C.C. Solomon

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“The Mission” by C.C. Solomon

Rule #6: Be mysterious, but always approachable…keep him wanting more!

Rule #11: Always remember, no sex in the beginning. Make him wait!

Rule #19: You’ve got to give a little to get a little. Be giving of yourself, and it will make a lasting impression to keep your Mr. Right.

Sheila and Denise are successful, funny and attractive, but very single women. Not that being single is horrible; but when Denise is hassled to have a date to an old friend’s wedding-of-the-century, and Shelia needs an escort to an industry banquet where everyone who’s anyone will be in attendance, being single loses its perks. To add to the dilemma, Sheila tells a little white lie to her workplace nemesis about dating a successful music producer, which explodes into a career-threatening rumor. Under extreme pressure from family, friends and coworkers, they resort to making a pact. Their Mission: Get A Man in Three Months. They will use “proven” rules to finding their Mr. Rights. Rules that worked for a friend of a friend …how hard could it be?

Join them in their hilarious, and sometimes heartbreaking adventures as chapter by chapter they follow a new rule, and delve into the treacherous world of Washington, D.C. dating. The gal pals suffer through speed dating (Sam Needs-a-Bath). They allow themselves to be set up on blind dates (Bitter Crying Kevin). They try a dating service (Apron-Strings Adrian). They try the bar scene (Smoky the Bear who smokes more than cigars). They even meet men in the beauty salon (Javier Not Quite Straight). And there’s more, much more. Surrounded by family drama, workplace stressors and their own hang-ups about love, will the rules actually help them find their Mr. Rights in time for their events?

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GUEST POST

My Inspiration to Write the Mission

You know that part in Sex and the City where the girls are at breakfast and Charlotte says (through a hangover) that she’s been dating since she was 15 and wants to know where he (the proverbial “One”) is? Yeah, well after one too many conversations like that I decided to write The Mission. Not an endless gripe about wondering when Mr. Right would show up but based on conversations with gal pals about our dating adventures (and I say adventures on purpose).

Crazy enough I first started this book several years ago when I was younger than the characters now I’m slightly older and can still relate. And I do mean relate. I’ve been in many a scenario in dating, some of it so crazy that instead of getting upset about yet another mishap, I decided to write about it. I mean when a date rear ends your car when you’re leaving the restaurant you can’t help but think, this has gotta be good for something (either that or cry).

So I took to writing. No, I’m not throwing guys I’ve dated under the bus. The tales in The Mission are simply inspired by actual events but not real play by plays. Kind of the way The Exorcist was inspired by actual events. We don’t really believe a kid was spitting up pea soup do we? Well actually yeah, I could see a kid doing that (I still hate peas).

But I digress. I not only wrote The Mission as a cathartic way to vent about dating and serve as a creative outlet for my dating experiences but also as an ode to the ever growing genre of chick lit. And boy am I a chick lit (and chick flick) gal. From popular ones like Confessions of a Shopaholic to lesser known ones like His Insignificant Other, I eat up a good chick lit novel.

These are not your sappy romance novels. Sure romance is always in there in some way but what defines chick lit is a story of a woman doing any of the following: finding herself, struggling with family and friendships or overcoming an obstacle to reach a better self. And it’s always done with a little (or a lot) of humor. It’s about female empowerment. Yes the fairy tale ending is cute but I love a story that takes me somewhere emotionally or one I can truly relate to. So yes, I was inspired by other chick lit novels.

I was also inspired to fill a gap that I hadn’t found too many authors to fill. That of the minority chick lit novel. Truly it wouldn’t be vastly different from your regular style of chick lit but once in a while it’s nice to have a character that looks like yourself around. Not only that, there are some differences to acknowledge from the point of view of a woman of color when it comes to romantic comedy. Especially in a town like D.C. Sure we all have our dating war stories and rules for love but try being a single, successful brown gal in a political, transitory and predominantly female town like D.C. What stories could come from that perspective? Could The Rules, Think(ing) Like a Man and Tough Love really work in this town? Well those questions inspired me to write the Mission.

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About the author, C.C. Solomon: C.C. is originally from Baltimore, Maryland and has actively written fiction since the age of eleven. She is an avid “chick lit” reader and urban fantasy fan. In 2012, she participated as a writer and actress in the 48 hour film project. In her other life, she works in Equal Employment and Civil Rights for the Federal Government. Before becoming a public servant, C.C. briefly practiced law after graduating from the University of Maryland School of Law. C.C. currently resides in the Washington D.C. area and is an active blogger. The Mission is C.C.’s first novel and she is working on her next novel in the genre of urban fantasy.

