too good for my class. I decided to let him carry the backpack for the rest of his life.

What is the best language slip you’ve ever said or heard?
A copy of Repeat After Me and a special surprise gift.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Wednesday's special is...Bad to the Bone!

Fresh off the presses, today we bring you, in a bizarre coincidence, more supernatural DJ activity (see Erica Orloff roast from Tuesday!):

BAD TO THE BONE by Jeri Smith-Ready
(Pocket Books, May 19, 2009)
Book 2 in the WVMP RADIO urban fantasy series and sequel to WICKED GAME

In the sequel to 2008's WICKED GAME, former con artist Ciara Griffin and her vampire DJs face a new threat to their struggling station (WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock ’n’ Roll): their broadcast signal is pirated by a religious firebrand, and their lives threatened by the shadowy organization behind it all.

Now Ciara must protect the station while coping with her new boyfriend (vampire DJ Shane), her new best friend (vampire dog Dexter), and the nature of her mysterious anti-holy powers. To make it to New Year’s in one piece, she’ll need to learn a few new tricks...

“Smith-Ready pours plenty of fun into her charming, fang-in-cheek
urban fantasy” — Publishers Weekly, starred review


We stumble through a thick copse of trees—or more precisely, David and
I stumble. Shane and Jim have the coordination and night vision of
natural predators—not that their blood donors ever provide much of a

We come to a small clearing at the base of the cross, about fifteen
feet in diameter. It’s almost completely dark, since the patriotic
spotlight sits on the ground on the other side of the trees.

I sweep the flashlight beam across the clearing. “So where would a

Two glowing red eyes stare out of the darkness.

“What the—”

In front of me, Jim halts and holds out an arm. “Whoa.”

A hunched black shape slouches in front of the white structure. The
clank of a chain rises over the sound of the wind in the trees. A low
growl stops my breath.

Suddenly the creature roars and leaps forward. I jump back, squealing
like a little girl. The chain rattles, then jerks tight.

Shane grabs my arm. “It’s just a dog.”

Can’t be. The noise it makes sounds like a cross between a rabid
cougar and a locomotive.

“I’ve never seen a dog like that.” David looks just as scared as I am.

“Don’t worry.” Shane moves a little closer, stepping sideways. “It’s
tied up.”

I gesture for David to stay back, then follow Shane. The barking
grows louder but higher-pitched. Finally the flashlight fully
illuminates the dog, and I let myself relax.

It probably weighs twice as much as I do, and my head might fit inside
its mouth, but its tail is wagging, and it’s play-bowing and clawing
the ground at the end of the chain.

“It’s okay, buddy,” I murmur. “We’re here to help.”

The dog’s bark turns to a whimper as I approach. My light reveals
ribs and hip bones showing through patchy black fur. Its head is
square, but its legs are long, lending a mismatched, rangy look. Huge
eyes reflect the light with a green glow.

When I’m a few feet away, the dog drops to its belly, then rolls over,
pawing the air and rubbing its—wait, his—back on the gravelly dirt.

“Looks friendly enough,” Shane says.

“It could be a trick.” David’s voice gets fainter as he backs up
behind me. “It could be luring you in, looking all innocent.”

“Dogs are a lot of things, but they’re not con artists.” I kneel near
the animal, out of range of the chain. He stops groveling and gets to
his feet, then shakes off the dust with a horse-like shudder of his hide.

“You’re all right now.” I keep my voice low and even, my gaze on his
shoulder instead of his eyes as I extend my hand, palm down and
curled, for him to sniff. He licks my fingertips, his tail whipping
back and forth like a puppy’s. “What a good boy. You’re someone’s
pet, aren’t you?” I examine his huge black face, crisscrossed with
faded gray scars. “Or maybe bait for a pit bull trainer. You’re too
nice to be a fighter yourself.”

“You know what’s freaky?” Jim says. “He’s not barking at me.”

As if to prove the point, the dog wags his tail at the hippie vampire.
Jim laughs and sings the first line to Led Zeppelin’s “Black
Dog”—off-key, as usual. The pup wags harder.

“Whoever put him here doesn’t deserve him.” I stand and dust the dirt
off my knees. “So we should take custody.”

Shane comes up next to me. “You mean steal him?”

“Not steal, liberate.”


To win a copy of Bad to the Bone - tell us - what's the most exciting thing you've ever 'liberated'?

Click here for Jeri's web site and purchasing details!

And click here to read the first chapter!

And follow Jeri on Twitter here.

Today's special is...Freudian Slip!

Freudian Slip by Erica Orloff

Almost a year ago, Erica Orloff was one of the first authors to throw themselves on to the red hot coals of the Book Roast, with The Roofer. We're delighted to toast her once again, with her imminent new release: Freudian Slip. Death, demons and DJs - an unearthly combination...

