Lifestyle » Books http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle The latest Lifestyle news and blog posts from ABC News contributors and bloggers. Mon, 22 Sep 2014 22:15:18 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 ‘Goodnight Moon’ Author Has New Book 65 Years Later http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2014/03/goodnight-moon-authors-poetry-turned-into-book-65-years-later/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2014/03/goodnight-moon-authors-poetry-turned-into-book-65-years-later/#comments Fri, 07 Mar 2014 19:55:44 +0000 Rachael Ellenbogen http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/?p=111028 ht goodnight songs kab 140307 16x9 608 Goodnight Moon  Author Has New Book 65 Years Later

Pictured is the cover of "Goodnight Songs." Amazon

A collection of poetry written by “Goodnight Moon” author Margaret Wise Brown was published this month in a book entitled “Goodnight Songs.”

The release by Sterling Publishing of the  new children’s book comes more than 65 years after Brown’s “Moon” was first released.

“Goodnight Moon,” one of the most popular children’s books, was first published in 1947 and its author Margaret Wise Brown died a few years later in 1952. Before the Brooklyn native died of embolism, she hid a collection of  poetry at her sister’s barn in Vermont, which wasn’t looked at until over 30 years later.

Publisher Amy Gary finally got the chance to read the poetry when she visited Brown’s sister, Roberta Rauch, in Vermont. Rauch told Gary that these poetry manuscripts, about 60 of them, had been stored inside the trunk inside her barn.

ht margaret wise brown kab 140307 16x9 608 Goodnight Moon  Author Has New Book 65 Years Later

Margaret Wise Brown is pictured in this undated publicity still. Consuelo Kanaga/HarperCollins

Although the manuscripts came out from hiding in 1989, they weren’t able to be released until now. Often Brown would reuse lyrics from her other books, Gary found, which made discovering the rights to the lines a timely task. After many years, Gary was able to figure out the legalities of Brown’s unpublished work and help put it together into a collection. “Goodnight Songs,” published March 4, is now available, and Brown’s original manuscripts are being kept at Hollis University’s Wyndham Robertson Library.

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‘Harry Potter’ 15 Years Later: J.K. Rowling Misses Dumbledore the Most http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2013/08/harry-potter-15-years-later-j-k-rowling-misses-dumbledore-the-most/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2013/08/harry-potter-15-years-later-j-k-rowling-misses-dumbledore-the-most/#comments Tue, 27 Aug 2013 12:24:24 +0000 Lauren Sher http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/?p=105024

It’s been 15 years since J.K. Rowling introduced Harry Potter and the wizarding world to readers and sparked a cultural phenomenon. While the best-selling author has moved on, largely putting the signature genre of fantasy behind her, there’s one Potter character above all she wishes she could bring back to life to talk with her — and it’s not Harry.

It’s Dumbledore.

“Of all the other characters in the Harry Potter series, he’s the one I miss the most,” Rowling said in a video for Scholastic Books, which debuted exclusively on “Good Morning America” today.

Rowling said that Dumbledore, Hogwarts’ headmaster and Harry’s beloved mentor and sage, is the character with whom she had the strongest connection while writing the series.

“I feel like I wrote Dumbledore from the back of my head. Sometimes he said things and told Harry things that I only knew I knew or believed until … I saw that I had written them down in the voice of Dumbledore,” Rowling said. “He was the character who was hardest to leave for me. He was the person who I’d have come back physically and sit and talk to me. It would be Dumbledore.”

Which ‘Harry Potter’ character is your favorite? Tell us in the comments.

J.K. Rowling’s Personal Struggle With OCD Informed ‘The Casual Vacancy

To mark the 15th anniversary of the original, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” which has sold 32 million print copies in the U.S. since its release, Rowling opened up on the wildly-popular series and answered the question: If she could introduce anyone in the world to Dumbledore who would it be?

“I’m afraid I’m going to be very selfish, and if anyone gets a shot, it’s me,” she said with a laugh. “It’s a difficult question and I have mulled it over at length, and I’ve considered world leaders who may benefit from some of his calm wisdom, but finally decided there’s really only one person who should meet Dumbledore and I think that’s me – because, of all the other characters in the Harry Potter series, he’s the one I miss the most.”

