Bright Authors, Smart Readers, Good Books.

Poppies are a National Book Award Finalist, New York Times Bestsellers, USA Today Bestsellers, a Book of the Month Club Main Selection, a Globe & Mail Top 100, Indie Book award winners, Target and Costco Book Picks, and more.

5 Ways To Make My Summer Reads List

Inevitably, when the beachy June seascapes appear on my desk calendar, the temperatures begin to rise, and the air becomes perfumed with honeysuckle chased by a tinny whiff of sunscreen, I reach for my e-reader or the nearest paperback as surely as I trade in my wool cap and boots for my beloved Dansko sandals and straw hat. (As much as I love the sun my pasty white alabaster complexion requires moderation.)

Here is my dirty secret: From June to August, I seldom reach for the books I “should” be reading. read more…

There Are No Others: A More Excellent State of Being

Hello, dear readers! Today we have something special. Ann Garvin, founder of the Tall Poppies, shares something that is near and dear to her heart.

Something happened that turned me from someone who cares about others to someone who cares for others; from someone who lent a hand when asked to seeking out situations to offer a hand. Something so common, something millions had done before me, something that I should not get any congratulations for.

I had a child (and then another). read more…

Meet author Cristina Alger & THIS WAS NOT THE PLAN

Let’s give a warm welcome to Cristina Alger, who joins us on the Poppy blog today! Cristina has penned two novels and her second, THIS WAS NOT THE PLAN (Simon & Schuster/Touchstone, February 2016), was described by Bookpage as “a big, heartfelt book that reads like your favorite sitcom….Charlie’s evolution to a secure, confident, stay-at-home dad is wonderfully satisfying, and he is as relatable as Will Freeman in Nick Hornby’s About a Boy” and by Library Journal as a “darkly comic novel offer(ing) an engaging take on single parenthood from a man’s viewpoint.” (I agree — I devoured it!)

Cristina stopped by to take our Tall Poppy Q&A, where she talks about what’s making her happy these days, what books are on her nightstand, and her twisty path to publication… 

read more…

Celebrate CHASING CHAOS From Katie Rose Guest Pryal

Congrats to Katie Rose Guest Pryal’s latest book, CHASING CHAOS. If you read ENTANGLEMENT, you’re going to love finding out what happens next!

Pryal Chasing Chaos CoverLove, friendship and betrayal in glamorous, yet often vicious, Hollywood.

Daphne Saito, a beautiful and talented Hollywood screenwriter, might look like she has the perfect life, but on the inside she’s lost. She’s wandered from one meaningless relationship to the next, and now—just as she breaks up with her longtime boyfriend Dan—she meets someone new, someone she could fall in love with. But Daphne, still traumatized by an accident involving her best friend, Greta, five years earlier, is afraid to love. Harm has always come to those close to her.

Over five life-changing days, Daphne lets her guard down and steps toward this new love. But trouble is never far behind. Dan, angry at Daphne’s departure, has targeted an innocent young woman, someone close to Daphne’s new love, as part of a plan for revenge. And an enigmatic woman from Daphne’s past returns with a vendetta of her own. Danger is on the horizon for all of Daphne’s friends—and for her.

Tana French meets Donna Tartt in this tense, evocative love story. And fans of Lisa Scottoline’s Betrayed will enjoy the strong female protagonists found in Pryal’s novel.

Katie stopped by for the Tall Poppy Q&A to answer some questions about her latest book.

Who is one of your favorite (fictional or non-fictional) characters?
When I was younger, I was alone a lot—I was not a very social kid—and I thought that meant there was something wrong with me. Naturally, being alone meant I read all the time. It also meant I gravitated toward characters who were the same. Wonderfully, books are replete with characters who thrive in taking a solo path. I think this is because authors tend to be kids like I used to be, just all grown up. Some examples of these characters now are Claudia in the book Moon Tiger (a Booker Prize winner everyone seems to have forgotten) or the title character in Toni Morrison’s Sula.

What’s your secret or not-so-secret superpower?
I have a great memory. I feel very lucky. I remember details, directions (I rarely get lost), and words, including entire phrases or even sentences—scenes of human interaction replay in my head like a movie. All of this comes in handy as a writer. Other times, though, there are things I wish I could forget, and I can’t. They’re stuck. To deal with these stuck memories, I created two personal policies. The first is not to hold grudges against my friends. The second is not to have regrets about past decisions.

