Monday, November 23, 2020


A trio of second-born daughters set out to break the family curse that says they’ll never find love on a whirlwind journey through the lush Italian countryside by New York Times bestseller Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List.

Since the day Filomena Fontana cast a curse upon her sister more than two hundred years ago, not one second-born Fontana daughter has found lasting love. Some, like second-born Emilia, the happily-single baker at her grandfather’s Brooklyn deli, claim it’s an odd coincidence. Others, like her sexy, desperate-for-love cousin Lucy, insist it’s a true hex. But both are bewildered when their great-aunt calls with an astounding proposition: If they accompany her to her homeland of Italy, Aunt Poppy vows she’ll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral on her eightieth birthday, and break the Fontana Second-Daughter Curse once and for all.

Against the backdrop of wandering Venetian canals, rolling Tuscan fields, and enchanting Amalfi Coast villages, romance blooms, destinies are found, and family secrets are unearthed—secrets that could threaten the family far more than a centuries-old curse.

Praise for The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany ~ 

"A delicious modern fairytale...Bella!"—Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of Tony's Wife

A gorgeous blend of family, friendship, and love.”—Chanel Cleeton, New York Times bestselling author of When We Left Cuba 

“A glorious journey through Italy, and the heart...Filled with humor and wisdom, this is a celebration of life, and love.”—Yangsze Choo, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Tiger, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

"There's magic within the pages of Lori Nelson Spielman's charming The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany."—Popsugar

"Mysterious family lore, a heartrending love story, and luminous descriptions of Italy all add up to an utterly captivating read!"—Meg Donohue, USA Today bestselling author of You, Me, and the Sea

“Long-simmering resentments and buried secrets permeate The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany, a romantic, beautifully rendered, sweepingly complex family saga.”―Shelf Awareness

Q & A with Lori ~ 

Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.

Hi Jill. Thanks so much for having me here today!

I’ve always loved writing, but never really dreamed I’d be a published author. I came from a working-class family, and I’d never met a single author. When I went off to college, my mom suggested I become a teacher or a nurse, both good choices for a working wife and mother. I chose teaching, which I loved. But around the time I turned forty, I started writing a YA book. I signed up for a writing class at a local community college. And suddenly, I’d found my passion. Four books and ten years later, I finally sold my first book, The Life List.

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I love music and being out in nature. I love to travel, read, and sail.

Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?

I wrote The Life List while working full-time, but have since retired from my teaching job. Strangely, I almost feel like I was a more productive writer while I was working!

Where do you get your ideas?

I’ve always had an active imagination and was a daydreamer from the get-go. When I see people at random, I often imagine what their lives might be. I prefer to listen rather than talk, and often find inspiration in other people’s lives. I guess the warning is, be careful what you say when you talk to me—it could end up in a book!

Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?

Every author inspires me, but in particular, Lolly Winston. I was listening to her audiobook, Good Grief, back in 2004. She wrote in first person, present tense, and I thought to myself, ‘I want to write like this!’. A few years ago, I wrote to Lolly, but I’m not sure she received my message. I wanted her to know what an influence she was on my writing.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (or this book?)

As I mentioned, I’d written three other full-length novels that received nothing but rejection. It’s so hard to get back in the chair and begin again…and again…and again. Each time I received an agent’s rejection letter, I’d say, “Not this one.” Finally, after a thorough but unsuccessful search, I’d lovingly put my manuscript aside and say, “Not this one.” Soon thereafter, after licking my wounds, I’d get back to work.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a new women’s fiction novel set in northern Michigan, about a down-on-her-luck woman who befriends a runaway girl.

What was the most unique research you had to do for a book?