Rowling’s Harry Potter books have sold more than 160 million copies in the U.S. and close to 500 million worldwide, been translated into 73 languages and produced eight blockbuster movies, making her more than a household name.

For the 15th anniversary, all seven books in the series are being released with new cover artwork designed by graphic artist Kazu Kibuishi. The new cover art captures a pivotal moment from each particular book, according to Scholastic, and replaces the original designs of artist Mary GrandPre in the paperback editions.  The box set featuring all of the new cover art is available today.

Click here to see all the new cover art.

CLICK HERE to read more about Kibuishi’s inspiration and creative process.

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‘Modern Family’ Star Rico Rodriguez Spills TV Secrets, Life Lessons in New Book http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/11/modern-family-star-rico-rodriguez-spills-tv-secrets-life-lessons-in-new-book/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/11/modern-family-star-rico-rodriguez-spills-tv-secrets-life-lessons-in-new-book/#comments Tue, 20 Nov 2012 12:30:52 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/?p=97771 Millions know Rico Rodriguez as Manny Delgado on the hit ABC show “Modern Family.” As it turns out, Rodriguez is not so far off from his on-screen personality when it comes to dispensing advice, offering wisdom like Manny does far beyond his years. In his book, “Reel Life Lessons…So Far,” the child star dishes on what it’s like to have Sofia Vergara as his TV mom, and gives his take on growing up in the spotlight, family values and overcoming the challenges in life. Read an excerpt of the book below.

Excerpt From Chapter 14 of ‘Reel Life Lessons…So Far’

For as long as I’ve been acting, I have been very lucky to be paired with really great actresses playing my mom. It could be worse — I could get the roles with a wicked mom, right? Naturally, people are curious about how my real mom feels about me having a TV mom. They want to know if she likes how my TV mom treats me. My mom and Sofia Vergara get along great. It’s kind of funny when people ask me about Sofia because they stumble over their words. Sofia has that effect on some people. Okay, most people. I always tell them the truth: Sofia is a really nice person, and she treats me as if I were her own son.

While we were filming our season one wrap episode in Hawaii, there was a dinner scene in which I just happened to be sitting next to Sofia. Although the director usually tells us not to eat the bread, I usually go ahead and do it anyway. You’re not supposed to eat the props! I usually peel off the crust before eating the bread because I like the inside part better. Sofia asked me why I was doing it, so I went about explaining the reason to her— it was mainly because I wanted to get to the soft bread inside.

Sofia suddenly interrupted me.

“Leprechauns?” she asked in her very thick Colombian accent.

“Aye,” I said, rolling my eyes.

For some reason, while I was explaining why I took the crust off the bread, she thought I was saying something completely different. It was out of nowhere because nothing of what I was saying had anything to do with leprechauns! We both busted out laughing at the table and never forgot about that moment.

Over time, it has become a running joke between us. Every now and then when we are joking around on the set, I say, “Leprechaun,” and Sofia immediately starts laughing hysterically. Something about the moment just gets both of us every single time.

Sofia’s favorite candy is Hot Tamales and marshmallows. She likes to stash them in drawers all around the set. She always has a handful and starts eating them on set. It is almost as if she wants me to enjoy them as much as she does.

“Here, Rico,” Sofia says, holding out a handful of Hot Tamales for me.

“No, I’m okay right now,” I answer.

“No, here,” she repeats, pushing the candy into my hand.

Sofia doesn’t like to take no for an answer.

In my eyes, I have two wonderful moms. Both amazing women who love me very much. That makes me so lucky.

This excerpt has been printed with permission from the publisher.

RELATED: Try Rico Rodriguez’s Mom’s Chicken Taco Recipe

RELATED: Sofia Vergara Dishes: Who’s the Funniest on ‘Modern Family’?

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11 Tips on Privately Selling Your Used Car http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/10/11-tips-on-privately-selling-your-used-car/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/10/11-tips-on-privately-selling-your-used-car/#comments Thu, 04 Oct 2012 19:45:43 +0000 Enjoli Francis http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/?p=96107 ht hyundai tiburon coupe ll 121004 wblog 11 Tips on Privately Selling Your Used Car

Image credit: Gitika Ahuja/ABC News

After their son was born 10 months ago, Brian and Lauren Gross  of Burlington, N.J., decided it was time to sell their car.