When raunchy shock jock Julian Shaw is shot, he expects a white light, or perhaps his dearly departed grandmother. What he gets instead is a Guide, Gus, and an assignment: a lovesick Kate Darby, whose life is a mess. He also gets orders from The Boss to fix her life. But doing something good kind of grows on Julian. And now he wants a chance at redemption--and he just may have to sell his soul to the devil to get it.

Excerpt . . . Julian's conversation with the devil:

Balam continued, his voice lugubriously smooth, “This signing bonus comes—if you should end up back in your mortal body—with wealth. Unimaginable wealth. And just for you,” he snapped his fingers and a thick contract on many pages of legal-sized paper appeared out of nowhere. “Clause 17H.”

Julian examined the contract, running his finger down all the fine print until he got to 17H. “You’re kidding.”

“Nope. Clause 17H. I’ll toss in a ménage a trois with twins.”

“Identical twins?”


“Playboy-quality twins?”

“You insult me, my friend. Would I deliver anything less. Impeccably perfect Playboy-quality twins. Blondes.” Balam snapped his fingers. “One better. Natural blondes. Brazilian wax of course.”

“Look,” Julian said. “Tempting as all this is, how come you’re not burning in a sea of fire? You’re not what I expected.”

“Of a demon?”

“Yeah. No pitchfork. No horns. No red skin.” Julian reached out and patted Balam’s suit. “Expensive Italian suit. Expertly tailored.”

“I use a guy from Hong Kong over near the Waldorf Astoria.”

Freudian Slip
comes in June, but you can pre-order at Amazon here or at Barnes and Noble here.

Erica keeps herself busy in a variety of genres, including sassy chick lit, comedic romances, YA and paranormal. Find out more about Erica and her books at:

Or check out her blogs: Erica Orloff and Demon Baby and Me


LinkIt could only be...tell us about your tailoring. Dahlings, my little fashion sweeties, from top to toe, and down to the skin if you dare - what are you wearing today and where did you get it from?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday's Special Is...Bunco Babes Tell All!


Visit Maria's website.

Buy from Amazon.

Meet the Bunco Babes of Whispering Bay. Every Thursday night they roll dice, drink frozen margaritas, and catch up on all the gossip in their small north Florida town. Kitty Burke is the only Bunco Babe who is still single—which is okay—but she’s thirty-five and may need to face that her image of Mr. Right is all wrong.

Take Steve. Very sexy—but on paper, with three failed marriages and a shady career, maybe not great husband material. And yes, his ring tone is “Freebird.” Certainly fellow Babes Shea and Pilar vote thumbs down. But maybe there’s more to Steve than meets the eye? Is it time for Kitty to take a chance and hope that she can be as lucky in love as she is in Bunco?


It was all Kevin Costner’s fault. If he hadn’t been so sexy in Bull Durham, Kitty Burke wouldn’t still be single on the eve of her thirty-fifth birthday.

For her grandmother, it had been Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind. For her mother, it had been both Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. At some point, almost every woman fell in love, or at least in lust, with a character from the big screen. But most other women got over it and went on to marry normal men.

Not Kitty.

Eighteen years ago, she fell in love with Crash Davis, the character Kevin had played so brilliantly in the film. Which wouldn’t have been that big a deal. Except that no flesh and blood, real, live man had ever come close to giving her the spine-tingling, mind-melting, heart-stopping sensation she got from watching Crash.

It’s not that she hadn’t tried to find a guy who made her feel all that. But after half a lifetime of dating the Ebby Calvin ‘Nuke’ LaLaooshes of the world, it was time to face facts. As her best friend Pilar had said, time and time again, “Crash Davis is a fahottie. He doesn’t exist.” Despite Pilar’s irritating habit of making up words you couldn’t find in Webster’s Dictionary, Kitty had come to the depressing conclusion that, as usual, Pilar was right. Crash Davis was nothing more than a fantasy hottie.

But that was okay. Because as of today, Kitty was officially over it.

So what if she was the only one of her friends not married? The rest of her life was perfect. She had a great job selling real estate, a fantastic income (well, maybe not so fantastic in the last couple of years, but things had to start picking up soon) and she had recently moved into her grandmother’s old place just two blocks from the beach. In north Florida, life didn’t get much better than that.

But what made Kitty’s life really special was her Bunco group. The Bunco Babes of Whispering Bay had been established ten years ago by what Pilar referred to as the “the nucleus”. The nucleus consisted of the three founding members; Kitty Burke, Pilar Diaz-Rothman, and their other best friend, Shea Masterson. Exactly who the protons or the neutrons were, Kitty wasn’t sure, although she was fairly certain Pilar did. But whoever was what, one thing was indisputable. Admission into the Bunco Babes was exclusive. No one got in without the unanimous consent of the nucleus. There were nine other members (the electrons, so to speak), for a total of twelve Babes. For the past ten years they had been there for each other through boyfriends, marriages, babies, spreading hips and sagging boobs.

