Tuesday, September 29, 2020


 This book debuts Tuesday, October 6th!

For fans of Where the Crawdads Sing and This Tender Land comes a heartfelt story about three young girls searching for adventure during the summer of 1960 from the New York Timesbestselling author of Whistling in the Dark.

That summer would change us . . . forever.

The summer of 1960 was the hottest ever for Summit, Wisconsin. For kids seeking relief from the heat, there was a creek to be swum in, sprinklers to run through, and ice cream at Whitcomb's Drugstore. But for Frankie, Viv, and Biz, eleven-year-old best friends, it would forever be remembered as the summer that evil paid a visit to their small town--and took their young lives as they'd known them as a souvenir. 

With a to-do list in hand, the girls set forth from their hideout to make their mark on that summer, but when three patients escape from Broadhurst Mental Institution, their idyllic lives take a sinister turn. Determined to uncover long-held secrets, the girls have no idea that what they discover could cost them their lives and the ones they hold dear.

Six decades later, Biz, now a bestselling novelist, remembers that long ago summer and how it still haunts her and her lifelong friends in Every Now and Then, a story about the ties that bind us, the timelessness of grief and guilt--and the everlasting hope for redemption.

Praise for Every Now and Then:

“Kagen skillfully spins a nostalgic tale...This fast-paced and suspenseful outing will captivate Kagen’s fans and do much to win her new ones.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Kagen thoughtfully captures the spirit of '60s small-town America, showing both the idyllic, rosy past that inspires nostalgia and its troubling underbelly."

“A complete winner. It reminded me of the best parts of To Kill A Mockingbird, and the wonderful friendship displayed by Kate DiCamillo’s three amigos in the Raymie Nightingale trilogy. Filled with all the charm of a 1960's small town, Every Now and Then also tackles issues of racism, homophobia, and gender that are topical today. Biz, Frankie, and Viv are sure to steal any reader's heart.”
—Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books

Filled with secrets, lies, and all the truth of what is to be human, especially in a small town, Every Now and Then is a story every heart will embrace.”
William Kent Krueger, New York Times Bestselling Author of Ordinary Grace and This Tender Land

“With a grace reminiscent of Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides, Lesley Kagen paints a tragic and evocative of a childhood summer disrupted by tragedy in 1960s Wisconsin...Both a memorable coming of age tale and suspenseful page-turner. Longtime and new fans of Kagen will delight!”
Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris

 Some Q & A with Lesley ~

Q. Tell us how you started writing.

A. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t dreaming up a story and putting it down on paper. I still have the silver dollar I won in fourth grade in St. Sebastian’s all-school poetry contest. Growing up in a tough, blue collar neighborhood in Milwaukee, I was a pretty cagey kid and this being a Catholic school, I figured out early on that the more times I could mention God in the poem the better my chances were of winning.  

Q.  Where do you get your ideas?

A. I admire writers who dream up stories set in Paris in the 17th century or are inspired by the news, but that’s not me. My characters, settings, and the issues that are important to me—keeping kids safe, mental health, racism, love, and injustice—are based on my experiences, most especially my childhood.

Q. Have you always earned your living writing?

A. Kind of. My first big job out of college was as a DJ in Milwaukee, and I wrote a ton of features and commercials. After I moved to LA in the seventies, I wrote and voiced thousands of radio commercials for a huge retail record chain called Licorice Pizza and many others, but I also began acting on camera. Because I was lucky to have been born with one of those non-offensive Midwestern faces that were so popular at the time, I was cast as “the mom” or “best friend” or “wife” in loads of TV spots. I also guest-starred in a couple of sitcoms— “Laverne and Shirley” and “Bad News Bears.” It was incredibly fun and exciting, but I wanted to be a mom, and raise my kids in Wisconsin, so that’s what we did. I wrote in my journal every day and composed lots of irate letters, but it wasn’t until the loves in my life went to school that I found the time to write my first novel—“Whistling in the Dark.”

