Five in Five with Linda Benson

Welcome to Five in Five!  The idea is that you can read this post in five minutes and get to know everything important there is to know about a famous rock star author.  Today we have (drum roll) Linda Benson. She’s the super author or Finding Chance, The Horse Jar, and her newest novel The Girl Who Remembered Horses which released on November 4, 2011.

Ready for some fun, Linda? 

1. Whatcha’ Reading Now?

Linda: Right now – I am re-reading The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummins, for my book club – quite a memorable story and the writing absolutely sings! And I just finished two horse books: Risky Chance, Horse Diaries #7, by Alison Hart, a great chapter book about a race horse, and The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, the Horse that Inspired a Nation, by Elizabeth Letts. Loved them both!

 2.  What is your favorite smell in the whole wide world?

 Linda: Chocolate Chip Cookies baking in the oven.

 Kerry: Ohhh, yummmmm!

3. If you could talk with any animal, which animal would you pick and what would you talk about?

 Linda: Oh, I’d love to talk with the famous race mare Zenyatta, 2010 Horse of the Year and winner of 19 races in a row (who is now retired and pregnant with her first foal.) I’d ask her if she misses the glamour and excitement of the race track, or if she’s much happier now hanging out in the pasture with her girlfriends and living the life of leisure.

 Kerry: OMG, this is the coolest answer ever! I can see why you’re a writer. I can so picture Zenyatta and her girlies hanging in the pasture. ❤ ❤ ❤ 

4. What’s one word you’d use to describe yourself?

 Linda: Honest 

Kerry: 🙂

5. Okay, now you pick. Tell us one random thing about yourself.

 Linda: I haven’t read any of the Harry Potter books or the Twilight series.

 Kerry: Yeah, I’m gonna say I’m pretty shocked by at least one of those. LOL

 Okay, but wait. We have a bonus question. If you could tag a future author for our Five in Five who would it be and what’s one burning question you’d have for them?

 Linda: Have you done Kimberly Newton Fusco yet? (author of The Wonder of Charlie Anne) Have you read this book? OMG it’s good – voice, voice, voice, I LOVED it. I would ask her if she has another book coming out soon and how did the character of Charlie Anne come to her – all at once, or little by little?

Kerry: No, we haven’t. That book sounds amazing and I’ll be sure to add it to my TBR pile. Thanks for stopping by, Linda. Congrats on your newest release.

WRN?’ers, you can find out more about Linda and her books below.

Linda’s website

Linda’s Blog

Faceboook page for The Girl Who Remembered  Horses

Linda’s publisher

Interviewed by : Kerry O’Malley Cerra

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Five in Five with Shana Norris

Hi Everyone!

It’s time for Five in Five and you know what that means?  You should take a five-minute break from whatever you were doing and get to know five crucial things about Shana Norris, author of Something to Blog About, Troy High, The Boyfriend Thief, and the very-soon-to-be-released-like-in-four-days paranormal  Surfacing, which is about a teen girl who goes to live with her estranged father on a tiny island off the coast of North Carolina and finds that the people there aren’t all what they seem to be.

Okay, Shana ? Here we go!

1.       Whatcha’ Reading Now? 

I’m finishing up the audiobook of Goliath by Scott Westerfeld. I know, that’s actually listening instead of reading, but it’s SO good and so I had to mention it. I’m reading Dark Magick by Cate Tiernan, part of the Sweep series. It’s a perfect fall read!

2.       If you weren’t an author, what would be the second coolest job to have? (We know being an author is the coolest!)

An astronaut, definitely. I’ve always been a bit of a space geek and would love to go up into the stars and explore other places.

3.       With Thanksgiving right around the corner, which will you eat more of: turkey or pumpkin pie?

Turkey. I actually don’t like pumpkin pie (I know, I’m weird!). But I’ll eat plenty of my grandpa’s banana pudding for dessert after the turkey.

4.       What’s your dream destination for an adventure vacation?

In addition to being a space geek, I’m also a history geek, so I want to visit ancient civilizations. The Colosseum, Pompeii, the Acropolis, the Egyptian pyramids, Mayan ruins. I think I need an “Around the World Ruins Tour.”

Okay, here you’ve gotta tell us one more random thing about you.

