1. Having answered a Berlin newspaper advertisement for “strong women who can cook and do farm work,” Sophie Charlotte finds herself married with two sons on an Icelandic sheep farm, trying to sever cords of memory that lead back to the powerful love she knew in Germany—and all that she lost there.
This book club favorite, is now available as an ebook, for all devices, from Unbridled. 

    Having answered a Berlin newspaper advertisement for “strong women who can cook and do farm work,” Sophie Charlotte finds herself married with two sons on an Icelandic sheep farm, trying to sever cords of memory that lead back to the powerful love she knew in Germany—and all that she lost there.

    This book club favorite, is now available as an ebook, for all devices, from Unbridled. 

  2. On Deciding to Become a Writer

    One of the questions that I’m most often asked by readers is why I decided to become a writer. It is, at once, the simplest and most difficult of all the regular questions. Simple because I can point to an exact moment and say, “That was when I decided to be a writer.” But difficult because the fact that I decided in that exact moment to become a writer is muddled by the fact that it was the same moment I became a reader.

Twenty-five years later, and what I see in retrospect is that the world doesn’t necessarily need more writers, but it sure needs more readers.


    My epiphany came when I was a junior at Minneapolis South High School. I was not the world’s best student. Certainly I was more interested in flirting with the girls in class or getting a laugh than I was in the subjects I was being taught. One day, sitting in an overcrowded English classroom, no doubt causing a disturbance of one sort or another, I was reprimanded by my teacher, who said, “Hey, Geye, it’s a lot easier to be a smartass if you’ve actually read the book.” Rather than feeling chastened or humbled, I felt challenged. I could be a better smartass? I would be. You bet.


    I worked at a pizza joint after school, and that afternoon I went to work, slung some pie, then settled into my usually quiet shift with the book we’d been assigned. The book that would make me a better smartass. The novel was Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, and within the first twenty pages I was transported. I was in mortal fear. I was in love. I was at war. I had new friends. I understood all the ominous signs of foreshadowing in this world. I understood—without question—that the feeling those pages were evoking in me were the sort of feelings it would be meaningful to evoke in others. I decided in that single shift at the pizzeria that I would be a writer. I also understood that in order to become a writer, I would need to read. I would need to read a lot.


    People often smirk or snigger when they hear a book can change someone’s life. I want to slap the disbelievers. Books have changed my life a hundred times. But none as much as when my high school English teacher—a man by the name of David Beenken—assigned his class a novel by Hemingway, when he challenged one of his most difficult students to become a better smartass. A single book in the hands of an unsuspecting student that changed his life forever. It’s just that simple.


    All of which is to say that I’m especially honored, and entirely humbled, to have had my second novel, The Lighthouse Road, selected as one of the titles for World Book Night 2014. The literary world is often curious. It’s sometimes difficult to navigate. But at its most basic level, it’s a world full of books and stories, all of them waiting to find the perfect reader. How many times has a story found that person? Impossible to say, but the odds sure go up when programs such as WBN go out onto the streets with thousands of books—thousands of stories—looking for the unsuspecting.

I was once that unsuspecting reader, thank God. Here’s hoping that some eager young kid gets her hands on a book she never even knew existed, and finds herself in mortal fear. Or love. Or at war. Certainly with a new friend.
    And though I’ve said thanks to Dave Beenken a hundred times, here’s one more salutation. You made me a reader. You made me a better person because you did.

    Peter Geye is the author of The Lighthouse Road and Safe from the Sea.

  3. Honored to be among 35 titles chosen for April 2014 World Book Night USA. How many have you read?

    Honored to be among 35 titles chosen for April 2014 World Book Night USA. How many have you read?

  4. Just sayin’… .

    Just sayin’… .

  5. John Addiego’s Egg Salad Bike Picnic Extravaganza

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    Wait…you mean you haven’t been following our preparations for the Ultimate Unbridled Picnic—until now? And you’ve just looked up from you work-a-day life and realized that it’s Labor Day and you’ve been doing nothin’ but working? Never fear! Read on for the antidote to last-minute picnic planning from author John Addiego.

    And be sure to download our Ultimate Unbridled Picnic Reader.

    Then put the kickstand up … and kick back!

