Sunday, March 30, 2014

Self Published Sunday Welcomes Jan Harman

Today's guest is Jan Harman - the author of Brush of Shade.  


My family didn’t have much fun money when I was growing up. It was a rare treat for us when we got a burger from a fast food place. Going to the movies was even rarer. But what my sister and I did get was book money, so we could buy a book off our school’s equivalent of the Scholastic Book list.  I poured over those pages with my red pencil in hand rating each book with stars. When the books would finally come in, I’d lose myself in those worlds. To this day, one of my favorite things to do is to stand in the aisle of a book store and contemplate my selection. Throughout my childhood, characters and stories always stirred around inside my mind often distracting me from my tasks. My parents were practical people, so when it came time to pick a college major, it had to be something that would get me a real job not something artsy. Regrettably, my characters took a backseat while I pursued a career as a computer programmer. But all that changed when health concerns for my two daughters transformed me into a homeschooling mom. When my three kids were tackling a creative writing assignment, I would task myself with producing an example. Over time, bits and pieces of a story formed. Characters spoke to me at odd hours of the day, but life was hectic and the characters had to wait.  Then one day I broke my arm and had to have surgery. Knowing I was bored out of my mind, my daughters, now in high school and college, pleaded with me to work on my story because they were still waiting to see how it all played out. The result of this labor of love is my debut novel Brush of Shade.

My writing process:

I’m supposed to have a process? A few months ago that very concept would’ve made my fingers freeze over the keyboard. You see, based on how things flowed or didn’t for several years with my first book, I never developed any set habits. I’m embarrassed to admit that when it came time to start the second book in the series, I slammed straight into an imaginary brick wall. With Brush of Shade, I had a compilation of descriptions, events, and characters plus all the internal interactions that had been batting about inside my skull all those years. I was a published author now. I was supposed to know what to do next. I read countless author postings on Goodreads looking for direction. I picked up books on the writing process. I got so bogged down that for the first time that I could remember the characters stopped speaking. When my kids, now all at college, called home, they kept asking how the second book was going. I had to change the subject. Was this what writer’s block felt like? Something had to change. Somebody had to have the answers. So I turned to my characters and asked them pointed questions. Wow, XYZ event in the book sure was intense. How are you doing now? Do you feel stronger, older, wary, afraid, happy, depressed, angry, or vindictive? Are you suffering from post-traumatic stress or do you think you’re invincible? While we’re on the subject, tell me what you’ve given up and do you want it back? What are you willing to do or willing to sacrifice to save those you love? Once I realized that my characters were no longer the same, plot highlights began to take shape. With a rough outline in mind, I started the story, allowing the characters and their reactions to events to shape all the parts in between. My process I’ve discovered is messy. I allow every idea its moment on the page, knowing that what I’m creating is a crude draft. Each day I reread what I wrote the day before, allowing my mind to become energized by the drama on the pages. While I might pause to edit the glaring errors, usually I leave behind a trail of track changes filled with my gut reactions. After more brutal passes through the story than I want to think about at this point, I hope I will eventually create a book worthy of being a reader’s temporary home.

Brush of Shade description:

Olivia Pepperdine has a love hate relationship with quiet. Silence reminds her of the accident that killed her parents and left her trapped in a mangled car. On that isolated stretch of road with the weight of all that silence pressing against her mind and body, something sinister had kept them company. Since that night a voice haunts her nightmares and snakes out to torment when she is alone and vulnerable.

Still recovering physically and mentally from the loss of her parents, high school senior Olivia finds herself living with an aunt she hardly knows in a small town in the middle of no-where. Spring Valley, Colorado should hold the connection to her father she longs for, but that longed for connection turns out to be more than Olivia ever imaged. Behind closed doors things in this sleepy community are far from ordinary. One by one fundamental truths are stripped aside as everything she ever believed about her family is called into question.