The easiest way to get baby Ari into the 2006 Hyundai Tiburon coupe was through the trunk and then there was the dog, Laila.

“The way the car seat goes in, nobody else fits,” Brian Gross said.

Even though the Kelley Blue Book value of the car was nearly $10,000, a dealer only offered $4,000. So the couple decided to sell it themselves.

Private-party car sales are up. More than 11 million cars are sold to people from people every year, according to Manheim Consulting, part of a used-car wholesale operation. And nearly 40 million used cars are sold each year, three times the number of new cars.

The Grosses posted an ad online but two months — and two price drops — later, the car with 86,000 miles on it remained unsold. Brian Gross said he’d received zero calls.

ABC News brought in Brian Moody, Autotrader’s used-car expert, to help the Grosses make over their car so it could get sold and put some much-needed money in their pockets.

Days later, the Grosses had a new ad and it had been viewed twice as many times as the previous one. Though they’ve received a $7,000 offer on the car, they are now holding out for more.

Here are 11 tips that experts shared with the Grosses to help them turn a used car into extra cash:

Prep your car and rethink the keychain. Vacuum up the hair, empty the ashtray and get rid of the loose change and food wrappers. Empty the trunk, check the fluids — oil, brake and windshield — and get the car washed and even waxed. Don’t forget about the tires.

“Even though it might be inconvenient to you,” Moody said, “someone wants to picture their stuff there — not necessarily your stuff.”

Be upfront and organized. Get the car inspected and have all maintenance records and warranties available.

Price it right. Check with a local dealer and online resource guides like KBB.com and Edmunds.com to come up with a price tag. That sweet spot is usually best between 97 percent and 102 percent of blue book.

Take photos — and more photos. The Gross’ ad had just five pictures. Take dozens of pictures to prove that you have nothing to hide. Take shots from all sorts of angles — interior, exterior, the engine, trunk, dashboard — and then show it. And make sure the steering wheel is straight!

Make a video ad.  Make your car come alive — a little song and dance never hurt — and tell its story. Be funny. Tell the world why you love your car.

Write the ad. Be specific. Focus on how the car gets out of snow well or has amazing windshield wipers. Avoid gimmicky phrases like “fully loaded” and “like new.” Be honest about the car’s flaws too. Show a dent. Mention a stain. This will make a potential buyer trust you because no used car is perfect and that’s OK.

Advertise in three places. Most private sellers sell their cars online so check out autotrader.com, cars.com and free sites like Craig’s List and Facebook Marketplace. Post signs everywhere — in the supermarket, the coffee shop, pass them out and if you have a regular mechanic, tell him/her it’s for sale. Put a “For Sale” sign in the car and then drive it around town. And don’t just post a phone number. Post the price too.

Dress for success. Wear decent clothes and shoes when you show your car to a potential buyer. Make sure the garage is clean, the lawn is mowed and flowers are blooming. Be confident.

Nicole Marksen, an automotive insider, also shared some don’ts when trying to close a deal.

Don’t be too smooth. Marksen said most people are afraid of going to a dealership so private sellers should make potential buyers feel “warm” and “comfortable.”

Don’t ignore “her.” Marksen said that 85 percent of car-buying decisions were ultimately made by a woman.

Don’t negotiate before the test drive. “What you want to do is have them driving, really loving it, and then having that discussion after,” she said.

 

 

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Jaycee Dugard’s Bestseller by the Numbers http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/08/jaycee-dugards-bestseller-by-the-numbers/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/08/jaycee-dugards-bestseller-by-the-numbers/#comments Fri, 24 Aug 2012 11:00:34 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/?p=95545 ht jaycee dugard kb 120822 wblog Jaycee Dugards Bestseller by the Numbers

Jaycee Dugard: A Stolen Life (credit: Amazon.com)

 

During the 18 years she was held captive, Jaycee Dugard made a list of the things she wished to do in her life. Among them was write a bestselling book — and it’s one of several items she’s crossed off her list as she’s reclaimed her freedom after finally being found by authorities in 2009.