As a kid, I would stand in front of the mirror for hours to teach myself to raise just one eyebrow. Why? Because Fred Savage did it all the time as Kevin on The Wonder Years.

And just when you thought you were done, we decided to haul out the bonus question.

If you could tag a future author for our Five in Five who would it be and what’s one burning question you’d have for them?
Marlene Perez, author of the Dead Is… series. And the question is: What would be the coolest supernatural power to have?

Thank you for the interview Shana!  Hey, WRNers!  You should stop by and visit Shana at her site where she’s got totally cool stuff like playlists and behind the scenes notes and trivia.  http://www.shananorris.com

But also hook up with her on Twitter and Facebook because that way you can stay up-to-date on all the stuff about her new book, Surfacing!

Thanks for stopping by, Shana!

Interviewed by Shel Delisle 

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Five in Five Friday with Joanne Lewis

Hey guys. Today we’re visited by the awesome Joanne Lewis. She co-authored the book Wicked Good with her sister Amy Lewis Faircloth.  Here’s what Kirkus had to say about it.

In this entertaining dysfunctional romp, the authors cut the pathos with humor and vivid characterizations. Rory is an indelible portrait of a high-functioning autistic kid who’s both off-putting and magnetic; veering between wild tantrums, plangent sweetness and locked-down obliviousness, he’s a mystery to himself as to others. KIRKUS REVIEWS

So, let’s get movin’ with our questions and find out all about Joanne.

1.  Whatcha Reading Now?  

“Our Town” by Thornton Wilder

2. If you could have lunch with one writer (alive or deceased) to really pick their brain and find out what makes them tick, who would you pick and why? 

Harper Lee because I am fascinated with her since she wrote one amazing novel. To Kill A Mockingbird won the Pulitzer Prize and is one of the greatest novels ever written. It transcends time. I would like to ask her about this. Did fear keep her from writing another novel? Or, did she only have one novel in her?

3. If a genie granted you three wishes, what would you wish for?

I’d wish for a cure for cancer, to have the talent as a writer equivalent to Michelangelo’s skill as a sculptor, and to speak to my grandmothers. 

4. If you had to define yourself in a single word, what word would you pick?

Gracious

5. Tell us one MORE random thing about yourself.

I am obsessed with the Italian Renaissance.

 

Thanks for joining us, Joanne.

WRN?er’s, you can find out more about Joanne and her work by clicking here.

Interviewed by: Jill Mackenzie

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Five in Five with Mike Mullin

Hey, peeps…it’s Five in Five Day. (For your Tweeps that’s #5n5) We are super lucky to have author Mike Mullin with us. His post-apocalyptic YA book Ashfall was released on September 27, 2011.Here’s what Kirkus had to say about it:

Starred Review “In this chilling debut, Mullin seamlessly weaves meticulous details about science, geography, agriculture and slaughter into his prose, creating a fully immersive and internally consistent world scarily close to reality.”
 

Sounds awesome, right? Let’s check in with Mike and find out all about him.

Heya, Mike. Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks for inviting me.

1. Of course we wanna know…Whatcha’ Reading Now?

I finished Saundra Mitchell’s new novel The Springsweet (Harcourt, April 2012) last night. It’s excellent—a cross between its companion novel, The Vespertine, and the middle grade classic, Sarah, Plain and Tall. I’ve got to return it to Kids Ink Children’s Bookstore this afternoon—I stole their advance reading copy.

Over lunch and at the doctor’s office today I’ve read about half of Jeff Hirsch’s debut, The Eleventh Plague. It reminds me of Shipbreaker—a realistic and scarily plausible post-apocalyptic adventure.

2. As a kid, what did you think you’d be when you grew up?

I started out wanting to be a firefighter (natch). Later I wanted to be a pro football wide receiver like Lynn Swann. That guy was indestructible! Then I went through a ballet dancer phase. (I had a crush on a ballerina, what can I say?) In high school I thought I’d be a newspaper editor. I even tried it out for a while, publishing and editing an underground newspaper titled The Middle Finger. I thought I might like to be a politician (puke!) until I served as a Congressional Page in the sausage factory that is Washington D.C. In college I decided I’d be a marketing executive. I actually did that one—it’s as soul-sucking as it sounds. I’m really enjoying writing full time. I can do it thanks to my extraordinarily patient and well-employed wife. (Thanks, honey!) Maybe one or two of you would buy ASHFALL so I can keep writing? I love this career!

3. What is your most quirky trait?

I keep a pet alligator in the guest room bathtub. It LOVES my wife’s three cats. Also, I lie in interviews a lot.

4. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?

I would leap at the chance to do this—one of the weaknesses in my writing is female voices, so I’d have to become a woman.  I’d probably become a minority, too. I feel less than competent writing from minority perspectives, so I tend to include too few in my work. Maybe Celie from The Color Purple or Precious from Push, although I doubt I’m tough enough to survive either of their lives.

5. Your turn. Tell us one random thing about yourself that our readers would be surprised to know.

I fractured my wrist in fourth grade while breaking into my own house. I told my classmates it was broken during a fight with a grizzly bear. I was really interested in backcountry survival then—I embellished my tale with so many convincing details that more than half the class believed me and not my teacher, who swore there were no grizzlies in Indiana.

*Okay, and a bonus question, because who doesn’t love a bonus? 

If you could tag a future author for our Five in Five who would it be and what’s one burning question you’d have for them?

Ask Saundra Mitchell what she reads to train herself to write such pitch-perfect Victorian voices without bogging her work down in a ponderous Victorian style. Or ask Sarah Ockler this: If you could force Mr. Scroggins to read one book, which one would you choose and why? (Scroggins instigated a ban of her outstanding novel, Twenty Boy Summer.)

Mike, it’s fantastic to have you with us. WRN?er’s,for more info about Mike or his book, go here  And don’t forget, Ashfall is available now.

Thanks for inviting me!

Interviewed by Kerry O’Malley Cerra

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A Double shot of Five in Five with Cyn Balog and Mandy Hubbard

Mandy

Cyn

Hey WRNers, this week we have CynBalog  AND Mandy Hubbard, real-life friends who collaborated on the e-book Getting Caught, a novel about two ex-bestfriends caught in an snowballing prank war.  As the tricks escalate, both girls must avoid detection.  Neither one wants to get caught.

Because the story is told from two points of view, it should be a lot of fun to see how both authors answer the burning questions we all have during this edition of Five in Five.

Okay, so numero uno is…

Whatcha’ Reading Now?

Cyn:  All the Things I’ve Done, by Gabrielle Zevin. I am kind of on a dystopian kick because I just finished writing one.

Mandy: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

Okay, thanks!  I love new ideas for my tbr pile.  Now, ah, we thought long and hard about what to ask.  What we think everyone should know is:

Flip flops or heels?

Mandy: Flip Flops. I’m 5’10 so I like prefer flats. Sometimes I buy the cutest heels in the world and then I wear them like twenty minutes and remember why I never wear heels.

Cyn:   Heels. I don’t like showing off my toes,  because I think toes are weird. If you had said Bunny Slippers or Heels, I would have gone for the bunny slippers, though, since I really am all about vegging out.

Your biggest celebrity crush?

Cyn:  Timothy Olyphant.

Mandy: Josh Duhamel. Soooooooo hot.

What magical ability or power would you like to have?

Mandy: To never be tired. I can’t stop yawning this morning. I wish I could magically replenish my energy or something.

Cyn:  The power to go into other people’s dreams. Just because it would be fun to mess with people.

And now, we need for you to tell us one more random thing about yourself.

Cyn:  I don’t like toes. Wait, did I say that already? Okay, hmmm….  Other things I don’t like: football, cockroaches the size of my hand, metrosexuals, vodka, chocolate-mint anything, and people who say “close proximity.”

Mandy:  You can tell we’re really good at directions, because Cyn totally said more than one thing. Random facts about me: My first kiss occurred when I was on a horse. I broke my foot on a school playground during recess. I got married in the church where my parents were married. I started writing at 20 but it wasn’t until 23 that I wanted to BE a writer. I have a thing about walking on lines/stripes or curbs. I once served as the County Dairy Princess. My four year old daughter sometimes wears the crown to school. I really like boy bands.

Hurray for some incredibly serious randomness!  Awesome!