    Egg Salad Bike Picnic Extravaganza

    Ingredients:
    1 hard boiled egg
    1 clove of garlic
    1 dill pickle
    1 hard roll or hoagie
    Salt, pepper, mayo, mustard
    1 plastic bag

    Ride your bike to a special picnic spot, preferably with a bench or picnic table. Take off one shoe and smash the egg and garlic with heel until they are easy to peel and place in bag with pickle. Continue to pulverize the pickle, egg, and garlic with your shoe, then throw some salt, pepper, mustard and mayo into the sack. Turn your bicycle on its back and tie the sack to the rear wheel, using the Velcro pants cuff strap you are wearing, then crank the pedal rapidly for about three minutes. Try to be inconspicuous by making comments about lubricating your chain. Using a house key, gouge a slit in the roll and pour the contents of the bag into the cavity. Taste. If not successful, place sandwich in a trash can and ride your bike to the nearest deli. Enjoy!

    John Addiego is the author of The Islands of Divine Music and Tears of the Mountain.

    Download an excerpt of Tears of the Mountain.

    Visit John Addiego’s website.

  6. We asked New York Times bestselling author, Edward Falco, for his favorite thing to take on a picnic. Obviously he’s a gentleman who chooses his words…and visuals…wisely.
Edward Falco is also the author of a number of books including Wolf Point, Sabbath Night in the Church of the Piranha, and Saint John of the Five Boroughs. 
Download an excerpt of Saint John of the Five Boroughs. 
Visit Edward Falco’s website. 
Be sure to download our Ultimate Unbridled Picnic Reader—kick back and enjoy!

    We asked New York Times bestselling author, Edward Falco, for his favorite thing to take on a picnic. Obviously he’s a gentleman who chooses his words…and visuals…wisely.

    Edward Falco is also the author of a number of books including Wolf Point, Sabbath Night in the Church of the Piranha, and Saint John of the Five Boroughs.

    Download an excerpt of Saint John of the Five Boroughs.

    Visit Edward Falco’s website.

    Be sure to download our Ultimate Unbridled Picnic Reader—kick back and enjoy!

  7. Jennifer Spiegel’s Phenomenal No Effort Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Chip Bars

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    It’s Labor Day weekend, and we’re gearing up for The Ultimate Unbridled Picnic! All day long we’ll be posting favorite picnic recipes from some of our very favorite authors —and be sure to download our Ultimate Unbridled Picnic Reader. Kick back… and enjoy!

    I offer this to you spontaneously, inelegantly. Here’s something that tastes phenomenal, takes no effort, and uses famous brands which boosts your legitimacy.

    Buy that roll of pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough in the fridge section of the grocery store—you’ll find it close to the cottage cheese, sour cream, and pre-made dinner rolls. Pillsbury, right?

    Get enough. You’ll want a square or rectangular pan, and you’ll make the bars. We’re doing bars. Do whatever they tell you to do.

    When the bars are done, take them out immediately. As quick as you can—because you don’t have a lot of time—spread peanut butter, chunky or smooth, all over the top. It’s going to melt, which is good. Though organic would probably work, I can’t personally vouch for the meltability.

    Right after that, spread one of two things over the peanut butter: chocolate chips or, better, squares of multiple Hershey milk chocolate bars. (I guess you could do dark chocolate, if you prefer). The chocolate is going to melt right on top of the peanut butter! This is what you want! Those bars will be emanating heat from the oven, so you get to melt stuff on top.

    Take a butter knife, and spread that mess all over the top of the cookie bars.

    Let it cool. Let it cool some more. Cover it. Stick it in the fridge, so that you’ll have something much like a peanut butter cup hardened right on top of a chocolate chip cookie bar. Actually, that’s exactly what you’ll have.

    Eat them after they’ve been in the fridge for a while. The thing is that people love them. They just do. And you’ve pretty much done nothing.

    Incidentally, there’s a not-veiled reference to these bars on page 70 in LOVE SLAVE.

    I still make them. This secret recipe was passed on by my mother.

    Jennifer Spiegel is the author of The Freak Chronicles and Love Slave.

    Download an excerpt of Love Slave.

    Visit Jennifer Spiegel’s website.

  8. Thad Nodine’s Hurricane Picnic

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    It’s Labor Day weekend, and we’re gearing up for The Ultimate Unbridled Picnic! All day long we’ll be posting favorite picnic recipes from some of our very favorite authors —and be sure to download our Ultimate Unbridled Picnic Reader. Kick back… and enjoy!