Determined to embrace normal even if it means ignoring the flashes of movement she’d been seeing out of the corner of her eye since her discharge from the hospital, Olivia is unnerved by the local residents. From the moment Olivia and her Aunt Claire arrive at the local gas station where strangers gawk and pay for her purchases to the spine-tingling electric shock that lifts her off the pew at her parent’s wake, the voice, half-truths, and an impossible rescue draw Olivia deeper into a web of secrets and the realization that the accident that had killed her parents might have been a cover for murder.

An after school job at Hattie’s quirky tourist shop brings Olivia into the life and arms of Shade, a guy who could put Prince Charming and the sexiest man in Hollywood to shame. Mesmerizing eyes unlike anything she has ever seen reveal the depth of his emotions that he can’t keep hidden while his irresistible drawl whispers to her wounded soul. Noble to his core, Shade is determined to treat her like a kid sister despite the connection between them that fills the empty places in her heart.
But Shade, like the residents of the valley, hides a secret, one that compels Olivia to take on an inherited responsibility that upends the future she’d envisioned. Secrets, hidden chambers, and an ancestor’s alliance propel Olivia into a world where voices are both weapons and instruments of comfort. As the line between sanity and fantasy blurs, Olivia must dig deep to unearth the courage to redefine normal, even if belief in the paranormal may be more than her troubled mind can handle. It might very well be the straw that sends her back into her cushioned world of prescription drugs and psychiatrist visits. To keep Olivia safe, Shade pledges his life to her side in a move that could rob her of her will and turn the elders against him.

Undercurrents within the quaint western town surge to the surface as those that oppose centuries of traditions begin to plot their rise to power. When the threat risks the lives of those close to her, Olivia must learn the identity of the people out to destroy the valley or face losing what could become the permanent place to call home that her heart has been searching for.


“No, Olivia isn’t ready,” Aunt Claire argued.

“That might not be a concern if we don’t get her help soon. Sorry, Claire, I’ve got to follow her orders. I’ve got to save the legacy.”

“Don’t use that ploy to get your way. Again no oaths have been given.”

“What is he . . .” I couldn’t finish. Fire engulfed me, scorching my insides. I doubled over writhing in my aunt’s arms as sweat lathered my body
“Go,” Aunt Claire ordered, pulling a blanket tight around my shoulders.

I lolled against her side, not fully comprehending the strange scene unfolding outside the window. Shade had tossed his heavy coat into the back seat and was standing outside, shaking hard in the middle of a blizzard wearing an unzipped, stadium jacket. Snow streaked across the windshield, piling up along the edges and making it difficult for me to see outside. The next gust swallowed his body.

I strained against Aunt Claire’s hold. “Make him come back inside. He’ll freeze to death.”

“Olivia, listen to me. He’s alright. Trust us. Trust Shade. Everything will be fine.”

When had I finally crossed the line over to the side of crazy? My scream couldn’t get past my narrowed throat. I shrank back, shoving frantically at my aunt’s restraining arm as translucent hands, with no real fixed shape, reached out for me. A whimpered scream became a faint sob as washed-out blue eyes swam into focus.

“Claire, don’t attempt to drive. It’s too dangerous. Shad and my father are coming. They’ll get you home. Come with me, Olivia.”

“Come?” I squeaked, too terrified to mount a struggle as hot hands, that blended with the gray of the seat cushion and then changed over to the navy blue of my sweater, pulled me against a ghostlike chest.

“Trust me, Livi. I will protect you.”

Purchase link:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Novel Notions Welcomes Tina J Cole to Self Published Sunday!