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany is set in Italy, so of course, I HAD to travel to Venice, and Tuscany, and The Amalfi Coast. I felt I owed it to my readers! I HAD to eat lots of pasta, and drink my fill of local vino, all in the name of research. I’m beginning to think I should set every book in an exotic locale, just for the research experience! J

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

I have a section on my website devoted to writers. My best piece of advice is often the opposite of what most writers receive. I don’t say, “Never give up.” I say, give your book a fair shot. Get impartial critiques. Revise, revise, revise!  Send it out to agents, far and wide. But at some point, if you’re only receiving rejection letters, set the project aside and start a new book. Like any endeavor, it takes years of practice. You will be amazed at how much you’ll improve with each book.

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

I said if I ever got published, I would never complain. Writing is a joy. Hearing from readers is thrilling. But…I’m really uncomfortable self-promoting, and it’s absolutely expected. I believe it was James Cagney who said, “They pay me for the waiting. I throw in the acting for free.” In my case, they pay me for the promoting, I throw in the writing for free!

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

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for welcoming my stories into your lives and onto your bookshelves. You have no idea how much I appreciate you!

And thank YOU, dear Jill. You are a gifted author, a champion of books, and bright light in this world!


To connect with Lori ~ 

FB: @Lorinelsonspielmanauthor

Twitter: @LNSpielman

Insta: @lorinelsonspielman


Tuesday, November 17, 2020

SNOW IN SUMMER by Laura Kemp

Publishing date ~ November 18th!

It’s been a year since Justin Cook defeated an immortal enemy that had hunted her family for generations. Settling into a peaceful life with her boyfriend in the small town of Lantern Creek, Michigan, she hopes to escape the events of the summer before. But the past won’t let go so easily.

When a woman named Amanda Bennett survives a fall from a cliff on Mackinac Island, it triggers a series of events that reawakens the past. Soon Justine and her brother Adam are pulled into a mystery that threatens to destroy the new life they have worked so hard to create. As people begin to die- people only Amanda Bennett can see- Justine must race against time to destroy a dark power she thought she had buried the summer before.

Reviews ~

In ‘Snow in Summer’ Laura Kemp weaves a fast-paced, captivating, and intricate story filled with romance, drama and adventure that’s all wrapped up in a hefty dose of the paranormal. With intrigue and secrets galore, readers will be pulled in from the opening pages, no doubt desperate to solve the multiple mysteries in their race to find out who will survive at the end to tell the tale.       -Hannah Mary McKinnon, Bestselling Author of Sister Dear

A delightfully creative follow up to the wildly popular Evening in the Yellow Wood, yet Snow in Summer stands its own in the hierarchy of memorable, edge-of-your-seat plot twisters, sealing author Laura Kemp’s standing among the authors to watch.     -Claire Fullerton, Award Winning Author of Little Tea and Mourning Dove

Laura Kemp draws you in from the breath-taking prologue, takes you on a mysterious and intriguing journey, and sets you down at the end, a little shaken, but thrilled. In this compelling follow-up to her genre-bending debut, Ms. Kemp has delivered another winner.     -Alison Ragsdale, Bestselling Author of The Art of Remembering 

Q & A with Laura:

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I have varied hobbies that include singing, musical theatre and anything to do with the outdoors. I do night hikes and teach about earth science at a camp near my home. I also enjoy riding horses and snowmobiling with my husband. 

Do you have a ‘day job’ as well? 

I am a middle school SPED parapro and I help kids with special needs in math, science, ELA and Social Studies.

Where do you get your ideas?

They kind of come to me if I’m daydreaming. A ‘what if’ scenario. My idea for EYW came to me from my experiences up north when I lived there for the summer. I just took the cool people I met and put a paranormal twist on everything!

Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?

I never had anyone inspire my decision to write because it has never felt like decision to me. I simply write because I can’t not write. Anita Shreve influenced my writing style. She was so poetic and beautiful and haunting. I hope I’m half as good as she was someday.

How do you market your work?

I market every day on Facebook and Instagram. It’s another full-time job-but one I love.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on Book 3 in the series. About half way done!

Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?

I love the action scenes where my MC’s strength is tested. I love watching her flip the ‘damsel in distress’ trope!