**Contact C.C.: Website   Facebook   Twitter

**Book links: Amazon   Barnes & Noble

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TheMissionButton**Click HERE to see other stops on C.C.’s Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours!

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**GIVEAWAY**

**Everyone who leaves a comment on the tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases a copy of The Mission by September 8 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at)ChickLitPlus.com will receive 10 bonus entries!**

Cover Reveal: Let’s Move On by Deborah Nam-Krane

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Today’s an exciting day, it’s cover reveal day of “Let’s Move On” by Deborah Nam-Krane!

Exciting, huh? I know, I can’t wait…

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Before moving on to the cover, here’s a blurb of Deborah’s new book:

Zainab has spent years keeping Emily from going over the edge, giving Miranda a shoulder to cry on and nursing Jessie back to health. They’ll be the first to agree that she she deserves whatever makes her happy, especially after the drama Richard put her through. But did she have to choose the guy who threw everyone’s lives into the shredder?

Richard knows he screwed up and he’d do anything to get Zainab back- but first he needs to make sure his company -and his loyal employees- don’t go under. (Who knew kicking your primary investor to the curb would have consequences?) Good thing his family has such deep pockets; too bad he doesn’t want to take a cent from them. Why should Zainab take him back if he can’t get out of his own way?

Maybe Zainab can eat her cake and have it too- that is, until she’s given an ultimatum. The choice isn’t Lover A or B; it’s protecting her friends or letting them fend for themselves. With that hanging over her head, what’s it going to take to make sure she and everyone else can finally move on?

“Let’s Move On” is Book Four in The New Pioneers series!

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Well, I guess it’s time to share the cover…here it is!

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DON’T YOU LOVE IT?!

Title: “Let’s Move On”, Series: The New Pioneers, Release date: September 29th, 2014,  Genre: Contemporary Romance

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About author, Deborah Nam-Krane: Deborah is a writer living in Boston proper who has been storytelling since she was a little girl and writing those stories down since she was eight. Any given day will find her reading, writing, reviewing, editing and, just for fun, homeschooling her three school-aged children (she’s very grateful the fourth is now college-aged).

The best way to keep in touch is to follow her blog Written By Deb and subscribe to her newsletter (only publishing announcements, never spam).

**Contact Deborah: Follow on Twitter   Read my writing blog   Join my mailing list

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Other links:

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22896360-let-s-move-on?ac=1

Smashwords link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/465697

B&N link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lets-move-on-deborah-nam-krane/1120171705?ean=2940046094848 

The Smartest Girl in the Room (March 2013)

The Family You Choose (September 2013)

The China Doll (March 2014)

BOOK REVIEW: Going Pecans

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“Going Pecans” by Gina Henning

Book Description: A warm pie. A tasty guy. Happy Thanksgiving indeed.

Homecomings for Lauren Hauser are always filled with delicious food and hopes for a distraction from her quirky family. The only exception with this visit: she’s been given the challenge of preparing her grandmother’s pie.

Set out on a journey for pecans, Lauren stumbles into Jack a guy who despite his charm (and kissable lips) appears to be in a committed relationship…with his career. His main concern is taking care of a last minute errand for a client, not Lauren or her quest for the key ingredient.

Frazzled in more ways than one, Lauren’s journey improves when Jack rescues her from an icy walk. Attraction and tension rise and soon pecans aren’t the only things getting toasty in the kitchen.

My Review:

I started this book on a lazy Friday afternoon, when I decided to take off the rest of the day. Though Texas hasn’t had a really hot summer, I’m already dreaming of my favorite holiday, which is Thanksgiving, so this was a perfect read to dive into.

I loved how the book began. The touching, and at times, funny, letter from the grandmother was really sweet. It drew me in, and I wanted to know if Lauren could master the art of baking the precious and important pie, for her family. Lauren’s search of the right pecans was quite an adventuresome, but she managed to be graceful…even when she wasn’t. I must say that Lauren was more brave than I would be, especially in a winter storm, and with a broken car. While she might not have usually got in the car with a stranger, part of me thought she was playing a game…all for the pecans. As for Jack, the man who held the key ingredient, I liked him, even though he had a mysterious way about him.

