#Interview & #Giveaway ~ Author, Sandra Block

Meet this amazing author, Sandra Block! She is giving away a copy of each of her books, which I will post my reviews for this weekend, when most of us are snowed in!!! So, join in the fun, and comment below!!!

Sandra BlockQ: When did you realize you were a novelist?

 I was a poet first. I remember writing on little scraps of paper around seven years old, describing the jet trail from a plane as “chalk across the sky.” My mom asked with some surprise, “you’re writing poetry?” I realized then, “oh, that’s what this is.” I guess I always knew I’d be some kind of writer. 

 

Q:  I see that you are a practicing Neurologist! Where do you find the time to do both jobs? How do you manage both careers?

It isn’t always easy, but it is doable. I usually write first thing in the morning, before anyone in the family is up. For years, I didn’t write because I was too tired after a full day of work, not to mention kids. Changing my routine to writing first thing in the morning made all the difference. 

Q:  Does your medical career help with your stories?

My medical career definitely colors my writing. Both Zoe books were based off memories of my neurology residency, a formative time for me. At this point, I subspecialize in sleep disorders and epilepsy, so I don’t really see some of the cool cases that pop up in my novels. But, I know enough psychiatry to fake it at least! 

Little Black LiesQ:  As you geared up for your Book Releases, what was the most exciting part(s) for you? 

For Little Black Lies, I was having a medical procedure done on my pub day  (everything turned out fine 🙂 ) so I was pretty much sedated. Not an ideal pub day. For The Girl Without a Name, my pub day was quite special – like a hundred birthdays. One of my fondest memories is an unlikely twitter exchange with Salmon Rushdie. It turns out his newest book came out the same day. In response to his simple tweet of “pub day,” I joked how I was sorry that his book would likely be overshadowed by my book, but “take heart, your day will come.” With utter grace, he retweeted: “Happy to stand in your shadow. Have a great pub day.” to his 1M (seriously, one million!) followers. I still smile thinking about that. 

Q:  How long did it take you to write each book? Releasing two books in one year is huge accomplishment!  

The Girl without a NameThank you! It took me about one year for each. I was writing The Girl Without a Name before I even sold Little Black Lies. When negotiation came around and they were willing to do a two-book deal, I just happened to have one all ready! It definitely taught me the lesson that no matter what happens: keep writing. 

Q:  Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style?

I would say Gillian Flynn and Meg Abbot for their colloquial, yet poetic style. 

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write?  Set this up for us

 I write whenever and wherever is my honest answer. As I mentioned above, I definitely put in a good forty-five minutes in the morning. But then I just grab time. I write on my iPad and take it everywhere. I might write while waiting for my daughter at school or my son at a swimming lesson for example. Even if it’s just half a page, it’s something. 

Q: May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Books?

I split my reading time between mystery/suspense and literary fiction. For literary, I would say Ann Tyler, Sue Miller, and Richard Ford. Oh, plus Louise Erdrich and Jennifer Egan. (I could go on and on.) For mystery/suspense, I love Henning Menkel, Charles Todd, Gillian Flynn, and Kate Atkinson. Plus Sara Gran. (I could go on and on.) 

Q:  What is your favorite part of being an author?

I would say the writing community. I belong to a group of women writers (shout out the Tall Poppies!) Some days writing is drudgery, some days it’s a joyful. The publishing side is also full of highs and lows. But writing friends are always there for you. That’s been a wonderfully unexpected side benefit. 

Q:  Lastly, Book or eBook??

Both, baby! Read, read, read, I don’t care how you it!

#Spotlight & #Excerpt ~ “The New Mrs. D” by Heather Hill

The New Mrs. Dclp button

 

The New Mrs DSummary:
Four days into their honeymoon in Greece, Bernice and David Dando have yet to consummate their marriage and after having accepted his almost non-existent desire for sex throughout the relationship, Bernice finally discovers the reason; he is addicted to porn. Learning that the love of her life chooses the cheap thrill of fantasy over her is devastating but then, ‘every man does it; it’s just looking, right?’ If she leaves the relationship because of virtual adultery, will she be labelled as pathological, overreacting, or even worse, frigid?

When funny, feisty, forty-something Bernice plans the adventure trip of a lifetime, she doesn’t expect to be spending it alone. But as it turns out, unintentionally contributing to a Greek fish explosion, nude karaoke and hilarious misadventures with volcanoes are exactly what she needs to stop fretting about errant husbands and really start living. But when Mr D tries to win her back, Bernice has a decision to make: is this a holiday from her humdrum life, or the start of a whole new adventure?

“The New Mrs D is a refreshing, sharp-witted and empowering romp that reflects real life, delves into unspoken about subjects and slaps the reader in the face with honesty.” Fleur Ferris, author

It is a story about one woman’s midlife awakening… on her honeymoon alone.

Click Here for My Review

Excerpt:

Would a stolen pencil really warrant such an elaborate daylight operation? Of course not, stupid woman. Maybe I was being mugged. Was it the stash of Euros in my purse I’d flashed while paying for the moped? Oh no, wait – they surely weren’t after my faux diamond emblazoned Primark flip-flops?

In a panic, I kicked one off into the path of an elderly couple as they strolled out from a hotel car park. The shoe shot straight into the old man’s portly, bare stomach with a sickening slap.

‘They have the diamonds!’ I called, mercilessly pointing them out to the gangsters before whizzing onwards to make my getaway.

But it was all for nothing; the roar of bikes continued behind me. I slowed to turn a corner into another side street and heard a shout.