Q. Could you tell us a little about the challenges of getting it published?

A.  I love to tell this story with the hope that it might inspire another writer. After I completed the manuscript, I was so nuts about it that I thought it’d be a breeze to find a literary agent to represent it. (Laughing my head off here at how little I knew.) So I came up with what I thought was a pretty decent query letter and sent it off. I was told over and over that it wasn’t very good and that it would never sell. 156 times to be exact! The rejections were so brutal that I almost gave up. Thank God, I didn’t, because I did eventually find an agent. He ended up selling “Whistling in the Dark” to Penguin. Not for a million dollars, the way I thought he would. (Laughing even harder now.) The advance was so small that I remember thinking at the time that they’d only bought it as a tax write-off. Of course, as publication day rolled around, my expectations were set very low, but then my editor started calling me. She started out each conversation with, “You’re not going to believe this, but . . .” 

To date, “Whistling in the Dark” is in its 17th print, has sold over 200,000 copies, and was a New York Times bestseller. So, if you’re a writer who is thinking of throwing in the towel—don’t. Believe in your story, believe in yourself, don’t pay attention to the rejections, and someday, you, too, will have the chance to sing, “Nah nah nah nah nah nah” to all the naysayers.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

A. I’d really want thank all the readers and book clubs who’ve supported me throughout the years. So many of them have become dear friends and I can’t wait to hear what they have to say about “Every Now and Then.” Here’s hoping they love the “tree Musketeers” as much as I do, which would be a lot. Really, really a lot.   

 To connect with Lesley:

Website: LesleyKagen.com
Instagram: lesleykagen








Tuesday, September 8, 2020


A lifetime of lies, and a truth too painful to tell. 

When Suzanna Duff was ten years old, she lost her mama, and that’s when the lies began. At first, they were just harmless little fibs, a way to hide her unbearable loneliness and the truth about a daddy who came home rip-roaring drunk every night. But in time, the lies grew bigger and now, when she is a grown woman with a daughter of her own, they threaten to destroy everything she loves. 

The irony of this situation is that Suzanna never planned to stay in Georgia, she was simply passing through, looking for a fresh start in New Jersey. Attending that wake with her daughter Annie, was a fluke. An opportunity to enjoy a free meal. It should have entailed nothing more than a solemn nod and a brief expression of sympathy but, Ida Parker, the grieving widow mistook her for her the granddaughter who was carried off as an infant. Too embarrassed to do anything else, Suzanna played along. What harm was there in pretending to be someone else for a few hours? Hours turned into days and days into weeks; strangers became friends, love happened, and before long a year had flown by.

Now the past is standing on her doorstep and Suzanna must decide to leave here and disappear as she has done before, or tell the truth and break the hearts of those she loves most. 

Reviews ~

"Steeped in secrets and southern charm, A Million Little Lies is both heartwarming and heartbreaking; a tale about forgiveness, family, and what it means to finally find your true home." - Barbara Davis, bestselling author of When Never Comes
"Simply charming. Crosby carries us back to a simpler time when family matters most. A Million Little Lies is a heartwarming novel of happenstance, fate, and lasting relationships. Her endearing characters will stay with you long after you've read the last word." - Ashley Farley, bestselling author of Sweet Tea Tuesdays
"Crosby at her best! Masterful storytelling. A young Mother builds her new life on a ladder of lies. I read it in one sitting!" - Marilyn Simon Rothstein, author of Husbands and Other Sharp Objects
"Heart-wrenching and heartwarming, a novel to satisfy your soul and leave your heart feeling happier." - Linda's Book Obsession
"A quietly powerful novel of relationships, trust, truth, lies and the possibilities of forgiveness- an unforgettable ending." - Patricia Sands, author of the bestselling Love in Provence series
"Crosby weaves a magical story, drawing you into the characters and giving you new friends to treasure." - Judith Keim, author of The Beach House Hotel Series

Some Q & A with Bette ~

How did your writing journey start?

