for book groups

October 14, 2009 | 2 Comments

she is one smart cookie
she is one smart cookie

So the lovely and talented Lindsey has made something for you. A downloadable, print-outable reading group guide, with a favorite recipe. Because we all know that a book club meeting without food is like a day without sunshine, eh? Enjoy!

Lakeshore Christmas- book club

My book club has trouble staying on topic. It’s such a great time to get together with friends. The one thing that excites us, though, is a really great read, one we can’t stop talking about. This fall, I convinced my gang to adopt When Autumn Leaves by Amy S. Foster for an upcoming meeting. I adored this debut novel and want to make all my girlfriends read it. I’m also excited about Tell Me Something True by Leila Cobo (yes, THAT Leila Cobo). Interesting that both Leila and Amy have strong, strong ties to the music industry. Look them up and see what I mean.

I would love to hear about your book group. What are your meetings like, do you get in cat fights, are Cheetos involved, what?! Inquiring minds want to know. Post in comments below.

quick thanks

October 12, 2009 | 3 Comments

…to everyone who participated in the LAKESHORE CHRISTMAS trivia contest! Here is a list of the winners’ names. If you haven’t received your prize, you will soon:

Day 1- Hannah B- CT
Day 2- Richard S- IA
Day 3- Lori C- UT
Day 4- Amy V- OR
Day 5- Randy G- TN
Day 6- Janet L- PA
Day 7- Claire S- PA
Day 8- Karen K- KS
Day 9- Stacy W- TX
Day 10- Amellia H- NE
Day 11- Lia N- ON Canada
Day 12- Lynn J IN

get your Oktoberfest on

October 11, 2009 | 5 Comments

Leavenworth, Washington was the setting for a 3-author signing this weekend–Sheila Roberts, Suzanne Selfors & moi at the Eagle Creek Winery and A Book For All Seasons.

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.3627109&w=425&h=350&fv=host%3Dpicasaweb.google.com%26captions%3D1%26hl%3Den_US%26feat%3Dflashalbum%26RGB%3D0x000000%26feed%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fpicasaweb.google.com%252Fdata%252Ffeed%252Fapi%252Fuser%252FJayandSusanWiggs%252Falbumid%252F5391397713801574449%253Falt%253Drss%2526kind%253Dphoto%2526hl%253Den_US]

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my grandma, the maniac

October 11, 2009 | 4 Comments

Christmas Memories by Susan Wiggs, author of Lakeshore Christmas
Lakeshore Christmas is my first full-length novel set during the holidays, so I relied on my deepest and most cherished personal memories for inspiration.
First, there’s the weather. I’m originally from a tiny town in the wilds of New York State, and to a child, the winters there are a time of enchantment. The snow is so deep and thick that the streets become virtual tunnels, and everything looks beautiful. My very favorite sports–skiing, sledding, and curling up with a good book while sipping hot chocolate top the list.
Next, there are the cookies. Are you kidding me? Between my mother, two grandmothers, various aunts and other women in my life, the holiday was one giant cookie. My Grandma Anna was the inspiration for Helen Majesky, who founded Avalon’s Sky River Bakery, and she was a maniac in the kitchen. The smells alone conjure up warm afternoons with my mother–cinnamon and cardamom and ginger, butter and marzipan and chocolate–and evoke vivid memories of standing on a step stool to help with the frosting and sprinkles.
One of the reasons I included a playlist in the Cookie Exchange Cookbook (a special end-of-book feature of the novel) is that there is no way I can separate the memories of making cookies from the background music. I had a very musical childhood, and our Christmas record selection was vast, from “Alvin and the Chipmunks” to Handel’s Messiah. Our selections were extremely secular, I have to admit. We were as likely to be found making gingerbread men to the tune of the William Tell Overture as we were to Herb Alpert’s “Tijuana Taxi.”
Readers of Lakeshore Christmas will find a tribute to the most treasured resource of any community–the public library. The library of my small-town girlhood loomed large in my imagination. Like the library in the book, it was an imposing, Gothic-revival-style building filled with all the wonders of the world. At the holidays, a tall fresh tree would grace the atrium of the building, and each year I would fashion a special ornament to hang on it. One year when I was about eight years old, I wrote a Christmas story on tiny pieces of paper, made it into a book and hung it on the tree. I don’t know what ever became of that story, but you can bet it had a happy ending.
And finally, there is inspiration in the magic of Christmas itself. I was a true believer long after most of my friends moved on to reality. And I still am. When I see a glow of happiness in a child’s eyes, or observe a stranger’s act of kindness, or hear a song I’ve known all my life, I know the Christmas spirit is present.
This is the Christmas story I’ve always wanted to write, and to be able to tell it in the context of the Lakeshore Chronicles is just perfect. I’m excited to share it with the world.

