Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Les Pommes Frites (aka French Fry!)

Congratulations to my friend Glynis Astie, on the release of her third book, French Fry!




Let me tell you about French Fry first (and say that five times fast):

Sydney Durand had finally achieved the perfect life she had always wanted. After a whirlwind romance with a charming Frenchman, she endured the three weddings it required to satisfy the members of the newly formed Bennett-Durand clan. All she had left to do was stroll into the sunset with Louis to enjoy their long-awaited happily ever after.

But everything changed when the stick turned blue. Suddenly, Sydney finds herself facing the daunting task of becoming a mother before she has even returned home from her honeymoon. Keeping a tenacious hold on her hard-won happiness, Sydney is determined not to give up without a fight – no matter what or who is thrown in her path…and that includes an overbearing mother-in-law, a know-it-all father and her own anxiety about having a baby.

Will she finally be able to tame her neuroses for the sake of her unborn child? Or will her hormone-induced panic cause a meltdown of epic proportions? One thing is clear: Sydney and Louis’ nerves are going to fry…


Sounds interesting, right? French Fry is the third installment of the French Twist Series (French Twist, French Toast), which chronicles the whirlwind romance and marriage of Sydney and Louis.

But wait, there's more! It's GIVEAWAY time! Glynis is also doing a giveaway this week! Head over to Book Mama Blog to enter. Here are the details and don't forget to enter! Giveaway begins on 5/13/15 at 12:01 AM and ends on 5/20/15 at 11:59 PM. Three prizes will be awarded:

  1. $25 Amazon Gift Card and e-book set of the French Twist series
  2. 2 e-book sets of the French Twist series

This giveaway is open for the US only.



Glynis never expected in her wildest dreams to be a writer. After thirteen years in the Human Resources Industry, she decided to stay at home with her two amazing sons. Ever in search of a project, she was inspired to write the story of how she met and married her wonderfully romantic French husband, Sebastien, in six short months. The end result became her first novel, French Twist. As this was just the beginning of their epic love story, Glynis continued to chronicle their adventures in the sequel, French Toast and the final installment in the series, French Fry.
When Glynis is not writing, she is trying to keep the peace amongst the three men and two cats in her life, finding missing body parts (Lego pieces are small!), supervising a myriad of homework assignments and keeping a tenuous hold on her sanity by consuming whatever chocolate is in the vicinity.



Connect with Glynis!

Website:  www.glynisastie.com



Monday, May 11, 2015

What's on Page 45?

Today, I'm participating in the #ChickLitMay 'What's on page 45?" Blog Hop. It's sort of self-explanatory. I'm going to talk about what's on, you guessed it, page 45 of my latest novel, Jump, Jive, and Wail.



Okay, ready for it?

"Underneath, when she lets her guard down, she's soft and vulnerable. Like her skin."

Does that make you oooh and aaaah with anticipation? Do you want to know what's going on here? I'll give you a sneak peek inside.

Kaitlin has abandoned Declan in the airport. They had just met a few hours ago, but had spent a great afternoon together. Perhaps they drank a little more than they should. Declan felt the connection with Kaitlin immediately, so why did she disappear? He knows there's more to her than what she presents at first, and he wants to find out what makes her tick.

If you'd like to get a sneak peek at what other authors have on page 45, check out the links below. There's a prize too!
GRAND PRIZE
A one-pound package of caramels from Whitney's Goodies Winner can choose their flavor from those listed below.

This giveaway is open to residents of the USA only.
The Girl Next Door (Crème Caramels): A scrumptious, full-bodied caramel. Old fashioned, melt-in-your-mouth bliss!
The Charmer (Chocolate Crème Caramels): This smooth, chocolate cream caramel will add panache to your day. An exquisite and elegant morsel, simply irresistible.
The Movie Star (Orange Crème Caramels): A timeless treat that will satisfy caramel fans of all ages. “The stuff that dreams are made of!”
The Bombshell (Lemon Crème Caramels): A bodacious bit of heaven with a bold citrus pallet. They will leave you satisfied and refreshed. Caramels are a girl’s best friend!
Always a Lady (Rose Caramels): A delicate bouquet of rose essence infuses this lovely caramel: alluring, tantalizing and reminiscent of another era. They are perfect for weddings and bridal showers. A definite for ladies who lunch or breakfast at Tiffany’s.

(Personal note: I won some of the Creme Caramels from Whitney once. I hid the package from my family and ate them all myself. Yes, they are that good.)

