Many of you know that my second novel, THE BUNGALOW, will be out around April of 2012. I'm past the halfway point of book #3 (details TBA!). As I finish up that novel, I wanted to share that I've decided to set my fourth novel in Paris, and I'm so head-over-heels for this new story---can't wait to tell you all about it

Hello all! I want to tell you about a beautiful new novel, published by my dear friend Camille Noe Pagán. The Art of Forgetting, out on June 9 from Penguin (Dutton), is a gorgeous story about friendship, and how one friend's brain injury changes the way two friends relate to one another and how they move forward. Not only is Camille a dear friend, but we also have so much in common, I've started referring to her as my East Coast twin. We're both magazine writers, we both work from home with small children (in fact, we were each pregnant at the same time a few months ago!), and we also happen to share an editor and an agent. I think it's possible we were separated at birth. So, because I adore this lady so much, and her beautiful book, I'm offering five free copies of The Violets of March to the first five people who send me their pre-order receipt for The Art of Forgetting (from an online book store, or your favorite independent!). Just order Camille's book between May 25 and May 31, send me a copy of the receipt of purchase, and I'll mail the first five lucky winners (U.S. only please) a copy of Violets! Two books for the price of one! (And, bonus: Camille is also making a donation to The Bob Woodruff Foundation for every pre-order.)

Hello lovelies! Thanks for all the lovely entries in my giveaway. I loved all of your comments so much that I've decided to give away TWO copies. And I'll be picking winners at random this weekend! For now, I wanted to share the story of the violets that inspired the title of my novel. Just like the characters in the story, violets took me by surprise when they showed up in my garden last spring. There they are, above, photographed tonight! I didn't plant them, they just appeared. The full story: Shortly after I sold my novel to Penguin, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work on the pre-publication editing process. My editor, the lovely and always insightful Denise Roy at Penguin, suggested that we add few new threads to the book. So, I spent several months working on these revisions, often thinking about creative ideas and solving plot problems on my daily 3-mile jogs around my neighborhood in Seattle. One day, while huffing and puffing through my usual route, I glanced down by the roadside and noticed a brilliant carpet of purple flowers growing at the edge of someone’s garden. I didn’t think much of them until the following day when I was out in my backyard, and a gardener I hired to do some weeding (I have three young boys and zero time for weeding!) pointed out a peculiar plant sprouting up out of the ground. I recognized the soft purple petals, instantly. “These are wood violets,” he said. “They’re wild. They pop up where you least expect them to.” He shrugged. “They are kind of pretty. Do you want me to leave them?” I smiled, thinking immediately of my novel and imagining how something as delicate and small as a violet pushing up out of the ground, unannounced and uninvited, could have great significance. “Yes,” I said. “Keep them!" As I continued to work on the novel, I couldn’t get the wood violets out of my head, and I realized that my story needed these fragile, yet bold little petals. They soon became a key symbol of redemption, forgiveness and reconciliation in the story, and they mirrored the characteristics of Esther, a key character in the book. As readers will see, she is both bold, beautiful and spirited, and yet fragile, too. Adding this new thread to the story, for me, made the novel feel complete. It was almost as if I could hear the manuscript breathe a satisfied and content sigh when I had finished. Now, every time I look at the cover of the book and see the little violet pictured there, I think of my discovery of wood violets, and it reminds me of how important it is to be curious about every little detail around you, even the the seemingly insignificant. You never know what you might stumble upon—on a jog, in the backyard, or hidden in a patch of weeds.

**Update! Two winners have been chosen! Thank you for playing. So sorry if you didn't win, but check back for more giveaways this summer! Hello lovelies! It's been such a fun weekend: Mother's Day and a really great book signing at Costco in Seattle---yay! So, I'm in the mood to give away a copy of The Violets of March! To enter, just leave a comment below! I'll choose a winner at random in one week. (U.S. and Canada entries only, please.)