#Giveaway Monday

Good morning, and happy Monday! I have some free things for you. First off, a copy of my book or one of John Holland’s if you sign up for my newsletter. (Just leave a comment today.) I’ll give away 5 e-books today!  My newsletter will be once a month and will give updates on my writing, an original recipe, and announcements of appearances. There will also be giveaways in the newsletter. If you don’t like romance, no worries, I always offer a copy of one of the books I edited for John Holland as an alternative.

Here is some more stuff that came across my screen last week:

1. A great article on how to use Twitter well: How to be a peep not a pain on Twitter by the brilliant marketing expert Kristen Lamb

2. Leanne Cole shared how to replace a sky in a photograph. Here is a link to her video: http://leannecole.com.au/replacing-the-sky/

And here is a sky of mine that you can use, if you want to try out the technique. (Yes, I’m using it as a background on my blog now.)

Sunset lit clouds
Sunset lit clouds

Happy Giveaway Monday!

Book review, Return to Audubon Springs, RoseAnn DeFranco

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Homecoming, past lovers and secret baby… this book hits a lot of romance themes that I enjoy. Brimming with passion, conflict and humor, this book made me laugh and bite my nails and brought a tear to my eyes. Emma returns to a beautiful family house left to her as an inheritance with a big catch. She has to live there for 2 weeks a year and share the house with her very sexy ex-lover, Rafe. She tries to make Rafe leave by driving him crazy. Her ruse of being on a macrobiotic diet in order to drive him crazy had me in stitches.

The secondary characters, Rafe’s family, Emma’s friends, Emma’s mother and brother and especially the love child, Elana, populate this book with a rich, vibrant and realistic community.

This book is free on Amazon Kindle from 11/5 – 11/9/13!

Today, the author is here to answer a few questions. RoseAnn, welcome! I have a lot of questions for you, so here goes.

First, my favorite of all: are you a pantser or a plotter?

RoseAnn DeFranco: Hi Nia! Thank you so much for having me here. I’m thrilled to know you enjoyed the book.  I’m a plotting pantser.  My stories start with the characters. I take my time, live with them for a while, and figure out what makes them tick. From there, I naturally see the BIG MOMENTS or Turning Points FIRST. I tend to write or at least sketch out those moments and then go back and write to those points.

NS: That sounds like a great technique. I noticed you made effective use of a realistic and emotional device: the special kiss shared between mom and daughter. Did this come to you as you wrote it, did you layer it in later, or did you plan it ahead of time?

RDF: It came to me naturally in the first draft. I loved reading the book The Kissing Hand to my daughter. The exchanges you see between Emma and Elana are right out of my own history with my daughter.

NS: Wow, no wonder the mother/daughter relationship was so tender and realistic. You’ve lived it. Tell us, what came first with the idea for this book – setting, conflict or characters?

RDF: Setting definitely. Audubon Springs is based on my personal favorite Jersey Shore town. A couple of people that hail from Jersey already correctly guessed the town! Emma and Rafe’s house is actually a combination of my two favorite homes on Ocean Ave in the town.

NS: That’s wonderful. I used to spend summers in Manasquan with my family growing up. Those summers are favorite memories for my sister and me so your book was especially enjoyable.

Let’s talk about the conflict. The conflict is pretty explosive. I was biting my nails wondering if I could forgive Emma! You did it, though! It was a bold plot. Were you nervous about handling the secret baby, being able to redeem the heroine after keeping such an important relationship from the child’s paternal family?

RDF: It was definitely a concern of mine! I once attended a seminar about conflict with Eloisa James.  She said that it is the Author’s job to make the conflict so horrible that you can’t imagine how the H/H will work it out. At the start of the book, Emma feels very justified in her previous decisions.  As the story progresses, this secret creates a lot of internal conflict for her.

NS: Wow, that’s a great tip. Thanks for sharing it. How long have you been writing?

RDF: I’ve been writing for about seven years, seriously for about four.

NS: What other books have you written?

RDF: Return to Audubon Springs is the first in a three book Contemporary Romance series scheduled for release in 2014. The Series is called the Brothers of Audubon Springs.  I wrote two other Contemporary Romances prior to starting this series. I pretty much got my feet wet and worked out my writing chops on those stories.  In addition I have a Young Adult Fantasy, Forbidden Signs, which is the first in a planned three book series.  It was a finalist in two writing competitions in 2012. I’m currently seeking the right home for it in traditional publishing, but if that doesn’t happen, I have plans to self-publish it.

NS: I am in awe. What are your goals and dreams with writing?

RDF: Ultimately I’d love to be one of those Authors who can give up my day job to focus exclusively on my writing.  I have plans for a lot of stories, and as you know, writing takes time. Something I always seem to be short on!

NS: Wow, you are this prolific and you don’t write full time. I am so happy for you… you will get there. Thank you for joining us here today. We look forward to having you back as you publish more books.

RDF: Thank you! It was my pleasure to chat with you about Return to Audubon Springs.