So, WRNers you should definitely check out GETTING CAUGHT.  It has a promo price of 99 cents—yeah, I know under a dollar!—for the month of October.  That’s eleven more days.

And if you’d like to know more about these authors:

Mandy Hubbard is the author of RIPPLE and BUT I LOVE HIM (written under the psuedonym Amanda Grace). She is also a literary agent for D4EO Literary, where she represents authors of middle grade and teen fiction. She is currently living happily ever after with her husband and young daughter in Tacoma, Washington.  You can find out more about Mandy and her other books at www.mandyhubbard.com

Cyn Balog is the author of the newly young adult paranormal novel STARSTRUCK, in addition to her earlier books FAIRY TALE and SLEEPLESS. She lives outside Allentown, Pennsylvania with her husband and daughters. Visit her online at www.cynbalog.com

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Five in Five with Danielle Joseph

Hey y’all!

Here with us for our “Five in Five” interview this week is rock star writer of Shrinking Violet, Indigo Blues, and now the brand-spanking new novel, Pure Red, Danielle Joseph! Applause everyone!

So Danielle, it’s pretty obvious you’ve got a color obsession going on, right?  So let’s skip that question and move over to the quintessential…

1.       Whatcha Reading Now? I have just finished reading Christina Gonzalez’s next novel, A Thunderous Whisper. Get ready, it’s a heartfelt tear jerker!

2.       If you were going away to live in some new civilization and could only take three personal items with you, none of them being clothes, what would you take? Assuming my family was coming with me, I’d take my iPhone, my notebook and a collection of short stories.

3.       What’s your biggest “what if?” My biggest what if is…what if the world ran out of chocolate. There would be so many cranky writers roaming the earth!

4.       What’s your guilty pleasure? What lengths would you go to to get it back if someone took it away from you forever?  My guilty pleasure whenever I ride on an airplane is People Magazine. I have to buy a copy of it to read on my trip. I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. If my husband or another travel companion stole the magazine from me, I’d have to to press the call button and get the flight attendant to eject them from the plane:).

5.       Tell us one MORE random thing about yourself. I love pickles and just made my first batch last month. Not too bad! 

There you have it, folks! Nothing hum-drum about this author, (I mean, anyone that’s that into chocolate, is okay in our books!) that’s for sure! If you want to learn more about Danielle and what she’s got going on next, visit her website at www.daniellejoseph.com. Also, visit her “grog” (group blog) site right here

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Five in Five with Jay Asher

Hey, WRN? fans. It’s Five in Five Day (for you Tweeps that’s #5n5) We’re crazy-happy to feature bestselling author Jay Asher. His novel TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY has spent a whopping 65 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in hardcover. And has already racked up 15 weeks on the bestseller list for the new paperback.  Plus, 13RW is being made into a movie starring Selena Gomez. (Release date TBA) Cool, right? You think that’s great? Wait till you hear this. Jay has co-authored a new book with Carolyn Mackler. You can pre-order The Future of Us now, but its official release day is November 21, 2011.

See why we’re stoked to have him join us?

Ready, Jay?

  1. Of course we want to know, Whatcha’ Reading Now?

I just finished Jason Zinoman’s Shock Value, about the writers and directors behind the “golden age” of modern horror.  And I love non-fiction books where writers discuss their odd obsessions. In that category, I’m finishing up (and loving) Wendy McClure’s The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie. I’ve always felt that a balanced diet of Michael Myers and Laura Ingalls Wilder is good for you.

2.  If you were a circus star, we’d find you performing in what act?

The trapeze!  Do you remember that show Circus of the Stars? It was like Dancing with the Stars, but so much cooler. If they had Circus of the Authors, I’d be the first to sign up.

3.  If you could time travel, what decade would you want to visit for an extended period of time?

The mid-1770s would be historically amazing. Culturally, the late 1960s. But what would satisfy me the most personally would be the late 1980s. That’s when I really got into music, but I was too young to see most of my favorite bands in concert. So I’d go back to that time and be a concert freak!

4.  What’s the grossest thing you’ve ever done?

I don’t do gross things. Other people may think I do gross things, but I don’t. Probably the grossest thing humans do on a regular basis is eat onions, and that’s something I refuse to do.

5.  What’s one more random thing you’re willing to tell us about yourself.

I used to be a member of the Kids Incorporated Fan Club. That’s back when Fergie was Stacy Ferguson. And I did get to see them live!

**Okay a bonus question, because who doesn’t love a bonus? If you could tag a future author for our Five in Five who would it be and what’s one burning question you’d have for them?

Laini Taylor. Does she feel guilty, even slightly guilty, that her writing makes other writers feel self-conscious?

Awesome! Thanks for visiting with us, Jay. Can’t wait to read The Future of Us.

WRN? peeps, you can find out more about Jay here and here

Interviewed by Kerry O’Malley Cerra

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Introducing Five in Five Friday with Dawn Lairamore

Today is capital B, capital I, capital G BIG.

“Why?” you ask.

Because we’re launching Five in Five Fridays.

“What is that?” you ask.

It’s a mini-author interview of only five fun and completely random questions that you can read in five minutes, probably less.  Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you. The Friday part is that we’ll be doing this every Friday. Makes sense, right?  So, we think you’ll enjoy this first author.

“Who is it?” you ask.

Okay, I’m gonna answer, but that’s absolutely your last question.  You’re asking way too many and this is supposed to be about our featured author answering questions.

Our first interview is with Dawn Lairamore, author of the Ivy books.  Ta-da! We reviewed Dawn’s first book, Ivy’s Ever After in Issue # 5 over at the e-zine.  You can check that out by clicking here. Her latest, Ivy and the Meanstalk will release on October 2.  So, that’s any day now and we hope you’ll look for it on-line or at your local bookseller.

Now for Five in Five.  You can start the clock…now.

 1.  Whatcha’ Reading Now?

Catching Fire, the second book in Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy.  I think I’m the last person on Earth to read these books, and why did I wait so long?!  I’m loving them!

2.  Would you rather be a ninja warrior or fairy godmother?

How about a fairy ninja warrior?  I have a black belt in a Korean form of martial arts called Kuk Sool Won, so being action-y definitely appeals to me.  But I like fairies, too, and wouldn’t say no to a pair of sparkly fairy wings.

 3.  What’s your favorite smell?

Lavender.  In my Ivy books, Ivy’s nursemaid/mother figure, Tildy, always smells like the lavender water she washes in, so the smell of lavender reminds Princess Ivy of home and someone she loves.  She finds it a very comforting, soothing scent, as do I.

4. Lil John or John Lennon?

Neither. I’m not very mainstream in my musical tastes.  I love world music, Putumayo collections, etc.

 5.  Tell us one more random thing about yourself.

I’m obsessed with peacock feathers.  I think they are the coolest, prettiest things ever!!  I love the colors and how the light dances off them.  I once spent an entire afternoon wandering around an animal sanctuary taking photographs of peafowl’s tail feathers.  I have framed photographs of peacocks on my desk and a big fan made of peacock feathers perched on top of my bookshelf, where I can stare at it all day.

I have a mini-peacock obsession, too!  How funny is that?

Anyway, WRNers, you should definitely stop by Dawn’s web-site, www.dawnbooks.com, where you’ll be able to read sample chapters from both Ivy books, as well as watch the book trailer.  And be sure to check back next Friday for the next installment of Five in Five.

Post by:  Shel Delisle

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Amazing Mazers

It’s National Banned Books Week this week. So I was going to write this whole piece on why I believe it’s dangerous to ban, challenge, or censor any book, ever. But then this thought occurred to me that these are the kinds of words we all (I hope!) already know. Censorship is bad. Banning books makes my heart hurt. There, I said it.

Instead, I’d like to celebrate a family of beautiful writers, two of whom have faced censorship at several points in their writing careers: The Mazers. That is, Norma Fox Mazer, Harry Mazer, and Anne Mazer.

The first book I ever read by Norma Fox Mazer was After the Rain, published in 1987. I was twelve when I read it, and hadn’t had much personal experience with “big issues” such as death or disease. But by page twenty, I swear to god, I slept with this book under my pillow. When I felt down, it made me laugh. When I felt cold, it kept me warm. And when I was finished, I sought out every other book that Ms. Mazer had ever written. I devoured Taking Terri Mueler like it was the last book I’d ever read. I ate up B, My Name is Bunny like it was the funniest thing I’d ever hear.  And when Ms. Mazer died in October 2009, I vowed that I’d read every book she’d ever written before I died, too. And while  I’m still (relatively) young, I’m still making my way through Ms. Mazers books. But I will read them all one day—because they’re that beautiful, and deserve to be read. Every single one of them.

