Posts Tagged ‘ebooks’

What Happens on Sunday by Laurie Koozer

I know an author!  Well, technically we’ve never met in real life, but I know her via Twitter.  It still counts!  Laurie Koozer just published her first novel, “What Happens on Sunday“, and I’m so excited to share my thoughts AND a special Q&A with Laurie!

From Amazon.com:

In Pittsburgh, what happens on football Sundays is more than just a game and for six women during the 2005 Steelers season their complicated relationships with the team provides solace, distraction and occasionally frustration.

Jen is a very young and very pregnant newlywed who worries that getting married on the same day as a Steelers loss will doom her marriage.

Megan never met a tailgate or a man she couldn’t conquer but is scared of losing her best friend to a relationship.

Desiree is a brash professional struggling to deal with her husband’s ex-wife and children and beginning to wonder if it’s the right time to start a family of her own.

Angela is a high school senior long ago branded bad luck for the Steelers and all she wants to do is get the hell out of Pittsburgh even if it means leaving behind her best friend Robbie.

Patty, a mom who sends a pair of sexy panties to a different player every week, hasn’t been on a date since her divorce five years ago.

And then there’s Shannon, thirty-four and single she spends the majority of her days navigating Pittsburgh traffic and her evenings tending bar and pining after her sister’s boyfriend.

As the Steelers make what seems to be an impossible run to the Super Bowl, their lives will intersect, each of them finding connections in the most unexpected places.

I love books set in or about Pittsburgh, you know that.  ”What Happens on Sunday” is no exception.  As a lifelong Pittsburgher and a Steelers fan (duh), I could totally relate to the characters in this book and I think most other people could, too.  Maybe not all of them in all situations, but I feel like I could see little bits of myself in almost all of the ladies.  I could picture the characters as regular women walking around town, someone I might run into at Target or Primanti’s.  The story took me back to the ups and downs of the 2005 football season.

And if you love Pittsburgh, you’ll get your fill with a ton of Pittsburgh references, similes, and metaphors.  I felt like I was “in on the secret” because I knew all of the things and places that were in the story.  Laurie did a great job of capturing the spirit of the city, both good and bad parts and stereotypes.  This was a fun, easy read that I didn’t want to put down, and if you’re local, used to be local, like Pittsburgh for no reason, are a Steelers fan, are a female, or just need something fun to read, get it!  It’s only $3.99 on Amazon – about half the price of a Primanti’s Capicola and Cheese.  Save yourself some calories and buy this instead.

If you want to hear more about the book or follow Laurie’s other adventures in reading and in the ‘Burgh, check out her blog at Yinz R Readin and you can also find her on Twitter at @yinzrreadin.  The ebook is available for sale on Amazon and if you’re not into the ebook thing, you’re in luck!  You can buy a print copy at the following locations: Caliban Books in Oakland, East End Book Exchange at the Pittsburgh Public Market and Eljay’s Used Books in Dormont.  Support local authors and bookstores!

 

Laurie was also nice enough to answer some of my questions about her book (my questions in bold).  Enjoy!

I know you’re a native Pittsburgher. Why did you choose to write your first book about Pittsburghers and the Steelers instead of something else?

I was actually born in Central PA so even though my family moved to Western PA when I was 11, I don’t know if I can claim to be a native Pittsburgher. J I have lived in the city for the past 11 years though and I think that the number one reason I wrote this book was selfishness.   Like you, I love to read and as many books as I’ve read, I’ve never really found one that captured the world or the people that I know, so this was my attempt to do that.

Do you think that readers not familiar with Pittsburgh would understand and enjoy this book as much as someone from Pittsburgh?

I would hope so, but with the specific nature of the book, right now I’m not worrying too much about what Jane Smith from Kansas would think about the book and just hoping that Pittsburghers like it!   Still, I think that the specific characters in the book are struggling with the sorts of conflicts that all sorts of women can relate to – love, loneliness, growing up, etc – so I definitely wouldn’t rule it out from finding a wider audience.

