06.30.10

Interview with Tiffany Baker

Posted in Event at 11:50 am by Amber

I’m so happy Tiffany was able to take some time from her busy schedule to answer questions about writing and her first novel, The Little Giant of Aberdeen County.  She’s already at work on her second novel.  You can visit Tiffany online at http://www.tiffanybaker.com to get the latest news on her work.

Photo of Tiffany Baker

Amber: When you were writing The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, did any of the characters surprise you?

Tiffany: Yes, quite a few, starting with Truly. I never expected her spirit to be so resilient or her observations to be so sly.  Amelia surprised me, too. She’s not quite the pushover she seems, even though she is broken and fragile. And August didn’t exactly surprise me, but I just grew more and more fond of him as I wrote. He’s a hot mess, but he’d still be fun to play a hand of cards with.

Amber: A lot of interviews and reviews focus on Truly and Dr. Robert Morgan’s relationship.  I was really taken with Marcus and his relationship with Truly.  Marcus always loved her regardless of her size.  Was it difficult to write?

Tiffany:Marcus was a character that I developed over the course of several drafts. He wasn’t difficult to write per se, but he became more important to the book. It was never difficult for me to imagine him always loving Truly, though. I think that for Marcus, Truly is kind of everything he can’t be: big, solid, quiet. She compliments him.

Amber: You lead a very busy life.  What’s your secret to finding writing time?

Tiffany: I make the time. I try to treat it like a job, but it gets crazy juggling three kids and a career, just like for any working mom. I’m the mom who sends her kids to school with mismatched socks, who sometimes forgets the lunch on a field trip day. But, at the same time, I always cook dinner and we always sit down together every night. My house is an epic disaster, though. I’m afraid I’m not a wonderful housekeeper. 

Amber: Do you have any writing rituals that you follow each time you sit down to write?

Tiffany: Well, let’s see, I usually check email. Then I have to kick myself off the Internet and get down to business. I usually read over a little of what I did the day before, just to get my mind back into things, or go over notes. Sometimes I do a little research. Then I try to write as fast as I can before my three kids get back.

Amber: Was there anything about the publishing process no one warned you about that you wish someone had told you ahead of time?

Tiffany: One thing no one sufficiently warns you about is the fluidity of this business. People move around all the time—sometimes mid-book. The team you start out with in the beginning of a project may not be the one you end up with. That can be stressful. Also, it’s really hard to learn how to keep the act of writing private and sacred. There’s promoting a book and then there is the process of writing one and the two are not the same thing at all.

Amber: Have you had any memorable moments at book signings?

Tiffany: At my third book event ever, the lights went out in a power outage in the middle of my reading. We were in a tiny store and no one could see a thing, but the owner fumbled around and came up with some candles and some other ladies had some flashlights in their purses. And, actually, the candlelight made the event really intimate. It was like being around a campfire. Now, I think all book events should be held by candlelight!

Amber: I can’t wait to read your next novel.  Is it close to being published? *crosses fingers*

Tiffany: I don’t know yet when it will be out. Soon, I hope! I have a draft at the publisher’s now. The book is called The Gilly Salt Sistersand it’s about three women on a salt marsh in Cape Cod who all have a history with the same man. Two of the women are sisters and one is the man’s pregnant teenaged mistress. When they end up together in the marsh, the trouble really starts. As soon as I know the details of when The Gilly Salt Sisters will be coming out, I’ll put them up on my website: www.tiffanybaker.com. Thanks for the interview!

06.29.10

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker

Posted in Review at 11:00 pm by Amber

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County

Title: The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
Author: Tiffany Baker
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Source: The Columbus Metropolitan Library (I’d requested a copy via Bostick Communications in April.  When the opportunity to interview Tiffany came up, I began reading a library copy of the book.)

The title character of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County is Truly Plaice.  When younger, she wishes she could wear pretty dresses like Serena Jane, her beautiful older sister.  Truly’s increasing size leaves her with only boys clothing in her wardrobe.  As she leaves behind the conventions of the 60s the townspeople begin to ignore the largest person in town.  Amelia and Marcus are two people who seek her company and never let go.

The first chapter grabbed me.  It told me a lot about Truly’s circumstances before going into the past.  This was not the chick-lit or beach read promised via recent publicity promotions.  I knew from previous book blogger reviews this was not going to be one of those books.  Decades of Truly figuring out what she likes best in life, dealing with her childhood tormentor and living her life as an invisible entity reads more like women’s fiction. 

This is Tiffany Baker’s first published novel.  She’s created memorable characters and woven together several subplots.  Dr. Bob Bob Morgan is one of the most detested characters I’ve read in a long time.  He’s cruel and full of pride – not a lovely combination for Truly.  Amelia’s quiet, steady presence provides support when Truly becomes a mother to her nephew.  Marcus… well, you’ll have to discover more about him on your own. 

Come back tomorrow for an interview with Tiffany Baker!

06.28.10

Mailbox Monday – June 28th

Posted in Event at 1:14 am by Amber

Mailbox Monday

A big thank you to Marcia at The Printed Page for hosting Mailbox Monday.  It’s the weekly meme where readers share the books that came into their homes.

Since today is my birthday, it’s only fitting I would receive at least one book.  My parents got me The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry.  I still have books from Christmas to read so it may take me a while to get to this one.

The Lace Reader Paperback book cover

What arrived in your mailbox this week?

06.24.10

Review of Shadow of the Antlered Bird at Niteblade

Posted in Published, Review at 4:15 pm by Amber

My review of Shadow of the Antlered Bird by David Sklar is now available at Niteblade.  It has a fairy world with a non-cute population.

