Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Guest Post by author Joanne Campbell Slan and Giveaway!

Please join me in welcoming Joanna Campbell Slan, author of the newly released Photo, Snap, Shot to Always With a Book! If you missed my review, you can read it here. Today Joanna guest blogs about 'the least she can do."

Enjoy and be sure to enter the giveaway!

The Least I Can Do 
By Joanna Campbell Slan 
Sometimes I think the trajectory of my life could be measured and charted by the titles of the books I’ve read.
      When I was a kid, there was Dick, Jane, Sally, Puff and Spot. What an ideal family, even if Sally was a bit of a third wheel. Thinking back, did those people even have a last name? Hmmm. Pretty suspicious, if you ask me. But Jane and Sally did seem to get along pretty well as sisters, didn’t they?
      Then there’s a jump, a gap caused by books that were probably too boring to recall properly, and suddenly I see the cover of Charlotte’s Web. Oh, my gosh, what a tear-jerker. I cried buckets and buckets over poor Charlotte. I can close my eyes today and still see Wilbur’s hopeful face as the baby spiders hatch in the barn. Charlotte, even though she was a tiny speck on the page, was a tour-de-force, a woman to be reckoned with. She faced her mortality squarely. She saved Wilbur’s life. Even though she wrote, “What a pig!” Wilbur could have just as easily scratched out, “What a spider!” in the dirt of his pigpen.
      Next came Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and Mary Poppins. Now, Walt Disney did a number on old M.P. He really sanitized her for the screen. In the books, she was a lot more stern and, gulp, sort of creepy but in a wonderful, magical way. I remember finishing the last page in the series. Mary opens her umbrella and floats off, supposedly to another family with a bunch of needy kids. I staggered out of my bedroom and walked right into my mom, who was ironing. (Definitely NOT her favorite thing.) “What on earth?” Mom asked as she set down her cigarette and blew out a puff of smoke that would make a chimney sweep proud.
      “Mary Poppins is gone!” I wailed.
      I think Mom rolled her eyes. “It’s just a book!”
      Right. And Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle doesn’t really turn greedy little boys into pigs. Tell me another big whopper.
      I moved from nannies and ersatz grandmother types to Nancy Drew. Wow. A sports car and a boyfriend named Ned? Get out of town! All that, plus blonde good looks and father who was a lawyer. Gosh.
      I loved the mysteries. I enjoyed trying to solve the puzzles myself. But I have to admit, after awhile, Nancy’s life was just a bit too perfect for me. Her dad never got angry with her. She never got in trouble for any of the stunts she pulled. I started to wonder if Nancy was for real, or if Carolyn Keene was pulling a fast one on me. La-la-la, la-la-la, there goes Nancy where no girl fears to tread without ruffling a hair on her perfect head.
      Ugh. It was all too pat for me.
      In short, I was developing a taste for angst. Then I found an old copy of Jane Eyre tucked away on my parents’ bookshelves. From the first sentence, I was hooked. The horror of a ghastly school like Lowood kept me awake at night. The thought of waking up next to a dead girl totally grossed me out…but it also intrigued me. I was enchanted by the gothic spookiness of Thornfield Hall. And I fell completely, irrevocably in love with Edward Rochester, that passionate but complex man.
      From Jane Eyre, it was only a hop-skip-and-jump across the English fields to Wuthering Heights. Okay, now we have people with SERIOUS problems. Cathy and Heathcliff were total nut-jobs, but I hung on every word, even though I wasn’t sure I understood any of it.
      Looking back, all my favorites had one thing in common: strong female protagonists.
      I guess I was not only searching for a good read, I was also looking for role models. I found them on the pages of these books.
      This week at a signing in Festival of Mystery in Oakmont (PA), I reconnected with a young lady named Kiki, just like the protagonist in my series. Imagine how excited I was to learn that she’d “gobbled up” Photo, Snap, Shot, the first book in my series. My heart fairly leaped with joy when her mother told me they’d been waiting for my visit to buy Books 2 & 3 in the series.
      I hope that my Kiki provides that Kiki—and many other young girls and their mothers—with countless hours of reading pleasure.
      It’s the least I can do. 
Joanna Campbell Slan is the author of fifteen books, including three books in the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series. Paper, Scissors, Death was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Cut, Crop & Die was the second in the series. Photo, Snap, Shot was just released this month. Publisher’s Weekly called it “a cut above the usual craft-themed cozy.” Visit Joanna at or at

Thank you Joanna for visiting and now on to the giveaway.