HOW TO ENTER
To enter, answer the following question in the comments section below.
"In 4 or 5 words, why do you think Jump, Jive, and Wail would be a good read?"
Entrants must leave their full name, along with an e-mail address (no e-mail, no caramels). A winner will be chosen via Random.org on Tuesday, May 19th. Visiting the blogs below (and leaving a comment) will give you 36 chances to win these scrumptious caramels!


And if this has been enough of a teaser for Jump, Jive, and Wail to pique your interest, feel free to check it out! It's available on all the major e-reader outlets (Amazon, Nook, iTunes, Kobo, & Smashwords), and is just $0.99 through May 17! It is also available in paperback.

Miss Chick Lit

In order to celebrate International Chick Lit month, my latest main character has found herself entered in the Miss Chick Lit 2015 contest. She's not the most girly of girls, so this should be interesting. Read on to see how she represents herself, and for a chance to win a prize yourself!


Hi, my name is Kaitlin Reynolds, and I'm representing the great state of, um, New York. No, Utah. Oh crap, I live in Michigan now. I'm representing the great state of Michigan. I'm a twenty-nine year-old former ski jumper who now spends her time pining after unavailable Olympic figure skaters. My dream is to one day improve the real estate market in Detroit so I can sell my condo. Oh, and world peace.

For my entry in the swimsuit compet--wait, I've got to put on a swimsuit for this thing? No one told me that. Nuts. You see, I'm a former athlete who may or may not have let herself go since an injury stopped her competitive career. This is going to be tough. I mean, I live in Michigan, so for the three weeks of summer we get, it's not worth torturing myself in the fitting room trying on bathing suits. Let me see what I can come up with ...

Oh, here we go. It's pretty much what I used to wear when I was ski jumping. I think this will work just fine.



Good, made it through that hurdle. What else is there in this competition? Talent. <smacks head> This might be even worse than the swimsuit thing. You see, I spent all my life as a ski jumper. I was world ranked until about two years ago, when a permanent injury sidelined me and left me with a foot drop. I have to wear a brace on my leg at all times now, so all of the things I used to be good at, I can no longer do. Where the %&$^ am I going to come up with a talent? Oh, that's right! I can swear like a truck driver. Okay everybody, listen to this:  BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP BEEP BEEP BEEEEEP!

<crickets>

I guess the judges didn't appreciate that one. Oh well, can't win them all.

And now for the interview question. I've got this, bring it on!

If you had to define your mission in life, what would it be?

Please don't bring it on. Um, if you had asked me two years ago, I would have said my mission in life is to win the first ever Olympic gold medal in Women's Ski Jumping. I've had a lot of trouble re-defining my life since then. Right now, my current mission is to find my mission. Oh, and world peace.


Oh, that's it? I'm all done? Now I just have to wait for the judging. And while we all anxiously await the outcomes, did you know that you can too be a beauty queen with this $100gift card?
The Grand Prize for this international drawing will be:

US/Canada winner - $100 gift card to Sephora

UK winner - £65 gift card to Lush Cosmetics

Australia winner - $125AUD to Mecca

In order to enter, all you have to do is respond to the Kaitlin's interview question:

If you had to define your mission in life, what would it be?

Post your answer in the comment sections of this blog, along with your e-mail address (no e-mail address, no winner). Winners will be chosen at random on Monday, May 18, 2015.

The best part? Check out the other contestants in the Miss Chick Lit 2015 pageant by clicking on the blog links below. Answer their interview questions for additional chances to win (that's 19 chances in all!)


And if you're interested in finding out how Kaitlin recovers from her lost career, collides with the man of her dreams, and how swearing costs her a fortune, check out her adventures in my novel, Jump, Jive, and Wail.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Minor Accomplishment

I know, I know. I've been terribly neglectful with this blog. I can make all the excuses in the world. Basically, life is busy, and for a few weeks, this blog took a back seat. I hope not to be as negligent in the future.

Anyway, today, I achieved a minor accomplishment. I finished sewing my daughter's First Communion dress. I started in in February. In my defense, I took about a month off from working on it. My goal was to get it done by Easter. When Easter week rolled around, I had it all done with the exception of the button loop/button on the back and the flower trim. The flower was vexing me. My daughter was set on it, and try as I might, I just couldn't get it right. I tried talking her out of the flowers. That didn't fly. She was set on that stupid flower, and I was at a standstill. Well, today, I conquered the flower, and it's my favorite part of the dress!