I started out as an artist and was asked to write some copy for the back of a pantyhose package I’d designed. I discovered a love of words, and went from there into marketing where I wrote business plans, ads, brochures and the like. After a good number of years, I decided to follow my heart. Since reading fiction was what I loved, it was a natural progression.

Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I am an avid reader and a sucker for happy endings. Although not a big TV watcher, I enjoy complex stories and am totally hooked on This is Us. Sunshine, palm trees, warm weather and dogs are the things that make me happy. In the morning I start with two miles on the treadmill, then settle at my computer for the rest of the day. My office is very small, but I love it because I am surrounded by things that bring me happiness—books, dog toys, pictures of friends and family, my fur-baby Sugar and a tropical flower garden just outside my window. My guilty pleasure is letting time fly by as I chat with friends and fans on Facebook.

You’re a Southerner, how does that influence your storytelling and where does that special warmth in your books come from?

I truly am a Southerner at heart, but you wouldn’t guess it to hear me talk. My ‘southernism’ comes from growing up with a Southern Mama, Daddy, aunts, uncles, etc. – it was the ‘voice’ I heard in my ear from the time I was a child and it’s the voice that sounds most natural and convincing to me. Southerners are born storytellers, it’s in our DNA. My mom was never a writer, but she could mesmerize a room full of kids with her stories. I’d like to believe I got lucky and inherited that gene. 

The warmth of a story is often drawn from the experiences you carry in your heart. When asked for advice about writing, I always say write what you know. That may sound trite, but the truth is you can’t write about emotions you don’t understand. Honest emotion is what gives a story warmth. That doesn’t mean you have to have lost a loved one to write about it, but you do need to understand what deep down grief feels like. By internalizing what your characters feel, you can make them believable and vulnerable.

You write about family, what does family mean to you and why is it such a good subject for a story?

The significance of family is almost universal. We all need family, whether it is our parents, spouse, children, siblings or in some cases friends, we all need someone. Family may have different meanings for different people, but the bottom line is that your family is the person (or people) you return to at the end of a long hard day; it’s the person who will comfort you when you’re sick, encourage you when you’re down, and celebrate when you are successful. Without family, a victory seems hollow, and a setback seems insurmountable. More often than not, those we consider family are what turns an ordinary life into something special. 

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

Early on I was with a publisher who as it turned out was rather unscrupulous in their pricing structure. I had signed a seven-year contact with them, and while I had a say in editing and cover design, I had no say in pricing.  My first book titled “Girl Child” was published at $14.99 and when it began to do well, the publisher raised the price to $19.99. Luckily this happened before e-books became popular, so after three years, when the publisher asked for the rights to publish the e-book, I refused. He then allowed me to buy back my rights and I was off to the races as an Indie Author.

What are you working on now?

An as yet untitled novel that follows the same family in two different time periods. In 1968 a woman has received a sizable inheritance and is trying to find the siblings she has not seen or heard from in 50 years. I then take the reader back to 1901 and they discover what caused the family to break apart.

Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?

Yes, the 1901 portion is set in the coal mining country of West Virginia, which is where my mom was born. She too came from a very large family, but the similarity to the story ends there.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Read, read, read. The more you read, the more you will come to know what you like and what you don’t like in a book. Once you’ve discovered what makes you fall in love with a book, you will have found the true north of your writing path. Follow it faithfully.

What are the downfalls of your writing career? The best parts?

The best part is getting to do what I absolutely love. The downfall is way too much sitting. I sometimes stand at the kitchen counter when I am making note for a scene or chapter, but there are still those long hours of sitting.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

Yes… From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for all the wonderful reviews you’ve given my books, and for the way you have so generously shared them with book-loving friends and family. Without the wonderful readers I have met on this journey, I am certain my days would be longer and my stories less inspired. 

To connect with Bette: