Announcing the Literate Housewives’ Book Club Contest!

July 25, 2008 at 10:17 am | Posted in Books | 38 Comments
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Trumpeter VIII by Elyse Ashe Lord

Trumpeter VIII by Elyse Ashe Lord

As a teaser earlier this week, I indicated that I was getting several copies of a historical fiction novel to give away to a few of my readers. I’m going to use those free copies to relaunch The Literate Housewives’ Book Club, which has been inactive since the end of December. I’m excited to announce that I have three copies of Immortal by Traci Slatton to give away! At the end of this post is the book trailer and a Q&A with the author.

About the Contest:

1) Please only enter this contest if you’re willing to participate in my online book club. The first 15 people to sign up will receive a personalized bookmark made by me, whether they win a copy of the book or not. 🙂

2) To be entered in the contest, leave a comment to this post with at least one suggestion for making an online book club fun and successful. You will get one entry into the contest for each suggestion, up to a total of three entries.

3) If you blog about this contest, you’ll get two additional entries into the contest. Send me an email or leave a comment with the link.

4) The deadline for entering the contest will be Friday, August 8.

5) In addition to receiving a free copy of the book, the winners will also receive a personalized hand made bookmark that is specific to the book as a special thank you for taking this journey with me. They will also have contributor rights to the blog in order to post questions, topics, etc…

6) If you already own a copy of Immortal and would like to participate, let me know. I’ll send you a bookmark as well.

I will be retooling the LHBC site in the meantime in preparation for the relaunch. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this. I hope that this will be as much fun for me as it will be for everyone else.

About the Book

Q&A for Traci Slatton
Author of Immortal

Tell us about your book, Immortal.

Immortal is a rags-to-riches-to-burnt-at-the-stake story. It’s a journey of spirit and an education of the heart. That said, it’s the story of a mysteriously gifted street urchin who undergoes the darkest moments possible and still goes on to find true love, deep friendship, hope, faith, and ultimately the deepest secrets of his origins.

Why did you write this book?

I love to tell stories! I was working on a non-fiction book about science and spirituality. (Piercing Time & Space, ARE Press, Virginia Beach, VA: 2005.) It was fascinating research, but I found myself longing to write fiction, to create characters and wrap myself around adventure, conflict, and obstacle. Story lust drove me.

The book takes place in Florence during the Renaissance: What inspired you to choose this setting?

This goes back to the previous question. Renaissance Florence is a character in this novel–it’s inextricably interwoven into the story. It’s why I wrote THIS book. More explicitly, I am married to Sabin Howard, who is one of the foremost classical figurative sculptors working today. ( Think Michelangelo’s work: that’s what my husband’s work resembles. Moreover, Sabin is half-Italian; his mother is from Torino and he is completely fluent in the language. So, for him, Renaissance Italy is alive and well. It’s a part of our everyday discourse. I was always interested in Renaissance art but it’s become a passion because of living with Sabin.

Also, Florence between 1300 and 1500 was an intense and extraordinary place, almost unequalled in history. Art, philosophy, learning, commerce, banking, and government were all burgeoning and concentrated into this small city, making it the center of Europe. Out of Florence radiated invention and innovation. One of the popes called it “The fifth element of the universe.” Only Paris between the two world wars comes close to the fervor of creativity that was taking place in Florence during the Renaissance. It’s a powerful time to write about.

How did you come up with a protagonist like Luca?

I wanted a character who would meet and make an impression on my two great Renaissance heroes: Giotto and Leonardo. This character had to be the kind of man who could inspire love, lust, envy, admiration, and riveting hatred in other people. And he was going to face terrible challenges, so he had to have personal resources to help him through. And his suffering would make him humble and give him a hunger to love and be loved.

Lucas plays many different roles – orphan, companion, healer – throughout the story, which do you personally relate best to?

Perhaps to the healer and the companion. I was a hands-on or spiritual healer for many years, and Luca gets to do what I always longed to do: lay hands on and cure someone completely, even bring a dying man back to life.

I have four daughters, and in the best moments of parenting, there is a companionable aspect to it. There are moments when all the little stuff falls away, all the blah-blah-blah about messy bedrooms and parties and grades and allowances and health concerns, and my children and I are friends, laughing together. Even my little one, who is 3, sometimes sits and chats with me as if we were two good buddies. I treasure those moments.

Luca meets da Vinci, Botticelli…“immortals” whose impact on society is still apparent. Can you talk to us about some of those figures, and the way they still shape modern society?

They have left a legacy of art and ideas which is the foundation of western civilization. Petrarch, who is a friend of Luca’s in Immortal, articulated the notion of the individual self (see Ascent of Mount Ventoux) on which we built the United States: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.” This is a radical change from the earlier systems of society, and it came out of the Renaissance. The great Cosimo de Medici who led Florence from 1434 to 1464 established the Platonic Academy, which formulated the ideals of humanism which are now axiomatic in our worldview. Even our pop philosophy, eg The Secret, has its roots in Pico della Mirandella’s Oration on the Dignity of Man: “O highest and most admirable felicity of man to whom it is granted to have whatever he chooses, to be whatever he wills!”

The great artists like Leonardo and Botticelli left us ideals of beauty that are still unparalleled. Leonardo left behind a prototype of a polymath genius as the highest aspiration.

Part of what makes Luca’s story so beautiful is the time period it is set in and the people he encounters. Do you think it would have had the same significance had it been placed at another time, such as the present?

Renaissance Florence is such an integral part of the story that it’s hard to say. I am, however, considering bringing Luca back in a future book that is set in Paris between the two world wars. Readers who love Luca can stay tuned…

Luca witnesses many important historical events throughout his life. What kind of research did you conduct for these?

I read a million books (okay, maybe a hundred), searched on-line, spoke with friends and relatives with extensive historical knowledge (my husband is a Renaissance sculptor and my father-in-law is a history teacher with a PhD), and I corresponded with, or spoke to, a couple of professors. I also like the History channel for shows on history! And we visited Italy several times, spending much time in the Medici chapel in Florence and the Pinacoteca Vaticano in Rome.

No one but me is to blame for inaccuracies, distortions, and out right fallacies.

What are your future writing plans in writing?

I am working on the sequel to Immortal right now.

Any advice you could give to beginning novelists out there?

Persist! And know who to trust with your work.


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  1. I actually added this book to my TBR list recently. I’d love to be entered in your contest and participate in your book club! I’ve recently been lamenting the lack of concentrated book discussion in my life. Also, I love bookmarks, so I’m glad I saw your post quickly. =)

    As for my suggestions:
    – I think allowing each member to take turns leading a discussion might be good. In this case, each person could make the main “post” giving several points to discuss.

    -Or, you could ask each member to come up with a question based on the book and post it to start discussion that way.

    -I think another great idea, although I’m not sure how it would work, is asking the author to make a guest post on the blog, or possibly collecting a list of questions from the members and conducting an interview with him/her. I’m not sure if this is viable, it would depend on the availability of the author, but it would be cool!

    Thanks for the contest! I’ll be back later with a link to my blog post about it.

  2. Hey, I’m getting this book too. When are you planning on doing the book club?

    This might be a bit hard to do in the virtual world, but what makes OUR book club successful is that we bring alcohol ;).

  3. oh, a suggestion. I think communication and consistency are the strongest things you can do. I believe it is mainly the leader that can really help with the members and their communication.

    Does that help!? have a super joyful day!!!:)

  4. Ooh this sounds good, even though I should be being a good kid and not requesting any NEW books until I read some of the books I actually own… but that’s no fun, so enter me in the contest anyways. 🙂 I think for an online book club to work, if there’s not a real-time chat, it helps me *immensely* to have threaded discussions. Normally I don’t mind the straight list of comments, but it’s nice to be able to follow separate threads of discussion about a novel, and be clear about who’s replying to what. Don’t know if that’s technologically feasible on your site, but it’s my thought.

  5. Hi, Jennifer –

    This book sounds so, so good. I’m glad you’re bringing back the online discussion!

    Okay, the first two suggestions I thought of were already mentioned above. The first was to have the participants come up with a question or two. The second was on threaded discussions. I’ve participated in one on Shelfari that was organized that way and it worked well. The third is to invite the author at some point and let participants ask her questions. I’ve loved having the opportunity to do this in my real life book club.

    I’ll be back with a link to my blog post.

  6. Jennifer,
    I am getting these books to give away too! he he
    I would love to participate, let me know when the dates are and I will post about your book club during my contest too. and I would LOVE one of your bookmarks!

