With the state of my bookshelves, and despite how Sparky, my Kindle, has helped me deal with that issue, I definitely should not be eagerly studying new and upcoming releases.

But when I got an e-mail about a new Joyce Carol Oates novel—yes, novel, not short story collection!—I had to go to the site and check it out.

Mudwoman will be released on 3/20/12, and will also be available in Kindle!

I haven’t preordered it yet, but I’m pretty sure that my fingers will walk through that process soon….

Here’s the blurb:

A riveting novel that explores the high price of success in the life of one woman—the first female president of a lauded ivy league institution—and her hold upon her self-identity in the face of personal and professional demons, from Joyce Carol Oates, author of the New York Times bestseller A Widow’s Story

Mudgirl is a child abandoned by her mother in the silty flats of the Black Snake River. Cast aside, Mudgirl survives by an accident of fate—or destiny. After her rescue, the well-meaning couple who adopt Mudgirl quarantine her poisonous history behind the barrier of their middle-class values, seemingly sealing it off forever. But the bulwark of the present proves surprisingly vulnerable to the agents of the past.

Meredith “M.R.” Neukirchen is the first woman president of an Ivy League university. Her commitment to her career and moral fervor for her role are all-consuming. Involved with a secret lover whose feelings for her are teasingly undefined, and concerned with the intensifying crisis of the American political climate as the United States edges toward war with Iraq, M.R. is confronted with challenges to her leadership that test her in ways she could not have anticipated. The fierce idealism and intelligence that delivered her from a more conventional life in her upstate New York hometown now threaten to undo her.

A reckless trip upstate thrusts M.R. Neukirchen into an unexpected psychic collision with Mudgirl and the life M.R. believes she has left behind. A powerful exploration of the enduring claims of the past, Mudwoman is at once a psychic ghost story and an intimate portrait of a woman cracking the glass ceiling at enormous personal cost, which explores the tension between childhood and adulthood, the real and the imagined, and the “public” and “private” in the life of a highly complex contemporary woman.


I admit that I have a love/hate relationship with some of JCO’s books.  Some are just too…well, out there for me.  But if I’m being honest with myself, I also know that, if I’m in the right mood, even those will eventually find themselves on my reading stack.

What are your thoughts?  Are you a JCO fan?  Haven’t read her yet?  Or are you ambivalent?



Today I’d like to welcome bestselling author Karen White, who is sharing some thoughts about writing.

One of her previously released books, Falling Home, will soon be released again—in November 2010.



The Hungry Writer

Have you ever gone shopping in a grocery store when you’re really, really hungry?  Don’t.  Because what you’ll end up bringing home is a lot of Hostess Twinkies and a party-sized tub of whipping cream among other things that should probably never be seen outside a fraternity house on a Friday night.

I’m currently in my fourth year of writing two full-length novels per year.  Yes, two.  I don’t know what possessed me to say, “Sure, that sounds like fun!” but I’d like to find out whatever it was and open a can of whoop-a** on it.  Having so many books on the shelves has brought me a lot of new readers for all of my books, and for that it’s worth it.  But I really, really miss my sleep.

So when the rights to one of my out-of-print books, Falling Home, reverted back to me, I immediately sold them to my current publisher for a re-release.  This was the book of my heart back when I wrote it in 2000.  I sold it to a small New York publisher with hopes that it would be my “break out novel”, but I was disappointed with its small print run and how quickly it became out of print.  Soon, desperate fans were paying really ridiculous amounts to get a used copy of it, and I was answering lots of emails asking me how readers could find a copy.

When my current publisher suggested publishing it in November of this year, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  I already had a book out in 2010 (On Folly Beach) so this way I would STILL have two books out, but I wouldn’t have to do any extra work!  Oh, the plans of mice and men…

Since “biting off more than I can chew” has become my new mantra in the last few years, instead of saying, “Hey, it’s good to go—publish as is,” I hesitated.  I had written ten other books since I’d first written Falling Home. Hadn’t my writing become stronger?  My ability to tell a story tighter and more meaningful?

Just as a hungry girl walks into the grocery store, I told my editor that I wanted to revise the book.  I loved what my readers loved about the book—the story and the characters.  It’s a “Steel Magnolias” story set in the fictional small town of Walton, Georgia and is about two estranged sisters who reunite to fight a common enemy.  My hope is to create a lot of laughs and a few tears as readers fall in love with the citizens of Walton—and especially Sam Parker, the town doctor.

What I wanted to change was the writing and the emotional impact of the book. So I opted to rewrite it, despite that fact that I had another looming deadline for the next book.

So, did I do the right thing?  Yes, I feel pretty confident that I did.  The book is better, and I’m so glad that new readers will have the chance to read it for the first time and I believe that readers of the older version will enjoy revisiting favorite characters.

Of course, now I’m so far behind on my next deadline that I’m desperately searching the Internet for somewhere to buy a clone.  So far no luck, but I’ll keep you posted.

Karen White’s Website

Karen White’s Blog

Hope you’ll stop by on October 6 for Karen White’s interview with the Dames!