Tina J Cole is a writer of short stories, poems, newsletters, tracts, and the indie author of the inspirational novel ‘Keeper of the Stars’. Her new blog entitled Quest To Write was created to encourage, teach and motivate young writers of all ages and aptitudes. She is currently working on two more books, one a young adult novel.
Tina: I grew up in the sixties when racial discrimination was a spotlighted issue in a turbulent time of national change. Martin Luther King and his supporters proclaimed their mission for racial equality from the airwaves of television. Probably as a result of being raised in a small southern community that based its values on the Bible, I never saw gross injustices committed against another race. When I started the first grade in 1966, our school was already integrated. In fact, I had an African American teacher who I believe all the children loved. Before we started class each day she would play the piano and sometimes sing. I remember two songs that she played regularly-‘Battle Hymn of The Republic’ and ‘Jimmie Crack Corn’ (or ‘The Blue Tail Fly’).
Listening to the history of racial segregation made me sensitive to the great harm done by prejudices of varying kinds. As I’ve progressed through life I have discovered the many ways we can pre-judge people just because they may act or look a little different than us. The following excerpt from my book ‘Keeper of the Stars’ is a expression of that realization.

 On the ride home, a jumble of voices blurted out their insights and opinions of the movie they'd watched for almost two hours. "You know the part where the reporter broke the story about the racist congressman that got the black singer pregnant?" Sheena asked.
"Yes I know. I loved the scene where..." Arizona interjected but was interrupted as Sheena spoke again.
"That reporter reminded me of my Uncle Buster. He's got the biggest nose and neck of anyone I've ever seen. And he's the most racist person I know."
"I don't see how they could live through all the prejudice that happened back then," Julie said with bewildered eyes. Sometimes it makes me ashamed to have white skin."
From the back seat, Arizona told her, "You're not exactly white skinned. You're darker than me or Sheena and we're not pale. Besides, we didn't live in slavery times or the sixties or earlier, so we can't be blamed for people's prejudices back then---or for them now as far as that goes. Anyway the movie was called "Unsung Heroes" because it was about people of all races who fought against racial injustice. And some of them had to pay a big price for it too."
 She continued thoughtfully, "Just look at Grandma, Reba and Joseph. They've been friends for about half a century and they lived through the sixties."
Julie pondered a moment, and said, "I've thought about that before too. Mom told me that Mamaw had to hide their friendship from her mother and other people too. And the weird or ironic thing is that our great grandmother had Indian and Melungeon blood herself. And she knew what it was like to be treated like she was no good because of the color of her skin."
Dean spoke next, "Don't forget us Spanish speaking people, especially Mexicans like me." He paused and grinned comically at each girl. "We're accused of being lazy, drunken thieves."
"Let's see...ummm, lazy. Well your mother would probably agree. Drunken. You have hung out with Kyle some. So that's likely. Now, the one that's left---thief. Yep to that too. I'm a witness. Remember when you stole my answers during a History quiz in Mr. Cooper’s class?" Arizona finished speaking with a twinkle in her eyes.
Suddenly the car filled up with chortling, giggling, and snickering. "Good one Zoni. I'll get my revenge though."

"Speaking of revenge, I've got some things I need to discuss with you and Sheena." Then she began to explain her plan to get back at her ex-boyfriend.

Connect with Tina:


Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Author Platform

If there is one thing I hear repeated over and over again - it's the need to build an author platform. Just because we hear a term doesn't mean we have a full grasp of what it is -at least that was true for me. I tried the "Monkey See, Monkey Do" method.  I tweeted my Amazon purchase link.  I shared the purchase link in Google + communities - and I learned a bitter lesson.  No one cared.  Why?  Because they were too busy trying to sell their own books.  Now honestly, I wasn't clicking on their purchase links either because I was too busy trying to sell my own.

This is not to say that I didn't click on links - because I did.  I clicked on the links that offered something I wanted - knowledge.  Authors were sharing writing and marketing tips and I was like a sponge trying to take it all in.

After spending a lot of time researching author platforms, I've put together a little video that hopefully shows what I've learned and maybe, you will find it helpful.

Novel Notions Welcomes author Beth Camp to Self Published Sunday!

I am so pleased that Beth Camp is our feature author.  She is not only talking about her writing process but sharing an excerpt of her novel, Standing Stones.

