Thursday, November 29, 2012

Featuring the Always Remarkable Jessa Slade (or is that markable?)

Jessa Slade is one of those people who simply blows my mind on a regular basis.  She is seriously smart, uncannily unpretentious, and frequently freaking funny. (Yes, I too can alliterate).  I absolutely LOVED all of her books in the Marked Souls series, and that is saying something because I've always stayed away from books about any kind of demons.  But I highly recommend Jessa's repentant demons.

Today she is featuring her new novella relating to the marked souls series.

I forced (begged) her to agree to an interview. You can judge for yourself if her answers show that she relished the experience. Enjoy!

Book Blurb


Possessed by a divine entity, Cyril Fane fought rampant evil and the pain of more private losses with a fiery golden sword…until he was beaten and left for dead by a malevolent force. Now exiled from his angelic brethren, he reluctantly joins the Chicago league of talyan—immortal warriors possessed by repentant demons—as his only chance to reclaim his sword and his place in the holy sphericanum.

Bella McGreay, mysterious mistress of the Mortal Coil night club, has also danced around an uneasy affiliation with the talyan. She has secrets of her own to keep, and as the days shorten toward the winter solstice, shadows are deepening all around. Even as she barricades herself against the joys—and terrors—of the Christmas season, she’ll have to decide whether the shadows or her secrets are more dangerous.

Bella and Cyril have good reason to fear evil when an old enemy returns to torment them and the Chicago league. But only together will they find a way to the light after the darkest night.

BUY LINKS:  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Smashwords  |  All Romance eBooks  |  Kobo

Interview

What are your roots?

Mostly blond, but turning more gray now. I’ve been writing a long time, since I was a kid, actually. I was doomed from the very beginning, from my very own page one.

Has your own family story impacted your writing at all?

Not enough, according to my grandmother, or I wouldn’t use the F word so much. And the sex scenes would fade to black after the hero rounded first base. In my defense, my grandmother has the uncanny ability to flip directly to the bad parts.

How do you describe yourself as a writer?

Tricky. That’s not necessarily a good thing, I realize, so I try to keep it in check. I have readers who tell me when I’m too amused by myself. Sitting in the dark giggling to myself is always the first sign that something has gone very wrong. Or maybe very right. But probably very wrong.

What do you think is the special power of the genres you write in?

Hope in the darkness. No matter how bad it gets in my worlds (and sometimes it gets pretty bad) my people find hope. And six-pack abs. When I grope around in the dark, I find half-filled water glasses, wet dog noses, and alarm clocks going off before the sun. I wish I could find six-pack abs.

Why was it important for you to write this particular novel?

Story ideas gnaw at the inside of my skull like naked mole rats. Did you know naked mole rats can chew through concrete? Well, now you do. So what chance does my skull have? Better to just let them out. Then they are in your head.

What was hard for you in writing this novel?

For me, the hardest part of any book is writing it. That sounds stupid, but it’s true. The blank page is a bitch. The only thing worse is filling it up. And the only thing worse than THAT is rearranging it so it’s right.

Are there themes that recur in your work?

Striving. My people are usually up against long odds but they charge ahead. They using bang into a few walls, but onward they go. The fools. No, no, I kid. I always give them something to strive FOR, and they know they’ll get their Happily Ever After. Eventually.

What are you working on now?

Excellent question! I wish I had an answer. I have three stories currently trying to kill me. One is the second book in my Sheerways science fiction romance novella series. The second is a notsuperhero story. The third is a futuristic mashup mess that is trying to lure me away from the first two which are both half done.

What would you like to write in the future?

I have a middle grade fantasy plotted out that would make a fabulous movie. (Ahem, looking at you, Peter Jackson.) I want to write it for my grandmother. I will not use the F word.

If you had to give one piece of advice to women who are searching for something more in their relationships, what would it be?

Find your own passion first. You can’t contribute to a passionate relationship and you can’t teach passionate living to anyone else until you’ve experienced it yourself.

Great Advice, Jessa! Passion is key.

Thanks for joining me here. Now let's get to what Jessa is giving away this week.

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *


Jessa is giving away an ebook copy of her first Harlequin Nocturne Craving DARK HUNTER’S TOUCH.  To be entered in the drawing, leave a comment or a question.

DARK HUNTERS TOUCH

Yearning to be free, Imogene has fled the idleness and cruelty of the phae court to hide in the sunlit realm of humans. When the Dark Hunters find her—and they will—she will face the Queen’s wrath.

But she is tired of running, and after a chance encounter with a seductively handsome stranger named Vaile, Imogene embraces the earthly passions within her, if only for one night. But has she fallen for a man—or an illusion?