Check out Jaycee’s publishing success by the numbers below and watch a special presentation of Diane Sawyer’s riveting interview with Dugard on “20/20.”

 

7/2/11

Date of Simon & Schuster’s publication of the first edition of the memoir “Jaycee Dugard: A Stolen Life.”

 

288

Total number of pages in the hard cover edition of the book.

 

175,000

Copies of the book sold on the day of publication.

 

33

Number of weeks spent on the New York Times bestseller list.

 

1.6 million

The number of copies — including hardcover, trade paperback and ebook editions — presently in circulation.

Watch a special presentation of Diane Sawyer’s riveting interview with Dugard on “20/20.”

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Author Joel Stein’s ‘Stupid Quest for Masculinity’ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/05/author-joel-steins-stupid-quest-for-masculinity/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/05/author-joel-steins-stupid-quest-for-masculinity/#comments Fri, 25 May 2012 19:12:32 +0000 David Wright http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/?p=79461 gty joel stein jef 120525 wblog Author Joel Steins Stupid Quest for Masculinity

Credit: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Nothing scared author Joel Stein more than the idea of  having a son.

“When I found out we were having a boy, I freaked out when I saw the penis on the sonogram,” he said.

He says he was worried because he is not what you would call a “manly man.” He’s proudly progressive, emphatically non violent and partial to chick flicks.  Not exactly Earnest Hemingway.

Frankly, he was worried whether he was up to the job of raising a son.

“I grew up in the ’70s with a feminist mom, listening to ‘Free to Be You and Me,’” Stein said. “My mom thought the Boy Scouts are a fascist organization, so I was not allowed to join, which was fine by me because I heard that a lot of the stuff they did was outdoors. Not comfortable with that.”

And so Stein embarked on a journey to change that and try to tackle all the “guy things” his own childhood lacked, including hanging out with firefighters, doing basic training with the Army, learning to drink Scotch and talk sports, and even learning how to handle himself in a fight.

“It was not very Mr. Miyagi,” Stein said. “The first thing [the instructor] did was he got the Muay Thai guy, the Thai kick boxing guy, to kick me in the leg very hard, so I knew what that felt like. It feels awful, and then he got the jiu-jitsu guy to choke me up.”

But that was just the beginning. Mixed-martial arts hall-of-famer Randy Couture then gave him a sustained pounding.

“Randy Couture wanted me to feel what it’s like to be in a real fight,” Stein said. ”So, he made me suffer for five minutes.  Every time things were getting dark for me he would just walk away then I would get back up and then beat me up again and then walk away, he’d beat me up again. It’s awful to watch.”

Stein’s trials and tribulations are documented in his new book, “Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity,” in stores now. In the end, Stein said all he went through did make him feel “maniler.”

“I now think we’re the sum of our experiences and that there is some genetic personality that we have, but the most stuff you do, the more you change,” he said.

“I feel like I’m better prepared to be his dad because I will introduce him to thinks that I would not have introduced him to,” Stein added. “Even if he thinks the book is stupid, I think he will appreciate the fact that I’m now going to take him camping.”

Tune into “Nightline” tonight to watch ABC’s David Wright’s full interview with Joel Stein, and see what happens when they fight in a cage match, and then get pedicures together.

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Carlos Fuentes, Mexican Novelist Who Inspired Latin American Writing, Dies http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/05/carlos-fuentes-mexican-novelist-who-inspired-latin-american-writing-dies/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/05/carlos-fuentes-mexican-novelist-who-inspired-latin-american-writing-dies/#comments Tue, 15 May 2012 21:37:07 +0000 Dean Schabner http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/?p=75751 ap carlos fuentes nt 120515 wblog Carlos Fuentes, Mexican Novelist Who Inspired Latin American Writing, Dies

(Rick Maiman/AP Photo)

Carlos Fuentes, the Mexican writer whose powerful mix of deep political and social commitment with bold stylistic innovation made him among the most prominent figures in Latin American writing in the 1960s and ’70s, has died in a Mexico City hospital. He was 83.