‘Stop! Mrs Dando! You stop NOW!’

What on earth could they want? I reached down with one hand, trying to take the other flip-flop off to throw back as a ransom, but dropping it instead. As I cursed myself and looked up, an ancient Greek woman on a scooter was zipping round a bend straight at me, only swerving at the last second to avoid a collision.

‘What the…’

‘WAAAAHHHH!!!’ We screamed the last part in unison; ‘Waaaahhhh’, it transpired, being the international synonym for ‘OH SHIIIIIT!’ In an instant, her front wheel bounced off the kerb, sending both the old lady, and the basket of lemons balanced on her handlebars, flying, Frank Spencer style through the air towards a couple of teenage boys. Christ, I’m in a Carry On film.

‘Save the lemons!’ I called back, rattling onwards with no time to look behind again or wonder why my first manic thoughts were for Frank Spencer and the fruit – not the little old lady. Speeding away from the increasing chaos behind, I rounded a honking car pulling out from a driveway and yelled at its startled occupants, ‘CALL THE POLICE!’

Despite the throttle being fully open it seemed the tiny moped engine had no more to give and the roar from the biker gang got closer. Turning round once more, I could see the two bikes were still in hot pursuit, and for the first time I noticed the boy had a very fat man riding pillion. So there were four of them! And the fourth had mad lady-killer written all over him. Heart pounding with fear, I grabbed the nearest thing to a weapon from the moped basket and began hurling ammunition overhead at the assailants. However, taking my eyes off the road to lob miniature chocolate croissants was a last, fatal mistake.

Crunch!

The moped bumped straight up a kerb, sending my stomach boinging up to my lungs and my knicker tops rolling back down below my belly again, as the bike came to a near halt. This was it, the end. I waited for my life to flash in front of me… but a massive, spiny bush got there first. Without testing the moped’s brakes and fuelled by an extraordinary burst of adrenaline, I dived off, sending it ploughing, un-helmed, into the bush. This was where, in a moment of TV cop-esque brilliance, I rolled over-and-over onto a grass bank before springing back to my feet.

‘Whoa!’ For a split second, Mrs David Dando was Lara Croft; crime-fighting, tomb raiding stunt rider. That was until My Big Fat Greek Assassin got off his bike and made towards me and I remembered who I actually was. Bawling Binnie – with her knickers rolling down again.

‘Don’t kill me! Don’t kill me! I’m unarmed!’ I yelled, trying – and failing – to get my helmet off before throwing up my hands in surrender to the waiting gang.

‘Other side, Mrs Dando! Other side!’ yelled Zorba the Crook, taking a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe bits of chocolate and pastry from his fat sweaty face. Spying his accomplices coming up behind, I turned around and flung myself face down in the dirt with my hands behind my still helmeted head.

‘Okay, okay,’ I whimpered, ‘just, please don’t hurt me.’

There are moments that should flash through your mind when you think death is imminent; the faces of loved ones, lifelong friends, long-forgotten happy moments, childhood memories. This was my crucial moment – and I was going to die wondering if Greece had body bags big enough for me in this colossal monstrosity of a biking helmet.

The Fat Assassin flopped down beside me and prodded my shoulder. ‘Oh God,’ I thought. ‘He’s really mad! Goodbye cruel world!’

Dear Facebook, today I was so hot. Oops, bloody mobile phone typos! I was s-h-o-t. 

‘Mrs Dando…’

As I lay there with my eyes screwed shut waiting to feel a gun in my ribs, (please God let it be a gun in his pocket) hearing him huffing like a muddy, wet contestant on Total Wipeout, his voice took on a calmer, more sinister tone.

‘I not kill you. You kill yourself.’

I froze. Oh my God, he was going to make me shoot me.

I heard him take another deep breath and cough. ‘Mrs Dando,’ he said finally. ‘You drive with the moped on the other side!’

‘I didn’t mean… I wasn’t… oh!’ Ah. Right… I rolled back over to face him, but again, met with nothing but blackness. Bloody helmet! So, I wasn’t going to be bumped off for stealing the island’s only pencil. Or for assault with a supersized bag of mini croissants.

Twisting the monstrous headgear off and easing myself upright, I was met by four nonplussed faces caked in, well… cake.

‘Oh,’ I said, smoothing my hair in an attempt to recuperate some composure. ‘Well, er… why didn’t you just say so?’

heather hillAuthor Bio
Heather Hill is a Scotland based comedy writer, author and mum of five (not the band). She is one of a rare kind; the rare kind being one of only 0.5% of women who are colourblind. She has been known to leave the house with blue eyebrows on at least one occasion. Her debut novel, ‘The New Mrs D’ is being pitched for film by a British TV comedy producer and Snipper Films.

Website: www.hell4heather.com
Twitter & Instagram name: @hell4heather
Links to buy The New Mrs D:
Amazon UK 
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00P4D57KQ
Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/The-New-Mrs-Heather-Hill-ebook/dp/B00P4D57KQ
Paperback: 
https://www.bookdepository.com/New-Mrs-D-Heather-Hill/9781634157735

Also available to order at all UK Waterstones, Foyles Bookstores & WH Smiths branches

CLICK HERE FOR GIVEAWAY

 

 

#Interview & #Giveaway: Meet Camille Pagan, and learn about her book that was released yesterday!