With friends like the Babes, who needed a man?

If Susan Sarandon could worship at the Church of Baseball, then Kitty could worship at the Church of Bunco. It was every Thursday night while rolling the dice and chugging frozen margaritas that Kitty found her true salvation. It was the friendship of those eleven other women that provided the balance in her life. The yin to her yang. The cherry on top of her hot fudge sundae.

Tonight however, a perfectly nasty imbalance was taking shape in the form of an overflowing toilet.

Please answer the following question for a chance to win a free copy of BUNCO BABES TELL ALL! Or, drop by and say hi to Maria!!

Who is your big-screen crush? You may have more than one...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thursday's Special Is...Garlic!

GARLIC by Sarah Laurenson

There’s more to being a vampire than a change of diet. Thirteen-year-old, half-breed Tommy loves his dad’s Italian cooking. It’s too bad his vampire half is allergic to it. One too many rounds of garlic zits and his batty mother packs him off to vampire boarding school; where he’s stuck in remedial transformation and bloodsucking classes with kids half his age, his assigned mentor is the school bully, and there’s a gang hungry for a taste of the forbidden – human blood.

Once at school, he gets saddled with the name Garlic – a derogatory vampire term for a half-breed. In the blood feast room, Tommy has to transform to bat form in front of all the staring boy bats clinging to the ripped red velvet wallpaper in order to suck down his bloody meal. Or worse – join the girls in their pristine cream and gold dining room where they sit as humans at tables with tablecloths and drink glasses of Bloody Maria – animal blood with Italian seasonings (sans garlic). Then the new blood drink in the girl’s dining room is named after Emeline, Tommy's secret human crush. Is it really Emeline’s blood? Will Tommy use that blood to stave off the human hunter gang and keep his own blood to himself? And, more importantly, is Emeline still alive?

Sarah's done a little bit of everything – from working a register to tramping around a campus to being a desk jockey. Her first degree was in Law Enforcement. She went through the Police Academy (Honor Graduate), then served eight years as a University Cop. Another degree, this time in Physics, led to her time as a Software Engineer. She's jokingly referred to as a rocket scientist by her writing friends, though it’s not far from the truth.

Her alter ego writes and volunteers. She's currently serving on the Board for the Los Angeles region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators where she is the webmistress ( and the gate keeper of the listserv. Mostly, she writes Middle Grade and Young Adult Fantasy.

Sarah is a more recent member of the Book Roast team, though she has been a valued supporter from day 1. She brought her terrific blend of creativity and organization to the Book Roast, and we appreciate all of her hard work and enthusiasm!! It is my pleasure to roast her manuscript "Garlic." Let's give Sarah a hardy welcome!!

Excerpt from GARLIC:

Tommy winced at the mirror. Everything above his shirt collar was pocked with ugly red zits with yellowish-white centers. He touched the one on the tip of his nose and flinched. That hurt! Placing a finger on each side of it, he steeled himself and squished. His eyes squeezed shut, forcing out a few tears. Chunky white liquid splashed against the mirror. Tommy sighed with the release of the pressure. The aroma of garlic tickled his nose. He took a huge sniff.


Tommy jumped. His hands dropped to his side. “Coming, Mother,” he shouted through the door.

He quickly grabbed a wad of toilet paper and dabbed at his tears. Using the same wad, he wiped the mirror, leaving behind white streaks. He almost didn’t see the chunks of white on the sink. After mopping up those, too, he threw the soggy paper in the toilet.

“Tommy! I’m waiting!”

Tommy gulped and put a hand on the door knob. His gaze glossed over the toilet handle and jerked back. He flushed the toilet, hoping his mother would hear and think he had a good reason to keep her waiting. Fingers tapping on the sink, he turned on the cold water and slowly counted to ten – long enough for him to have washed his hands. Taking a steadying breath, he left the safety of the bathroom. She was going to kill him. And there was nothing he could do about it.

He opened her bedroom door a minuscule crack. “Yes, Mother?”

Stark white mosquito netting billowed from the bed’s canopy bar and framed her small, oval face. Her long black hair streamed down to the white tile floor like some static electricity machine was under her head. He glanced at his watch. It was early for her to be hanging upside down.

“About time.” She reached out to beckon him in, but her cape slid down and covered her arm. “Oh blast!” She shoved the cape back up and held it close to her side. The movement started her body swaying. “Come in here, my boy.”

He backed into the room, shutting the door with great care. Being at the end of his delaying tactics, he slowly turned to face her.

“Oh my!” Her hands flew to her mouth. Her cape slid down again and covered her head. She flailed her arms and whipped it off, almost swinging off the canopy bar in the process. She reached up, gripped the bar and swung to the ground. “You’ve been eating your father’s cooking!”