BUY LINKS:  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  All Romance EBooks

 

About Jessa Slade

Jessa Slade is the author of paranormal romance, urban fantasy romance, and science fiction romance. Basically, anything with woo-woo and woo-hoo. 


Contact Jessa:  website | twitter | facebook | goodreads


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Caribbean Christmas by Jenna Bayley-Burke

Caribbean Christmas
Release Day!!!

First, I have to say that  Jenna Bayley-Burke is an auto buy for me, and that is a high complement because I don't read a lot of light contemporary romances. I usually find the characters to be too unbelievable--unbelievably naive or unbelievably goody two-shoes or the situations unbelievably conceived.  However, every one of Jenna's books I've read have believable characters in interesting situations that could be real. Add to that her wonderful and wacky sense of humor and she has hooked me every time. 

So, when I heard she was starting a series in the Caribbean I begged Jenna to let me feature her book on my blog and to consent to an interview. I haven't read this one yet, but I do have it on pre-order.  So, enjoy the interview and the blurb. I would strongly encourage you to join me in buying the book. You will be glad you did.



’Tis the season for unwrapping the gift of pleasure.

Under the Caribbean Sun, Book 1

When Saskia snags a last-minute ticket home to the Caribbean isle of Anguilla, she intends to surprise her workaholic father and to reconnect over Christmas. When she finds he’s away on business, there’s still plenty to fill her time while she waits. Sailing, snorkeling…and an unexpected, very adult attraction to her girlhood crush.

Joe Prinsen is certain Saskia has returned to the island only to ask for money. He feels it’s time she learns the truth about her father’s depleted financial situation from the man himself. And he intends to make sure she sticks around long enough to hear it.

Except the girl he remembers has matured into a devastatingly sexy woman. She's taking all his noble intentions and unwrapping them, one by one, until their shared desire is revealed in the warm Caribbean water. Saskia’s only home for Christmas. And once she finds out the secret he’s hiding, she’ll no doubt leave the Caribbean, and him, for good.


INTERVIEW


What are your roots?  
On one side I can trace back to the Mayflower, on the other only a few generations out of Russia, Hungary & Poland

Has your own family story impacted your writing at all?  
I think so. I come from a family of amazingly long marriages, so I do have a blind faith in love.

How do you describe yourself as a writer?  
I like to have written. I hate to be interrupted. I love falling for a new story.

What do you think is the special power of the genres you write in?  
I write contemporary, which is special because it is so easily relatable, and effortless to escape into.

Why was it important for you to write this particular novel? 
I’ve been to the Caribbean once, on a cruise with my grandmother to help her take a breather after my grandfather’s death. The beauty and the magic of the place began our healing and I’ve wanted to return since the moment we left. Now I get to spend lots of time there, if only in my imagination.

What was hard for you in writing this novel?  
Finding time to write. I’ve had a wonky year health-wise, so finding time where I could concentrate was a challenge.

Are there themes that recur in your work?  
I like modern fairytales. I seem to gravitate to Cinderella or Beauty & the Beast.

What are you working on now?  
I’m doing the edits on Caribbean Casanova, the second in the Under the Caribbean Sun series, and writing Caribbean Crush, the third interlude.

What would you like to write in the future?  
There are so many stories I wish I could hold onto long enough to get them down. ADD is not all that helpful for an author. I’d like to write more.

If you had to give one piece of advice to women who are searching for something more in their relationships, what would it be?  
You deserve moments of bliss. Too often women get caught up in making everyone else around them happy, they don’t take the time to make sure they feel the same joy. That sounds so philosophical. Who knew I had it in me?

That is great advice, Jenna!

I suggest everyone run right out and buy this book. I know I'm already wishing I was spending my Christmas in the Carribean.

Buy Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Samhain |


ABOUT THE AUTHOR IN HER OWN WORDS

College confused me. I went in determined to become an orthopedic surgeon, and  came out with a triple major – Psychology, Religious Studies, and English. Thank goodness organic chemistry mystified me, or my life might have turned out completely different. Or not. I always wanted to write, it just seemed like a far away goal – a someday not a today.
After managing department stores and executive recruiting, I got lucky and had my first of three children. After two years of fertility treatments, I wanted to be with him as much as I could and opted to stay home. I started writing then, and developing recipes for magazines like Cooking Light and Better Homes & Gardens.
After my second son was born I had a health crisis, and as I lay in the ER I worried about what my boys would make of the things I’d left behind. Stories started and never finished, notes on novels never written, not to mention the rolls of film I’d yet to develop and put in albums. Grateful for life and high on pain meds, I was making some brave decisions. Like writing a book in a month for National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo).
That book (after much editing) became my first romance novel, JUST ONE SPARK, published by Mills & Boon in 2006. COOKING UP A STORM followed, as have a series of single-title romances from Samhain Publishing (HER CINDERELLA COMPLEX, PAR FOR THE COURSE, COMPROMISING POSITIONS, PRIDE & PASSION, PRIVATE SCANDAL, FOR KICKS, and DRIVE ME CRAZY).
COMPROMISING POSITIONS will always hold a special place in my heart, not because it sat atop the Amazon Bestseller list for two weeks, but because it was the story I was writing when I got sick, the half-finished book I worried my boys would find and wonder why I hadn’t completed it. Nothing compares to showing my kids that when you have a dream you chase it, catch it, hold on with both hands, and never let go. 