Meet the author, Camille Pagan. I met her when she interviewed me for Arthritis Today, and I was in love with her first book….You must read this interview. Camille is a very talented writer and a wonderful person…

Enter your chance to win one of two signed copies!! (US residents only) by commenting below

camille noe paganQ:  When did you realize you were a novelist? 

I’ve been in love with fiction as long as I could read, but for a long time, the idea of being a novelist seemed out of my reach. In fact, I remember attempting to write a book shortly after I graduated from college and realizing I was completely in over my head. So, I put it aside, and though I had ideas along the way, didn’t really try again until just before I turned 30.

The idea for my first book, The Art of Forgetting, came to me suddenly, and I started writing at night when my daughter (who was then an infant) went to bed. Several months later, I had a rough draft on my hands. That draft required many, many edits, but soon after, I found an agent (the wonderful Elisabeth Weed of The Book Group; she’s still my agent today), and sold to a publisher in the U.S., and half a dozen foreign publishers, too. It was a great experience, and also a lucky one. I wrote many novels between Forgetting and Life and Other Near-Death Experiences, many of which were so-so, and some of which were actually terrible. But that process ultimately helped me write a great “second” novel (which is really like my seventh; I’ve lost count).The art of forgetting

Annie: You know I loved your first novel, “The Art of Forgetting”. I remember going to meet you at a book store in Brooklyn where you were doing a reading and signing novels…So much fun!

Q:  Tell us a little more about how you began writing.  I know I met you because you interviewed me for an article you were writing for the “Arthritis Today” magazine. Do you think those experiences helped you become a better writer?

After college, I attended a post-graduate publishing course at Radcliffe (the program’s now at Columbia), and then moved to New York and took a position as an editor at a health publication. I spent several years doing that, and then struck out on my own as an independent journalist at the end of 2004. In the following decade, I wrote for dozens of different publications—including Arthritis Today, where I worked as a contributing editor for six years, and which is of course how we met.

Interestingly, I took a position as the health editor at Real Simple this past January, so now I’m back to being an editor full-time. Both writing and editing non-fiction have been hugely beneficial to my career as a novelist. I know how to do intensive research on health topics (including brain injury, which I wrote about in my first novel; and cancer, which I wrote about in my second novel). More important, though, I spend my day thinking about the meaning of words, the rhythm of sentences, and the structure of paragraphs. This thought process undoubtedly improves my fiction.

Life and other near death experiencesQ:  As you geared up for your Book Release of “Life and other Near Death Experiences on November 1st, 2015, what was the most exciting part(s) for you?

Amazon chose my book as a Kindle First pick, which means it was one of six books offered this October—a month early—to Amazon Prime and Kindle First members. It spent the very first week of October the single bestselling title in the Kindle Store, and has already reached thousands of early readers. To say that’s a dream come true for me is the understatement of the year.

Annie: I ordered your book that way….thought I may as well have the print and eBook! Congratulations, that is definitely an impressive dream come true!

Q:  You have another amazing book, called “The Art of Forgetting”. You went to the top of my favorite’s book list with that novel!!  MUST READ ALERT!!

What is that your favorite topic to explore in your writing?

Annie, thank you! And wow—that’s a tough question! Ultimately, I am drawn to stories that explore how humans deal with the inevitable sadness and loss that comes with life. Personally, I deal with grief and pain with equal parts introspection and humor, and I think that’s what you’ll find in my novels.

Q:  Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style?

I just discovered Lauren Fox after picking up her third novel, Days of Awe. I devoured it—such a smart, funny, heartbreaking take on friendship and life. As soon as I finished Days, I immediately read her first, Still Life With Husband, which was also terrific. So, she’s my new author crush.

Annie: I reviewed “Still Life with Husband” for Elle Magazine back I 2006…I actually got to hold the manuscript. She is a great writer. I see why you like her!

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write?  Set this up for us…

I write most mornings before work, almost always at my desk. I’m not a write on the couch kind of person; I need a bit of structure. Then I write out the next day’s scenes by hand at night before I go to sleep.

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are? Books?

The books I have read over and over are Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer, Wallace Stegner’s Crossing to Safety, Gail Caldwell’s Let’s Take the Long Way Home, and all of Lorrie Moore’s short story collections, particularly Birds of America. Beyond that, I enjoy so many different authors. Elena Ferrante is a new favorite, and I just read and absolutely loved Per Petterson’s utterly devastating I Refuse. I devour anything my friend Sarah Jio writes, and always pick up Elin Hilderbrand’s latest; her books are consistently good. 

Q:  What is your favorite part of being an author?

I love the act of writing a book. Yes, it’s hard—especially when you get to the end of a first (or third, or fifth) draft and realize you have to go back and fix so many things, but the actual writing process brings me great joy. It’s like my way of meditating and figuring out what I think about, and expect from, life.

Even beyond that, there is nothing better than hearing from readers who say that my work has resonated with them. (My advice to anyone who loves books: if you enjoy a novel, email the author to tell her! You’ll make her whole week, if not her month.)

Q:  When can we expect your next book?  Do you want to tell us a little bit about it?

Soon, I hope. I don’t have a publication date yet, but I’m just past the halfway point on the draft of my next novel. It’s about marriage—and for now, that’s all I can reveal!

Annie: Looking forward to it…

Lastly, Book or eBook??

Can I say both? Seriously, I’m the person who often buys an e-book—and if I love it, end up buying the paperback or hardcover to add to my bookshelves (my office is filled with books … and so is the rest of my house, for that matter). I love the feel of a “paper” book, but I travel frequently for work and pleasure, and there is nothing better than loading a bunch of new books onto my Kindle and knowing I don’t have to bring an extra carryon to tote them all.