Have you ever tried writing in a different genre? How did that turn out?
I write in different genres all the time. I’m a journalist and an essay writer, and I also write academic books. I think writing in different genres helps keep my writing fresh for all of the genres I write in. Call it cross-pollination.

Do you have a regular first reader? If so, who is it and why that person?
My regular first reader is one of my first and best writer friends, another novelist. Her name is Lauren Faulkenberry (firebrandpress.org). She and I met nearly fifteen years ago at a writers conference and were happenstance roommates. Now we’re good friends, and nothing I write leaves my laptop without her seeing it first. She’s also the person I call when I’m stuck because she doesn’t mind if I’m raving in frustration. She is a very calm individual.

Talk about your book’s title.
All of the books in the Entanglement series (which also includes Entanglement and Love and Entropy) nod toward physics concepts. My husband’s work is science-oriented, and he was a physics major as an undergraduate. The titles of my first two books came easy to me. When it came time to title Chasing Chaos, I was completely stuck. I knew I wanted Chaos in there—there’s a bit about how the lead character, Daphne, misunderstands the meaning of chaos, that it isn’t actually random at all. But the titles I came up with were terrible. Then one night, we were in bed, and I was working on titles, and he was reading a magazine, and he just said, “How about Chasing Chaos?” Like he titled books all the time. I was too happy to be annoyed. Now I make him deal with titling all my books.

Katie Pryal PortraitKatie Rose Guest Pryal, J.D., Ph.D., is a novelist, freelance journalist, and erstwhile law professor in Chapel Hill, NC. She is the author of the Entanglement Series, which includes ENTANGLEMENT, LOVE AND ENTROPY, and CHASING CHAOS, all from Velvet Morning Press. As a journalist, Katie contributes regularly to QUARTZ, THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, THE (late, lamented) TOAST, DAME MAGAZINE, and more. She earned her master’s degree in creative writing from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins, where she attended on a fellowship. She teaches creative writing through Duke University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and leads the Village Writers Workshops of Chapel Hill. She also works as a writing coach and developmental editor when she’s not writing her next book.

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Congrats to Ann Garvin on I LIKE YOU JUST FINE WHEN YOU AREN’T AROUND

We are over-the-moon excited to celebrate our Tall Poppy founder Ann Garvin’s launch for her newest novel, I LIKE YOU JUST FIND WHEN YOU AREN’T AROUND. You’re going to love it!

Garvin I Like You Fine CoverI Like you Just Fine When You Aren’t Around captures that in-between place so many people find themselves in today where carrying for aging parents collides with creating your own family and tending to your career. Her unflinching look at the challenges with a liberal dose of humor and a touch of romance raises the important questions about this in-between time and helps us to enjoy thinking about the answers.

Ann shares some of her thoughts about her latest in this funny interview. read more…

Welcome Poppy guest Taylor Jenkins Reid & One True Loves!

We’re thrilled to have guest author Taylor Jenkins Reid on the Poppy blog today! Taylor is the author of three amazing books, FOREVER, INTERRUPTED, AFTER I DO, MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE, and her latest–ONE TRUE LOVES–is out June 7th (we can’t wait!) ONE TRUE LOVES is about a woman named Emma Blair who marries her high school sweetheart, only to have his helicopter go missing over the Pacific. She grieves and moves on with her life, eventually falling in love again years later. When her husband is found alive, Emma must decide who is her one true love. If this one is anything like Taylor’s other books, it’s a not-to-be-missed story!

Taylor stopped by to take our Tall Poppy Q&A, where she talks the best perk of her job, who gets to read her work first, and what books she’s devouring right now… 

read more…

Welcome Poppy guest Lindsay Cameron & her debut, BIGLAW!