About Beth Camp: When I was a kid, I prowled the library to check out the thickest, heaviest books I could find. Two Years Before the Mast. The Wandering Jew. Quo Vadis. Books I could fall into and pretend I lived in the past. Places I dreamed of visiting some day. As a teen, I discovered my grandmother's 5-volume sets of Hemingway, the short stories of Poe and de Maupassant. I began writing poetry and short stories then.
Sometimes it seemed that my family moved every time the rent was due. I attended some 13 high schools on the West coast of the US and daydreamed of attending college. I balanced working full time with taking classes; it took ten years to earn my degree, with odd jobs and careers in international banking and corporate consulting along the way before I became an English teacher at a community college where I taught for 26 years. Today, I live in Spokane, in eastern Washington, with my husband, and close to our daughter, her husband, and granddaughter. Restless feet and writing projects keep us traveling. These days, we’re planning a three-month stay in Spain. The writing travels with me!
What is your writing process? 

I’m often asked when I find time to write. Each morning, before coffee, I wake with half-remembered scenes or conversations that my characters are somehow in the middle of. I sit at the computer and reconstruct what they are telling me, images of who they are and what they’re involved in coming to life before me. An outline emerges out of that combination of history, setting, and then, scene upon scene, their lives unfold.

As a writer, I’m rather a sprinter, more intuitive than methodical, going ahead into story with multiple revisions ahead. I want to discover how it felt to live in a certain time, and how others have conquered their deepest fears to achieve their goals.
My books begin with a flash of an idea, a portrait spotted in a museum, a slice of history that compels me to look more closely. For example, I visited the National Museum of the Middle Ages in Paris to see the unicorn tapestries and later read Tracy Chevalier’s wonderful story, The Lady and the Unicorn. The real history of these tapestries is shrouded in mystery, but I found a clue in Scotland that suggests a very different story. Fiction allows us to play with alternate realities. I hope my readers come away with greater compassion for how others struggle to create order, harmony, and beauty in their lives. 

Why did you decide to jump into self-publishing? 

As many writers discover, after “the book” is done, the round of submissions begins. We are lucky to get an acknowledgement these days whether we are subbing to a potential agent or to a publishing company. Routinely websites suggest a turn-around time of 3-6 months, even for ‘exclusive’ submissions.
Standing Stones took second place in historical fiction at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association literary contest in 2010, but I spent the next several years subbing to potential agents and then independent publishers before deciding that I really wanted readers to read my stories.

I first self-published The Mermaid Quilt & Other Tales, a collection of short stories and poems about mermaids, to learn how to format for  Kindle and CreateSpace.
With Standing Stones, I discovered fiverr, a wonderful site that highlights freelancers. Angela Zambrano of pro_ebookcovers created the cover for Standing Stones; I think her work is remarkable.

What is Standing Stones about? 

Standing Stones is the first of two books that begins when Lord Gordon comes to Foulksay Island. His uncle has died, and inspired by the sweep of the Industrial Revolution, Lord Gordon wishes to make his new estate profitable by replacing tenant farmers who have lived on the island for generations with sheep.
Mac McDonnell, a fisherman and head of household for his sister and three brothers, leads protests against Lord Gordon’s changes, but Moira, his sister, falls in love with Dylan, one of the men Lord Gordon has brought to the island. The people of Foulksay Island have gathered to celebrate the end of summer. Dougal, the second oldest brother, is playing the fiddle. Here is the moment that Moira and Dylan meet:

Moira watched Dougal’s fingers fly over the fiddle. She felt proud of him, and her feet tapped the rhythm of the drum. The dancing grew frantic as more people pushed into the hall. Moira closed her eyes and gave herself over to the dance, the music keening in her head and heart. A strong arm held her at her waist and twirled her around.
Moira’s eyes flew open. “And who might you be?”
“I’m Dylan, from across the water, ready to dance your feet off and steal your heart.” He grinned and bowed.
Dylan was much shorter than her brothers, wiry, and dark when they were fair, his hair curly with sweat. His eyes, nearly black, sparkled. He smiled again, and Moira felt her breath catch. “Dance with me?”
She gave him her hand, and they danced one set after another, until they were both breathless.
“Any others like you at home?” he asked.
“No, not a one. Just me,” Moira shouted over the music, turning away and then back as he twirled her to the music.
“Ah, ‘tis fortunate I am, for then I’ll only have me heart broken once.”
Moira laughed. His hand caught and held hers, and his dark eyes dared her to let go.
“Wait until you meet my brothers.”
“And how many brothers do you have, all tiny men, as small as trolls, no doubt?”
“Four brothers,” she replied on the next round. “Mac, Dougal, Colin and Jamie. All of them are giants compared to you.” She glanced over at Dougal and waved. “There’s Dougal.”
“He looks ferocious,” said Dylan. “Does he have an evil temper?”
“None of my brothers would harm a soul.”
“Then why is he glaring at me like that?”

To Purchase:

Standing Stones is available on

The Mermaid Quilt & Other Tales is also available on Amazon at


Beth’s Writing Blog:

Beth’s Travel Blog:

On Twitter: @bluebethley and Facebook.  Beth Camp's Author page: 

Drop a note to Beth at to find out about upcoming releases with her occasional newsletter.  She’d love to hear from you!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Promo Plan

Marketing a novel isn't cheap.  However, not marketing doesn't work either. In November, December and January, my novel was on different virtual tours. Each tour was one week long.  Each month, I saw sales. In February, I took a break - no online promotions - What I learned?  Promotion matters - a lot. Because when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, I'm an unknown quantity. I've published one novel - and its not on the best seller list - not yet, anyway.  Like it or not, those tours helped - but they cost money.

Having learned my lesson, I have already made my promotional investments for March and May. Which brings me to April.  April's budget went the way of the dodo bird...  But I still need to promote. So, I've been racking my brain trying to come up with a way to get a little more exposure without appearing to be one of those "Look at Me!" peeps who flood social media with tons of self promotion.

The Objective:

On April 17th, my novel will be on sale.   In order for my promotion to work, I need exposure.

The Question:

Are you looking for a way to promote your novel without breaking the bank?

The Plan:

Create a community Blitz.  

Example:  If 5 authors participated, then each participating author would chose the day they wanted their blitz.  On that day, each of the other authors would share the designated author's post.  This would give each participating author one day of multi-blog promotion.  Each host would not only share the designated author's post on their blog but also in Facebook & G+ communities as well as Twitter. An added benefit is we get a little break from having to come up with content ideas for our blogs because we'll have guest posts! And finally, it won't cost anything but our time.

It is important that any authors who participate follow through with their commitment to promote the other participants.   If you are interested, please let me know - I'll be happy to coordinate the effort. 

**I write Young Adult novels - as such, I may have visitors to my blog who are under the age of 18.  For this reason, I won't be able to host any Erotica.  Sorry!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Linda Kage - Book Cover Designer and Author

We've all heard it - Don't judge a book by its cover.  But it's the cover that catches our attention. Literary gold may very well be hiding behind the cover, just waiting to be discovered but if the cover isn't appealing, chances are no one will give it a second look.  Like it or not, great covers are essential to marketing our novels.

With that in mind, I'd like to welcome Linda Kage to Novel Notions.  She is a published author as well as a cover designer.  And she's kindly agreed to talk about covers with us.

Novel Notions:  As a cover designer, you have a really important job.  You provide the "eye candy" that entices a reader to pick up the book.  What do you think are the 3 most important elements to consider when designing a cover?

Linda: -Something pretty
           -Nice Fonts and
           -Something that evokes a certain emotion from me.

Novel Notions:  You have several premade covers available for purchase.  What inspired those covers?