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Traditions and Changes

Memory Pictures
  • The smell of homemade bread
  • My sister with an olive on each finger, ready to eat
  • My aunts bringing their specialty dish to share: home made pies, green bean casserole, candied yams, giant green salads
  • Playing statue-maker in the backyard
  • Smelling the rows and rows of roses my grandparents carefully tended
  • Pushing my feet on the floor of the double wooden swing my grandfather made while sharing secrets with cousins
  • New children, new friends, new relatives introduced to the family each year
  • An abundance of food--enough so that every family had leftovers to share and take home
  • Sharing personal and family challenges and triumphs. Sometimes with more than 50 people attended a family gathering there was a lot to share.
  • Blessing the food and giving prayers of thanks.

In my family, Thanksgiving has always been the day that all the relatives would find their way to one house to celebrate.  Growing up I was fortunate to live near many aunts, uncles, and cousins. When my maternal grandparents were alive we would most often end up at their house. Later, around high school, families began to scatter around southern California. Then we would take turns hosting Thanksgiving. My grandmother and one of my aunts also took in foster children during my childhood. This led to an expanding view of family for all of us. It also encouraged us to reach out to our circle of friends and acquaintances and invite them into our family.

As an adult, my siblings have been scattered all over the United States and sometimes in other countries. It is rare for all of us to be together at Thanksgiving anymore. However, wherever we are we try to get together with whoever is near and their extended family. As I'm the oldest of nine children, and my mother is the oldest of five, it seems there are always at least three or four families to gather. The few times when I have been unable to make it home to see my parents or to be with relatives, I've always been fortunate to be part of a group of friends who made me feel like family as we celebrated together.

This year the usual larger gathering of several relatives at one home won't be happening anywhere in my extended family. My parents, aunts and uncles are all getting much older. Health issues have plagued them and their ability to get around is severely hampered. So, each one is having a smaller gathering with more immediate family in the area. My husband and I will be with  my parents and my baby sister and her boyfriend. I am thankful my parents are still alive, and blessed that I live close enough to visit regularly. I know that many people do not have anyone near them.

I hope that wherever my readers and friends find themselves this Thanksgiving, that you will make for yourself a family for that one day and take time to count your blessings. Whether that is with a stranger at a soup kitchen or with a large group of relatives, there is so much in our lives to be thankful for. I want to leave you with a Thanksgiving Video a good friend shared with me. It shows in pictures and words many things for which we can give thanks no matter where we live.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving. If you feel so inclined, I'd love to hear of your own traditions and what you are doing to celebrate your blessings at this special time of year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Conspiracy of Silence by Gledé Browne Kabongo



Today I am featurig an important book by author  Gledé Browne Kabongo entitled Conspiracy of SilenceThis is a mainstream novel and a women's fiction novel.  It deals with the journey of Nina Kasai as she struggles to overcome a past of childhood sexual abuse.  I know this is a difficult topic for some, but I hope you read through the entire blog here and give the author a chance to capture your heart with Nina's story.

BLURB:

She has the perfect life—and a secret worth killing for.

Nina Kasai is a gorgeous, Ivy League educated executive who would do anything to keep her past a secret, even from her husband. Seventeen years ago, she ran for her life and the truth has been locked away in the pages of her hidden diary, and in the mind of a disturbed woman who will never tell—ever.

When Nina lands the cover of a prestigious business magazine however, she can no longer hide from the powerful enemy she escaped. Phillip Copeland wants to be the next Governor of Massachusetts and he’s not above using his power and influence to silence Nina. He warns her to keep quiet about what happened all those years ago—or else.

As the stakes are raised, both politically and personally, Nina realizes the only way to win this game is to tell the truth. But who will believe her since her diary has been destroyed, and the only other witness isn’t talking?

Nina’s one chance at reclaiming her life hinges on a dramatic courtroom battle where nothing is as it seems. And when the verdict is read, four lives will be forever altered.