Amazon Link (free today through 11/9!): http://www.amazon.com/Return-Audubon-Springs-Brothers-ebook/dp/B00FDSL792/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1380163799&sr=8-1&keywords=return+to+audubon+springs

Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18586846-return-to-audubon-springs

Bio:

RoseAnn DeFranco

RoseAnn DeFranco grew up in upstate NY with her nose in a book and a song in her heart. Following the pursuit of a musical theatre career in NYC, she turned her creative energy to writing funny, steamy romance with heart. A NJ shore transplant, she enjoys time spent at the beach with her family and would love to one day live in a quaint shore town like the fictional town from her BROTHERS OF AUDUBON SPRINGS series.  More information about these Contemporary Romantic Comedies can be found at radefranco.com.

Blurb:

When Emma Grant returns to her family’s Audubon Springs beach house to fulfill the stipulations of her father’s will, she has every intention of forcing her former lover out of the house for good. She’s never fit into her wealthy family and would prefer avoiding her past, but with her brother threatening to reveal her young daughter, she has no choice.

Rafe Iuliano has other plans. The wealthy Grants tried to bribe him out of Emma’s life years ago, but he’s determined to prove once and for all that a master carpenter is worthy of Emma and the house.

Their ridiculous and steamy battle for the house reignites the love and passion that bloomed between them years ago. But when Rafe discovers she’s kept their daughter a secret for two years, can he overcome anger and pride to claim his family and the love of his life, or will the deception drive a final wedge between them?

Excerpt:

“This is your fault!” Emma shouted.

“My fault?” Rafe blinked through the thick coat of flour. “You’re the one who started this.”

“Me?”

“Yeah, you—Miss Macrobiotic Princess!” They used the barstools for support, and pulled themselves up from the slippery floor. “You’re immovable just like your mother.”

“And you’ve got about as much depth as a toenail. For the life of me, I can’t remember why I was ever with you.”

With a predatory look in his eyes and gait, Rafe advanced. In two long strides he pinned her to the counter, his hands grasping her hips. “Don’t!” His voice, low and dangerous, and his near proximity overwhelmed, charging her body with a jolt of electricity rendering breathing impossible. His gaze locked on hers for an eternity, then without warning, he dipped his head and licked lavishly at the syrup on her chest and neck.

Need and heat consumed her at his touch, fraying what was left of her nerves. She dropped her head back, shivered, and her knees buckled. He held her steady, fully pinned against the counter and continued to feast on her neck. Then with a shake as if waking from a dream, he stepped away, taking his heat with him.

Emma swayed and gripped the counter. Goose bumps rose on her flesh at the storm brewing in his eyes.

“Say or do anything you want to push me out of this house, but don’t ever say you don’t remember.”

Author interview, Cynthia Harrison

 

Today, we have author Cynthia Harrison.

Cynthia, welcome! Your background shows that you are a real book lover. You teach English, including creative writing, have written a manual on writing, and have written hundreds of reviews, features and short fiction. Have you written in other genres besides romance?

Cynthia Harrison: Yes, I started as a poet and short story writer.  I tried a few literary novels, a mystery, and a historical romance. They were practice books. Nothing felt right until I turned to contemporary love stories, novels of self-discovery, set in small towns.

NS: I know you also read outside the genre. What do you like about reading and writing romance?

CH: I like the parameters. I like working within a structure and twisting it for a bit of edge.

NS: Are you a pantser or a plotter?

CH: Pantser, to my dismay. I do begin plotting in earnest at about 30K words, but until then it’s whatever comes out of the fingertips that day.

NS: What is your favorite part about writing?

CH: I love losing myself in worlds that I can control, lol.

NS: What is the hardest part about writing?

CH: Finding the time and energy to keep going  when I really want to read a good book.

NS: How long have you been writing?

CH: 45 years. Junior high star journalist.

NS: What are your dreams for your writing?

CH: I love this series idea, because I love writing series. But, if I can finish and publish this one I’m writing now, the book of my heart, I’ll be satisfied.

Cynthia Harrison
Cynthia Harrison

To learn more about Cynthia:

Links cindy@cynthiaharrison.com

www.cynthiaharrison.com blogging for 11 years on A Writer’s Diary.

facebook fan page: Cynthia Harrison all.my.diaries

Twitter: @CynthiaHarriso1

Party! Inside the artist’s mind interview series 3, Mercedes Webb-Pullman, Looking for Kerouac

Welcome to the party! Why a party? Because I feel like celebrating:

  • An enjoyable and thought provoking book
  • the amazing author and
  • YOU, my fellow blogger/bloggees. Like Listening to Kerouac, you have opened up the world to me.

Commenters and “likers” to this post will be entered in a raffle for a copy of Mercedes’ fabulous new book and/or some Mrs. Fields cookies. I’ll leave the raffle open for a few days.

Here’s my review:

Reading Looking for Kerouac lets you take a challenging and interesting journey the easy way. The author’s voice is so engaging that you can read some before bed one night, put the book down (that is, turn off your Kindle or other device), open it the next day and pick up right where you left off, speeding by train through today’s America and via the author’s mind through an America of a different time.

The realism and honesty throughout the book are deeply engaging. You learn a lot about the Beat Poets and the history “goes down easy” interwoven with the author’s vivid portrayal of America and her life, now and then. Looking for Kerouac is a Must Read.