Where did you come up with the characters?  

The original two characters – Patty and Angela – developed from a Post-Gazette article I read about sports rituals and superstitions.  The article talked about women mailing underwear to different players and it really got me wondering what type of person would do that.  And I think we’ve all heard of (or maybe been) the person who has to stay out of the room during a sports game because their family thinks that they’re bad luck.  Usually the person is a sports fan and in on the joke but I started wondering how it would play out if the person being removed from the games wasn’t a fan at all. Jen and Dave were inspired by a couple I saw in Detroit during Super Bowl XL – a husband proudly showing off the Steelers helmet he’d painted on his pregnant wife’s belly.  Shannon’s character was inspired by a neighborhood bar where I used to hang out. Megan and Desiree were more of an amalgam of different types of people that I’ve known or observed over the years.

Was it as hard as I think it would be to intertwine their stories and relationships?

It actually wasn’t because I had that vision from the very beginning so I kind of worked out various scenarios in my head and then worked backwards from there.  I wanted their lives to connect or even collide but I also wanted to have character arcs that stood on their own. More than anything, I wanted it to be reflective of the very real “it’s a small world” thing that is always at play in Pittsburgh where you almost always have a mutual connection to strangers if you dig deep enough.     I have to say that some of my favorite scenes to write were the ones where we see the same incident from multiple points of view – like that infamous night at The Locker Room and especially at Jen’s wedding.

Which one of your characters would you most and least like to be friends with and why?

I feel like I could be friends with all of my characters, but if I have to choose I would say that I probably have the least in common with Jen and that if Patty could ever see fit to leave her desk and take a lunch out sometime, I would love to be her office lady lunch buddy!

How much studying did you have to do on the Steelers’ 2005 season to get all of the facts right?

I don’t know if studying is the right word but I have a binder with recaps of every game and all kinds of articles about different storylines that were going on that year, so yeah I definitely did my homework, even down to researching what weather Pittsburgh was having during specific games that year.  And it wasn’t just the Steelers season I had to research – I started writing in 2006 so everything was very fresh to me but as the years went by I started adding a lot of pop culture and current event facts to my 2005 binder so that I could stay accurate. It’s funny to me that there’s a MySpace reference in the book because that seems pretty quaint now but back then it was pretty big.

Hines Ward or Troy Polamalu?

Troy!!!

Do you have any plans to write a sequel?  I would love to know what happens to all of the characters after the Super Bowl!

I’m glad you asked that question. A lot of people are asking me that and I will take that as a very good sign about the success of these characters and the book itself.  I’m definitely not done with these women –  how that is going to play out I’m not sure yet because with working full-time and kids I don’t get as much writing time as I used to but yeah, there’s definitely a lot more that happens to these characters after Super Bowl XL.

What is your second favorite (assuming yours is your favorite) book set in Pittsburgh?

Ah, I can’t narrow it down so I will say that my second favorite Pittsburgh-set book is a three-way tie between An American Childhood (Annie Dillard), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky) and Wonder Boys (Michael Chabon).

Lastly, is that your butt on the cover?

No, but I’m flattered that you think it is.  The identity of that front cover butt is supposed to be top-secret but unfortunately I think we messed up when we took my three-year-old on the photo shoot because as soon as she saw the cover she yelled “That’s XX!!!”  So yeah, if you really want to know who that butt belongs to you’ll have to ask her, because I swore I’d never tell.

 

Thanks again to Laurie for the interview and for writing a great book n’at!

Kindle + Libraries

 

Exciting news!  You as a Kindle owner or Kindle app user can now borrow Kindle ebooks from your local library!  How awesome is that?  I admit, I haven’t been to a library in way too long.  Other than the college library for school stuff, I probably haven’t visited a library for pleasure reading since high school or earlier.  Sad, huh.  I recently applied for a library card with my local library system, but I didn’t go pick it up right away so I think I have to reregister online again.  Oops.