Tommy nodded. There was no use denying it.

She threw her arms into the air. “How many times do we have to go through this?”

“I like Dad’s cooking.”

“You can’t like it, Tommy, you’re allergic to it.”

That made no sense. “Dad’s a good cook.”

“He’s Italian. That means garlic, son, tons of it.”

Tommy smiled, then wiped the smile from his face. He loved garlic, but it didn’t love him. One of his hands crept up towards his face and the chunks of garlic embedded in his zits.


Please answer the following for a chance to win a $15 gift certificate to Borders.
Do you have a favorite garlic-laden recipe? Major bonus points if it's vegan/vegetarian.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday's Special Is...The Woman in the Wall!

THE WOMAN IN THE WALL by Shona Snowden

Shona Snowden lives with her husband and children in Sydney, Australia. She works as a freelance copywriter, squeezing writing essays and fiction into the gaps between her client work. Her short stories have been published in several national magazines in Australia and 'The People's Friend' in the UK, and her humour has appeared in 'The Sydney Morning Herald'.

The Book Roast tapped into her most awesome marketing and publicity talents to put together a vibrant community of authors! She has truly been a driving force behind the energy of the Book Roast blog, and we are happy to share her novel, THE WOMAN IN THE WALL –
a mystery with elements of horror.

Jac Thompson is the perfect tax accountant: diligent, meticulous and devoid of personal dramas. Nobody knows she is concealing a harrowing Glasgow childhood as the child of an alcoholic and a drug addict behind her columns of obedient numbers and endless 'To Do' lists.

That's until Jac loses her job and is forced to retreat to her isolated cottage on Scotland's east coast. Her estranged father reappears, claiming to be sober, repentant and ready to help her pick up the pieces. However, when he reveals a skeleton in the wall of the cottage while renovating, his 'perfect dad' persona collapses. The discovery of a baby's corpse back on their home estate in Glasgow unnerves him even further and he hides himself in the wall cavity alongside the skeleton.

With her new life in ruins, Jac delves reluctantly into the shabby secrets of her old one to track down the identity of the baby and release her father from his self-imposed prison.

At first she's not sure why she's trying so hard to release somebody she's spent her whole life trying to escape. But soon she understands. Neglect is only the start of it. Like her cottage, Jac's life is built on bones.

Visit Shona here

Excerpt from WOMAN IN THE WALL

I perch the ring on the windowsill in front of me while I'm doing the washing up. It's a hollow moon of curved yellow-gold, with tiny scratches all around the outside. From this angle I can glimpse the indentation of the inscription inside, but the words are too tiny to read. It doesn't matter. The words are as engraved on my memory as they are on the ring. 'DB & RB' and the date: '12/7/21.' The date they got married, the date they started a life together. DB and RB and this little ring. Now the little ring is all that's left. Why am I keeping it? It's not mine. This is no family of mine.

Mum had a wedding ring. A plain gold band, like this one. Towards the end it got loose. It would slide up and down her bony fingers. 'You'll lose that,' Dad would say and she'd just shrug. I think he might have been afraid she would sell it; he'd rather it were in a wee velvet box in his bedside table than spinning around her finger.

She never did sell it, although she sold everything else – the silver teapot Dad inherited from his Gran, the video recorder, even the china, so we had to eat off plastic picnic plates from Woolworths – but not her wedding ring. When it came back from the crematorium with the rest of her stuff, it had a speck of dried blood on it. I don't know what Dad did with the ring. Maybe he threw it away.

Like I should throw this one away. I pick it up with my dripping hands and drop it smartly into the pedal bin. The lid closes with a snap and I turn back to the sink.

Suddenly I'm breathing in cold air. I look down at the washing up. The bubbles on the surface of the water are popping, melting away into grey scum. I touch the surface of the water. It's greasy and cold, even though when I lifted my hands out to pick up the ring my skin glowed red from the heat of the water.

The door slams as Dad comes in, blowing away the silence with clapping hands and heaving breaths. 'It's dead cold out there the night. No' much better in here, either.' He strides across the room and snaps on the electric bar heater, standing in front of it, rubbing his hands together as if it were an open fire. 'Wish we had a telly, eh, lass? That's the thing for a cold night.'

I'm not sure how a telly can drive away the cold. Or the misery. Because it's not just cold in here. It's misery. The air in the cottage is full of misery. Not a hard thing for me to recognise.

Before I sit down I take the ring out of the bin and put it back in my pocket.

Answer the following question for a chance to win a $15 gift certificate to Amazon.

Describe a typical family dinner at the Snowden residence.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tuesday's Special is There's Only Been You

There's Only Been You by Donna Marie Rogers

Lies, drugs, and a videotape are the reasons young lovers Sara Jamison & Mike Andrews have spent the last eight years apart, each believing the other betrayed them.

