Posts Categorized: Guest Post

Monday, July 07, 2014

All Four Stars Tour Stop: Guest Post & Giveaway

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all four stars tour button

I am so excited to be taking part in the blog tour for All Four Stars by Tara Dairman.  This tour is brought to you by the ladies over at The Midnight Garden Blog Tours and the novel is one that I loved! Later this week I’ll be posting my review but today you can read Tara’s guest post about diversity in her life (and the novel) & enter to win a pretty finished copy for yourself!

Guest Post by Tara Dairman

Diversity is Delicious

Unlike Gladys Gatsby, the star of All Four Stars, I didn’t grow up eating adventurously. I was actually a lot more like her picky friend Parm Singh—content to subsist on spaghetti, cereal, and multivitamins, and never try anything new.

That all changed—as unlikely as it may sound—in my high school math class.

hakarl (rotten shark) in Iceland

Trying a bite of hakarl (rotten shark meat) in Iceland

Well, I guess I should say after math class. See, my math teacher, Mr. Rudolph, ran a kind of arts appreciation club called Club X. Several times a year, he would chaperone the members into New York City to see a performance at the ballet, opera, or philharmonic. But before we arrived at Lincoln Center, we always stopped to eat an ethnic restaurant.

This part of the outing was nonnegotiable—there was no sneaking off next door for McDonald’s if, like me, you didn’t have the most daring palate. So, faced with the options of trying something new or starving, I decided to try.

The names of the symphonies I heard on those trips have long since faded from my memory, but the restaurants haven’t. I can still see the round tin bowls in which my first Indian curries were served. I can picture the dining room of the Japanese restaurant in which I first learned (by necessity—Mr. Rudolph had banned forks) to use chopsticks. I remember my first taste of satay at a Malaysian restaurant, my first spongy bite of injera at an Ethiopian one. Bite by delicious bite, I overcame my pickiness and fell in love with the cuisines of many faraway places.

Mr. Rudolph really only had one rule for the members of Club X, and it was that we were not allowed to list the club as an extracurricular activity on our college applications. The whole point of Club X outings was to have experiences for the experiences’ sake. At the time, I thought that was a pretty stupid rule, but now I realize that it was probably the most important lesson I learned in high school. Those Club X outings taught me to embrace new experiences rather than dread them, and directly set me up to become the cook, traveler, and writer I am today.

soy milk, Malaysia

Buying soy milk in Malaysia

There’s been a lot of excellent discussion of late about diversity in children’s literature, and one issue that I’ve seen brought up a lot is that of authenticity. Can a writer who belongs to one culture step outside of his or her own narrow experience to convincingly, and respectfully, create a character who comes from a different culture?

I certainly don’t have all of the answers—but when I’m creating a new character, I’ve found that food can serve as an excellent starting point. What does this character like to eat? How do his preferences jive—or clash—with his parents’? Does food bring her family members together, or drive them apart? For me, asking these questions is an easy way to get outside of my bubble. Eating is universal (everybody does it!), but it’s also specific, since differences in the ways people eat can highlight the uniqueness of their cultures, their families, and themselves.

My bubble has certainly expanded since high school, and I’m proud that a lot of the diverse foods I included in All Four Stars are favorites of mine from real life. But I’m still seeking new experiences—culinary and otherwise—all the time. “Write what you know” is a popular adage for authors who seek to write with authenticity, and at this point I feel pretty confident that I know a good deal about a lot of different kinds of food. But that wasn’t the culture I grew up in—and I never would have developed that expertise if someone hadn’t challenged me, at a tender age, to let myself be uncomfortable; to try something new; to know more.



About the Author

Tara Dairman is a novelist, playwright, and recovering round-the-world traveler (two years, seventy-four countries!). She grew up in New York, received a B.A. in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College, and worked for several years as a magazine editor, managing freelance writers that she never met face-to-face. While in that job, Tara realized that she could probably be tricked into publishing an article by a kid if the writing was good enough and the kid sent professional-sounding e-mails. Voilà: the premise for her first novel, All Four Stars, was born.

This post is part of The All Four Stars blog tour. Be sure to check out all of the other stops:

Tuesday, July 1st  The Midnight Garden (Kick Off Post!)
Wednesday, July 2nd The Reading Date
Thursday, July 3rd For What It’s Worth
Friday, July 4th The Spirit of Children’s Literature
Monday, July 7th Xpresso Reads
Tuesday, July 8th For the Love of Words
Wednesday, July 9th Finding Bliss in Books
Thursday, July 10th  Candace’s Book Blog



As part of the All Four Stars blog tour you can enter to win one of 8 finished copies of the novel!

  • Open to US and Canada only
  • Full contest terms and conditions found on Rafflecopter

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Will from Dream Boy’s Top Ten T-shirts + Giveaway!

Will from Dream Boy’s Top Ten T-shirts + Giveaway!