Linda:  Probably two of the answers I gave above!!  I browsed through the stock image place until I saw something pretty and made me connect with it in some way. Then I played and tweaked with it until I got a look I was satisfied with.  Or, sometimes I still play with covers even after I post them because they don’t feel quite right.

Novel Notions:  When someone contacts you about designing a cover, what's your process?  Do you read the story or do you talk to the author and get a feel for it?

Linda:  So far, each person I’ve worked with has gone about it in a different way. So I guess I’m pretty open about the process. For one of my friends, I read the story first. For another, she gave me an idea of what she wanted, another told me enough about her story and showed me some pictures to give me an idea of what feel and tone she wanted. People usually know basically what they want, I just keep asking questions and sending them samples until we come up with something they’re satisfied with.

 Novel Notions:  It seems to me that a lot of covers are genre specific.  Very frequently, young adult novels have a picture of the heroine on the cover while romance novels feature a couple.  What is your thoughts on this?  Should authors choose covers that mimic other novels in the genre or should they choose something that causes their novel to stand out from the crowd?

Linda:  I can see pros and cons for mimicking genre specific covers.  The pros would be that readers who like that certain genre will be able to find your stories easier. The con would be that it takes out some of the originality that’s specific to your novel.  I don’t really have an opinion either way, really. Whatever an author wants to do is fine by me!   

Novel Notions: Not only are you a cover designer, you're also a published author. Do you feel that being a writer helps or hinders your design process?

Linda:  I would hope it helps me, but who really knows!  I understand what it’s like from their point of view. This is THEIR creation that they spent months (maybe years) perfecting and the first thing people will see of it is some cover a complete stranger made. That’s almost unfair. It’s made me a little more patient and I realize slouching off in the cover-designing part is not a good idea!

Novel Notions:  Have you designed any of the covers for your own novels?  If so, what cover was your favorite?

Linda:  All the covers I’ve designed for my own book have not been published yet because I just got started in this designing stuff!  But I did design the cover for To Professor, with Love which is coming out in May!  The cover reveal for it will be March 7th.  So I’m all excited about that one!

Novel Notions:  Congratulations!  That's too cool!  Can you share a little about your novel?

Linda:  Here's the blurb for To Professor with Love:  
Junior in college. Star athlete. Constant attention from the opposite sex.

On this campus, I’m worshiped. While seven hundred miles away, back in my hometown, I’m still trailer park trash, child of the town tramp, and older sibling to three kids who are counting on me to keep my shit together so I can take them away from the same crappy life I grew up in.

These two opposing sides of myself never mix until one person gets a glimpse of the true me. I never expected to connect with anyone like this or want more beyond one night. This may be the real deal.

Problem is, Dr. Kavanagh’s my literature professor.

If I start anything with a teacher and we’re caught together, I might as well kiss my entire future goodbye, as well as my family’s, and especially Dr. Kavanagh’s. Except sometimes love is worth risking everything. Or at least, it damn well better be because I can only resist so much.

-Noel Gamble-

Novel Notions:  Thanks for stopping by, Linda.  

*All the covers featured were designed by Linda.* 
To view more or to contact Linda, click on the links below:

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Self Published Sunday Welcomes Carol Ann Ross

I want to welcome Carol Ann Ross to Self Published Sunday.  Carol is a native of the Carolina coast and remembers a time when life there was very different than today. She disapproves strongly of the "progress" that has been made on so many of the barrier islands along the eastern seaboard, leaving them cookie cutter replicas - each trying to out "modern" the other.  "Where in the hell did quaint and simple go," She asks.

Carol has written for a couple of newspapers and has penned six books, fiction and non fiction.She has experienced at least thirty different modes of employment - from first mate on a fishing boat to college instructor.  She enjoys small town life and trusts dogs over most people. 