I encountered the books written by Ms. Mazer’s husband, Harry Mazer, at a much later date. To be honest, I didn’t even know he wrote children’s books until I stumbled upon a book co-authored by both Henry Mazer and his wife, The Solid Gold Kid. When I read The Solid Gold Kid, I was twenty-seven. The book had been published the year I was born, so my skeptical self disregarded it. I thought it’d be outdated. I thought it’d be irrelevant to what teens of today faced. But I promise you, this book was anything but extraneous. Naturally, I went on to read more and then most of Harry Mazer’s books .But I was always most moved by his short stories, which eventually led me to study children’s short stories at great length. Harry Mazer’s You Come, too, A-Ron totally crushed me. And his Furlough—1944 taught me the kinds of things about the world I never knew happened.

Aside from being amazing storytellers, what husband-and-wife Harry and Norma Fox Mazer had in common is that many of their books and short stories written by them were censored or challenged by groups or individuals determined to silence their songs. Norma Fox Mazer’s books were restricted for things like her use of the words piss, penis and snot. Harry Mazer’s books, too, were pulled from library shelves and bookstores, deemed “morally inappropriate” for teenagers.

Although Harry and Norma’s daughter and fellow writer, Anne Mazer, (author of the well-received Abby Hays series, as well as several other delightful children’s titles,) says her books have never been challenged, I have no doubt that censorship will affect her, if only through her parent’s legacy, at some time in the future. In the wise words of Judy Blume, whose books have been disputed for most of her carreer, “censorship happens, often when you least expect it.” Still, I hope that one day every child can have the Mazers, as well as all challenged or banned books at their fingertips. Because, after all, as Harry Mazer himself once said, “Books are our windows of the world.”

Post by: Jill MacKenzie

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An…um…Interesting Situation

So, you might be wondering what The Situation has to do with books and reading and such.

Um, probably not a lot. But the picture made you look, right?

Okay, in truth, there is a connection even if it is pretty slim.  The book we’re giving away this week is Jersey Tomatoes Are The Best by Maria Padian.  See the connection now–Jersey Shore/Jersey Tomatoes?  Yeah, like I said, it’s a stretch.

Anyway…it breaks my heart to give this book away and this is why.  I really, really wanted to read it!  It has all the stuff I love:  friendship, talented girls, a little romance.  Plus it’s supposed to be hysterical!  Here’s a little more about it to get you pumped up (but not in a The Situation kind of way):

In this hilarious and heartbreaking story of two teen girls, one summer changes everything. Both Henry and Eva are New Jersey natives and excellent athletes: Henry’s a master on the tennis court and Eva is a graceful ballerina. When opportunity knocks for both of them the summer before their junior year in high school they throw open the door: Henry sees freedom from her overbearing father and a chance to build her talents on the court. Eva sees the chance to be the best as well as even more pressure to be graceful, lighter, more perfect on the dancefloor.

Soon, Eva’s obsession with physical perfection leads her down the path to anorexia, and her health issues overwhelm everything else. But through it all these two best friends know that Jersey Tomatoes Are The Best, and nothing will come between them no matter the distance.

Yeah, I know, I know.  You wanna read it too.  It even goes with our sports issue over at the Whatcha’ Reading Now ? e-zine. 

So, here’s what you have to do.

Tweet:

@WRNgirls I wanna win Jersey Tomatoes Are The Best from the #WRNblog http://bit.ly/qyiv2s

That’s it.  Easy, right.  Just copy/paste.  Even The Situation could do it.  Probably.

If you’re not on Twitter–well, why aren’t you on Twitter?–but if you’re not, you can come and post on our Facebook Wall.   In fact, I’m feeling really, really, really generous, so if you do both you can be entered twice.  What?!  That doesn’t sound generous to you. Yeah, well, you gottta work for it a little ’cause I really wanted to read this book

One more thing:  if you win, don’t tell me how good it is, okay?  I might go all Snooki on you. ;D

by: Shel Delisle

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