Posted by on 06/23/2014 • 16 Comments

I’m excited to have the Dream Boy blog tour drop by the blog today. This book sounds like a lot of fun, and after reading this post you’ll know that Will has a great sense of humor, too 😉

Guest Post

Will from Dream Boy’s Top Ten T-shirts by Mary Crockett

In Dream Boy, Annabelle’s best friend Will has a collection of wise-crack T-shirts. Here are some that appear in the book (and a few that could have).


And one that may only make sense to those…

The Stepsister’s Tale Tour Stop: Guest Post + Giveaway!

The Stepsister’s Tale Tour Stop: Guest Post + Giveaway!

Posted by on 06/11/2014 • 34 Comments

Today we’ve got the author of The Stepsister’s Tale on the blog to talk to us about the challenges she had while writing this book, then you can enter to win! 😉

Guest Post by Tracy Barrett

The biggest challenges of writing this book

The Stepsister’s Tale took me a long, long time to write. I think that from the time I started it to the time when I signed the publishing contract was seven years! I don’t mean that I wrote all day, every day for seven years, though—I’d write for a while and hit a snag and put it away for a few months, and then take it out and delete a lot of it and write some more and hit another snag….

The Research Behind The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi + Giveaway!

The Research Behind The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi + Giveaway!

Posted by on 04/17/2014 • 13 Comments

I’ve got  the lovely Jessica Verdi on the blog today to talk to us about her research process for The Summer I Wasn’t Me which has a premise involving a de-gaying camp. Also if you missed my review  you can read it here – I really enjoyed this one!

Guest Post by Jessica Verdi

Research Process for The Summer I Wasn’t Me

Hi, Giselle! Thank you so much for having me on your blog and for the opportunity to talk a little bit about the research process for The Summer I Wasn’t Me!

This was a very research-heavy book, being that I personally have never been to a conversion camp. But because this world is so secretive, so purposefully hush-hush, there was only so much…

Sekret Dream Cast + Giveaway!

Sekret Dream Cast + Giveaway!

Posted by on 04/04/2014 • 16 Comments

This week we’re celebrating the release of Sekret by Lindsay Smith, and today is my stop on the blog tour with a Dream Cast of Sekret along with a giveaway!

Sekret Dream Cast

Yulia, telemetrist and ration rat

Tatiana Maslany or Freya Tingley

Yulia, who can read the memories of objects and people through touch, is strong-willed, resourceful, and sometimes stubborn to a fault. I love Tatiana Maslany’s character(s) on Orphan Black, and how she convincingly slips into whatever role is required to get what she needs to survive. That definitely fits Yulia! But Freya Tingley (Hemlock Grove) also excels at just the right amount of attitude for Yulia — the one that lets you know she’ll obey your orders for now, but she won’t be broken…

Review & Dream Cast: Deeper by Robin York

Review & Dream Cast: Deeper by Robin York

Posted by on 01/31/2014 • 13 Comments

A slow budding romance, loads of chemistry, and highly character driven; Deeper has a lot to offer. Revenge porn is something that happens all too often, and unfortunately continues to be legal in most States. Finding those sex pictures of herself after a break-up was only the beginning of a very long, very dark chapter in Caroline’s life. Not only is she plagued with the knowledge of everyone having seen her during such an intimate act, she’s ashamed, haunted by the voices of the men who call her vile names, describe the repulsive things they’d do to her in comments, making her wary of anyone that looks her way. This is not something that ever goes away.

Deeper is not a fast paced read. It’s a slow character-oriented story that…

Ruined Dream Cast by Jus Accardo + Giveaway!

Ruined Dream Cast by Jus Accardo + Giveaway!

Posted by on 01/15/2014 • 32 Comments

I’ve got the lovely Jus Accardo joining us on the blog today for a guest post and then you can enter for a chance to win! Have you checked out this book yet? Here’s what you’re missing:

Dream Cast, by Jus Accardo Like a lot of authors, I feel like it helps to have visual stimulation when creating my characters. Sometimes it helps to have physical features to help put descriptions onto the page. It can help with expressions and scene description, and makes the pictures in my head flow just a little bit smoother. A lot of work goes into this portion of writing a book. It took me long hours of grueling research to find the perfect Jax. Really. It was horrific and I in…

Stir Me Up Character Spotlight + Giveaway!

Stir Me Up Character Spotlight + Giveaway!

Posted by on 01/06/2014 • 24 Comments

We’ve got the Stir Me Up blog tour on the blog today where we’re spotlighting Julian as well as a chance for you to win! In case you haven’t heard of this book yet – have a look at what it’s all about:

Character Spotlight: Julian Wyatt CHARACTER: Julian Wyatt AGE: 20 HEIGHT: 6’ 0” HAIR: Brown EYES: Hazel

PARENTS: Father: U.S. Marine Sam Wyatt, died in a Jeep accident in Somalia when Julian was four.

Mother: Angela Wyatt, a researcher at a think tank in Washington, died from breast cancer when Julian was nine.

CHILDHOOD: Raised by his aunt Estella after his mother’s death. Considers her son, his cousin Brandon, to be like an older brother. Got in a fair amount of trouble after his…