    Wait…are you looking for a bit of adventure in your picnic? Try Thad Nodine’s Hurricane Picnic—it pairs perfectly with TOUCH AND GO: 

    MRE (Meal Ready to Eat), Hurricane Cocktail, and dessert 

    MRE: pasta salad. Make spiral pasta night before. Day of picnic/hurricane: Mix pasta with fresh basil, fresh tomatoes, chop up anything left in garden, smallest squash (raw or cooked), Italian parsley, toss with olive oil and parmesan cheese. Bring in a bowl, bag or tupperware.

    Hurricane cocktail:a classic tiki mixed drink made of rum, passion fruit, orange, lime, and grenadine. Lots of lime

    Dessert: Sliced fresh fruit with emergency bar of chocolate

    Thad Nodine is the author of Touch and Go.

    Download an excerpt of Touch and Go.

    Visit Thad Nodine’s website.

  9. Virginia Pye’s Impromptu Pasta Pesto Picnic Salad

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    It’s Labor Day weekend, and we’re gearing up for The Ultimate Unbridled Picnic! All day long we’ll be posting favorite picnic recipes from some of our very favorite authors —and be sure to download our Ultimate Unbridled Picnic Reader. Kick back… and enjoy!

    This is my favorite picnic recipe for impromptu, on-the-fly picnics when the weather is too nice to stay indoors and I want to make something quick and easy.
    Salmon and Pasta Pesto Salad
    Ingredients:
    Salmon steak 
    Bow tie pasta
    Pesto (store bought, sorry!)
    Cherry tomatoes
    Instructions:
    Grill salmon steak 
    Cook and drain bow tie pasta
    Combine pasta and flakes of salmon 
    Mix in pesto sauce
    Slice cherry tomatoes and add

    Mix in a large bowl and serve! Our family has enjoyed this dish on rocks by the river, on beaches by the shore and beside the community pool. Nothing glamorous…but tasty!

    Virginia Pye is the author River of Dust.

    Go behind-the-scenes with Virginia Pye on her inspiration for River of Dust.

    Visit Virginia Pye’s website.

  10. Have Tamales Will Travel…with Elizabeth Huergo

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    It’s Labor Day weekend, and we’re gearing up for The Ultimate Unbridled Picnic! All day long we’ll be posting favorite picnic recipes from some of our very favorite authors —and be sure to download our Ultimate Unbridled Picnic Reader. Kick back… and enjoy!

    Along with language and reading, cuisine is a wonderful entry-point into a different culture. I found out long ago that when friends come over they generally prefer being introduced to a new dish rather than an old favorite.

    So I often make my version of a Cuban tamal. Yes, grating the corn by hand is preferable, but I am not a Latin version of Martha Stewart, so I use organic frozen corn (4 pounds of it), and toss it into a food processor. Then I set aside 8 cups for a bit. Since I’m always trying to eat more fruits and veggies than meat, I stay away from the use of chicken, pork and bacon that are the staples of some very delicious (and traditional) tamal recipes. Instead, I pour some olive oil into my favorite iron kettle and sweat about 6 to 8 cloves of garlic (minced) and a couple of medium yellow onions (chopped). Then I add some fresh chopped tomatoes (5 or 6 medium-ish), and a couple of teaspoons of cumin, red-pepper flakes and salt (to taste). You will know the sauce is done when everyone in your home suddenly appears in your kitchen asking silly questions. Stir in milk (about ¾ cup) and butter (about a tablespoon?) into the sauce. Then add very slowly a cup of yellow cornmeal. Keep stirring until the corn meal thickens. You now have masa! Once this happens, pour the mixture into a bowl and go walk the dog, write a chapter, drink a pre-party mojito—or all the above. The point is the corn-thickened sauce or masa needs to be at room-temperature for you to work with it, and the actual construction of the tamales requires a creative, non-linear, relaxed sort of mind-set. Before you leave kitchen, though, toss the dried corn husks into some warm water. Once you return, check the directions on the husk packages, which usually include information on how to spread a couple of tablespoons of the masa into the re-hydrated husk and bundle the leaves up into a packet. Once the packets are all made, place them in batches in a veggie steamer for about an hour.

    To reheat, once you’ve reached your picnic destination, bundle about 10 or 12 wrapped tamales into an aluminum foil canoe, cover, and set on grill to reheat. Enjoy!

    Elizabeth Huergo is the author of The Death of Fidel Perez.

    Visit Elizabeth Huergo’s website.