Sara has no clue where Mike's been all these years, but she knows where she's been - busy raising their son, Ethan. Two weeks after he accused her of cheating and disappeared from her life, Sara discovered she was something she never expected to be - an unwed pregnant teenager. But with the love and support of her annoyingly alpha-male family, she's managed to make a good life for herself and her young son. She even owns her own business, Sara's Bakery, which she's built into a thriving success. Sure, she works too hard and her social life is nonexistent, but for the most part, she's content.

Until the day Detective Mike Andrews walks into her bakery and back into her life...

"There's Only Been You is a heartwarming story of family and a second chance at love. Reading Donna Marie Rogers is like coming home." ~ Best-selling, Award-winning author Tori Carrington

"...Wonderfully heartwarming..." 4-Stars* Romantic Times BOOK Reviews

Buy There's Only Been You:


Sara glanced over her shoulder when the screen door opened. Mike. The pan she'd been drying fell from her hands and clattered to the floor.

"We need to talk."

"Where's Garrett?" she asked, attempting to peer around his broad shoulders. She tried not to make eye contact with him. As long as she didn't look him directly in the eye, she'd be able to maintain her composure.

"You've always put him on a goddamn pedestal."

She bent over to pick up the pan. "Don't you dare say anything unkind about him."

"He's a pain in the ass."

Sara shot him a look. "He's not the only one."

A slow smile curved his lips. "Now there's the Sara I know and love."

"Don't you dare throw that word around. If you loved me we wouldn't be in this situation." A surge of emotion tightened her chest, and she silently cursed herself for letting him get to her.

Hands on his hips, Mike sighed. "Look, I know you have every reason to believe that, but it's just not true. I've loved you since the first moment I laid eyes on you."

She paused. God, how she wanted to believe him. But if he'd truly loved her as he claimed, he'd never have been able to stay away for so long. She swallowed past the lump in her throat and reached into the drainer for something else to dry.

"All right, I'm done playing. Come on, we're going for a ride." Mike reached out and grasped her elbow.

"I'm not going anywhere with you," she said, yanking her arm free. "If you want to talk, we'll talk, but we're doing it right here." She tossed the dishtowel on the counter and crossed her arms over her chest.

"You either follow me to my truck or I'll throw you over my shoulder and carry you there. But one way or another, we're taking a ride."

She gasped. "If you touch me I'll scream bloody murder."

"Then I guess I'll have to gag you as well."

He took a step toward her. She took a step back.

"You stay the hell away from me." She took another step back and bumped into the table.

"Not a chance. I made that mistake once, I won't make it again."

About the author:

Donna Marie Rogers lives in a renovated old schoolhouse in beautiful Northeast Wisconsin with her husband and children. She's an avid gardener and home-canner, as well as an admitted reality TV junkie. Her passion to read is only exceeded by her passion to write, so when she's not doing the wife and mother thing, you can usually find her sitting at her computer, creating exciting new characters, fresh new worlds, and always happily-ever-afters.

Answer one of the following questions for a chance to win a copy of There's Only Been You:

Your significant other has just returned after leaving several years ago to get milk at the corner store. What's the first thing you say as they walk in the door?


What do you think would be the best thing about living in a renovated schoolhouse?

Or just stop by and say hi to Donna!

Monday, May 11, 2009

I May Be Cheap, But I'm Not Easy. Who Am I?

From the desk of Ms. Sally Spitfire...

My Dearest Suzy-Q,

How is life down in the gorgeous south? NYC is chugging along splendidly and I'm just tickled pink that the warm weather has finally arrived. Flowers are peeking out all over and Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, and all other outdoorsy beautiful city spots are filling up with people soaking up the sun.

Work is, as usual, busy but good. The big news of the week was Amazon holding a conference to announce the KINDLE 3. Although I didn't go, I spoke to a few people who did and it sounds like Amazon is getting closer and closer to taking over the world (which we all know will happen eventually, if Google doesn't beat them to it.)

The announcement of the new Kindle couldn't have come at a more appropriate time. I have ebooks on the brain and how can I not? The topic seems to come up everywhere I look, in one form or another. For the consumer, e-readers are an interesting new electronic toy and ebooks an interesting--for some exciting and for some detestable--new way of reading. But for those of us in publishing, it opens up a whole new range of questions about how we do what we do.

One of the biggest questions--of course--is that of rights. In the past, editors, agents and authors negotiated over contracts that included rights for the different ways and places a book could be published: US rights, international rights, audio rights, first serial rights, and so on and so forth. Now, the standard contract has been altered to include digital rights. All well and good. But what about those more old-fashioned authors who resist the idea of putting their work out in digital form? Should it be optional? Will that ultimately hurt the book or not? (I think that in most cases it will.) And what about books that were published before digital rights were part of those contracts? Can those books--for which there may be an audience that wants to buy it in ebook form--be published digitally without the author's consent? (In most cases, no.) And who is going to track down the authors to all backlist titles and ask them to sign a new contract that includes digital rights?