I wanted to make her dress for the experience of doing it together--shopping for the pattern and fabric, sewing, measuring, being together. Well, I did most of it on my own, with my daughter begrudgingly returning to the dining room for fittings. But, in those times when she sat at the table with me, making cat toys on her sewing machine, I knew that it was all worth it. I'm carrying on a long tradition of sewing. I grew up with my mom sewing. I still have a few of the dresses that she made me. I loved (and still do) fabric, which is probably why I like to sew. My grandmother (on my dad's side) was a gifted seamstress and made everything. Her daughter (my aunt) also sews and made her daughter's First Communion dress, as well as her dress for my wedding (just as my grandmother made my aunt's dress for my parents' wedding). I don't know that my daughter will want to sew, but it will not be for lack of exposure.

My daughter had a few requirements for her dress: puffed sleeves (I think she's secretly channeling Anne Shirley), long, sparkly, a flower, and a bow. In the planned project, she was getting it all except the bow. The sparkly component will be the death of me. She picked a fabric, organza-like, that had silver glitter on it. Which is now EVERYWHERE in my house. It will be the death of me. On the other hand, the fabric was easier to work with than normal organza or chiffon, so I am learning to deal with the glitter. My uncle questioned the use of glitter in a First Communion dress, but rest assured, it is not gypsy or Vegas glitter--it is really just enough to give a sheen to the dress from afar.

I went on Pinterest and found a tutorial for a veil. The veil took me less than an hour to make and is perfect. My daughter has ultra-fine hair that defies most styling products. Her go-to hair accessory is a headband. Rather than try and make her hair do something it's not meant to, I put the veil on a headband.


I am so pleased with this project. I have no formal training and don't claim to be a seamstress. Maybe in another life, I would have pursued fashion, but for now, it will stay a hobby. My daughter is happy, and I'm happy that I could give her everything she wanted. Most of all, I'm so proud that I am done with two weeks to spare!




Saturday, March 14, 2015

Dreaming...

All my life, I've had pretty vivid dreams. I remember a good chunk of them as well. I still remember a dream I had when I was very young, less than five. It was in black and white, and set at our old house (we moved before I was three). My mom put orange marmalade on my toast. The orange marmalade was in color, like something that was photoshopped, twenty-five years before photoshop existed. I woke up crying because I HATE orange marmalade, and I felt that, in my dream, my mom did it on purpose.

I also remember a nightmare I had when I was not that much older. I went into the basement at my aunt's house and it was lined with tanks of creatures, including an octopus that was coming out of the tank after me. For the record, my aunt had no tanks of any kind in her basement.

Sometimes, I get to visit with people in my dreams. I've had lots of pleasant visits with my grandparents. When I wake up, I have a moment where I'm not sure if they're still here or not, and then sadness washes over me as I realize that they are no longer here.

My dreams have been great in coming up with story ideas. Several of my books contain scenes that were directly inspired by dreams. The collision scene between Declan and Kaitlin in the beginning of Jump, Jive, and Wail is one. I will wake up and instantly know that that dream is meant to go in a book.

When I was in college, I noticed that if I had pepperoni pizza at night, I would have bizarre dreams. I referred to them as pepperoni dreams. Now, I occasionally take melatonin to help me sleep, and the dreams I have when I take it are so far out there,

Last night, I had neither pepperoni nor melatonin. My dreams throughout the night consisted of the following:

  1. A tiger in a dense wooded area that was attacking its prey, only to burst through the trees onto a soccer field in the middle of the city and attack the players. I was a witness and ran to a nearby hospital to hide.
  2. Going backstage at a Weird Al Yankovic concert (except it wasn't backstage, more like an office building with lots of computers). I got to meet lots of people, but not Weird Al himself.
  3. My uncle was trying to steal items from my aunt (his sister) that he thought he should have been entitled to from my grandparents' estate. This included the corner of a silk painting (????) from Spain. For the record, there is no such painting.
  4. My aunt ignored her brother and instead gave me clothes from her wardrobe (which does not really exist), much to the dismay of her daughter. She gave me a long pashmina type dress which was much too long so I tried to give it to my cousin who is much taller (she was still mad though).
  5. I was preparing to go to England for a book event. I was set to leave in two weeks and just realized that I did not have my passport (true, I don't have a passport).
Dreams 2-5 melted right into each other. I'm sort of bummed that there's nothing that is good story material. I wonder what the heck was going on in my brain last night.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Just tired

I'm just tired.

Last week was February break, which was great. Got a whole lot of nothing done. Well, that's not true, but I wasn't super active. With temperatures below 0 and windchills even lower, I wasn't motivated to leave the house much. My kids were happy for the down time as well, getting to play with toys that they don't have time for, binge watching HGTV, and enjoying the ever-elusive pajama day.

