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Former newspaper reporter Katie Schickel's debut novel, HOUSEWITCH, is Practical Magic-meets-"Desperate Housewives"-meets-"Witches of East End," about a stay-at-home mom who is caught between her desperate desire to fit in with the local moms and her new magical talents. Katie admits that she couldn’t have written it without the help of her book-loving kids, whose enthusiasm and insight proved to be invaluable to her writing process. It’s clear that her children are pretty talented themselves --- and that their mother could not be prouder.
Jamie Brickhouse is the author of DANGEROUS WHEN WET, a darkly comic memoir about his alcoholism and his mother, Mama Jean. It’s no coincidence that Jamie’s book is about his mother: It was Mama Jean who first inspired him, in that larger-than-life way of hers, to truly love books. With his signature wit, Jamie shares his memories of reading with Mama Jean --- including books that made them laugh, books that made them cry, and books that scared the feces out of them.  
In the spirit of their book, SPRING BRIDES: Three Novellas --- which tells three separate love stories, all set in spring --- Meg Moseley, Rachel Hauck and Lenora Worth all share a lovely memory of how their mothers instilled a lifelong love of reading. From not-so-covert reading under the covers after lights out, to nighttime reveries inspired by bedside stories, to prescient trips to the library with an older sister, it’s clear that Meg, Rachel and Lenora do not take their fondness for books --- or the women who inspired it --- for granted.  
Internationally bestselling author Harriet Evans’ latest book, A PLACE FOR US, is about a woman who, on the eve of her 80th birthday, decides to reveal a secret that may destroy her perfect family. Harriet herself comes from an extremely literary family; it was her mother who taught her early on to read everything for enjoyment. Here, Harriet shares how her parents influenced her early reading, and why --- especially now that she has a little girl of her own --- she can’t help but revisit the books she loved as a child.
Former navy pilot Anne A. Wilson never expected to be a romance author. Her mother, who was raised during the Depression, only kept practical books around the house --- books with black covers and the occasional Tom Clancy. But when she found herself at sea on the way to the Persian Gulf and desperate for something to read, she reluctantly turned to romance novels and has been hooked ever since. Her debut novel, HOVER, comes out on June 2nd; it’s the story of a helicopter pilot who gets recruited for a top secret SEAL mission…and finds love along the way. And guess what? Even Anne’s mother loved it.
We’re excited to kick off our sixth annual Mother’s Day Blog series with a lovely piece by bestselling author Robyn Carr. Her latest book, NEVER TOO LATE, examines the lives of three sisters as they step beyond the roles of wife, mother and daughter, and discover the importance of being a woman first. It’s a theme that resonates every day, and especially as we celebrate the special women in our lives this coming weekend. Here, Robyn talks about how her own daughter shares her love of reading…although she most definitely does not appreciate Robyn’s tendency to spill accidental spoilers!
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books was held on the sunny USC campus over the weekend of April 18-19th. The festival has been taking place for 20 (!) years now, and reader Kathy Jund has been going for 12 of them. Here, the seasoned attendee tells us all about the LATFOB (which she humorously refers to as her “Disneyland”) --- including her favorite panels, Billy Idol, and why she’s so pleased that there’s a greater YA presence at the event. Considering the festival took place in Los Angeles, we couldn’t help but ask about its Hollywood visitors, and Kathy was more than happy to indulge us! Scroll all the way down to view our gallery of Kathy's wonderful photos.
This year's Eisner Awards nominations are in --- and, as anyone following the ups and downs of the comics world in 2014 surely knows by now, we're looking at quite a list. But let's not make much ado, even if it's about something (Happy Shakespeare Day!). Below are the series and books that will vie for Eisner fame in San Diego in July:  
“Fun, sun and literary soirées…” The First Annual Palm Beach Book Festival kicked off last weekend in West Palm Beach, Florida. Award-winning author Sandra Balzo --- best known for her Maggy Thorsen mystery series --- was in attendance and was kind enough to do some sleuthing for us. Here, Sandy shares what made the festival such a huge success, her favorite panels and panelists, and what an honor it was to represent her late fiancé, crime writer Jeremiah Healy, who had served on the festival’s advisory board and to whom the mystery panel was dedicated. She also took tons of amazing photos, which you can view in the gallery below.
Over the course of two decades, John Hargrove worked with 20 different whales on two continents and at two of SeaWorld's U.S. facilities. In 2012 he resigned his position with SeaWorld, and currently contributes his expertise to an advocacy movement that is convincing legislators to prohibit keeping killer whales in captivity. Hargrove appeared in the controversial 2013 documentary "Blackfish," and his book, BENEATH THE SURFACE: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish, is now available. In it, he paints a compelling portrait of killer whales as highly intelligent and social creatures, and argues that SeaWorld's popular programs are both detrimental to the whales and unsafe for trainers. Here, Hargrove shares his experience with one orca, Takara, with whom he formed a true bond --- and the fascinating story of how she saved his life.