Lois Leveen

Blog

June 14, 2012

PDXellent

After five days in nearly 90 degree whether in Chicago, I was a little cranky.

But then I discovered the BEST welcome home at the Powell's Bookstore in PDX, Portland's beautiful airport.

staff pick tag

One of the customers in the store, seeing me photographing this, asked if I wrote the card. I demurred, though I did cop to writing the actual book. She bought a copy. Actually, she and her mom bought a copy, and each told me to inscribe it to the other. How cute is that?

Portland, I love Portland!
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June 13, 2012

Coming July 12 to an Internet Near You

I've been shlepping all over the country to talk to readers about The Secrets of Mary Bowser. Great fun, especially if you collect souvenir spoons.

But on July 12, it will be great to chat with everyone anywhere via an on-air segment of Book Club Girl.

Hope you can make it. Because really, how far are any of us from the internet, ever?
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June 7, 2012

The Mouthfeel of Fiction

Is the sexiest writing about food, rather than, well, sex?

If you’ve ever participated in a writing workshop, you’ve probably heard the mantra “Show, don’t tell.” Rather than declaring that a character “is” a certain way, we writers are charged with describing a detail or, better yet, an action that reveals something about a character — the more visceral, the better. Showing allows a reader to experience something along with the characters, to recognize some aspect of character for themselves.

Maybe because my best writerly procrastination involves snacking, when I’m looking to show rather than tell, I often create scenes that involve cooking and eating. Passages that appeal to the sense of taste, and to smell and touch as well, draw readers in. Done well, such passages show more about characters than merely what they’re having for dinner.

For some examples, include an incredibly erotic poem that's about pie baking, check out this article at Culinate, one of my favorite foodie magazines.

BONUS!!!! Post an example on Culinate of a literary food scene that draws you in, and you could win a copy of The Secrets of Mary Bowser.
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June 4, 2012

Shelf Awareness

I get a little agoraphobic in bookstores. So many books to read! So little time! My pulse races, and my heart races and, well, I lose my mellow all over the plae.

I guess that's the idea behind Shelf Awareness, which promises "Enlightenment for Readers," through newsletters with book industry highlights. Sort of a Cliff Notes for people who actually want to read the whole book, as long as they can figure out which whole book to read. Shelf Awareness is so into its enlightenment approach, it even has a logo with a cute little Buddha all yoga-ed out on a bookshelf, using bound angle pose to prop up a book.

That is my kind of multi-tasking. Maybe if I could read in yoga class, I'd be a better yogini. And better read.

In any event, I'm delighted to report that Shelf Awareness has published a really glowing (per the enlightenment metaphor, maybe I should say inner-glowing?) review of The Secrets of Mary Bowser, which they call "A brilliant historical novel" and "a rich, layered story of slavery, of the South and of what it means to fight for what we believe in, no matter the cost."

If you'd like to get a little more enlightened, check out the full review.
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June 1, 2012

No Sour Grapes, Some Sour Kraut

Thanks to everyone who voted for The Secrets of Mary Bowser, which is the WINNER for the Sutter Home Wine June bookclub selection.

Civil War guys with wine bottles

The author of the monthly selection shares entertaining tips (I think that means tips for entertaining; my amusing advice on how to add more leopard to your wardrobe did not qualify), as well as a recipe book groups can use for the meeting where they discuss the book.

Needless to say, a recipe with a secret ingredient seemed especially appropriate for The Secrets of Mary Bowser.

And chocolate seems especially appropriate for ANYTHING.

So, check out my Secrets of Chocolate Cake recipe. It is the weirdest chocolate cake you'll ever make, but also the best. (Just don't tell anyone what the secret ingredient is, until after they've tasted it!)
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