To enter:  Leave me a comment and let me know why you want to win Photo, Snap, Shot. Please include your e-mail address in your comment, so that I have a way to contact you if you win. No e-mail= no entry!

  • Bonus Entry (+1)  Become a follower of this blog on Google Friend Connect. Please leave me a separate comment letting me know that you follow. Current followers are eligible as well- just leave a separate comment letting me know that you already do!
  • Bonus Entry (+1):  Tell me who your all-time favorite book character is.

  • US  only
  • No PO Boxes please
  • Book will be mailed out by the author
  • All entries must be separate in order to count as more than one entry
Thanks to everyone for entering!  Good luck!
AT 6 PM, EST, MAY 26

Winners will be contacted by e-mail after this date and will have 48 hours to respond. 


  1. This was a great guest blog and has me running down the bookshelves in my memory, remembering significant titles. Jane Eyre is my FAVORITE book of all time, followed closely by The Picture of Dorian Gray. Then we add Elinor Lipman, Robert Crais, Lee Child, Dick Francis... and my new recent favorite, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostovo.

    My favorite thing about Jane Eyre is that at different times, it's meant different things to me. Sometimes the romance is the draw... sometimes Jane's courage and inner belief that she is a valuable human being is the thing that resonates. And I'm always blown away by the idea that Charlotte Bronte pulled all of this from inside her noggin. AWESOME!

    Anyway... thank you for this. I'm going to be thinking about favorite books for the rest of the day.

    Melissa Joulwan

  2. Love the post and thanks for the contest! I've only just heard of this book and when I read the summary of it I was intrigued. I love a good mystery surrounding a prep school, so I'd love to win it and get the chance to read the book.

    Email Addres:
    Fave character of all time would have to be Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice!

  3. +1 bonus entry
    I'm an old follower :)

  4. Melissa, Lee Child is an absolute doll. Such a nice man! Glad to see that you read him!

  5. Katelyn, since I was a public school kid, the prep school environment was all new to me. I've enjoyed writing about it.

  6. I keep waiting for Jack Reacher to amble into my life ;-)

  7. Just remember, he always ambles back out, too!

  8. I know! And it's a heartbreaker every time.

  9. Plus I'm a new follower!


  10. I loved this retrospective of reading. I felt wrung out when I finished WUTHERING HEIGHTS. I'm not sure I ever completely recovered and never did wish to read it again.

    I'd love to enter the contest. This is a series that I've been meaning to read for some time. Good nudge here!

    All time favorite book character is hard. Quite frankly, I've read too many books in my life. However, I loved Elinor Dashwood in SENSE AND SENSIBILITY and Harry Potter see what I mean.


  11. I love mysteries—please enter me to win!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

  12. My all-time favorite book character is Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot

  13. This book, from your review, sounds like a fun summer read..just what I am looking for and I don't know the characters so it will be something new for me...thanks for the chance!

    kdhaney at gmail dot com

  14. +1 I am a Google Friend Connect Follower

    kdhaney at gmail dot com

  15. +1 My all-time favorite book character is Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With the Wind but since some people are talking about mystery characters, that would have to be Alex Cross from James Patterson although if it is female (don't laugh) I adore sweet Nancy Drew

    kdhaney at gmail dot com


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! I love interacting with other book lovers and appreciate any thoughts or feedback! If you read a book after seeing my review, please let me know. Come back and leave me a link to your review so I can read it. Thank you!!!

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