Annie: What a pleasure getting to interview Camille! She is super talented, and I hope you take the time to read both of her novels!

#GIVEAWAY & #INTERVIEW: Colette Kebell answers some fun questions and Biggest Giveaway Yet!

BIGGEST GIVEAWAY YET! Colette is giving away TWO Sets of her books!  We are opening this to readers in Ireland and England, as well. 

Two lucky winners will each receive a copy of Colette’s two books, “Blue and Green should never be seen” and “The Retail Therapist” GOOD LUCK! Both are great…and, my quotes are on the back, so these are extra special to me!

Giveaway Rules:  Leave comments here, on Twitter, or on Facebook by Monday, October 5th by 4pm to be entered in to the drawing. The Winners will be announced sometime after 5pm that day.  The Winners will have to get me their delivery information by noon on Friday, October 9th.  GOOD LUCK!!

Interview with Colette Kebell, author of “Blue and Green should never be seen” & “The Retail Therapist”Colette French Garden

 Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist? 

That is a tough one, Annie.  The seeds were sewn I guess when I was in school, I took English Literature and though I didn’t do that well in the exams, I did write a lovely poem about King Arthur that I would love to be able to get my hands on, but my school kept it to display on their walls.  After that, there was a long hiatus due to work and the day by day routine getting in the way.  I wrote my first novel approximately 14 years ago, though it, to this day still, sits in a cupboard waiting to be revisited at some point.  My husband then gave me the bug when we had been discussing ways of changing our lives completely. We threw a few ideas on the table, including opening a gourmet restaurant in the UK, but I eventually thought that I wanted to be involved is something creative.  My husband knew of my first book, but hadn’t quite realized that I still had the writing bug and so Blue and Green came about and the rest just follows on from there.

Annie: I am glad you stuck with it. I really devoured your books!

Q:  As you gear up for your Book Releases, what was the most exciting part(s) for you? 

I guess the most exciting part in gearing up is when the whole book returns from the copy editor and I get to read it through one last time, pre-launch.  That is my pleasure reading time, though I can’t help but check the copy editors work in the process.  After that, I guess the build up to the marketing, devising how I am going to present it, devising posters and attempting to generate a buzz in the hope that first day sales go well.  I have to say though that to see the physical printed copy of the book is quite a buzz, especially as I have found such a lovely cover designer in Lizzie Gardiner.  My books, due to the options I selected are quite tactile as well, so the feel of them is almost as important. 

Annie:  Funny you speak of how tactile your books are. When my husband held your books, he said that he loved the feel of them. Nothing nicer than a book that just feels great in your hands.

Q:  Will you always write books with fashion, friendship and love taking center stage?  Is that your favorite topic to explore? 

I wouldn’t say that is what I will always write about…though those are my favourite topics as I’m a bit of a shopaholic.  My first novel was a fantasy one and I have another project on the go which is quite far removed in some respects; though the romance element is still there.

I doubt I shall ever bore of fashion though, I guess that was ingrained in me by my mother who grew up having that instilled in her by her mother and aunts.  Guess a love of fashion has passed down through the generations in our family.  In my case though, when I was a child I was so skinny and had practically no backside.  My mother had to spend money on decent clothes or spend hours adjusting those she bought to fit!

Annie: So, Fashion sense was ingrained in you early on.  My mom would make us lots of sweaters, so the colder weather provided us with some fun clothing choices. 🙂

Q:  Did you know someone like “Gigi”?

Blue and GreenThat, Annie is a bit of a pointed question as Gigi is loosely based on myself and what was my work ethic as much as possible.  I was never, I hasten to add, a boss though, just a minion who worked hard to earn their income.  I came across the legal profession quite late considering my age but thoroughly enjoyed the work I did then.  It is an interesting profession but one that takes up far more time than any other job I had had previously.

However a real “Gigi” does not exist, she is the combination of many characters, bits of myself, some friends and… some aspects of her are pure imagination. Maybe I can say Gigi is how I’d like to be.

Annie: Gigi is definitely one of my favorite characters.  I would love to read more about her adventures. (hint, hint!)  From one of our email exchanges, you shared with me that you love

Q:  Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style?

I wouldn’t say there is any author who resonates me and my style as no two authors are the same.  Having said that I am a huge fan of Sophie Kinsella and Helen Fielding, having read all of the shopaholic series as well, of course, Bridget Jones’ Diary books.  I have, however, drawn on my own life experiences in many cases and some of the stories within my books are ones that I lived through but adapted hugely for the books.

In some aspects I think Rick Riordan had some influence, especially in his use of irony; I also admire John Grisham’s style, the rhythm he has in his books and the way he depicts his characters.

 Annie: I loved the Bridget Jones’ series, and the shopaholic series, and I know while reading both of your books I was reminded of them quite often. I loved seeing your story in my head play out like a movie. That is a huge compliment, because it means you really delivered on the characters and scenes!

Your stories definitely have a lot of rhythm.  That was one of the best aspects of your story-telling.  You are so gifted!