But those questions don't concern me--in marketing--personally. For me, the questions fall more along the lines of "how can we best use ebooks as a marketing tool?" and "how long will it be before it becomes common to accept ebooks instead of galleys?"

The latter question, as of yet, seems relatively unclear. There are a small number of reviewers who--when offered a galley--will request an electronic one instead but, interestingly enough, most reviewers still insist on a hard copy. Not only is it surprising that reviewers--who surely receive hundreds upon thousands of books they don't end up liking or even reading--wouldn't jump at the opportunity to trade those book piles for a slim little ereader, but the amount of money that could be saved by not producing huge quantities of galleys would be a boon for the marketing departments. Of course, it's also a matter of what each publisher is capable of; so far, it seems that the smaller publishing houses (the independent ones, so to speak) are ahead of the game when it comes to offering ebooks to reviewers. The bigger publishing houses are still trying to figure out the best way to do this without risking "big" books getting leaked early to consumers.

As far as marketing goes, the ebook is a brand new promotional object and one that is, relatively speaking, cheap to offer on a large scale. Although I am still no expert on the technical aspects of ebooks, I've been learning as much as quickly as I can about them. Already, it's becoming common practice to offer ebooks as a prize in online sweepstakes, much the same way in the past we have offered finished books or galleys. But can this be taken further? Some people are offering "original content" such as exclusive "prequels" or "gap stores" (that bridge the plot between two books of a series) in a digital form. What else is on the horizon?
As usual, there are a lot of questions floating around. You know, I've been thinking, even with all of the uncertainty in the industry right now, due to economy and changing attitudes towards "what is a book" and the rise of self-publishing, it's probably one of the most exciting times to BE in the books world...

And aren't you lucky to get to hear about it all from me, Suzy, dear... ;-)

Much love and hope to see you soon for a visit,

(Ms.) Suzy Q

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday's Special Is...Shadows

SHADOWS by Joan De La Haye

Buy from Mobipocket.

Visit Joan's website.

Sarah is forced to the edge of sanity by the ghosts of her family’s past. Suffering from violent and bloody hallucinations, she seeks the help of psychiatrist and friend, Michael Brink. After being sent to an institution in a catatonic state covered in blood - from stabbing her unfaithful boyfriend - Sarah is forced to confront the truth about her father’s death and the demon, Jack, who caused her father's suicide and who is now the reason for her horrific hallucinations. Unlike her father, Sarah refuses to kill herself. She bargains for her life and succeeds. In Sarah’s struggle to regain her life and her sanity, she discovers there is more to the world than she could ever have imagined, and it leaves her seeking the answer to the nagging question, "Who is really mad?"

Excerpt for Shadows:

I rolled over and managed to switch off the bedside lamp before falling asleep. Gypsy snuggled up in her usual spot. I always slept on my stomach which left the backs of my legs free for her to perch herself on. She usually slept with her head on my arse. I drifted off into a deep sleep and dreams floated in and out.

Gypsy hissed. My heart pounded. There was something in the room with us. Gypsy bolted off the bed. I could still hear her hissing and screeching from under the bed. I rolled onto my back and looked around to see what it was. I thought it was another cat from next door. But a voice at the back of my mind screamed – RUN.

Shadows moved and took shape. I closed my eyes and blinked to clear my vision. There was something there: something with shape and form. It was coming for me. I wanted to scream but no sound came out. A hand came out of the shadows. It was a claw, not a hand. It grabbed my ankle. I felt its talon dig into my flesh.

“There’s nothing there,” I whispered. “It’s just my imagination.”

Another claw grabbed my other ankle. Using my legs, it pulled its way out of the darkness, coming closer towards me. Its head emerged out of the shadows. It looked at me, smiling. It was the man from the parking lot.

He slowly clawed his way up my body. A scream locked in my throat. I was paralysed with fear. The air in the room froze and time stood still.

His face was above mine and his breath stank of rotting flesh.

“Real enough for you?” He said with a grin. “I'm really going to enjoy our time together.”

The weight of his body pressed down on me. I couldn’t breathe. Cold, hard lips pressed down on mine. I closed my eyes. His sharp teeth bit into my lower lip and I tasted blood. His tongue slithered into my mouth. I bit down hard. And bit my own tongue. I opened my eyes. He was gone.

I switched on the bedside lamp and scanned the room. My heart was pumping ninety to the dozen. A cold sweat covered my body. My teeth chattered and I could still taste blood. My tongue and lip hurt like hell.

Gypsy jumped back onto the bed and made herself comfortable on my stomach. I tickled her under her chin with shaky fingers and she started to purr.