Lakeshore Christmas is my first full-length novel set during the holidays, so I relied on my deepest and most cherished personal memories for inspiration.

First, there’s the weather. I’m originally from a tiny town in the wilds of New York State, and to a child, the winters there are a time of enchantment. The snow is so deep and thick that the streets become virtual tunnels, and everything looks beautiful. My very favorite sports–skiing, sledding, and curling up with a good book while sipping hot chocolate top the list.

Next, there are the cookies. Are you kidding me? Between my mother, two grandmothers, various aunts and other women in my life, the holiday was one giant cookie. My Grandma Anna was the inspiration for Helen Majesky, who founded Avalon’s Sky River Bakery, and she was a maniac in the kitchen. The smells alone conjure up warm afternoons with my mother–cinnamon and cardamom and ginger, butter and marzipan and chocolate–and evoke vivid memories of standing on a step stool to help with the frosting and sprinkles.

[above: sfogliatelle. An Italian pastry that will change your life.]

One of the reasons I included a playlist in the Cookie Exchange Cookbook (a special end-of-book feature of the novel) is that there is no way I can separate the memories of making cookies from the background music. I had a very musical childhood, and our Christmas record selection was vast, from “Alvin and the Chipmunks” to Handel’s Messiah. Our selections were extremely secular, I have to admit. We were as likely to be found making gingerbread men to the tune of the William Tell Overture as we were to Herb Alpert’s “Tijuana Taxi.” To sample Maureen’s playlist, click here. To see Eddie’s, click here.

Readers of Lakeshore Christmas will find a tribute to the most treasured resource of any community–the public library. The library of my small-town girlhood loomed large in my imagination. Like the library in the book, it was an imposing, Gothic-revival-style building filled with all the wonders of the world. At the holidays, a tall fresh tree would grace the atrium of the building, and each year I would fashion a special ornament to hang on it. One year when I was about eight years old, I wrote a Christmas story on tiny pieces of paper, made it into a book and hung it on the tree. I don’t know what ever became of that story, but you can bet it had a happy ending.

And finally, there is inspiration in the magic of Christmas itself. I was a true believer long after most of my friends moved on to reality. And I still am. When I see a glow of happiness in a child’s eyes, or observe a stranger’s act of kindness, or hear a song I’ve known all my life, I know the Christmas spirit is present.

This is the Christmas story I’ve always wanted to write, and to be able to tell it in the context of the Lakeshore Chronicles is just perfect. I’m excited to share it with the world.

How about you? List some of your most vivid Christmas memories below.

hummingbird

October 11, 2009 | 2 Comments

Photos by Jay. [www.bluejayway.posterous.com ]

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last chance to win…

October 10, 2009 | 3 Comments

It’s the final day in the Twelve Days of Christmas giveaway extravaganza! All you have to do is check in on this blog for a trivia question from Lakeshore Christmas, and send your answer to ll.wiggs @ gmail.com (remove the spaces). Correct answers will be entered to win.

Today’s question: When little Eddie went to see Santa, what did Santa ask him for?

