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Archive for September, 2011

I can hardly believe it was almost a year and a half ago that I first learned NAL would be publishing my debut novel LITTLE GALE GUMBO on October 4th, 2011. That date seemed a million days away. Now a million days has dwindled down to seven.

Having not had the experience of a book release before now, I’m not sure how the fever/fervor rates just yet–but I do know that I’ve been busy and I know you all have too. My blog subscriptions arrive in my inbox to taunt me of all your adventures and discoveries and I want you all to know I will be back to your wonderful blogs soon to catch up.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few tidbits here.

LITTLE GALE GUMBO got a very kind (and starred!) review from Library Journal. Thank you, Ms. Donohue!

To escape an abusive relationship, Camille Bergeron fled her beloved New Orleans in 1977 with her two teenage daughters, Dahlia and Josie, winding up on Little Gale Island off the coast of Maine—a place as geographically and culturally distant from their home as possible. Opening a Creole restaurant, the Bergerons soon win over the locals, becoming as much a part of the island’s culture as lobster fishing. Most important for Camille, she wins the heart of Ben Haskell, their landlord, who becomes a stable fixture in their lives. Yet Camille’s daughters remain scarred by the chaos of their early childhood. Dahlia vows she will never let a man hurt her as her father hurt her mother, and Josie maintains her idealism and romanticism despite the challenges of adulthood. When their father arrives on the island, bringing trouble with him, Dahlia and Josie, along with Ben’s son, Matthew, must come to terms with their pasts.
Verdict A debut like this doesn’t come along often—this is women’s fiction to be savored, just like a bowl of Camille’s delicious gumbo. And like gumbo, it’s the blend of ingredients that makes the difference. Marks’s combination of strong female characters, New Orleans culture, and light suspense is a winner.—Nanette Donohue, Champaign P.L., IL

If you haven’t been over to the Debutante Ball, stop on by this week–the subject is Banned Books Week and we’d love to hear from you. Today, my post explains how I didn’t know a bloody thing about the dreadful practice of book banning until I saw the movie Footloose in 1984.

I finally set up a website which will have more goodies in the days/weeks to come but I’d love to hear your thoughts in the meantime. I also added an excerpt from the book so you can get a “taste” of GUMBO, as it were.

Okay, so that’s enough about me right now. I’d really love to hear what you all have been up to, what projects, writing/reading/and otherwise, are landing or exiting your plate.

The floor is yours…

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This past weekend I took my daughters to their first comic book store. They are almost 6 and almost 4. The young man behind the counter looked understandably puzzled–until they rushed to the first display and cried, “Mommy, look, it’s Green Lantern!” Then his eyes softened and he began to smile.

I loved comics. I still do. In fact it was my very own collection that recently inspired my daughters to become fanatics. They pore over the pages. Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Batman, Justice League (Superfriends as they were called back then). No, they aren’t able to read yet but they know there is story and emotion and drama and excitement in those panels and they are riveted. Which is why I thought it would be great fun to take them to our local comic book store and let them see for themselves (steering them clear, of course, from the hard stuff, ie horror comics–I’m a cool mom, but I’m not THAT cool.)

Oh, it was exactly as I remembered it!

The boxes, the shelves, the displays! Only one thing was missing.

The customers.

The store was empty. On a Saturday afternoon. A hot Saturday afternoon.

I’m not going to lie: it broke my heart. What does this mean? Well, sure, it could mean that it was a freak–that normally the place is packed and bustling–but what if it isn’t?What if comic book lovers today don’t go to comic book stores to buy their comics? (And don’t crush me completely by saying that they download them on their IPads because I already know they do and I can’t, CAN’T bear the thought.)

When I was young, comic book stores were the place to be. Downtown Portland had a great one, basement level (made it that much cooler, IMO) and there was nothing quite as exciting as stepping inside. You came on a Saturday afternoon to read, to browse, to flirt (eye-contact only–hey, it counted!), and yes, even to buy. You came to be around other comic lovers. You came to glean cool tidbits. And for those of us whose greatest wish was to become a comic book artist, you came to be inspired.

Not that you HAD to go to a comic book store. You could buy comic books EVERYWHERE. My dad used to pick me up one every time he stopped at Mac’s Variety for his cigars. They filled those spinning racks. The eye candy of all eye candy. Apparently, that’s isn’t true anymore. I only know this because a few months ago I innocently went into the drugstore to buy a comic book and couldn’t find a one.

So in honor of the very recent DC reboot, I just wanted to give a long-overdue shout-out to comic books, for shaping my imagination and giving it wings. May you stick around for a long, long time. My daughters are just getting started.

What about you all? Did/do comic books hold a special place in your heart/memory?

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