Let's scream some awesome answers to win a copy of Joan's fear-fest, SHADOWS. As always, please hang out too. I don't expect anyone to get murdered. Here's your question:

What is the most embarrassing (or illegal) thing your shadow has ever done?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thursday's Special Is...Vamped!

VAMPED by Lucienne Diver

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Visit Lucienne:
As agent
As author
As hybrid

From “Valley Vamp Rules for Surviving Your Senior Prom” by fashionista Gina Covello

Do not get so loaded at the after prom party that you accidentally-on-purpose end up in the broom closet with the surprise hottie of the evening, say the class chess champ who’s somewhere lost his bottle-cap lenses and undergone an extreme makeover, especially if that makeover has anything to do with becoming one of the undead.

Gina Covella has a problem. Waking up a dead is just the beginning.
There's little she can't put up with for the sake of eternal youth and beauty. Blood-sucking and pointy stick phobias seem a small price to pay. But she draws the line when local vampire vixen Mellisande gets designs on her hot new boyfriend with his prophecied powers and hatches a plot to turn all of Gina’s fellow students into an undead army to be used to overthrow the vampire council.

Hey, if anyone's going to create an undead entourage, it should be Gina! Now she must unselfishly save her classmates from fashion disaster and her own fanged fate.

Excerpt for Vamped:

Gina Covello's “Valley Vamp Rules for Surviving Your Senior Prom” from the spring issue of Modern Goth Magazine:

  1. Don’t go strapless. I don’t care how sexy you think it is, you’re going to spend half the night tugging your dress back into place. If by some miracle it’s tight enough to stay put, chances are you’ve got overhang. And let me just say for the record, “Ew.”

  2. Do not get so loaded at the after-prom party that you accidentally-on-purpose end up in the broom closet with the surprise hottie of the evening—say the class chess champ who’s somewhere lost his Coke-bottle lenses and undergone an extreme makeover—especially if that makeover has anything to do with becoming one of the undead.

  3. If because of said chess champ’s ridiculously irresistible vamp mojo you’re compelled to skip Rule #2, do not let your extremely jealous boyfriend—let’s call him "Chaz"—catch you.

  4. Never get into a car, no matter how well the cherry red finish goes with your gown, with anyone who’s been drinking or just found you in a compromising position with the mother of all hickeys forming on your neck—just for example.

  5. If you’ve ignored the previous rules—and I mean, seriously, give some thought to #1 (talk about wardrobe malfunction)—make sure you have a death plan. It’s kinda like an emergency plan, but, you know, for death. For example, make sure there’s absolutely nothing in your closet you wouldn’t be caught dead in, because it’s a freakin' guarantee that’s what they’ll dress you in for the viewing. You also may want to leave some kind of instructions behind about not being buried for four days—at which point you’re either risen or beyond caring—because digging yourself out of the ground, not to mention prying open the damned coffin, is hell on your manicure.

  6. Now, chances are that in the midst of everything, Rule #5 never even popped up on your radar. I get that. So, you’re famished and filthy, but, hey, you’ve survived—better than a certain somebody’s cherry red convertible anyway. Now, to keep up that trend. Normally, I wouldn’t advocate going about in public without freshening up, but here’s a tip: blood is never fashion forward. Chances are as a newly risen vamp, you’re going to be a bit, um, indelicate in your feeding, so you may want to eat first, shop later.

  7. Here’s where it gets dicey. Vamps have no reflection. Yeah, don’t even get me started. No way at all to fix your hair and make-up. Who wants to go through eternity a total shlub? I mean, what a cosmic joke, right? My recommendation: turn your own stylist, start an entourage, whatever it takes.

  8. Okay, so you’re fed, you’re fab. Chances are your geek-boy sire is waiting in the wings somewhere expecting you to be his sex slave for all eternity. Girls, all I can say is I don’t care if the man is the second coming of Brad Pitt, you make him work for it. Begin as you mean to continue. You’re young, beautiful, and, as long as you avoid stakes and beheadings, immortal. The world is your oyster. Make him crack it open and set the pearls (preferably in platinum).


Are you all ready to mix it up to win a free copy of VAMPED? The person who wins over Lucienne with the answer to this question gets eternal bragging rights:

In your opinion, what's the sexiest chess piece? If it became real, what would be its signature move?

Keep the party going!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wednesday's Special Is...Silver Phoenix!


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Visit Cindy's website.

No one wanted Ai Ling. And deep down she is relieved-despite the dishonor she has brought upon her family-to be unbetrothed, free, and not some stranger's subservient bride banished to the inner quarters. But now, something is after her. Something terrifying-a force she cannot comprehend. And as the pieces of the puzzle start to fit together, Ai Ling begins to understand that her journey to the Palace of Fragrant Dreams in search of her beloved father-missing these many months-is so much more than that. Bravery, intelligence, the will to fight and fight hard . . . she will need all of these things. Just as she will need the new and mysterious power growing within her. She will also need help. It is Chen Yong who finds her partly submerged and barely breathing at the edge of a deep lake. There is something of unspeakable evil trying to drag her under. On a quest of his own Chen Yong offers that help…and perhaps more.