He may be best known in the United States for his 1985 novel “The Old Gringo,” about the disappearance of the American writer Ambrose Bierce in Mexico during the revolution. The book became a U.S. bestseller and was made into a movie starring Gregory Peck and Jane Fonda. But it was with his earlier novels that Fuentes made his most profound mark on world literature.

His bold experimentation with narrative voice and the line between reality and imagination put him firmly in company with such writers of his generation as Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Alejo Carpentier, who brought international attention to the writing of Latin America, but Fuentes’ voice was more acerbic, more urban, and often more openly political.

Where Garcia Marquez took as his world the Colombian village of Macondo, with its interwoven families and the matter-of-fact miracles that came to be called Magical Realism, Fuentes made Mexico City almost a character itself in his first novel, “Where the Air is Clear.”

“The Death of Artemio Cruz” interwove stream-of-consciousness psychological depth with bitter political comment on how the leaders of the Mexican revolution betrayed their ideals and the country.

For all his literary experimentation, Fuentes’ work nearly always retained a sharp emotional edge and a clear focus on what he was trying to say. In “Change of Skin,” for instance, the second-person narration addressed alternately to two of the characters in the novel is often dizzying, but the technique only heightens the emotional impact of the story of betrayals — both personal and political.

His masterwork may be “Terra Nostra,” at least in terms of scope. It is a monumental retelling of the history of Latin America, weaving together fact, fiction, legend and fantasy. Among his other books are “Aura,” a novella about possession and sexual desire, and “The Good Conscience,” which is among his most straightforward narratives.

Though he was perennial contender for the Nobel prize, he never won. He still received worldwide recognition for his work. “Terra Nostra” received the Venezuelan Romulo Gallegos Prize;  in 1987 he won the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world’s highest literary honor.  In 1994 Spain gave him a Prince of Asturias Award for literature. In 1997 he was named a commander of the National Order of Merit, France’s highest civilian award given to a foreigner.

He also received the Four Freedoms Award for Freedom of Speech and Expression in 2006, in Middelburg, the Netherlands.

Early in his career his left-leaning politics brought controversy, as when he was barred from the United States under the McCarren-Walter Act for his perceived support for Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. But while he never lost his concern for social justice, his views became more moderate.

He taught courses at Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania and Brown, and twice served as Mexican ambassador, first to England and then to France. He resigned both posts in protests related to the 1968 slaughter of Mexican students.

Fuentes was born in Panama City on Dec. 11, 1928 to Mexican parents. His parents were both diplomats, so Fuentes moved frequently in his early years, living in Montevideo, Uruguay; Rio de Janeiro; Washington, D.C.; Santiago, Chile; and Buenos Aires, Argentina. He later divided his time between homes in Mexico City home and London, where he did most of his writing.

He married actress Rita Macedo in 1959, and the couple had a daughter, but divorced in 1973. Fuentes was romantically linked to the actresses Jeanne Moreau and Jean Seberg.

Fuentes later married journalist Silvia Lemus and they had two children together. Their son Carlos Fuentes Lemus died from complications associated with hemophilia in 1999, and Natasha Fuentes Lemus died in 2005 after a cardiac arrest.

 
 
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

 

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Dying Mother’s List Becomes Bestselling Book http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/05/dying-mothers-list-becomes-bestselling-book/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/05/dying-mothers-list-becomes-bestselling-book/#comments Sat, 12 May 2012 12:00:27 +0000 Nadine Shubailat http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/?p=74151 ht kate greene sons jef 120511 wblog Dying Mothers List Becomes Bestselling Book

Kate Greene with her two sons, Reef and Finn. The Make a Wish Foundation sent the Greene family to Walt Disney World after Reef's battle with cancer. (Credit: St. John Greene)

A dying mother’s wish list for her two young sons inspired a best-selling book in the U.K. that is now making its way over to the  U.S.

Kate Greene was an inspiring mother and wife, whose courage, passion and love for her family are chronicled in “Mum’s List: A Mother’s Life Lessons to the Husband and Sons She Left Behindby her husband St. John Greene.  Greene, a British outdoor sports trainer, fell in love with Kate when they were teenagers.