We’re thrilled to welcome guest author Lindsay Cameron, whose debut BIGLAW was chosen as one of the Best Books of 2015 by Good Housekeeping and Redbook Magazine. BIGLAW is the story of a young woman determined to climb the ladder in the cutthroat world of an elite Manhattan law firm. A former lawyer herself, Lindsay Cameron throws back the curtain of this intriguing world, exposing the truth about life in these notoriously secretive firms. New York Times Bestselling Author Julie Buxbaum called BIGLAW a “funny, pitch-perfect, compulsively readable novel that also serves as a cautionary tale. BIGLAW reminds us to be very careful what we wish for.”

Lindsay stopped by to take our Tall Poppy Q&A, where she talks character inspiration, cover insight (and a fun little detail that will make you take a second look), and the hardest and easiest parts of her job as a writer… 

read more…

NYT Bestselling author Mary Kubica & Don’t You Cry: A Sense of Place.

We’re thrilled to welcome New York Times bestselling author Mary Kubica to the Tall Poppy blog today! Mary writes page turning psychological thrillers that will keep you guessing (while also keeping you up all night), including her most recent Don’t You Cry (May 17th/Mira Books — don’t miss this one!)  In today’s post Mary shares how important setting is to a novel, why she’s chosen Chicago as the backdrop for her books, and the influence of “place” on her characters …

read more…

Congrats to Adria Cimino’s Launch for A PERFUMER’S SECRET

Something smells amazing and it’s Adria Cimino’s gorgeous new book! That cover is amazing. Here’s a bit more about it.

Camino-perfumers_coverThe quest for a stolen perfume formula awakens passion, rivalry and family secrets in the fragrant flower fields of the South of France…

Perfumer Zoe Flore travels to Grasse, perfume capital of the world, to collect a formula: her inheritance from the family she never knew existed. The scent matches the one worn by her mother, who passed away when Zoe was a teenager. Zoe, competing to create a new fragrance for a prestigious designer, believes this scent could win the contract—and lead her to the reason her mother fled Grasse for New York City. read more…

Say Hello to Kaira Rouda’s THE GOODBYE YEAR

We are so excited for Kaira Rouda’s wonderful new book that came out May 3. Redbook magazine calls it a must read for spring, saying THE GOODBYE YEAR is an often hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, look at the year before high school seniors leave their families. 

Rouda Goodbye Year CoverMelanie, a perfectionist mom who views the approaching end of parenting as a type of death, can’t believe she has only one more year to live vicariously through her slacker senior son, Dane. Gorgeous mom Sarah has just begun to realize that her only daughter, Ashley, has been serving as a stand-in for her traveling husband, and the thought of her daughter leaving for college is cracking the carefully cultivated façade of her life. Will and his wife are fine―as long as he follows the instructions on the family calendar and is sure to keep secret his whole other life with Lauren, the woman he turns to for fun (and who also happens to have a daughter in the senior class).

Told from the points of view of both the parents and the kids, The Goodbye Year explores high school peer pressure, what it’s like for young people to face the unknown of life after high school, and how a transition that should be the beginning of a couple’s second act together―empty nesting―might possibly be the end.

Doesn’t that sounds amazing! Kaira stopped by the blog to share some fun tidbits about herself.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Kaira Rouda 