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write?  Set this up for us… 

The Retail TherapistI write every time I can; I always dedicate one or two hours a day to that. Even if some of the stories I write will never end up in a book; I enjoy the creative process. Maybe one day those pages will be part of a new book. Writing is like going to the gym, you have to do it regularly to get some results. The mood I am in though decides what I am writing. There is little point in forcing something out if you are not feeling in the mood to write one particular genre but you may be another, hence I have a few projects on the go.  It does take time to re-read on occasion, but I would rather that then force my writing and produce something that is not as enjoyable as it should be.  I write, mostly, in the office of our house which I stole from my husband banishing up to the top floor to work.  He took that quite well considering he works from home.  I face the window in said office which doubles up as my dressing/ironing room and due to lack of space and my shopping addiction even has shoes hanging on the back of the door!! 

Annie: I love how you definitely have the “fashion bug” like Gigi does.  How awesome that you have a dressing/ironing room. Jealous!  (even though I you told me that you love writing in the garden of your French home! I love this picture! It seems like an amazing spot to write and get those creative juices flowing!  I included this picture on the top of the interview, as I loved it so much..what an awesome spot to write!)

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Books? 

I have a few, Annie.  First and foremost, especially considering the genre that I write in mostly, is Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic Series.  Then I just love Donna McDonalds books and have read every last one of them (around 20 or so now).  Then there are the Percy Jackson books which have me gripped (that may go back to have studied Greek and Arthurian Legend in school) but I just adore those books.  Many years ago I was a bit of a horror junkie so loved James Herbert and Stephen King books, but these days I tend to steer clear.  Don’t want to be scared to death (almost) any more, I guess.

Annie: Funny how we go through “rotations” of the genres we are interested in reading. I am kind of all over the place. Books like yours will always be in the top for me though. 

Q:  What is your favourite part of being an author? 

I guess my most favourite part is the writing itself and bringing a story to life, other than being able to set my own hours, which after a job as demanding as having been a Legal Secretary is almost like heaven.  Don’t get me wrong though that does not mean I spend all day doing as I please, as being self-published, there is an awful lot of marketing and yet more learning to do as well as research.  I can’t just mention any old designer in one of my books, as I would hate if someone came across it and knew that particular designer as an awful one rather than one that is respected.  I knew little or nothing about publishing let alone self-publishing and so this whole experience has been quite a steep learning curve, thankfully assisted by you as well as my other main reviewers whose reviews appear on the back cover of my books in thanks for your participation.  

Annie: It is such a HUGE honor to have my quote on the back of your novels. It makes Book Reviewing seem rather important.  I am very grateful to be on your books, as I would recommend them to anyone to read. My goal is to inspire readers. I would love to know I am doing that. I am so glad that our paths crossed! If these books become a movie, can I have a starring role?? LOL.

Q:  When can we expect your next book?  Do you want to tell us a little bit about it? 

If you have anything to do with Smashwords you may have already seen that I have already uploaded the title of the sequel to Blue and Green and a tentative publication date of around 30th March 2016.  If I pull my socks up and crack on at a good pace I hope that date is achievable but I can amend that, if need be.  The problem in recent months has been the fact that our house is on the market currently and keeping the house in a state to be viewed, and dealing with the viewings themselves takes up more time than I would like.  Suffice to say I hope it sells soon and I can get back to writing.

The new book is of course the sequel to Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen! (Or so Mother Says).  It follows the two main characters as well as the others than have come along.  Any more than that, at such a young stage of that book I would rather not say, but it will be just as enjoyable and humorous; I can assure you of that. 

Annie: Do you need Beta Readers?  🙂  just marked this on my calendar… I cannot wait to get my hands on this sequel!!! I have not heard of Smashwords, but will definitely check it out! 

Lastly, Book or eBook?? 

I love my kindle (though have an original one so not many bells and whistles to it) to bits but still love the feel of a book, especially mine as they have an almost velvet like touch which just enhances the experience as far as I am concerned.
Having said that, I appreciate that the cost of paperbacks these days doesn’t much compare to the price of ebooks so consider that there is still definitely room for both, even with the greener world that we all strive towards. 

Annie:  Thank you, Colette, for this wonderful interview. It is always so much fun to learn more about the authors I adore!!  I appreciate you taking the time to join us today…You are a spitfire, just like Gigi!!

AFTER THE INTERVIEW, I ASKED MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT HER LOVE OF FASHION…NOTHING LIKE LEARNING ABOUT A TRUE FASHIONISTA’S WARDROBE….SO, HERE IS SOME BONUS MATERIAL ON COLETTE KEBELL!!

This is what happens when you ask a person that loves fashion, and writes about a woman enamored with fashion….about…well…Fashion…..(I learned what the IN look was in shoes this Fall Season)

As far as designers are concerned I like far too many to name them all, and don’t favour any particular one, other than Ted Baker and maybe PhaseEight, though don’t find something I like every season….. I do like Amanda Wakeley who has yet to feature in a book, amongst many others.  I buy clothes from Designer Outlets, TK Maxx (been shopping there for about 25 years now) and both France and Italy (where Valentino Red or Roberto Cavalli might be my thing) so spread myself around a bit and mention clothing that I love and adore in my books mostly. Russell & Bromley Flat Boot Russell & Bromley Pump Ted BakerDon’t even get me started on shoes (though I have to say as I have narrow feet and prefer an Italian lathe, I love Russell and Bromley)…..or handbags for that matter.  I spent almost the whole of my 20s and a good part of my 30s with the same handbag, which was supposed to be a man’s one, that I had picked up in France.  That had to be replaced at some point but with one of a similar style, which lasted almost a further ten years.  I then met and married my husband and his parents started buying me handbags as gifts (Italian Leather – what could be better!) and so those have become a bit of thing as far as I am concerned as well, these latter years. 