The ending was a sweet one, and will have you craving a piece of pie–I was! It also left me wondering if there will be a sequel next year…

If you’re looking for a quick and delightful holiday read, you will love “Going Pecans”.

I give “Going Pecans” 5 stars!

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**GIVEAWAY**

Click HERE to enter the “Going Pecans” prize package!

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**About author, Gina Henning:

Gina Henning currently resides where bluebonnets line the highways in the spring, but she prefers the rock flower anemone from under the sea. Above the ocean’s surface Gina likes to dance with her three boys and travel to exotic places like the grocery store with her husband. Her pooch Schatzi is a mix between German Shepherd and possibly pig. One of Gina’s favorite pastimes is running. She recently completed her one-and-done marathon. At the end of the day her glass of wine is always half-full.

**Contact Gina: Facebook Author Page   Twitter   Website   Goodreads

**Buy “Going Pecans”: Amazon

Tess Thompson

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Author, Tess Thompson: Tess Thompson is a mother before all else, and a writer after that. She’s also a Zumba dancing queen, though the wearing of the crown is reserved for invitation-only appearances. After honing her craft in theater with a prize-winning play titled My Lady’s Hand, her heart was called to a different storytelling medium: the great American novel.

But, as she recently said to a friend, “Well, maybe not ‘great’ but certainly American.”

The first of these, Riversong (Booktrope Editions), went on to become #1 on Barnes and Noble’s Nook Book chart in October 2011. Two years after its release, readership of Riversong continues to grow, spending weeks in the top 100 Kindle bestsellers; it’s known amongst her friends and family as “the little book that could.”

Caramel and Magnolias, the first in the Legley Bay Collection was released in the fall of 2012. In May of 2013 Tess released the sequel to Riversong called Riverbend and the third in the collection, Riverstar, in August 2013. Tea and Primroses, the second in the Legley Bay Collection was released February 16, 2014. The first in the Blue Mountain Collection, Blue Midnight was released June 30, 2014.

She’s currently working on her first historical fiction, Duet For Three Hands, which will be released December 2014.

Like her characters in the River Valley Collection, Tess hails from a small town in southern Oregon. She currently lives in a suburb of Seattle, Washington with her two young daughters, ages 11 and 8, the loves of her life.

Although currently single, Tess has not given up on finding a love story of her own. Until her prince arrives, she’s content creating what she hopes are epic, page-turning love stories with a little suspense and mystery for additional spice. She writes in her home office six days a week, sipping countless cups of herbal tea, with two naughty but adorable kittens, (Christmas presents for her daughters) Mittens and Midnight, at her feet. But hopefully said Prince arrives soon to save her from becoming a bitter, crazy cat lady. Did she mention how adorable the kittens are?

Tess loves to hear from you. Drop her a line or visit her Facebook Fan Page or follow her on Twitter.

**Contact Tess: Website

**Find the books!: Amazon   Goodreads   Barnes & Noble

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INTERVIEW

Describe your writing style in five words: Lyrical fast-paced romantic suspense.

When did you know you wanted to be an author? When I was a little girl I fell in love with reading fiction and have been obsessed with reading and writing all my life.

Hard/paperbacks or eBooks? I get a lot of paperbacks from the library and also read a ton of ebooks on my Kindle.

Describe your writing/editing/publishing process: I write the first draft of a novel quickly then rewrite the entire draft before sending it to my editor. She then does her magic and I do another rewrite.

When working, what is your favorite snack or drink? Apple Cinnamon herbal. tea.

Do you have any writing rituals? I always say a little prayer before I begin the day’s work but besides that I’m just “Butt In Seat” when my girls are at school.

What is something that people would be surprised to know about you? I spend way too much money on my hair.

If you could meet any author, who would it be? Laura Ingalls Wilder.

How did you celebrate when your first book was published? I don’t remember exactly. Probably steaks and a glass of really good red wine.

Where is you favorite place to write? Anywhere that’s quiet. I mostly write at my desk in my home office because I have to use my ergonomic keyboard because of arm issues.

What do you want readers to take away from your books? Hope. Inspiration. Belief in second chances.

What are you working on now? I’m working on both Riversnow (fourth River Valley book) and the second in the Blue Mountain Collection about Blythe’s sister Bliss. We’re also editing my first historical fiction, Duet for Three Hands.