EXCERPT:


Marc paced back and forth on the living room floor, his face laced with anger. It didn’t take long for Nina to discover the source of his wrath. He held up a photograph of Nina and Sonny Alvarez.

“Are you having an affair?” he asked, his jaw twitching.

Nina took two steps backwards, as if the damning photograph would cause her physical harm if she got close. She knew who had sent it and she berated herself for underestimating how low he could sink. By her way of thinking, Phillip figured if her marriage fell apart, she would come running to him and he could get her to do whatever he wanted. It’s the way he manipulated people: get them in a vulnerable state and then swoop in for the kill or make some grand sweeping gesture that would get you all happy, and before you realized what was happening, it was too late.

“That’s a strange question, Marc. When have I ever given you reason to think I was being unfaithful?”

“Never. Until now.”

“Babe, you’re getting worked up over nothing,” Nina said calmly. “Sonny and I are old friends from Stanford. I met him for lunch to discuss business.”

“On a Saturday? You said you were spending the weekend with Charlene. Look at the date on the bottom.” He shoved the photo into her hands.

“It was a quick, unplanned trip. Sonny works for a research company and Jack came to me with the idea of hiring his firm. I told Jack I would take care of it because of my connection to Sonny. I wanted to get it out of the way—one less thing on my plate during the work week.”

“Why haven’t I heard about this Sonny until now? And if there’s nothing going on, why lie to me about going to Charlene’s?”

“I already explained that, Marc. I told Jack I would take care of it because I knew Sonny personally.”

“So your boss called you on a Saturday, mentioned this research firm and you just decided to hop on a plane to Baltimore, just like that?”

Nina wiped her sweaty palms on her skirt and took deep calming breaths.

“Marc, I swear I’m not having an affair with Sonny or anyone else.”

“Then can you please explain this? It came with the photographs.” He pulled out a white sheet of paper from his back pocket and handed it to her.

Your wife is a liar. You deserve the truth.


MY REVIEW

The author does a good job in the beginning of the story making the reader wonder what is the secret that is so important for Nina to keep even from her husband?  Because of the author's choice to write this novel as somewhat of a suspense/mystery novel, instead of straight women's fiction, I had a hard time with the first 60 pages or so. It was around that time that the secret was obvious to me though it is not revealed until much later.

On the one hand, the topic is deeply emotional and just the thought of it tugs at my heart. However, the character of Nina--though emotionally scared--was not very emotional. In fact, she was the opposite--controlled to the point where she could not afford anything to go wrong with the careful persona she had constructed not only for herself but for everyone around her. This duality of her personality had me sometimes wanting to throw my e-reader against the wall out of frustration. I wanted her to tell somebody, anybody, the truth. But she steadfastly refused until her carefully constructed world was falling apart. At the same time I was frustrated, I was simultaneously clutching the book to my heart and rooting for Nina to get it together in time. What more can an author ask but for that type of conflicted emotional reaction from a reader?

The author also does a very good job of portraying the antagonist in a realistic way.  Having personally worked with victims of child abuse and heard the rationalizations from their abusers, I believe she hit the nail on the head with this one. Though the extent the antagonist goes to cover up what happened is beyond anything I've personally experienced, I believe it enhances the story to have his point-of-view and it does increase the tension and suspense.

I definitely applaud the author for taking on this difficult topic and presenting it in an accessible way where the reader can get a sense of why victims remain silent for so long--sometimes even forever.  It is something that happens too often and the devastation it wreaks often lasts a lifetime. The author did a good job of bringing that out, and of showing how easy it is for people all around the victim to turn away from the truth--refuse to see it--because it is simply too hard to comprehend or believe. For that reason, I had to stick with Nina until the very end to make sure she won both physical and psychological freedom for herself and her family.


Two authorial style choices in the construction of the narrative didn't work for me, but other readers may find them very illuminating. One was the scene with the therapist. It seemed to me there was too much narrative and summarization of the process, as opposed to experiencing the difficult emotional engagement that Nina must have had to undertake. I felt that section went by too quickly and too easily, used as a kind of info dump of why victims feel the way they do. The second part that didn't work as well for me was the court trial, which in many ways is the denoument. Although the trial depiction was true to life, and certainly a necessary part of the story, I felt it went on too long. There were sections where I felt it could have been summarized and others where I felt more emotions could have been displayed. Again, I think this is an authorial choice and may have also been a way to represent exactly how Nina felt too--the exhaustion of enduring everything once more in so public a forum.

I would recommend this book because it depicts the duplicitous life abuse victims learn to lead in order to protect themselves, and the difficult path of finding a way to be free of one's past enough to move on in life and to find happiness. 