I’m also attaching a photo of a pair of boots and a pair of shoes that I love from the current Russell and Bromley range….(this season’s colours)  if I have enough money I hope to buy one or both (or hint about them up to receive as a birthday/christmas present !).  Also attached a photo a dress amongst Ted Baker’s current collection that I like.   I keep track of a whole heap of designers but rarely download something that can be sent by email.  I do, however, pin them onto my pinterest so you could check that out as well….

#Interview & #Giveaway: Get to know more about author, Patricia Sands

Patiricia Sands#Giveaway:

Patricia is giving away both of her “Love in Provence” books.  Winner will choose whether they want print copies or eBooks.

Winner will be announced Monday, after 5pm.

Please leave a comment below to be entered!!  Thank you, Patricia!

Interview with Patricia Sands, author of the women’s fiction novels, The Bridge Club and the Love in Provence series: The Promise of Provence, Promises to Keep and I Promise You This (coming Spring 2016)

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist? The Bridge Club

It actually happened quite by accident! Ten years ago, I began writing a book about my real-life Bridge Club, strictly for our little group. We’ve all been friends since we were in our twenties, some even earlier. A few friends began to read bits and pieces of what I had written and encouraged me to publish, saying their book clubs would want to read it. They felt I was telling women’s stories that should be shared. So that’s how the journey to publishing began. The Bridge Club was published in 2010 and an exciting new career began for me in my sixties.

Annie:  I think it is great that you began to write more for yourself, and now you have this amazing career.

Q:  Will all of your stories bring us to Provence, France, and make us fall in love with it..as I am already in beginning the first book!!  Did you visit France, and say…”Ok, now I need to write a book about this place”?

The Promise of ProvenceThe Bridge Club is set in Canada. Once it sold well and I realized I wanted to continue writing, I knew I would set the next story in France. I’ve been in love with that country since 1967, when I backpacked around Europe for a year with friends. It truly was love at first sight for me when we arrived in Provence. Fortunately I’ve travelled there many times since and for the past 15 years, my husband and I spend time in the south of France every year. We stayed in Antibes for five months when I wrote the first draft of The Promise of Provence. As you can tell from the Provence books, I love to share my feelings about that beautiful part of the world in my writing and photographs.  It’s been a great pleasure to discover how many readers love to read books set there.

Annie:  Your writing style really does make you feel like you are visiting France, yourself.

Q:  When will the next book for your “Love in Provence” Series be released?  

I Promise You This is the title of Book 3 and it will be released by Amazon’s Lake Union Publishing in Spring 2016. Amazon approached me in January and invited me to sign a contract for the Provence series. They are going to re-launch the first two books in October to their worldwide readership. There will be three more books coming after I Promise You This. I love writing this series!

Annie:  I am reading The Promise of Provence to review for Chick Lit Plus, and I am really in love with this story. I can tell I am going to be following this story, and any others you write.Promises to Keep

Q:  As you gear up for a Book Release, what is the most exciting part(s) for you?

A lot of work goes into finally bringing a book to its release, so it’s incredibly satisfying and exciting to finally feel the work is done. The best part is feeling happy about writing a story that will please readers. Even after having beta readers and editors help make certain your book is the best it can be, there’s always a little nail-biting time as you wait for reviews to come in.

Q:  What is your favorite part of being an author?

I absolutely love hearing from readers ~ right from aged 20 to 87! It’s a thrill to have someone write and tell me how and why she (or he … I do hear from men too) enjoyed my novel. To know that your words have impacted people and sometimes even helped them with an issue they were dealing with in their life, is truly rewarding and humbling. It makes me very happy when people tell me they felt they were right there in France as they turned the pages. It’s fun to see how engaged readers become with the characters and want to hear more about them. Writing is hard work and readers make it all worthwhile with messages and reviews. They are my inspiration.

Another positive aspect of being an author is the incredible collegiality of the writing community. Authors are friendly, supportive and happy to help each other by sharing experiences. I’ve become friends with some amazing writers from all over the globe … an unexpected pleasure! I’m constantly learning.

Annie:  And, you treat your reviewers wonderfully!

Q:  I always enjoy your book covers; they really make you dream of being in Provence!  Are they hard to choose, design?

Thanks! I love my covers too and was really pleased when Amazon decided to keep the original artwork. They have changed the appearance of the title and my name but you can still see the artwork. I hired a Toronto artist to do watercolour paintings after we met and talked about what I wanted. I also provided him with some of my photographs to use for ideas. Once his original work is done, then a tech person formats it into a book cover.

IMG_1107 (1)Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write? Set the scene for us….

Oh, this could be a long answer! I’ll keep it simple though. I write wherever my laptop is. Because we travel so much, my “office” changes constantly and I have fun posting photos on Facebook showing where I’m writing at different times of the year. Wherever we happen to be, I like to start writing early … around 6:30 or 7:00 and there are days when I will work write through until after midnight. It’s a bit of an obsession! But I love it and because I began writing in my sixties, I feel I have to make up for lost time. Of course I don’t do that every single day. With a blended family of seven adult children and six grandchildren, life tends to interrupt my writing on a regular basis. I love that too though!

Annie: Your view is gorgeous.  I bet it is very inspiring!

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Or, Books?

That’s a question I’m often asked and simply can’t answer. There are so many great authors I admire and enjoy and the list of books I love keeps growing. So I’ve never been able to narrow it down. I like all genres but, if I have to choose one, my favourite is historical fiction.

Annie: I love historical fiction, too!