Do you have a favorite character?

I love them all, but Justine is probably my favorite. I relate to her and there is a lot of me in her persona. 

What would your job of choice be if you didn’t write books?

Definitely a park ranger or something to do with teaching earth science.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. Take constructive criticism. Workshop your stuff. Don’t be afraid to get better. Don’t take rejection personally.

Favorite band or music?  Favorite book and/or movie?

I’m in a band so it’s my favorite! Si Bheag Si Mohr. We perform Celtic/Bluegrass.  Favorite book is ‘The Alienist’ by Caleb Carr and favorite movie?? Yikes! I love ‘Casablanca.’ I’m old school all the way.

Place you’d like to travel?

Wow! Everywhere! The Redwood Forest in California, Iceland, Norway, Africa. Anywhere I can find natural beauty.

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

Thanks for loving Woody! It makes my heart happy! 

To connect with Laura: 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020


The bestselling author of Burying the Honeysuckle Girls returns to uncover a faith healer’s elusive and haunted past.

Dove Jarrod was a renowned evangelist and faith healer. Only her granddaughter, Eve Candler, knows that Dove was a con artist. In the eight years since Dove’s death, Eve has maintained Dove’s charitable foundation—and her lies. But just as a documentary team wraps up a shoot about the miracle worker, Eve is assaulted by a vengeful stranger intent on exposing what could be Dove’s darkest secret: murder…

Tuscaloosa, 1934: a wily young orphan escapes the psychiatric hospital where she was born. When she joins the itinerant inspirational duo the Hawthorn Sisters, the road ahead is one of stirring new possibilities. And with an obsessive predator on her trail, one of untold dangers. For a young girl to survive, desperate choices must be made.

Now, to protect her family, Eve will join forces with the investigative filmmaker and one of Dove’s friends, risking everything to unravel the truth behind the accusations against her grandmother. But will the truth set her free or set her world on fire?

Reviews ~ 

“Prepare to be up late with this one; Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters is simply riveting. This is the kind of book where the past has a pulse—and teeth. It’s a page-turner for sure, with well-drawn, complicated characters whose choices linger long after the last page is turned.” —Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Never Have I Ever

“Emily Carpenter is the reigning queen of Southern Gothic, and Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters is a triumph. Moody, suspenseful, and gorgeously written, this novel takes readers into the seedy, sometimes savage world of Depression-era religious revivals, where believers make easy prey and grifters cloak themselves in the Word. Carpenter’s latest is a riveting tale of class, sex, spirituality, and the heavy burden of family history that lingers long after the final pages. I loved it.” —Julia Dahl, author of Invisible City

“Stretching from the 1930s to present day, Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters is a wild romp through the deep South and the hearts of two women connected by blood, lies, and mystery. Emily Carpenter’s newest novel will hold you in its chilling grip from the eerie beginning to the stop-you-in-your-tracks ending. Carpenter fans will love this one!” —Lauren K. Denton, USA Today bestselling author

“A historical murder mystery, lost memories, and priceless, hidden relics: Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters is an atmospheric, unputdownable Southern Gothic masterpiece. Carpenter’s masterful narrative bounces between young Ruth in 1930s Alabama, her exciting escape from the mental institution that was her childhood home and prison, and her granddaughter searching for hidden truths after her death. This was a well-plotted mystery full of family secrets and Southern atmosphere, and I absolutely could not put it down.” —Wendy Heard, author of The Kill Club

“Stories don’t stop because we turn our backs on them but only an author as gifted and elegant as Emily Carpenter is able to call them back from the shadows. In the wistfully insightful Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters, Carpenter returns to her rich Southern Gothic roots to deliver a tour de force that is both a return to and a reckoning for her beloved Burying the Honeysuckle Girls. Beautiful, mesmerizing, and saturated with suspense.” —Amber Cowie, author of Loss Lake

“This captivating story is a perfect blend of historical fiction and southern gothic. Carpenter deftly weaves past and present story lines, filling both with dramatic tension, atmospheric settings and characters that leap off of the page. I recommend it highly!” —Jane Healey, bestselling author of The Beantown Girls

Q & A with Emily ~

Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.