Buy the book:  Barnes & Noble | Amazon | iUniverse 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gledé Browne Kabongo began writing at age 14 when she covered soccer matches for her hometown newspaper.  She has also written for the Patriot Ledger and Metrowest Daily News, two Massachusetts based newspapers. She earned a master’s degree in communications from Clark University, and once had dreams of winning a Pulitzer Prize for journalism. These days her dreams have shifted to winning the Pulitzer for fiction, and a Best Screenplay Academy Award. For the past decade, Gledé has worked in senior marketing roles for organizations in the Information Technology, publishing and non-profit sectors. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two sons.

Contact Gledé:  * Website * Twitter *


* * * GIVEAWAY * * *


Gledé will be awarding an Italian leather journal (US/Canada Only) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Remember, the more tour stops you visit and comment, the more chances to be entered into the drawing.


Tour Stops


November 19: The Bunny's Review
November 20:  Maggie's Meanderings (You are Here!)
November 21:  Kaisy Daisy's Corner
November 22:  Reviewing Shelf
November 23:  Welcome to My World of Dreams

Monday, November 12, 2012

Virtual Tour and Real-life Book Signing

Virtual Book Tour This Week

After a nice weekend break, the virtual book tour continues today.  This is the final week of the review portion of the tour.  I am pleased that so far the book is fairly well received--particularly given the difficult topic of rape recovery.

Today, I received the type of review that means a great deal to me and a large reason why I pushed to get this book published with this topic. It is from reviewer Dana at the Book Girl Knitting BlogIn her post, she reveals that she was the victim of child sexual trauma.  This is a part of what she wrote in her review of Healing Notes.

"Maggie Jaimeson does a wonderful job of making the character emotions pop off the page and takes you into the grit of a story that will wrench your heart. On many occasions, I felt my own scars rip open and ooze bitter blood, but as I read, I found courage between the lines of this story and that is what it takes to move forward. "

An author can ask for no more than to offer a reader courage and a chance to move forward, away from pain and toward healing. This type of review speaks to why I write about wounded heroes and heroines. As my characters find the courage to move forward, I hope to give voice to that place deep inside where we each must wrestle with our own traumas and take a step toward healing--a step where the wound does not define us, but we define it and what place it will take in our life.

On the somewhat brighter side, I also have a guest blog post this week on Long and Short Reviews (LASR). I blogged about How to Handle Criticism.  The subtitle should have been How to Counteract the Pleaser Virus.  I'm sure there are others who have succumbed to this virus--the one where you are responsible for everyone's happiness, including every person who ever reads a single word of your story. If you've been exposed to this virus, you may want to stop by and commiserate.


Real Life Book Signing

For those who live in the Portland Metropolitan area (Oregon that is), or wish to make a Saturday drive, I have the pleasure of signing at Jan's Paperbacks in Aloha on Saturday, November 17th from 1-3pm. I'll be signing Healing Notes, as well as my other books that readers may be interested in purchasing or bringing with them for signing.

Even more exciting, is that I will be signing with three other authors: Terri Reed (Inspirational Romantic Suspense); Jenna Bayley-Burke (Fun Contemporary Romance); and Jessa Slade (Urban Fantasy Romance).  I think the four of us represent a large spectrum of the romance genre. So, anyone who comes has the opportunity to see how wonderfully diverse your selection of romance fiction can be.

There will, of course, be prizes and giveaways and lots of fun at Jan's Paperbacks.  I hope to see lots of new and old friends there.

If you do not live near Portland, Oregon then I ask that you visit your own local bookseller this Saturday. They are truly the heart of many communities. They love books. They love authors. And most of all they love their customers. 


Where is Maggie on the Web This Week?

I've copied this weeks Blog Tour links below. I hope to see you at some of them. The two (2) $25 Gift Cards are still up for grabs. The first one will be awarded at the end of this week when the review portion of the book tour is over.  So, do get to one or more of the review blogs and comment so you have a chance at winning that gift card.

The second gift card will be awarded at the end of January, when the interview/guest post tour is over.  To get a chance at that gift card, you need to be commenting and leaving an email on those blogs which occur every Monday from Nov. 5th through the end of January.

Review Sites on Blogs This Week

Bookgirl Knitting,  Nov. 12 - Monday

My Devotional Thoughts, Nov. 13 - Tuesday

Andi's Book Review, Nov. 13 - Tuesday

The Bunny's Review, Nov. 14 - Wednesday

My Odd Little World, Nov. 14 - Wednesday

BadBarbsPlace, Nov. 15 - Thursday

The Muse Unleashed, Nov. 16 - Friday


See you in cyberspace or in person.  Or both!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Unfurl

Wednesday night I attended the first meeting of a new women's discussion group at my church. The group was called UNFURL.  It was described in the order of service as a chance to talk about the transitions in women's lives.  When I first saw that word, Unfurl, a let out a deep breath of relief and my shoulders dropped into a more comfortable position. Who knew that I needed unfurling?