Q:  Is there a special message you want to share with your readers through your writing?

Since I write women’s fiction, I try to write stories that will speak to women of all ages. However I definitely write to an older demographic and those women are happy to discover a main character who is over fifty. One message I hope I pass on with my work is to encourage people to follow their dreams and not be afraid to try something new no matter what their age. It’s fun to write about women who discover they are stronger than they thought they were. There are adventures waiting for all of us, if we take a leap of faith and look for them. We should all be possibilitarians!

An unexpected bonus of writing women’s stories is that I’m often asked to speak to women’s groups where I also get to share that message. It’s such a buzz to hear the stories many of the women share about the inspiring ways they are pursuing life. I have women of all ages connect with me about writing advice and indie publishing and I also love to share the benefit of my experience.

Annie:  I can see that you inspire many women…and, I love that women of all ages enjoy your stories.

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Q:  Lastly, Book or eBook?

I have a library full of lovely print books but I have to admit I am a convert to ebooks and read novels on my iPad or … gulp … this always sounds a bit weird … on my phone. Actually, I know quite a few people who read novels on their phones now so I don’t feel quite so embarrassed to admit I do. I love having my library with me at all times. Having said that, when I see a cover that I love I usually do purchase a print copy too.

Annie, thanks so much for inviting me to visit with you. It’s a pleasure!

Annie:  It is always fun to learn more about an author, and what brought their books to life.  Your story is amazing!

#INTERVIEW & #GIVEAWAY ~ Award Winning Author, Bette Lee Crosby answers a few questions, and she is offering an eBook copy of “The Memory House” to one lucky winner!! You must enter, this is one of my favorite stories!

For a chance to win an eCopy of “The Memory House”, please leave a comment below.  Winner to be announced on Monday, September 14th, 2015, after 5pm. 

I can honestly say that most of my friends and family will ADORE this book, and get on board with all of Bette Lee Crosby’s writing after reading this! She is stunning!

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DIRECTLY FROM THE DESK OF BETTE LEE CROSBY!!  AN INSIDERS LOOK!!

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist?

About a year after I finished 4 years of college studying to be an artist. Haha. I started out as a packaging designer and when one of the salesmen asked me to make up some copy to fill the empty space on the back of a pantyhose package I got hooked on words. It is a form of painting – but instead of a brush you use letters.

red brushstroke

Annie: This explains why your writing is so “fluid”, like a brushstroke.  I love getting to ask these questions.  I learn so much about the author, and it explains a lot.

Q:  With “The Loft” being released on September 15th, 2015, have you started your next big story?

I am getting very close to completing Book 3 in the Memory House Series – which will be called “Flawed Memories” – and I must say I am loving this series. It is sort of a mix of mystery, magic and a bit of romance. A bit different than some of my other books – more contemporary and with a magical realism sort of twist.

Annie:  So excited for your next book! I was drawn in by “The Memory House”, I need to catch up! As a book reviewer, it is hard to find the time to read all of the books that you want to…but, I have purchase ALL of your books, and plan to read them while on vacation next month.  I get a lot of books in exchange for an honest review, but I have to say that I just had to have your books in my library!!!!

Q:  As you gear up for a Book Release, what is the most exciting part(s) for you?

By far it is hearing the comments from early readers and reviewers.  I spend all this time writing a book and worry right up to the very last minute of release day wondering whether or not readers will like it. When someone writes to me and says something like “I fell in love with this look, Annie is so like me…etc.” My heart melts. Reader acceptance, this is what it is all about. When readers enjoy my books, I do a happy dance.Happy Dance

Annie:  I did a happy dance too! As a reviewer, it is always great to read a book that you love, and I surely devoured yours!    My tagline is “Devour Books”, so that is awesome!!

Here is a Link to my review of “The Memory House” THE GIVEAWAY BOOK:

https://thewritereview.com/2015/06/02/may-book-club-choice-memory-house-by-bette-lee-crosby/

 

Q:  I always enjoy your book covers, especially the one for your new book!  Are they hard to choose, design? The Loft

Some are very difficult, some are easier. The key is finding the right image to portray what you want people to see in the story. It is always a bit more difficult when you have a story set in the 1940’s or 50’s because a lot of the images are too contemporary for that time frame.  I was extremely pleased with the job the designer did on Passing through Perfect.  That cover is perfect for the story and it was one of the first ones he did.  However on The Loft, the final cover was the 12th design submitted.  Having come from an art background I am probably way too nit-picky, but I want my readers to feel the same magic I feel when I finally see the right cover.

Annie: I love a great cover, and you certainly offer several!  I love looking at your authors page on Amazon and Goodreads.

 

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write? Set the scene for us….

I am by nature a night owl, but the funny thing is my best writing time is in the early part of the day. That is mostly because I think about my story before I go to sleep, often include it in my dreams and wake up anxious to get back to it.  I try not to get online until late afternoon because once I start that, I go back to being me and lose the personality of the character I am writing about. I have an office in the front of our house. It is a very serene spot that looks out onto the lawn and a HUGE oak tree. My office has double doors and when they are closed hubby knows not to disturb me.  My writing buddy is Sugar. She sits in my lap a good part of the day and when she isn’t in my lap she is under my desk. Her toy basket is in my office and if she gets bored, she rummages through the basket and hauls out a toy for me to throw. We play for five minutes, then it is back to work.

Annie: Sounds like me with my dog, Simon!! Aren’t they the best!  He is always with me when I read and write the reviews.