Today’s prize: A signed copy of Lakeshore Christmas!

for reading groups

October 09, 2009 | 4 Comments

A list of things to talk about while you’re eating cookies and talking about Lakeshore Christmas. Note–some of the questions might be spoilers. I don’t think so, but if spoilers drive you crazy, don’t read this until after you’ve read the book:

Reading Group Questions for Lakeshore Christmas by Susan Wiggs
1. What is Maureen’s role in her family, and how does that shape who she is?
2. Have you ever changed your dreams like Maureen did when she gave up on acting?
3. If you were the Havens, how would you have raised Eddie?  Do you think they did the right thing by keeping him on the road?
4. What are your thoughts on Maureen’s inability to trust men?  Do you think her experience in Paris gives her reason to doubt all men?
5. If you were Daisy and you knew that one of those men, Logan or Julian, was carrying an engagement ring, who would you hope was going to propose?  The man who holds your heart or the father of your child?
6. If you were Maureen, a dedicated librarian, how would you have reacted to the budget cuts and the imminent closure of the library?  What would you have done?
7. Do you think that Maureen should have taken Mr. Byrne’s offer and given Cecil the main role in the play if it meant saving the library?
8. Maureen’s favorite time of the year is Christmas. What is yours?  Do you get excited about the upcoming holidays or is it overwhelming?
9. What do you think Jabez’s role in this book was?  What purpose did he serve?
10. Have you ever had a life altering experience like Eddie had the night he crashed his van?
11. What are your fondest memories of the library?
12. What are some of your favorite traditions during the holiday and where did they come from?
art by www.sallymarasturman.com
art by www.sallymarasturman.com

1. What is Maureen’s role in her family, and how does that shape who she is?

2. Have you ever changed your dreams like Maureen did when she gave up on acting?

3. If you were the Havens, how would you have raised Eddie?  Do you think they did the right thing by keeping him on the road?

4. What are your thoughts on Maureen’s inability to trust men?  Do you think her experience in Paris gives her reason to doubt all men?

5. If you were Daisy and you knew that one of those men, Logan or Julian, was carrying an engagement ring, who would you hope was going to propose?  The man who holds your heart or the father of your child?

6. If you were Maureen, a dedicated librarian, how would you have reacted to the budget cuts and the imminent closure of the library?  What would you have done?

7. Do you think that Maureen should have taken Mr. Byrne’s offer and given Cecil the main role in the play if it meant saving the library?

8. Maureen’s favorite time of the year is Christmas. What is yours?  Do you get excited about the upcoming holidays or is it overwhelming?

9. What do you think Jabez’s role in this book was?  What purpose did he serve?

10. Have you ever had a life altering experience like Eddie had the night he crashed his van?

11. What are your fondest memories of the library?

12. What are some of your favorite traditions during the holiday and where did they come from?

day 11…win an audio book

October 09, 2009 | 3 Comments

It’s Day 11 in the Twelve Days of Christmas giveaway extravaganza! All you have to do is check in on this blog for a trivia question from Lakeshore Christmas, and send your answer to ll.wiggs @ gmail.com (remove the spaces). Correct answers will be entered to win.

Today’s question: What is the name of Eddie’s band?

Today’s prize: Lakeshore Christmas on audio.

timeless wisdom

October 08, 2009 | 5 Comments

As you know, I’m not one to forward e-mails, but sometimes if I get something very straightforward and worth the read, I’ll post it here. This is a perfect example. But, contrary to e-mail legend, Regina is not 90 years old. She’s having fun being an Urban Legend:

lookin good, Regina!
lookin' good, Regina!

Written By Regina Brett, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone..
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie.  Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words “In five years, will this matter?”
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative–dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.
#
I just did #43. What about you? What are your words of wisdom?

on the 10th day of Christmas…

October 08, 2009 | 2 Comments

It’s Day 10 in the Twelve Days of Christmas giveaway extravaganza! All you have to do is check in on this blog for a trivia question from Lakeshore Christmas, and send your answer to ll.wiggs @ gmail.com (remove the spaces). Correct answers will be entered to win.

Today’s question: What book did Maureen suggest to Lonnie?

Today’s prize: A $25 gift card to Borders.