Immediately, pictures formed in my mind. The rose bud that begins so tight and opens to provide beauty and amazing aroma. The butterfly that escapes from the tight cocoon and makes me want to follow them from flower to flower. A flag that is folded into a tight triangle and is unfurled and set high upon a post for all to see and to understand its values. The wings of a dove that is quiet and still, but then lifts into the air--wide in flight--with an ease to fly anywhere. This was a group of women ranging in age from mid 20's to mid 70's (a guess, as we didn't each say how old we were). Our first task was to come up with discussion topics that were meaningful to us. What was both surprising and fulfilling was that in spite of our age differences, each brainstormed topic spoke to each woman in the group. For example, I thought the topic of "changing bodies" was particularly important to those of us in the menopause or post-menopause time of our life. However, women in their 20's and 30's identified with it too as they were entering into or coming out of child-bearing or choosing not to have children. Every topic we put on the flip chart garnered nods, laughs, affirmations.

The cross-generational affirmation of issues was an eye-opener for me. It also reinforced the reason I write women's fiction and romance.  It is a chance to tell the stories of women, to give voice to our every day thoughts and sometimes to our highest aspirations.  In many ways my novels are the way that I unfurl. Through the journeys of my female protagonists I have the opportunity to be smart, thoughtful, snarky, sexy, young, middle-aged, old, to overcome wounds, and to right wrongs. They are all a part of me. I suspect that is also why I love to read women's fiction.

Below is my favorite representation of the word "unfurl." I found this image on a Facebook site about meditation and energy work. It captures my own aspirations to unfurl outside of my novels too, to unfurl so that my inner wings--my spiritual wings-- can be free to fly.

What does "unfurl" say to you?

Monday, November 5, 2012

That Naked Feeling

As a teenager I had a common dream of many teenagers. That is the one where you appear at some important event (prom was the usual culprit for me) only to find you forgot some important piece of clothing--like your dress.  Then you are stuck between the decision to act "cool" -- like you planned this-- or to rush for something to cover the most intimate parts of you before anyone notices.  As a teenager, I always woke up before anyone noticed.

This dream occasionally occurred in my professional career as well. It usually manifested as me giving a speech or training in front of thousands in nothing but heels and a bow tie.  These dreams were not a reflection of any desire to be a Playboy bunny. Instead, they were fear-related dreams--a fear that I was unprepared for whatever I was undertaking in the dream. I suspect it was also the fear that I would be ridiculed in that endeavor as well.

I talk about this, because I think it is a common fear of many authors--whether they have the dream or not. Many of us are natural introverts. I'm never one to jump in to a discussion and take over. In fact, my personality is to help everyone else to get their opinions out. If I don't have a chance to talk, I'm okay with it because I learned from what everyone else said and I will use that to form my own opinions.  That introverted, self-counsel, personality is why I can survive (even love) long hours completely alone living in my mind. My novels are the way I get my voice heard without having to interrupt someone else or talk louder and longer than someone else.  The way I choose to use my voice in novels is to deal with the evil in the world, through my characters' journeys, and to make sure it turns out right in the end.

Now I embark on the last leg of the book tour journey, for Healing Notes.  This part is no longer the Book Blast Party atmosphere where people are taking a look at the excerpts or commenting on the beautiful cover (Thank you, Bosha Struve!)  In this leg of the tour it is more personal. It is the interviews, the guest blogs, and the book reviews.  It is those "naked" moments that both give me pause and give me a voice.  It also gives me another opportunity to listen to the readers. What worked for them in the book? What didn't speak to them? I know not everyone will love my novels. But I do believe some will. I hope you will drop by as often as you can on the tour and say Hi. Tell me what you are looking for in a book.

Thanks for your support!  Of course, there are always prizes in these tours. I'll continue to give away cover flats for Healing Notes. I will also be giving away TWO $25 gift cards over the next 12 weeks. One will be awarded just before Thanksgiving to a commenter on the blogs that did a review of the book. The second card will be awarded at the end of January to a commenter on the blogs that did an interview with me or requested a guest post.

Here's the schedule. 