 “Why don’t you want to dance with me, Ellie?” Paul asked as the two watched from one of the nearby picnic tables.  
      Ellie shook her head no, “you’re my cousin…”
     “When did that ever stop ya? We’ve been dancing together since we were kids.”
     “I’m a grown lady now.”
     Paul guffawed, “Seems like since the Army came to town, you’re too good to dance with your cousin.
     “I like upbeat music. This is too slow and all the parents are out there – even mine.” Scrunching her nose in disgust, she fidgeted about, swishing her skirt, “I wish Mr. Pike would call a square dance, then I’d probably dance with you.”
     Paul glanced again toward Pearl and Jay, “I hope she’s happy.”
     “No you don’t. You’re hoping right now that there’s a war and that Jay gets sent overseas and never comes back.”
     “Good God, Ellie.” Paul rolled his eyes as he moved a few steps, distancing himself from her. “I don’t want us to go to war!”
     “But you wish that was you there, holding her, kissing her – and you know what else.”
     “Stop it. All girls aren’t like you.”
     “Well, you do wish it.” A slight grin crept upon her lips as she turned her glance away from Paul.
     “Maybe you’re right. Maybe I do wish that it was me dancing with her and getting ready to marry her.  But that doesn’t make me wish anything bad for her.”
     “Bad for her?”
    “Bad for her,” Paul retorted. “If and when we have a war and Jay has to go off and fight in it, just how do you think she’s going to feel?”
     Tossing her hair to the side, Ellie fumbled with the ribbon in it. “She’ll get over it. And besides, while the cat’s away the mice will play.”
     “Not Pearl, she’ll be faithful to Jay for as long as it takes him to come back.”
     “That’s the kind of girl she is.” Paul’s eyes looked sternly at Ellie. “And I hope he comes back, because I want Pearl to be happy.”
     “Liar. And if he doesn’t come back, you’ll be there for her to pick up the pieces.”
     Paul turned away from Ellie and strode to the grill to pick a strand of pork from the nearly bare bones. He glared at Ellie who was still watching him as he chewed on the succulent meat. Swishing her skirt about, she motioned for him to come back as the fiddle player announced that a square dance would be coming up next. Paul ran his fingers though his hair, then reached for the jug hidden behind a wooden beam, walked off into the night, flipping his palm out quickly, as if to say, get lost.

Connect with the author:

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Book Review - Confessions of a Paris Party Girl

Amazon's Book Description:  

Wine, romance, and French bureaucracy - the ups and downs of an American's life in Paris. This laugh-out-loud memoir is almost too funny to be true!

Drinking too much bubbly. Meeting sappy Frenchmen who have girlfriends or are creeps or both. Encountering problème after problème with French bureaucracy. When newly-single party girl Vicki moved to Paris, she was hoping to taste wine, stuff her face with croissants, and maybe fall in love. 

In her first book, this long-time blogger and semi-professional drinker recounts the ups and downs of her life in Paris. Full of sass, shamefully honest admissions, and situations that seem too absurd to be true, Vicki makes you feel as if you're stumbling along the cobblestones with her. 

Will she find love? Will she learn to consume reasonable amounts of alcohol? Will the French administration ever cut her a break?

What I thought:

Paris.  Wine.  Croissants.  If this sounds like your dream getaway, then get comfy because Vicki Lesage is about to take you on a trip.   Confessions of a Paris Party Girl is a humorous memoir detailing the author's life in Paris.  The memoir is witty and on occasion a tad bit snarky - but that made me enjoy it all the more. The author shares her adventures - not only introducing us to a variety of people (I loved old creepy foot fetish dude) but letting us tag along to her favorite places.   We get lessons on French bureaucracy and witness the struggles of apartment hunting.

There's a lot of drinking as the title suggests and the author is honest in her recounting of events - even when she's not at her best.  (At one point - I felt sorry for her liver!)  But there's more to this story than the author's drinking. We get to watch as she grows and matures - as friendships/relationships develop and she embraces all that Paris has to offer.