  7. […] copies of Traci Slatton’s Immortal from The Literate Housewife Review, deadline 8 August. The blog is looking for people to […]

  8. I would certainly love to win these books, then once I’m done reading them I could host my own book giveaway. Okay, here are my suggestions for the book club. You should do monthly or weekly newsletters to all of your members,and communication between your members is the key ingredient to an excellent&fun book club. I would love to get one of your bookmarks, sadly all my book marks broke. Boo Hoo… Thanks again.

  9. Hello.
    For a second entry I posted the contest on my blog. Here:

    Thank you.

  10. Thank you so much to all who have entered so far! I am excited by your suggestions and I’m looking into being able to allow for threads. I will also work on a newsletter as well. I really like that idea. As a former technical writer, I ought to be able to come up with something. This is going to be great. I’ll be working on the bookmarks this weekend and I hope that you love them.
    Dev and bookroomreviews ~ my copies of the book haven’t arrived yet, so I’m thinking we might not get started until the middle to end of August. I’ll look forward to you participating along with us! The more the merrier!

  11. I’d love to be entered in the contest and participate in the book club. What a nice idea 🙂

  12. Hi Jennifer, I’m supposed to be getting this book from the publicist too but it hasn’t arrived yet.. they gave me the opportunity to also post the Q & A along with a giveaway but I didn’t want to do it before the books arrived, so I’m waiting…

    Ok, here is my suggestion for making an online book club fun.. invite ME!!! LOL Seriously, I think regular reminders to READ would be wise.

    Oh, and I would love a bookmark if you have enough!!

  13. Hi everyone!

    First of all, I wanted to give a big thank you to Jennifer for running this book giveaway opportunity!! I am Traci Slatton’s publicist, and we’re thrilled that you, and some of the other book bloggers I see here, are so enthusiastic about “Immortal.” That is just awesome.

    We mailed out books to everyone on Thursday, 7/24, so I just wanted to give you all a heads-up that they should be arriving any minute. Also, since “Immortal” has been in high demand, we were running a little short on copies! But we can certainly get more, so please feel free to email me if for some reason you didn’t get all that you had requested:

    Thanks, and I can’t wait to see who wins!! Yours,


    Tolly Moseley
    Senior Publicist
    Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicity

  14. I just found your site today and, as a lover of historical fiction, was thrilled!

    Definitely would be interested in the online book group. I was in one years and years ago and one of the things that was interesting was to have member suggestions/voting for the next book. Each person emailed the group leader a title and paragraph description, the leader posted the lists/description and there was a “vote”.

    It definitely opened up avenues to lots of authors, genres, titles, etc. and got some of us out of our reading rut!

    At any rate, thanks for a great site and for starting up your book group….

  15. […] Housewife is holding a contest to herald the new opening of her online book club. You can enter here for a chance to win her first selection, Immortal by Traci Slatton. I’m excited to read this […]

  16. Hi Jennifer! I got my copies today from the publicist- 3 copies- so I’m going to keep and read one for your book club and will give the other two away on my blog. I will start my contest on Sat, Aug 9th, so by then you will have picked your winners, and can direct anyone who did not get a copy to my contest so they can have a chance to win there. I will refer my readers to your blog for the book club, too. What do you think?

  17. Lisa, that sounds perfect! We could have a pretty comprehensive discussion about this book when it’s all said and done. 🙂 I wanted to let everyone know that I have created a forum and am working on my website. That should all be ready by the time the book club starts. I’m very excited!

  18. I have enjoy the online book club. I have done it twice at everydayiwritethebook blog. I like to read the other blogger’s comment. Even if I don’t win I would like to participate.
    Thanks, and I hope you have success with your online book club.

  19. I blogged about your contest here, just to let you know!

  20. Count me in!

    All good suggestions here – I don’t think there will be any lack of participants …

    I do suggest [from experience] that you lengthen the reading/comment time given the amount of participants, their schedules, etc. Also – for author participation, they can maybe do a podcast that we can download. There’s also online meeting spaces – we can dial in and interact with the author. Of course that would have to be a controlled access thing.

  21. Hi, Jennifer!

    I blogged about this contest here:

    Have a great day!

  22. I would really like to participate. I don’t know anyone I can talk to about the historical fiction I read. Sometimes it’s really quite lonely!
    Thanks for the chance!

  23. I’ve been promised a copy of “Immortal” too so no need for me to enter the contest, but I’m all for joining your book club!