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“Blue Midnight” by Tess Thompson

“If you change your mind, here’s this.” Finn Lanigan kissed a young Blythe Heywood one last time under a star-scattered Idaho sky. It was the last kiss that ever weakened her knees, the last sky she noticed for over a dozen years. Then she left, returning to her fiancé, the wedding she’d committed to, and the secure life she’d yearned for since she was a little girl.

Thirteen years later, her husband leaves Blythe for his young associate. Devastated, she’s unable to imagine the next chapter of her life as she packs her family’s belongings to move across town. Unexpectedly, she finds the forgotten slip of paper bearing Finn’s phone number in the back of a drawer.

Hadn’t she tossed it years before as a newlywed, when she vowed to be the perfect wife and mother? Apparently not. Here it remained. Her road not taken.

Facing three weeks without her young daughters, Blythe sets out to find the man she left behind so long ago. With only the name of the small town where he once lived, Peregrine, Idaho, and the memory of their last kiss under a starry sky, she heads across the Pacific Northwest in search of him.

What she finds in the foothills of Blue Mountain challenges everything she thought she knew and is the very last thing she expected. Within days, her life changes forever. But it is her destiny and destinies cannot be denied.

The first book of the Blue Mountain Collection, laced with Thompson’s lovable but complex characters, “Blue Midnight” is a mature love story about second chances, family, and the complexities of trust and vulnerability after betrayal.

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**Click HERE to see other stop on Tess Thompson’s Chick Lit Plus Blog tours!

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**GIVEAWAY**

Click HERE to enter to win an eBook of “The Legley Bay Collection”

GIVEAWAY: You Could Be A Winner…

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Hello, family, friends, and followers!

I’m hard at work on my upcoming release, CARDS FROM KHLOE’S FLOWER SHOP, but I’m writing to tell you about an exciting giveaway. From now, until September 9th, you can enter to win a signed paperback copy of my book, THE RIGHT DESIGN, along with two bookmarks! To enter to win, click HERE to go to my author website, and then click on the Rafflecopter link. Yes, it’s that easy!

**U.S. residents only, please**

Also, click HERE to check out all the great reviews I’m getting on Amazon!

Karyn Rae

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About author, Karyn Rae: Karyn Rae is an emerging Romantic-Suspense author. Her debut novel, The Achilles Heel was released in May 2014. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, and the Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writers Guild. Karyn resides in Missouri with her husband, son, daughter, and chocolate lab- Augusta Mae.

The first part of Karyn’s life was spent in the South, and the last fifteen years have played out in the Midwest, but she’s still holding on to a shred of her Southern roots. She is a wife, mother, daughter, and sister who has made it her mission in life to carve out a career for herself, while keeping the husband and the children happy.

**Contact: Website

INTERVIEW

Describe your writing style in five words: I write from the heart.

Hard/paperbacks or eBooks? Paperback or eBook. Hardback books seem too grown up for me, but I love holding an actual book in my hands. EBooks are helpful because of the lit screen, and I have a child that likes to sneak into my bed at night. At that point, turning on a lamp is out of the question; never wake a sleeping kid!

Tell us about your writing/editing publishing process: In one word- long! I’m working on my second book (the sequel to The Achilles Heel) and I’ve already found a process that feels right. Every time I sit down to write, I go back three chapters and begin reading from there. It helps to put me back into the story, and by the time I get to my last stopping point, I’m ready to move forward with the writing. After I finished my first book, one of the best pieces of advice I got was to step away from the story. I took a month off before I went back to do my first round of edits, and I felt like a reader not just the author. I’ll definitely keep that as part of my process.

When writing, what is your favorite snack or drink to have beside you? I don’t like to eat when I write because I hate sticky fingers. I usually have a glass of water on my side table, but I get so engrossed into the story, I forget to drink any of it.

In your writing, what are some of your strengths and weaknesses? Strengths- writing about real and relatable people, even if the situation isn’t. Romantic suspense is my genera, so I want the readers to be in the story, feeling the highs and lows with the characters.

Weaknesses- punctuation and run-on sentences. I wasn’t a journalism or English major, so I have a lot of work to do in the mechanics department of writing.

Do you have any writing ritual? I used to need everything perfectly in place to be able to write, but then summer hit. I have two kids that are out of school for summer break and perfection was thrown out the window. It’s good though. I’m glad I’ve been able to adapt to my environment. Life is always changing, and you either need to get on board or you’ll get left behind.