I really enjoyed the author's writing style.  She describes her life and Paris without subjecting the reader to tedious details - yet, I felt as though I had ventured into the bakeries and bars along with her.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Self Published Sunday Welcomes Sallie Lundy-Frommer!

Today's guest is Sallie Lundy-Frommer.  She is the author of Yesterday's Daughter and hosts a blog Sallie's Book Reviews and More  (You should definitely check it out!)  

I'll let Sally tell you a bit about herself:

I was born on a farm in the rural South to a family of migrant farm workers. In fact, my family is huge.  Some might call it a clan…:-)  I’m the youngest of 10 children.  Yup, I have six brothers and three sisters.  And yes, holidays are a zoo….

Anyway, at an early age, my family moved to the urban Northeast. No more running in the cotton fields for me….:-)

I now live in the suburban Northeast with my husband and a large assortment of plants. I don’t have any children but as you can well imagine, I have tons of nieces and nephews. 

As for my education, I was the first in my family to go to college.  I hold bachelors and masters degrees in Human Resource Management.  But I have nieces and nephews working on PhDs.  Way to go kinfolks!!!!

I guess that’s enough for now.  I hope you’ve enjoyed a peek into my world.

Book Blub

Yesterday’s Daughter is full of suspense and surprises as the plot develops. It holds a mirror to contemporary society so we can consider our feelings about people who seem different from us, the assumptions we may make about other groups, and the consequences of those assumptions. Yesterday’s Daughter is an emotionally laden paranormal vampire romance novel woven with layers of betrayal, love and loss. Grace Stone, who later learns her true identity is Sapphira, is a loner who survives abuse in the foster care system after being abandoned as a child. A brilliant student, she escapes from her brutal foster parents as a teenager and creates a life for herself. But, her life is little more than existence; plagued with questions about what she really is, a family that she has never known and the never-ending need to keep her differences hidden. She is alone and lonely, believing it will always remain so until Malachi appears in her life. Malachi, a Guardian of the vampire communities, has searched for his life mate, Sapphira, for decades. He refuses to cease searching for Sapphira even though she is believed dead by all. Conflict arises over the decades between Malachi and his family because of his refusals to accept another mate. But his very soul drives him on to continue his search, knowing that he could not exist if Sapphira were not in the world, somewhere.

Excerpt from Yesterday’s Daughter:

Malachi had gone very still as cold panic ran through his veins like a locomotive.  Trigon started to speak when he noticed that Malachi had paled and was holding his breath.  “Malachi, what is it?” he asked.  The Guardians stared at him and then he let out a howl, in so much anguish that it burst all the glass in the room, exploding the windows as he fell to his knees.  The Guardians spun around believing they were under some new kind of attack but saw nothing to explain Malachi’s condition.  Stunned silence then filled the room, no one breathed unsure of what was happening or what to do.
The nerves of the Guardians were drawn tight like bows about to be launched.  Their eyes were glowing, sweeping the room, searching the shadows, listening with focused intensity, searching for threats.  Maybe the Harvesters had a new weapon.
Trigon carefully stepped closer to Malachi and tentatively placed one hand on his shoulder.  He whispered the question quietly; afraid of what he might hear to bring such a reaction from Malachi.  “What is it, friend?”
Malachi looked up and Trigon recoiled at the grief and horror in his eyes.  He said one word, “Sapphira.”  They all looked at each other, their unease growing.  They all knew his life mate had been killed in the maturing chambers long ago.  Why was he calling her name now?  Why this murderous rage?  Had he lost his mind?
“What about Sapphira?”  Trigon asked unsure of what Malachi was trying to say.  Malachi’s breathing had returned but he sounded like a wounded animal, his breath ragged and uneven.  Unable to find the words, he thrust his mind out to share information with Trigon. Trigon stilled and the Guardians knew that Malachi was giving him information directly.  Trigon’s face tightened in concentration from the onslaught of information.  As the seconds passed, the Guardians grew tenser.

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