Kerouac 2

Mercedes, congratulations on the publication of your stunning “travelogue, memoir, quest,” LOOKING FOR KEROUAC. Thank you for letting me read an advance copy and for being here today to talk to us. Beautiful cover, by the way!

Looking for Kerouac feels very stream of consciousness in the way the prose flows between present day thoughts and observations, memories of the past and history. Did much of the prose style happen as you were jotting notes while you traveled or did you write notes and then compose the draft to have that effect?

MWP: Thank you for the invitation, Nia, and for helping me by reading and commenting on the advance copy. It is almost exactly two years since I took the trip, and I’ve worked on the book since then, to the extent that I couldn’t see it any more! Your notes helped me with revision, and regaining perspective.

I took notes all the way through my trip, and saved the oddest things; tickets, menus, timetables, hotel bills, the ephemera of travel. When I was ready to start writing I brought these all out, sorted them along with my photos, and sort of recreated the places, went back into them all.

The style of writing is very much a choice – I wanted to emulate Kerouac’s style, using his method of ‘spontaneous prose’.

NS: There is so much detail I marvel at how you collected it all. Did you use a voice recorder or pad and pen?

MWP: I took notes, notebook and pen. I could have taken film with my iPad but just took still shots. When I started writing though, the scenes in my memory came back to life prompted by the pictures and the collection of ephemera.

NS: I also marvel at and learn so much from your honesty. Sometimes I want to write something true and when I read this work it has that feel of truth to it. But there is no one Truth; everything is filtered. Can you comment on the travelogue as memoir technique, using travel as a filter on your own memories and also on using Kerouac’s On the Road as a template?

MWP: Veracity is very important in my writing – but as you note, there is no one Truth. In the end all I can do is call it as I see it! I think Travelogue is a wonderful vehicle for memoir – have thought so since I first read Paul Theroux’s books. Maybe I tried to accomplish too much with Kerouac, weaving his story in with my past and present, so we all floated together in book time. I just know that’s the way the story wanted to be told.

NS: I don’t think you tried to accomplish too much, Mercedes, because you really pulled it off. The way you wove the story threads completely worked and was marvelously seamless and intriguing. In fact, it’s difficult to make one’s own travelogue interesting to others, because a chronological sequence of events can read like a phone book. What you did is the most interesting one I’ve ever read, including Travels with Charley (Steinbeck). I also applaud your veracity and hope one day to dip a toe a bit more deeply in that pool as a writer. Your book caused me to reflect on my own life and thoughts about our society. I found myself in your shoes exploring what my reactions might be and learning from yours.

You mentioned several times that you were no longer interested in having possessions. Can you tell us a bit about what this choice makes available to you?

MWP: I’ve studied Zen Buddhism – or rather, tried to live as an aware person. I acknowledge that attachment and desire cause suffering, and I try to remind myself of this. On a more personal level, I had to leave my home and garden in another country to come back to New Zealand and help care for my mother. Along with this loss I think I have gained in compassion and have learned a little more about the world and my place in it.

NS: Thank you for sharing yet another experience and insight. I agree about learning more compassion and about learning our place in the world. My heart wrenches for you having to leave your home and garden. I can relate to taking care of your mom (a journey in itself) and learning to hold things in life with an open palm instead of a clenched fist. Your sensitivity, wisdom and writing ability allowed me to examine these lessons in a new light and resonated not just with my mind but with my heart. Bravo! And thank you!

Looking for Kerouac is available as a Kindle e-book here: http://amzn.com/B00EU6U26W

You can also find out more about Mercedes on the new blog at Poetry Sans Frontieres. Here’s the direct link to Mercedes’ guest blogger post.

Thank you, blog readers! Say hello or drop a “like” to be entered in the cookies and book raffle.

10 new titles, a Giveaway, and a New publisher’s debut release

HAMMER n ANVIL 1

Hammer & Anvil Books is the new imprint for coloratura fiction and international poetry from the creative team behind Danse Macabre. Comment on this post and be entered to win a book of your choice from this new list!

Nightmares – A Collection of Tales, by J. Eric Castro: author of Rowdies

The Water-Lily Bloom, by J.C. Frampton: a one act play

Quicksand, by Arlene Greene: a debut novel

Phantasizer – Tales of Dread and the Fantastic, by Kyle Hemmings: short stories

Under the Dog Star, by John Holland: author of the #1 bestselling/Kindle regional poetry Dry Bones

La liebre de marzo / The March Hare, by Marosa di Giorgio: newly translated by Kathryn A. Kopple, author of Little Velásquez

A Feather of Fujiyama, by Bozhidar Pangelov, poetry in Bulgarian and English

Into the Blue on New Year’s Eve, by Valerie V. Petrovskiy, flash fiction

Kate Moss & Other Heroines, by Samantha Memi, short fiction with dark humor from a British chef and author

Death of a Lottery Foe (The Harry Krisman Mysteries), by Tom Sheehan, called “…the sort of writer who comes along once in a reader’s lifetime.” by the Midwest Book Review