Blog Stop What's Happening Date


Black Velvet Seductions Blog Interview Nov. 5
Musings From An Addicted Reader Review Nov. 5
Storm Goddess Book Reviews Review Nov. 5
Reviews by Molly Review Nov. 6
Reviewing Shelf Review Nov. 7
Sharing Links and Wisdom Review Nov. 8
Queen of the Night Reviews Review Nov. 9
Long and Short Reviews Guest Post: How to Handle Criticism Nov. 12
Bookgirl Knitting Review Nov. 12
My Devotional Thoughts Review Nov. 13
Andi's Book Review Review Nov. 13
The Bunny's Review Review Nov. 14
My Odd Little World Review Nov. 14
BadBarbsPlace Review Nov. 15
The Muse Unleashed  Review Nov. 16
MeganJohnsInvites Interview Nov. 19
MK McClintock Blog Guest Post: Music - Sounds of Writing Nov. 26
SnifferWalk Interview Dec. 3
Books Are Magic Guest Post Why I Write Wounded Heroes Dec. 10
Christy McKee Sweet Spot of life Interview Dec. 17
Queen of the Night Reviews Guest Post: The Secret to Finding Your Own Happy Ever After Dec. 31
The Masquerade Crew Guest Post: Deep Editing--It Changes Everything Jan. 7
It's Raining Books Interview Jan. 14
Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews Interview Jan. 21
Harlie's Book Blog Guest Post: Researching Celtic Music Jan. 21
Reader Girls TBA Jan. 28

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Party Down at GoddessFish

It's Party Time at the GoddessFish Party Pavillion!


I'll be blogging all day today, Sunday November 4th, at the GoddessFish Party Pavillion with a slew of other authors.  I'm giving away five ebooks to readers who come and leave a comment on one or more of the three guest blogs I'm doing. Just leave a comment then fill out the information in the embedded Rafflecopter drawing.

Each of the five winners will get to choose one of my books they'd like to receive.  The choices are: Eternity, Undertones, or Healing Notes.  So, if there is one you haven't read or have on your TBR list but haven't bought yet, now is the time to get in the drawing.

So what am I blogging about? I decided to do a blog trilogy on Following Your Dreams.  Dreams are an important part of our lives. Without them it would be difficult to get up each day and be willing to traverse the challenges that are presented. Yet, so many things happen in life to get in the way of achieving our dreams. How can we keep the faith and still pursue them? In short, the answer is by keeping the goal but allowing for changes in the details.

I've linked the blogs and topics here, along with the times (all times are NY times) they will post on the GoddessFish Party Pavillion site.

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I'd love to interact with you at the party! Come share your dreams with me!






Friday, November 2, 2012

Review of Torn Together by Emlyn Chand

Today I have the pleasure of hosting author Emlyn Chand and her emotional Women's Fiction novel, Torn Together. This is Emlyn's first foray into Women's Fiction and I have to say that this book shows a lot of promise for the future.


BLURB:

From her cheating boyfriend to her dead father and cold, judgmental mother, Daly knows she can’t trust others to be there when it counts. This cynicism begins to melt away when she meets Kashi, a light-hearted charmer from India, who decides he cares too much to let her fade into the background of her own life. After a series of false starts, their quirky romance carries them to India, where Daly must win the approval of Kashi’s family in order to seal their “forever.”

Meanwhile, Laine struggles to cope with the pain of early widowhood, fleeing into the pages of her well-worn library and emerging only to perform her duties as a social worker at the crisis pregnancy center. Although her daughter wants nothing more than to work as an artist, Laine doesn’t know how to redirect Daly to a more suitable profession without further damaging their tenuous relationship.

Can Laine look past her pain to learn from an unlikely mentor? Has Daly finally found someone whom she can trust? Will the women recognize their common bonds before the relationship is broken beyond repair?

"Torn Together," Emlyn Chand’s first sojourn into Literary/Women's Fiction, illustrates how our similarities often drive us apart.


EXCERPT:

He pretended to clack at the keys in an exaggerated pantomime. "All right, you're officially in the system. Now, what can I do for you?"

When she hesitated, Kashi encouraged her to continue with a swift nod. "Well, I was on my way home and started sneezing. Then I realized I'd forgotten to fill my prescription. I've got pretty severe hay fever."

"I understand. Please, give me a moment to contact your old pharmacy, and I will fill your prescription." Kashi walked out of earshot, then reappeared and went to the back of the pharmacy. He returned after a few moments carrying a little white paper bag with her name stapled to the front.

"Take one a day, preferably at the same time each day, and I think everything will be just fine." He rang up the purchase.

Daly handed him her credit card, which he refused.

"On the house," he insisted, slipping the ten dollar co-pay from his wallet into the register drawer.

"I've never had a man woo me with pharmaceuticals before. Thank you."


Kashi winked. Then, feigning surprise, he said, "Oh, it seems you've been selected to respond to a brief in-store survey."

"More questions?"