Which author inspires you? There are so many answers to this question. On a world-wide level- Gillian Flynn. Gillian is a Midwest girl who has conquered the world. She continues to raise the bar higher, and I love that. On a local level- Liz Schulte. Liz has self-published numerous novels and makes a comfortable living as a full-time author. She writes what she wants and keeps her own schedule.

What is your favorite word? Baby. I grew up in the south and the word baby has so many different meanings. It’s an all-encompassing term of endearment that makes my heart smile when I call my daughter, baby, but also makes me swoon when I hear it from a man. I love that one word can make me feel so many emotions.

Is the social media a help or a hinder? For me social media is a God send. I’m a no-name, first time author, trying to break into a billion dollar business. I’ll take all the help I can get.

What is your favorite topic to write about? I love a good mystery. As a reader, I love to figure out the mystery as soon as possible. I’m uber competitive, so I feel a sense of accomplishment if I can guess the ending. As a writer, my agenda is the complete opposite. When I wrote a five year plan for myself, I specifically wrote that I would have no less than five twists in each book. I love leading readers on, stroking their confidence, and making them think they have the ending of the book figured out. Then, I sweep the legs at the end, blindsiding them with another twist.

What do you want your readers to take away from your books? I’m a mom who lives an ordinary life. I want to be taken away from fighting, cleaning, bills, cooking and basically working for other people (mostly small people). When someone chooses my book, I feel as though I have a responsibility to take them away from their life. My books probably won’t make you smarter or change your life, but they will certainly help you escape it.

What are you working on right now? Right now, I’m halfway through the sequel to The Achilles Heel. I have seven notebooks, each filled with the details for another story. I have the material; I just need to find the time to write them all.

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AchillesHeelCoverPic“The Achilles Hell” by Karyn Rae: Annie Whitman’s ordinary Midwest life is shattered with the sudden death of her husband Jack. Thirty-five and failing at life as a widow, she turns to the comforts of vodka in an attempt to camouflage the cold sheets of an empty bed. The necessary inebriation helps her to cope with Jack’s death, but proves to be a deterrent in recovering any sense of normalcy. After spending several months at the bottom of a bottle, Annie stumbles upon a lockbox in the crawl space of her basement. Opening this box also opens her eyes to the likelihood that Jack Whitman might not have been the honest and doting man she married.

Annie embarks on a mission to the Virgin Islands to uncover the truth about her husband’s past and seek safety from her brother-in-law, who seems to be the captain of his own sinking ship. While settling into paradise, she meets the wickedly handsome, but surprisingly reserved Kessler Carlisle, who is struggling with his retirement from country music superstardom. With Kessler’s help, Annie discovers the heart’s uncanny ability to heal, and the possibility that dead men don’t always keep their secrets-even if they’re buried in the Caribbean waters of St. Croix.

The Achilles Heel delves into the formidable fact that everyone harbors darkness, and some will go to the depths of the ocean to keep their secrets hidden.

**Buy “The Achilles Heel”: Amazon

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**Click HERE to see other stops on Karyn’s Chick Lit Plus Blog Tour!

(Also, everyone who leaves a comment on the tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases a copy of The Achilles Heel by September 1 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at)ChickLitPlus.com will receive 10 bonus entries!**

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Aven Ellis

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About Aven Ellis: Aven Ellis has been writing fiction since she was sixteen. She studied communications at a large Midwestern university, and after graduation, Aven worked as a reporter for a community newspaper, followed by a stint at a public relations agency.

But writing about city council meetings and restaurant franchises was not as much fun as writing for young women trying to figure out their careers and potential boyfriends. So Aven got herself a job in television that allowed her to write at night.  Connectivity is Aven’s debut novel; Waiting For Prince Harry and Chronicles of a Lincoln Park Fashionista(New Adult romantic comedy) will be published this year.

Aven lives in Dallas with her family. When she is not writing, Aven enjoys shopping, cooking, connecting with friends on social media, and watching any show that features Gordon Ramsay.

**Contact Aven: Website   Facebook   Pinterest   Twitter

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INTERVIEW

Describe yourself in five words: Talker, Creative, Funny, Supportive, Caring

What does being a writer mean to you? It means being able to bring characters and their stories to life. I love it, it is one of my biggest joys in life, to bring life to a character.