HERE IS BETTE WITH HER DOG, SUGAR!

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Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Or, Books?

Favorite books more than authors, and my taste is somewhat eclectic. To kill a Mockingbird is one of my all time favorites; s fairly new favorite is The Night Circus and an even more recent favorite is The Nightingale. All of these are very different. I loved Mockingbird for the strength and authenticity of the characters, I loved Night Circus for the beauty of its prose and I loved The Nightingale for the way it captured the heartache of a war-torn country.

Annie:  Ok, Now I know I must check out Nightingale, are you speaking of the book by Kristin Hannah? I have heard great things about this book! 

Let me add, “You are one of my favorite authors, Bette Lee Crosby!” I can see how you have earned so many awards and being on best sellers lists!

I am lucky to know you!  You are not only a great author, but a wonderful person!

Lastly, Book or eBook?

E-books. I love the instant gratification of hearing someone talk about a great book or seeing it online and then having it in my hot little hands in less than a minute. Also, as an author I am very appreciative of the fact that e-readers enable me to offer my books to readers for far less than I would pay if I had to pay for paper, printing, storage, and distribution. Is it sad to see less print books in circulation? Yes, perhaps it is, but I believe the good far outweighs the bad.

Annie: Great take on this.  I love having the book in hand and being able to share the book with others.  But, while traveling, eBooks are certainly wonderful.

Thank you for taking the time to let me interview you…My mission is to inspire others to read, and your books are definitely inspiring!  I love spreading the word!!

To purchase Bette Lee Crosby Books, please go here:

http://www.amazon.com/Bette-Lee-Crosby/e/B005TLT1PK/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1441912463&sr=1-2-ent

#GIVEAWAY & #INTERVIEW with Sejal Badani, author of “Trail of Broken Wings”

Comment Below for a chance to win a Print Copy of Sejal Badani’s book, “Trail of Broken Wings”!

Sejal BadaniI Had the pleasure of interviewing Sejal Badani.  Learning more about an author makes the books more enjoyable for me to read. A connection is made.  I love that!

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist? I’ve always been a writer – as a child I wrote poems and then short stories. When I was a teenager I wrote my first novel, which honestly should never see the light of day. I think law school was the real turning point. All of my friends were talking about big firm jobs and their futures as attorneys and all I could think about was the next story I wanted to write. That was my first real clue that I needed to re-think my future. I started my writing career doing screenplays. There was one that won a number of awards – and that was really my breakthrough into the writing world. So I would say to aspiring writers – write whatever comes to your heart. Don’t limit yourself or believe one medium is the only way to express yourself. I wrote screenplays, short stories, plays and novels and grew as a writer from every experience.

Q:  Will you always write about strong female bonds?  Is that your favorite topic to explore? It is definitely a topic that is close to my heart. I am incredibly grateful for the relationship that I have with my two sisters and Mom which served as a foundation for Trail of Broken Wings. Having said that, I am a fan of exploring close relationships generally. My screenplay was about two male collegiate runners who supported one another in their quest for gold. My next book is about the friendship between a woman in 1940’s India and a male servant who is an Untouchable. I am fascinated and moved by the human spirit, the resilience and bonds that help people get through some very difficult experiences together. That’s definitely my favorite topic to explore.

(McHorsky ~ Looking forward to your next book!)

Trail of Broken WingsQ:  Which character in this book do you feel a connection with the most? I would say Sonya because I am also the youngest of three sisters. There are definitely similarities between our personalities and reactions to abuse, but Sonya chose the path of solitude and flight before finding herself and love, which to me made her story even more poignant and satisfying. Her quest to find all her broken pieces and use her family’s and David’s love to help her glue them together really drove home to me that connections to other people can help to heal wounds. I found myself admiring her as her story came to its honest and fruitful conclusion.

Q:  Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style? When writing Trail of Broken Wings I drew on my own experiences but also read so many incredible books on dv. The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, Picture Perfect, and Black and Blue are just some of the examples. In regards to the immigration experience I absolutely love The Joy Luck Club and the author Jhumpha Lahiri.

(McHorsky ~ Adding these books to my To-Read List! How have I not read, “Joy Luck Club”!)

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write? In the mornings after dropping my kids off to school. It’s very motivating – I only have a few hours before pick-up time so I write much faster on school days! I set a goal to write around 1,500 words a day. I write at my desk in my bedroom which doesn’t bode well for my husband when I get an idea at 3 am and have to get it on paper right away.

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Books? I love Jodi Picoult – she is the master at telling a story from different viewpoints. Liane Moriarty and Kristin Hannah are amazing writers. Malcolm Gladwell is a must read. I don’t think you can be a writer without being in awe of J.K. Rowling. To paraphrase Stephen King from his book On Writing – if you want to be a writer then read – a lot. So I have and my writing is better because of the countless number of incredibly talented authors whom I admire and from whom I have learnt.

Q: Lastly, Book or eBook? Honestly, we are so fortunate to have both. My Kindle goes on every trip with me and to the gym. I love how easy and accessible it has made reading. I also still love the feel of a book and turning its pages. I find myself reading Fiction on my Kindle. Non-Fiction I prefer as a book because I usually highlight and earmark them to death.

(McHorsky ~ I am a huge highlighter, as well.)

You can purchase her book, right now, for just $1.99

http://www.amazon.com/Trail-Broken-Wings-Sejal-Badani-ebook/dp/B00N58XLLE/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1440769881&sr=1-1&keywords=trail+of+broken+wings