"I'm sorry, every fifth customer gets selected. You have no choice but to respond." He cleared his throat loudly before carrying on. "First question: on a scale of one to five, five being the absolute best possible answer, how would you rate your satisfaction with your shopping experience today?"

"Five," she said, smiling.

He clicked a key on the register. "Okay—on the same scale of one to five, how attractive do you find your pharmacist today?"

"Kashi! It says that?"

"Please, you must answer the question."

"Five." She blushed and glanced toward her toes. When she looked back up, Kashi had a crestfallen expression on his face.

"Only five?" he asked meekly.

"You said five was the best possible answer!"

"Yes, but you could've picked the secret answer. If the subject feels strongly, she may volunteer six as an acceptable response."

"Okay, okay. Six!"

"Only six?" he mumbled, his brow pinched in distress.

She flicked the wrist he held poised over the register's keys. "Okay, fine. One billion!"

"Well, that's more like it." Kashi removed the key from the register and locked up the pharmacy for the night. "So... now that the official business has been taken care of, I do believe I promised you a life-changing date, should we meet again—and meet again, we have."

"I believe your exact words were, 'very special.'" She fell into step beside him as they made their way out of the store. "But, sure, I'll settle for life-changing."

MY REVIEW

Emotional and obviously deeply personal, Torn Together is in the true tradition of sharing a young woman's journey to overcome her past and to find a future for herself that is uniquely hers. Ms. Chand does a lot right in this story. There is brilliant writing with turns of phrase and description that perfectly match the themes and moods in several scenes. Each character in the book is important to Daly's journey, with Kashi and Meghann taking on the largest roles of mentor and best friend.

For me, there were some missteps as well which made it more difficult to keep engaged, particularly in the first third of the book.   I was frustrated with the feeling that there were missed opportunities to work significantly more of the relationships into this story. The roles of Daly's mother and her best friend, Meghann, were often told in reflection instead of experienced in real time.  I felt that too often the scenes were cut short when they could have gone to one level higher of emotion and exploration which would have made their connections to Daly's journey that much more real and meaningful. But the author repeatedly backed away from staying in those moments, almost as if it was too painful for the author to go there herself.

The relationship with Kashi, on the other hand, was handled deftly and I truly believed the emotion and caring built in this romance, even when Kashi sometimes seemed too ethereal to be real. In particular, when Daly goes to India to meet Kashi's family the author's descriptions of India truly captured the sights, sounds, smells and tastes and matched them to the ebb and flow of the relationship almost seamlessly. It certainly made me fall in love with the country, the culture, and all that it offered Daly in her journey.

From the trip to India to the end I was completely invested in the story. So my advice to you is to stick with the story past the beginning. I promise it gets better and better until the emotions will tear the insides of your heart from you, scatter them into a thousand pieces, and then push the chaos back into your core to sort out in the end. The ending is difficult, but it is the right ending for this type of story and, for me, ultimately uplifting. In the end I knew that Daly had finally matured and found her true self. I knew that Daly would walk her unique path and share it without restraint. Isn't that ultimately what we want for ourselves?

I look forward to seeing what else this talented author has to offer in the future.

BUY LINKS

Evolved Publishing | Kobo | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes and Noble | Bookiejar



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emlyn Chand emerged from the womb with a fountain pen clutched in her left hand (true story). When she's not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm Novel Publicity. Best known for her Young Adult novels, she is also developing a small, but devoted, following to her children's book series and is beginning to dabble in other genres as well. Emlyn enjoys connecting with readers and is available via almost every social media site in existence. Visit her author website for more info. Don't forget to say "hi" to her sun conure Ducky!

Emlyn Chand on the Web



*****CONTEST*****

Emlyn will be awarding a $50 Amazon gift card and an autographed copy of Torn Together to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.  I've listed all the tour stops below the GoddessFish banner, so you can follow her. Remember the more blogs you visit and comment, the more opportunities you have to win. Even though I'm stop #5, you can go back to the previous stops and read those reviews and compare.



October 29:  Chef John Malik: A Writer Trapped in a Cook's Body
October 30:  The Bunny's Review
October 31:  Long and Short Reviews: Romance
November 1:  Everyday Is An Adventure
November 2:  Maggie's Meanderings
November 5:  The Muse Unleashed
November 6:  Wicked Readings By Tawania
November 7:  Queen of all She Reads
November 8: My Reading Obsession
November 9:   It's Raining Books
November 12:  Reviewing Shelf
November 13:  SnifferWalk
November 14:   Momof2BookReviews
November 15:  Welcome to My World of Dreams
November 16:  House Millar
November 19:  MK McClintock Blog
November 20:  Blooding Book Reviews
November 21:
November 22:  My Odd Little World
November 23:  Diane Vanaskie Mulligan