“I met Kate when she was only 14. We were childhood sweethearts. We met on roller skates; she fell for me in more than one way,” laughed her husband, Greene, who goes by the name Singe. He proposed to her in a snowdrift during a skiing trip to Switzerland. They were together for 23 years, enjoyed traveling the world and were avid scuba divers (they even named their dog Coral!).

In 2004, Kate Green gave birth to the couple’s first son, Reef, and around Christmas  2005, their son, Finn.

When Reef was 18 months old, tragedy struck: The  toddler was diagnosed with a very rare soft tissue cancer, which gave him a 6  percent chance of survival. Not long after, Finn was born – seven weeks early.

“We thought we were going to lose both our sons at the same time with Reef’s cancer diagnosis and Finn’s premature birth,” St. John Greene recalled.  The couple shuttled between two different hospitals located at opposite ends of Bristol.  Reef had a year of chemotherapy and became disabled in one leg  but went into remission.

The Greene family was relieved at first.

“We thought we got away with it,” Greene said.

Then came more devastating news: Kate found two lumps in her breast. The diagnosis was triple negative breast cancer, a form of breast cancer that can be extremely aggressive and more likely to metastasize than other forms.

Kate underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

“When Reef was diagnosed, we said we wished we could swap places with him,” Greene said, “but (we) didn’t realize anyone was listening.”

Kate fought her cancer for almost two years, but in December 2009 she had a relapse.

“Kate started to cough; she couldn’t get rid of it.  We had already booked a Christmas trip to Lapland.  Kate probably knew at that point that she was going to have a recurrence, but she was determined that her sons see Father Christmas,” said Greene.  Upon their return, she was rushed to the hospital and was told she  had only 18 months to live.  She ended up having only 18 days.

One evening, while Kate was hooked up to her oxygen tank at home, Greene, a former paramedic, was taking care of her and brought her a cup of tea.  Kate looked at him intensely and then asked if he could do her a favor.

“Could I take the boys to a beach in Wales she had gone to when she was a child?” he recalled.  “She then rattled 20 more things.  I told her you need to write it down.  This was between Christmas and the 20th of January (2010) when we lost her.  If she survived longer, the list would have been longer.”

The list was extensive and ranged from kissing the boys two times a night to urging her husband to find another wife.  This was all Kate’s effort to help Greene create the best life for her family after she was gone.

“Before the boys were born, Kate and I wanted to go to Belize to dive.  She said, ‘Would you take the boys to Belize?  This way at least two bits of me would go,’” he said softly.

Another request was skating around a museum, which Greene later fulfilled.  “My boys and I skated in the Natural History Museum in London, which they closed especially for us,” he laughed. “It was just us and the cleaners as we skated around the dinosaur!”

Kate Green died in January  2010. Greene published his wife’s list as a love letter to her. He plans to fulfill all her requests and more. “Kate wanted the boys to go to Egypt and see the pyramids.  I took them there, and we snorkeled in the Red Sea,” he said.  “There are hundreds of other things to do for Kate.”

According to Dutton, the book’s publisher, “Mum’s List” has rocketed to the top of the U.K. bestseller lists and has garnered a film deal.  The will be available for the first time in the U.S. on June 5.

ht greene family dolphin ll 120511 wblog Dying Mothers List Becomes Bestselling Book

The Greene family swam with dolphins in Florida on a trip made possible by the Make a Wish Foundation. (Credit: St. John Greene)

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Reporter’s Notebook: Interviewing ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Author E.L. James http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/04/reporters-notebook-interviewing-50-shades-of-grey-author-e-l-james/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/04/reporters-notebook-interviewing-50-shades-of-grey-author-e-l-james/#comments Mon, 16 Apr 2012 17:51:22 +0000 Elizabeth Vargas http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/?p=65932 abc el james author elizabeth vargas thg 120413 wblog Reporters Notebook: Interviewing Fifty Shades of Grey Author E.L. James

"50 Shades of Grey" author E.L. James sat down for an interview with Elizabeth Vargas.