And now, it's caught up with me. Working full time (for the first time since my son--who's now 11--was born) is taking it's toll. Of course, it's annual review season, which means there simply aren't enough hours in the day. This week, was just one of those weeks. Late after-school meetings, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Learning Fair, dance, doctor's appointment. The hubs and I have been playing tag team running here and there and we're now thinking that we're not allowed to spend more than 5 minutes in the same room before one of us has to rush off.

So, I'm tired. I tend not to sleep well. There's the 2 am pee. There's the stupid cats who like to torment me by chewing on electrical cords or systematically knocking items off my dresser until I get up. There's the night sweats (and no, I'm not making the change, I've had them for 8 years now). There's never enough sleep. And the bags under my eyes are showing it. They're so big, they're practically steamer trunks. I even edited them out of one of the picture's from my son's birthday party.

Today, a concerned co-worker said, "You look like you don't feel well. Are you sick?"

Yeah no, that's just my face.

So tonight, I'm already in my jammies (God bless the hubs for doing the Scouts run tonight). I did a "rejuvenating" cucumber peel-off face mask to help my apparently terrible looking face. We're just going to gloss over how I may have gotten the goop a little close on the under eyes and how I may have had a moment of panic that mask removal may result in the loss of my lower eye lashes.

I don't know if it helped. I think I'm gonna quit while I'm ahead and call it a night. Maybe I won't look so bad in the morning.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Fairy Tale Fun Blog Hop (and a CHOCOLATE BROWNIE GIVEAWAY)


Your mission: read this blog post, comment on the question posed, and check out the other blogs that are part of this blog hop. Every blog post comment enters you to win a Sprites Gourmet Brownie Gift Box from Fairytale Brownies.

My mission, should I choose to accept it ... compare my heroine(s) to a fairy tale or real life princess. Uuuuhhh, no way can I do that. Or can I? You see, I'm sort of anti-fairy tale. Especially as being the mom to a young girl. I don't want her thinking that she can live her life as a damsel in distress and expect some man to come riding in on a white horse and save her. Or, that "and they all lived happily ever after" is how marriage goes (sometimes it does, but it comes with lots of hard work).

I pride myself on writing women who don't necessarily start out strong but end up that way. Sometimes, there is a man (handsome and dashing, of course) to help boost her up, but I want my characters to find their hero in themselves.

How, how, how am I going to write this blog post? I can compare Esther in I'm Still Here to Merida in Brave, solely based on their hair.

 

Actually, now that you mention it, the physical resemblance is sort of uncanny. But I'm still not sold on the fact that I can say Esther's journey is a fairy tale. Tragic past, bad family, handsome doctor (well, 2 actually), more tragedy...oh wait, maybe it is.

Not that I'm a supreme feminist or anything, because I love a good love story. I do, I really do. But I also love butt-kicking women as well. Women who don't let evil step-mothers or ignorant townspeople or curses stop them.

And then I realized while watching the movie Elizabeth with Cate Blanchett for the hundredth time--Elizabeth! That's my princess! That's who I want to draw comparison to. This beautiful woman who doesn't let men push her around. Well, maybe she does at first, but then she wisens up. She is "no-man's Elizabeth."


Plus, Joseph Finnes is dream as Lord Robert. That is, until he turns out to be a weak, married turncoat. I prefer to think about him in the beginning of the movie. (sigh)

And I realized that this Elizabeth bears a striking resemblance to Elizabeth Zurlo, my protagonist in Hold Her Down. A family who has overwhelmed her identity, a man who has ulterior motives, being called a heretic (and harlot). The name thing is purely coincidental, but I'm glad to say that Elizabeth Zurlo shares her name with such a strong woman.

I think I've done it! By George, I've compared not one but two of my main characters to princesses! One Disney, and one real (although I do think the movie may technically be considered historical fiction).


And now, what do you need to do? (Sorry, this giveaway is open to US APPLICANTS ONLY)

Answer this question: Disney princess or real princess (flaws and all)? Who and why?

Leave a comment for your chance to win THIS brownie gift box from Fairytale Brownies. You will need to include your email in the comment so we know how to contact you if you win.



BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!!

Check out these blogs and leave a comment there too. Each comment enters you to win the brownies. That's 18 chances! (BTW, 18 is my lucky number)

Just click on the links below to visit the blogs and read how these lovely ladies size up their characters to fairy tales. Leave a comment (with your email address) and you will be entered to win.


Again, this giveaway is open to US Residents Only (sorry). I hope you chose to accept your mission. This post will self-destruct...oh wait, wrong genre. 

And they all lived happily ever after. Is that better?