Anyway, I first read about this news on one my favorite tech blogs, TechCrunch.  Amazon has a page dedicated to Public Library Books for Kindle and it seems to answer any questions that you could have.  You can go to the OverDrive search website to see if your library participates in this program and if so, you can go to your library’s website and check out ebooks to your Kindle (you must have a library card, though).  The only downside that I see is that the libraries must only have one or a very limited amount of each ebook.  I did a quick search on some popular titles in the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh site and many of them were checked out.  I believe that there is a two-week lending period for each title, but it looks like you can put yourself on the wait list.  Wonder how long that would take.  I’ll have to check it out as soon as I become a responsible adult and get a new library card.

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve tried this with your local library!  Any success stories, pros, cons?

100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less

Cheap books (or ebooks) are my weakness.  Did you see that Amazon has 100 Kindle books for $3.99 or less?!?  My dream come true!  No, my dream would be that they’d all be free.

There’s a pretty decent selection and it really looks like there is something for everyone.  If you’re looking for something to download and have the same taste in books as I do, I recommend “Shanghai Girls.  There are a few on here that I’d like to read, including Alicia Silverstone’s “The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet” (I’m not vegan, just pescetarian, but I’ve been wanting to learn more about her philosophy); “The Dowry Bride” by Shobhan Bantwal (I read and blogged about one of her other books, “The Sari Shop Widow“); and “The Condition (P.S.) by Jennifer Haigh (haven’t read anything else by this author but the story looks interesting).  There’s a few others on there that I wouldn’t mind getting, too.  Sorry, wallet.

Check out the list and let me know if you recommend any others!


                                            
                                        

Summer Reading

It’s that time of year again… SUMMER!  I can’t believe June is almost over already but technically, summer only started a few days ago.  I just ran across Amazon’s summer reading recommendations for this year.  On the first list, I thought it was kind of weird that cookbooks were on a “reading list”, but whatever.  You can drill down the recommendations by genre so you can take a look and see if there is anything that really interests you.  A few books that I’ve already read are listed in the Literature and Fiction section like “Room“, “The Help” (never blogged about that one yet, sorry, but it’s amazing, so please go read it), “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet“, “Shanghai Girls” (also didn’t blog about that one but it’s also very good), “Heart of the Matter“…. and that’s just in the top 27 in that category.

I’ve preordered a few books for my Kindle that should be out soon:

  • Silver Girl” by Elin Hilderbrand (this one actually just came out on June 21 and I didn’t even realize it but it should be in my Kindle library waiting to be read!)
  • Then Came You” by Jennifer Weiner (out July 12)
  • Escape” by Barbara Delinsky (also out July 12)

I wonder if I’m missing any other new summer releases by my favorite authors.  Are there any books that you’re looking forward to reading this summer, whether they’re new or have been out for awhile?  I would love to hear your recommendations!

Happy summer reading and make sure you’re stocked up (with books, but also sunblock, water, etc) before you hit the beach or pool!

Ebooks Galore!

I recently won a Twitter contest from Twitterer @ReadersWin and received several free ebooks.  Through this contest and gathering my winnings, I learned of a new (to me) website, Smashwords.  Smashwords is an ebook paradise.  I’m not quite sure how many ebooks are available on the site, but it claims to have published over 1 billion words (if someone is really good at math – not me – I’m sure they can estimate how many words are typically in a book, etc. and figure it out).

A lot of the ebooks on the site seem pretty inexpensive (pretty comparable to what I see Kindle ebooks go for) and there are even free ones you can browse through.  It seems like Smashwords is the place to be for indie or first-time authors.  What a great way to find some new favorite authors!  Bonus: you don’t have to just read these ebooks on your computer.  You can download the ebook in multiple formats including Kindle, iPad, Nook, and many others.  The ones that I received are going to be sent to my Kindle as soon as I remember to do it.

Are there any other sources to find good ebooks?

(Side note: the word “ebook” starts to look really strange when you type it as many times and I did in this post.)

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Jaci has read 1 book toward her goal of 35 books.
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