It was cloudy and drizzling — just as you’d imagine London might be — when I arrived at our shoot location for my interview with E.L. James, the author of one of the most buzzed about books this year. Her trilogy, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Fifty Shades Darker,” and “Fifty Shades Freed” has taken the publishing industry and most recently, Hollywood, by surprise and by storm with its rapid rise from a fan fiction e-novel to New York Times bestseller. And may I say, the number of moms talking about the books at school pickup every day is astonishing.

But E.L. — her first name is Erika, though she’s trying to keep her last name out of the media as long as possible — had plenty of surprises for us, too. Until that morning, she had not spoken at length with any broadcast news media. My first question was, of course, whether she had imagined her books taking off the way they have.

“Never in a million years,” she said, “It’s been really quite scary. I don’t really like the attention to be really honest.”

It was something she both said and showed in her body language throughout our chat. The brains behind what she calls “a love story with kink” is very much the girl, or rather, the “mom next door.” She is the devoted wife to a television-writer husband and mom to two teenage sons, of whom she is fiercely protective, especially with the recent media interest in her back story. Until January, when she suddenly landed her book deal with Random House and movie deal with Universal/Focus Features, she worked in television, too, as an executive often dealing with contracts — something she carried over into her fictional world.

Given how um, graphic some of the sex scenes are in her books, I was surprised at how embarrassed she seemed talking about them. I must say, I was surprised when she confessed she had tried out a lot of what she put in the book on her own husband…whose reaction was more on the line of “Oh, it’s going to be one of those nights again.”

In the steamy first book, the protagonist, Anastasia, is presented with a very detailed dominant/submissive contract by her love interest, Christian Grey — a devastatingly handsome, young billionaire, who just happens to be a bondage enthusiast on the side.

“I wrote something up and then I gave it to a lawyer friend of mine,” Erika revealed in our interview, “[She] re-did it for me and she said that we were never, ever to speak of it again.”

In her infectiously funny way, Erika then added that said friend required a long hot shower afterward.

Tune in for more of my interview with E.L. James tomorrow on “Good Morning America” and Friday on “20/20.”

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‘Heaven Is Here’: Utah Mom Disfigured in Plane Crash Releases Book http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/03/heaven-is-here-utah-mom-disfigured-in-plane-crash-releases-book/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/03/heaven-is-here-utah-mom-disfigured-in-plane-crash-releases-book/#comments Thu, 29 Mar 2012 11:36:55 +0000 Alice Gomstyn http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/?p=57862

The Utah woman whose face and body were forever changed by a harrowing accident has written a book about how she beat the odds to return to her life as a loving mother and wife.

ht heaven is here cover wy 120328 vblog Heaven Is Here: Utah Mom Disfigured in Plane Crash Releases Book

In “Heaven Is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph, and Everyday Joy,” Stephanie Nielson recounts the aftermath of the Aug. 2008 small plane crash that killed its pilot and badly injured Nielson and her husband Christian. The accident left Stephanie Nielson burned on more than 80 percent of her body and she had to be put into a medically-induced coma for months as doctors worked to save her life.

Nielson was profiled by “20/20″ last year, sharing how her disfiguring injuries changed not only her appearance, but her relationships with her four children. At first, the children were afraid to look at their mother.

“I felt guilty that I didn’t look like the mother that I was,” she said. “I thought it would be easier if everyone just sort of forgot about me.”

Watch “20/20′s” interview with Stephanie Nielson here.

Nielson, who is now pregnant with her fifth child, reclaimed the life she loved by drawing strength from her faith, family and an outpouring of support from readers who followed her blog, The Nie Nie Dialogues, which since 2005 chronicled her life as a married mom and a Mormon.

“I would get to be a mother to my children. I would smell flowers, eat my favorite foods and kiss my husband. I would do yoga again one day, and make dinner, and wake up in the morning with gratitude, peace like I used to have and without so much pain,” Nielson said in a video promoting the book. “Life would look different, but it would be amazing so I wrote this book so it could hopefully inspire people.”

PHOTOS: Stephanie Nielson and her family

“Heaven Is Here” will be published by Hyperion’s Voice Books on April 3, 2012. Hyperion is owned by The Walt Disney Co., the parent company of ABC News.

 

 

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