I’ve always written but never believed I could be published. I thought maybe you had to live in New York or know people in the publishing industry personally, and I was just a girl from Alabama. By the time I got serious about writing a novel, I realized this wasn’t true in the least. 

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I love being with my family...actually just kind of hanging around the house and cooking dinner and doing laundry and all those sorts of caretaking things. Not because I particularly like laundry or cooking (I don’t), but I like to be around when my kids breeze through and suddenly want to talk. Those times are really special, some of my most memorable. I also love horseback riding, going to movies, eating out at elegant restaurants, and sitting around a fire pit with wine and friends. 

Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?

I don’t, actually. I’ve stayed home with my kids since they were born, which I felt like was both a lucky thing but could also be really challenging and confining too at times. Nothing’s perfect. 

Where do you get your ideas?

I have no idea where my ideas come from. They just appear in my head, in varying degrees of completeness and then I go with it.

Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?

I think every book I ever loved contributed to my desire to write. All my favorite books and authors made me love stories and I just wanted to tell stories like them. Maybe the books I read in my adolescence contributed the most. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenwieler. The Grounding of Group Six. Flowers in the Attic. Down a Dark Hall. Lots of spooky books!

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


It was actually the third book I’d written - the first book I wrote was rejected by 162 agents! Once I felt like this was the next book I should query, I edited it for a year and then queried agents for another year. When I found my agent at a writers conference, she and I edited it again for a year and a half, I think, to get it just right. 

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you’d change?

Nothing at all. It was a fantastic growing, learning experience. 

How do you market your work?

I’ve hired publicists myself for three of my books and have had varying degrees of success with that. Nothing’s guaranteed but an experienced, dedicated publicist can really help focus the campaign for the launch. I also try to engage on Facebook where most of my readers seem to hang out - do some guest-hosting on various book pages and of course just let those interested know when a book has hit a list or gotten a really good review. 

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a book that involves a magic house. That’s all I’m going to say because I don’t want to jinx it. I don’t talk a lot about what I’m writing! I’m superstitious that way. 

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

Maybe minor details, like eating at a particular BBQ restaurant. But no, not the real plot points. Those are pure fiction. 

Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?

Actually the very first chapter - the prologue, where we meet Dove again. 

Do you have a favorite character?

I love Dove and I really get a kick out of Ember, one of the characters in the present-day narrative. 

What would your job of choice be if you didn’t write books?


I literally cannot do anything else other than write so I’d be in dire straights if I had to earn a living another way!


What was the most unique research you had to do for a book?


Definitely creating the app called Jax for UNTIL THE DAY I DIE was really a challenge. I got to talk with a developer who’s created some brilliant apps that have been super successful and it was so informative and fun. Especially because I am so tech-impaired. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?


Read in the genre you want to write - and current books, so you can see what’s happening in the marketplace. Books are art but they’re also a commodity, so it’s always smart to see what readers are buying or what stories might be overdone. 


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


I miss the collaboration of theater - which has led me to want to write a play. But that is not so easy, so it’s slow going. The best parts? Living inside and creating a story that is purely your world. And getting to know the writing community. I’ve made some dear friends who are fellow writers. 

Is there any place you'd like to travel?

I went to Scotland right before the pandemic shut-down. And all i can think about is going back! It’s such a dreamy, poetic, wild, and beautiful place. 

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

THANK YOU for allowing me to do what I love. When you buy books and review them, you give me such a gift. It’s my privilege to entertain you, and I hope to get to do it for a long time. 

To connect with Emily ~

FB: Emily Carpenter
Twitter: @EmilyDCarpenter
Instagram: @emily.d.c