  24. I have not read this book, however, it will be added to my TBR, which btw, is so out of control it could not be photographed without embarrassment. I would love to be part of an online bookclub, this would be my first bookclub venture, I hope this will get me a slot. Thanx Rosa

  25. Thanks to everyone who has left comments! I’ve gotten everyone written down.

  26. i would love to be a part of your online book club.. it sounds like fun. it’ll be great to discuss the books with so many enthusiastic readers.. add me to your list as well!! one suggestion though, it would be better if the book club doesnt require everyone to be online at the same time.. being present at a specific time never works for me..

  27. I too am a teacher. I have never participated in an online book club, but would love the opportunity. I would really like to try this with my students also. Can you fit me in? I think having the members choose passages or phrases that speak to them might be a fun discussion topic. I would love a bookmark…one can never have too many!

  28. This sounds great AND this book is on my TBR list. I love historical fiction. Hmmm…online book clubs can be hard. There has to be some sort of incentive for people to log in and join in. Hmmm…maybe have different sections for different chapters or what-not so that if someone falls behind or joins in late…they can post discussions to certain sections .

  29. I’d love to join in on your online reading group. I love historical fiction and don’t seem to get to read enough of it. This novel sounds so good. I belong to an online reading group already-we’ve all been together for 5 yrs now and the suggestions I have are already listed for the most part-the threaded discussions is a great idea-that way everyone can voice an opinion on the topic at hand; it’s nice too to come up with a short list of books for the next selection and have a vote on which to read; last maybe a montly online chat via yahoo to discuss the book for those that would be willing to participate or could for that matter with time constraints, etc. I really look forward to joining in the fun if you’ll have me. I’ve already got a copy of this novel on order so you don’t have to enter me into the draw.

  30. I belong to a book group that meets once monthly. Family commitments often prevent me from attending. I have been looking into an online book group commensurate with the very literate group I miss. All of the suggestions offered are worthy ones. Caregiving for two Alzheimer’s family members (my husband and my mother), really stresses me out; especially when they are together. I should tape their conversations(?). Reading is one of the best stress busters for me. Irene

  31. What helps me participate in a book club is a little flexibility. Sometimes I don’t attend my church book club because I haven’t read the book or am not quite up to it. After the fact, I usually regret not having gone anyway.

    I always read the book if I attend my other book club, but we are pretty flexible with just about everything.

  32. Thanks to everyone who has entered in the past couple of days. I’m really hoping to make this a great resource without any times you “have” to partipate. Irene, I hope everything eases up for you over time. That sounds incredibly stressful to me.

  33. Jennifer,

    I’m really excited about joining your group! I love to read and don’t know many book people in the real world. Historical fiction happens to be a favorite genre too! Also I’m a new moderator for a goodreads book club and I know I’ve so much to learn about on-line groups–hopefully this will be a positive learning experience as well as a lot of fun!

    As for my suggestion, I don’t know how this would work excatly, but I thought I’d try to describe it and maybe someone more tech-y or blog savvy than me might have seen something like this done and be able to: a.) describe it, or, b.) work out how it could work.

    Anyway, here goes nothing! You know how they used to do those progressive dinners where everyone went from one person’s house to the next and the next and so on? I was just wondering if in the club we couldn’t somehow take the ‘party’ (so to speak) ‘on the road’? If we couldn’t somehow go from blog to blog sometimes–not always of course, that would get crazy. But we could have a designated time/night when the discussion transfers to the blog of the person who last posted or something like that. I don’t know enough how these things work but I suggest it because I’d like to meet more book bloggers. I’m on goodreads and I know lots of readers there but not many folks out here in the blogging world.

    Anyway, that’s my 2¢! Whatever you do, I’m up for some reading!


  34. […] and Q & A: Immortal by Traci Slatton Posted on August 9, 2008 by lisamm Jennifer at The Literate Housewife is starting an online book club in September, and the first reading selection is Immortal by Traci […]

  35. I’m late for the contest, but would love to participate in the book club!

  36. I know I’m late for the contest, but I want to join the book club. The club I’m in now will end this month, so I’ve been looking for another to join! Thanks!

  37. Thank you Literate Housewife, I appreciate your comments and concern. It may sound trite, but the only way to keep on going is to keep on going.

  38. I already have the book. Would love to participate in the discussion!

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