  1. I moved around a lot when I was young. My parents are both from Northern California, but I never lived there. I was born in Evanston, Illinois, where my dad got his PhD at Northwestern; my sister came along next, when my dad was a professor at University of Southern California. When my dad became a professor at University of Texas, Austin, my brother was born. We moved on from there to Boston when my dad became a professor at Harvard. The final stop was Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. That’s where I went to middle school and high school.  I raised my kids in the same suburb until the first one went off to college at Chapman University in Southern California. We all followed him.
  2. My first book, REAL YOU INCORPORATED: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs was one of the first business books for women. It was based on my experience working with my husband to build the first national residential real estate brand acknowledging that women are the key decision makers in all real estate purchases – influencing or making 91 percent of all home purchases. Until Real Living Real Estate was launched, all advertising was directed toward men. Not kidding. I’m proud of that accomplishment – and the fact we stayed married after working together closely for seven years!
  3. My husband and I went to the same high school in Upper Arlington, Ohio, but didn’t meet until I was a reporter for Business First, a business newspaper, and he was an attorney at a law firm in town. I have three boys and one girl, and she is number 2. Coffee: black. I love lavender and I make a killer Kale salad! I’m vegetarian and gluten free.
  4. I was the society columnist for Columbus, Ohio, for more than 10 years.
  5. When I laugh, I honk. Yes, like a goose at times. I laugh a lot with friends. Friends mean the world to me.
  6. I’m almost always smiling. I feel very blessed to be living the life of my dreams. The only exception is when I am asked to write opinion pieces and blog posts about empty nesting, as it is quite relevant to my latest novel, The Goodbye Year. While writing those, I’m usually crying. 🙁 #emptynestday237 #whoiscounting? #me
  7. I don’t like math, or budgets but I love painting, and photography.
  8. I’m only as happy as my saddest kid. I am 1/8 Cherokee, a member of Daughter’s of the America Revolution. My ancestor, John Sturdivant landed in Jamestown in 1623. I love doing ancestry research.
  9. My dream, since as long as I could remember, was to be a novelist. It took awhile, so I tell people to never give up! My first novel, Here, Home, Hope was published in my 40s! Things happen for a reason, when they’re supposed to, as long as you keep believing in yourself.
  10. I almost always wear the “e” key off of my computers. I am confident I can win any hula hoop contest. I love to paddleboard as long as the waves are tiny and the sun is shining. I am finally living at the beach – a place I’ve dreamed of living since I was little. And I’m really happy to be a Tall Poppy! 

Kaira Rouda PortraitKaira Rouda is a USA Today bestselling, multiple award-winning author of contemporary women’s fiction and sexy modern romance novels that sparkle with humor and heart. Her women’s fiction titles include THE GOODBYE YEAR, HERE, HOME, HOPE, ALL THE DIFFERENCE and IN THE MIRROR. Her bestselling short story is titled, A MOTHER’S DAY. Her sexy contemporary romance series include the LAGUNA BEACH Series, the INDIGO ISLAND Series and a new MALIBU Series launching in 2016. In July of 2016, Kaira Rouda’s Laguna Beach Kindle World will launch in partnership with Amazon.com.Her nonfiction titles, REAL YOU INCORPORATED: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs, and REAL YOU FOR AUTHORS: 8 Essentials for Women Writers (available for free download on her website) continue to inspire. Kaira’s work has won numerous awards including the Indie Excellence Award, USA Book Awards, the Reader’s Choice Awards and honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest International Book Awards. She lives in Southern California with her husband and four almost-grown kids, and is at work on her next novel. 

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Congratulations to Aimie K. Runyan’s Debut: PROMISED TO THE CROWN

It’s Tuesday, which here on the Tall Poppy Blog means it’s time to celebrate awesome books and their fantastic authors! This week we cheer loudly for Aimie K. Runyan’s gorgeous debut! Here’s a bit more about it.

Runyan Promised to the Crown CoverIn her illuminating debut novel, Aimie Runyan masterfully blends fact and fiction to explore the founding of New France through the experiences of three young women who, in 1667, answer Louis XIV’s call and journey to the Canadian colony.

They are known as the filles du roi, or “King’s Daughters”—young women who leave prosperous France for an uncertain future across the Atlantic. Their duty is to marry and bring forth a new generation of loyal citizens. Each prospective bride has her reason for leaving—poverty, family rejection, a broken engagement. Despite their different backgrounds, Rose, Nicole, and Elisabeth all believe that marriage to a stranger is their best, perhaps only, chance of happiness.

Once in Quebec, Elisabeth quickly accepts baker Gilbert Beaumont, who wants a business partner as well as a wife. Nicole, a farmer’s daughter from Rouen, marries a charming officer who promises comfort and security. Scarred by her traumatic past, Rose decides to take holy vows rather than marry. Yet no matter how carefully she chooses, each will be tested by hardship and heartbreaking loss—and sustained by the strength found in their uncommon friendship, and the precarious freedom offered by their new home. read more…

Welcome Poppy Guests Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

Dear Poppy Readers, we are so excited to welcome authors Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke to the blog today to celebrate their third book, THE YEAR WE TURNED FORTY. 

The Year We Turned 40 final coverThe Year We Turned Forty, out April 26th, is the story of three best friends who get the chance to return to the year they turned forty–the year that altered their lives in ways big and small–and also get the opportunity to change their future. read more…

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