Excerpt of Silver Phoenix:

Her spirit surged. She concentrated on the immense cadaverous heart, focused her grief and ire. What she could heal, she could also destroy. Her spirit whirled around it in a frenzy. The heart erupted and splattered. The beast howled once before it fell to its knees. It toppled, nearly pinning Chen Yong beneath its rotten bulk. She snapped back into her own body, woozy, her head bent over the cold floor, her trembling hands barely able to hold herself up. Strong arms pulled Ai Ling to her feet. "Are you all right?" Chen Yong asked. He took her dagger, still clutched in one hand, and sheathed it for her.

Ready to throw it down for a free copy of SILVER PHOENIX?? Answer the following question, and Cindy will pick a winner at the end of the day. Also feel free to just hang out and chat!

An unspeakable creature is dragging you to the bottom of a lake. You have the following weapons: one mitten, a travel size tube of tooth paste, and a Jonas Brothers CD. (Oh, and a new power growing inside you.) How did you get away?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesday's Special Is...So This Fish Walks Into a Cemetery!


Jason Evans, also known as the Keeper of Twilight, is the long-time owner of a popular crossroads blog for writers, "The Clarity of Night." His quarterly flash fiction contests have drawn thousands of viewers, and even more importantly, have been a well of inspiration for writers from around the world.

He is also one of the co-founders of the Book Roast blog. As the Book Roast team brainstormed various titles and concepts for an interactive community of authors, Jason is the one who zeroed in on the name "The Book Roast." Getting the Book Roast off the ground was truly a team endeavor. Many thanks to Jason for all of the hard work and creativity he's put into our blog!!!

Over the next couple of weeks, it is going to be my pleasure to roast the Roasters! Without further ado, let's read about his latest manuscript, SO THIS FISH WALKS INTO A CEMETERY. (BTW, I hear he's pretty pumped to be finishing the project and starting to query in June!)


After a childhood marked by the loss of his father, Richard Silva should finally be hitting his stride. He's young, smart, has a great job, and a hot co-worker is pursuing him. Unfortunately, a voice living inside his antique mantel clock pesters him with bad jokes, while mysterious, muttering creatures he can't see follow him on Philadelphia's streets. Before he's too terrified to leave his apartment, Richard travels to his hometown to find the origin of these "dust people." There, he meets Leah, a girl he was never brave enough to date in high school. Around Leah and her son, the dust people disappear. However, the calm does not endure. Back in Philadelphia, the final battle with the dust people awaits. Will a talking clock be the one to save him?

Jason working on revisions. (I used to call him Grisly Adams.)

Visit Jason at The Clarity of Night


Richard limped along with his late day shadow. He just parked after his long drive home. Sidewalk cracks passed. His bag dragged on his shoulder.

He tucked the clock under his other arm. The pendulum perched ready in his back pocket in case he was jumped. Philadelphia's streets crisscrossed in every direction. No dust people. Just the echo of his footsteps.

Sunday evening traffic drifted lazy and listless through the yellow blinking lights. His mind dwelled on Leah ever since his drive began. He thought of the conversations they had. He thought of the conversations they didn't have.

His apartment building loomed. The shadows of its neighbor cut a harsh line of darkness down the facade. His own window was on the wrong side of the line. The western window. Standing out in the openness, Richard saw how flimsy his barricade up there seemed. A shade and a slid-over bookcase couldn't defeat evil. He couldn't defeat the creatures that crept beneath the uneasy world.

Knock knock, the clock said.

It startled him.

His foot caught a crack, and he stumbled.

Knock knock.

Cold sweat sprang under his arms. The clock hadn't peeped since last night at Leah's house.

Knock knock.

Richard felt pasty. Unwell. He pushed faster, the dread dragging at his heels.

Knock knock, knock knock. The voice was growing angry.

He approached his apartment building. The feeling of electricity buzzed around him. His hair stiffened, as if static sizzled up from the brush of his feet.


"Who's there?" Richard croaked.

He was going to double over. Be sick.

Few know you're real in there.

The revolving door. Just ahead.

He almost broke into a run, if he were capable of running.

Few know? Real?

The words gnawed into him. But the clock was waiting.

Richard spoke, the words rushing together. "Few-know-yer-real in there...who?"

The clock's voice darkened. Turned vicious. The fu-ner-ral in there is for you.

Richard crashed to a stop at the door.

The building moved. Swelled. It leaned over him and rumbled deep into the subway tunnels below.

Answer the following for a chance to win a $15 gift certificate to Amazon:

Tell me about your favorite fish. Then, tell me about your favorite cemetery. The quirkiest answer wins!