06.21.10

The Rest of June

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:52 pm by Amber

Welcome to the first official day of summer.  The lightning bugs have been out for a few weeks.  It’s been hot and muggy with a lot of rain.  Not exactly how it should be towards the end of June and not the most comfortable. 

This month you can look forward to some more book reviews and an interview with Tiffany Baker.  I hope you’ll stop back soon!

06.19.10

Review of Unholy Embrace at Niteblade

Posted in Published, Review at 12:58 am by Amber

Beginning with the June 2010 issue, Niteblade is no longer including book reviews in the print version.  The book reviews will be available in the News portion of the site.

My review of Unholy Embrace by Neil Benson is now available.  It’s about a mortal who meets and falls in love with a vampire.  Kate Beckinsale was the inspiration for the vamp.

06.17.10

M.J. Rose on Promotion

Posted in Writing at 2:00 pm by Amber

Yesterday while driving to the farmer’s market to pick up my meat (I’ve belonged to a meat CSA since last fall) I was treated to a NPR interview with M.J. Rose on marketing and promotion.

I haven’t read any of her books but I do recall seeing The Hypnotist recently on several book blogs.  Rose is right.  It’s really difficult to get your book to stand out from the thousands of other books published that year.  And to keep the momentum going is difficult too! 

So many good books get published and it’s not easy to read them all in the first year.  It seems that’s when the sales have the most impact on future book contracts.  Though none of my novels have been published, I do have friends who have their novels in bookstores and available online. 

What makes a book or author stand out to you?  Is it the buzz you hear?  An interview?  A regularly updated blog?

06.14.10

Bloggiesta June 2010 Edition is Done!

Posted in Event at 7:50 am by Amber

The Bloggiesta Finish Line!

The Bloggiesta Finish Line!

 

This edition of Bloggiesta is over for me.  It looks like Pedro and his friends made it to the finish line before I di.  Let’s review the weekend: 

  1. Review posts from 2009 for missing SEO information.  (I’ll save 2008 posts for another time.) Update: Finished January and February 2009.  Halfway through March 2009.  It looks like I started using my SEO All In One plug-in in June 2009 so only a few more months to go.
  2. Type up author interview questions for late June post. Update: Researched previous interviews so I don’t ask the same questions.  Half of the questions have been typed up.
  3. Type up five book reviews.  (I have more I can write but I’ll shoot for that as a minimum.)  Update: One book review is ready to post.
  4. Updated all of my WordPress Plug-Ins.  I didn’t realize four of my plug-ins needed updated.
  5. Attempted RSS Mini-ChallengeUpdate: Failure on my part for trying to work on it so late into th day on Sunday.

Overall I spent 5 hours working on items for bloggiesta.  The most mind-numbing of all was trying to update my SEO information for 2009 posts.  Fortunately, the blog cheat sheet from the last bloggiesta helped me.  Each month I have recurring posts and my blog cheat sheet has the SEO keywords associated with those posts so those were the easiest posts to update.

06.13.10

Bloggiesta RSS Mini-Challenge

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:42 pm by Amber

I’ve attempted the Bloggiesta RSS mini-challenge hosted by Puss Reboots and have failed.  Here is what we’re supposed to do:

  • Check to see if your blog or website has a feed. WordPress has one for the site.  I also have a feed with feedburner but haven’t done anything with it.
  • Set up a feed if it doesn’t.
  • Set up a subscribe by email option. Haven’t figured out how to do this.  I also installed two different feedburner plug-ins.  One was recommended by Google and the other was not tested with my version of WordPress.  Neither worked and I had to deactivate them to get my site looking normal again.
  • Validate your feed. I know the WordPress feed works because it’s what I use on my Ning pages and Yahoo to know if it’s updating or not.  Although I don’t have the feedburner address linked anywhere, the current site content did appear when I checked the link.
  • Put an RSS icon that linked to your feed and another for your email option.  This involves messing with the code in my sidebar which I’m none to happy about doing on a Sunday at 10:30pm at night.  It took me months to get my site to say on all my pages that it’s powered by Corgis and have it look right.  Programming was not my strong suit in my computer classes.
  • Add the RSS feed to your header so your browser auto-detects the feed.  Again, more programming.  Puss Reboots was kind enough to provide the code but I will have to mess with it another time. 
  • 06.12.10

    Bloggiesta Day 1 and Day 2 Update

    Posted in Event at 8:51 pm by Amber

    No progress to report for Friday.  I spent the entire day at the doctor’s office and work. 

    Here’s what I’ve done so far for Saturday.

    This afternoon we went to an early showing of No One Knows About Persian Catsfollowed by lunch at Cuco’s! 

    Cuco’s is one of our favorite Mexican restaurants in town.  It was originally a grocery store with a small restaurant.  Now it’s all restaurant with several shelves of grocery items.  They are big soccer fans and we expected it to be packed because of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.  Instead, it was mostly new university graduates and their families.

    Almost 7 hours later I am still full from lunch.  I planned on making chipotle meatballs tonight from  my Mexican Everyday cookbook by Rick Bayless.  There is nowhere in my stomach to put them.

    I’ve spent about an hour and a half on bloggiesta so far.  You’ll notice I’ve completed a few things that weren’t on my original list.

    1. Review posts from 2009 for missing SEO information.  (I didn’t add my SEO plug-in until sometime that year.  I’ll save 2008 posts for another time.) Update: Finished January 2009 and started on February 2009.
    2. Type up author interview questions for late June post. Update: Researching previous interviews so I don’t ask the same questions.
    3. Type up five book reviews.  (I have more I can write but I’ll shoot for that as a minimum.)
    4. Updated all of my WordPress Plug-Ins.  I didn’t realize four of my plug-ins needed updated.

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