Tell us about your book, “Waiting for Prince Harry”: Waiting for Prince Harry is the story of Kylie Reed, a young women who is waiting for the right time to live her dreams: when she’s been at her job longer, when she has more experience, when she’s married…her life is filed away for the future because she’s afraid of the now. But all of that changes when she meets a gorgeous ginger who happens to be even hotter than Prince Harry, her dream crush.

What was your writing/editing/publishing process like? Waiting for Prince Harry was written in about seven months. My publisher knew I was working on it and asked to read it upon completion. Once she read it, I was offered a contract for it. This process has been easier, because I had already been through it before with Connectivity and knew what to expect. But the reader reaction surprised me! They loved Harrison, and loved the hockey angle so much I’m working on another hockey book right now.

Hard/paperbacks or eBooks? Both!

How did you celebrate when “Waiting for Prince Harry” was published? Ha, I was at work all day so there was no big celebration in my cubicle.

Which other authors inspire you? Holly Martin. We’ve become the best of friends and her writing blows me away.

Describe what would be your ideal day: Grabbing a cup of coffee, turning up Spotify, and writing for hours on end. Then getting in a workout and chatting with people on Twitter and then making a healthy dinner while watching any show with Gordon Ramsay in it.

As an author, what is the best advice you’ve been given? Write your brains out, then write some more, and don’t let anyone tell you no.

What is your favorite writing quote? I really don’t have one.

Every writer must have a…: Thick skin. People aren’t always going to love what you write, and they will let you know it!

Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects? Chronicles of a Lincoln Park Fashionista is going to be released on September 10th, and the companion book to that, Surviving The Rachel, will be released in February 2015. And right now I’m writing a story about one of Harrison Flynn’s teammates in a second hockey story.

GUEST POST

Social Media for Authors

I am by no means an expert on how authors should use social media properly.  In fact, I’m the LAST person that should be talking about this because not only do I not follow “suggested ways to use social media” but I pretty much ignore advice on the topic.

Why, you ask?

Because being a proper business minded author on social media takes all the fun out of it for me. It’s a place to be myself. If you follow me on Twitter, I’ll talk about anything from the Duchess of Cambridge (Love her) to hot hockey players (hello Tyler Seguin) to what workout I did that night (boxing/weight intervals this evening by the way.)

And I have met so many people on Twitter just by doing that-not necessarily by promoting my own books (which I do, of course) but by engaging people in conversations. By being the goofy, fun, neurotic person I am. On my Facebook page, I post hot guys who helped inspire my heroes in my books. Readers got involved and suggested I add Tattoo Tuesday to the rotation, which I did.

On Instagram, I post pics of my other passions: working out and cooking healthy food. So readers get to see that side of my life, and people who follow me for food find out I’m an author. I have loads of pins on Pinterest, and boards for each character in my current and upcoming books.  But I also have pins on my fashion favorites, my TV shows, more recipes than I will ever cook, and hot British actors. Once again, this is all me, Aven Ellis, and people can connect with me on a personal level.

So this is what social media is to me, a place to be myself and meet amazing new people. Is this a marketing approved strategy? Probably not. But am I having fun with a bunch of new friends? Absolutely yes.

And that is what matters most to this author. :)

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WaitingforPrinceHarryCoverPic“Waiting For Prince Harry”: Twenty-four-year-old Kylie Reed has always been a rule follower. Organized and cautious to a fault, her dreams for life are often filed away for future use—when she has a house, when she meets her future husband, when she has been at her visual display job at a chic Dallas boutique longer. Kylie always has a reason for living her life in the future, not in the present, and fears not living her life to the fullest and reaching her dream of becoming a fashion designer.

The only exception to rules, of course, would be running away with Prince Harry. But living in Dallas and not knowing Prince Harry make this a non-option.

Or does it?

Because when Kylie accidentally falls into the lap of a gorgeous ginger guy—yes, even more gorgeous than the real Prince Harry—all bets are off. Kylie’s life takes some unexpected twists and turns thanks to this encounter. Could this stranger be the one to show Kylie how to live in the present?

EXCERPT

We get up and step into the store next to our bench, which happens to be a fancy stationery and candle shop.

As soon as the door closes behind us, Harrison moves over to a candle display on a large round table and takes off his sunglasses. He clips them onto the collar of his shirt, while I push mine up on the top of my head. Now we can see each other’s eyes, and Harrison’s green eyes are sparkling at me.

“That’s better,” Harrison says, smiling at me.

“I agree,” I say, smiling back at him.

“Hello, can I help you find anything?” a saleswoman asks.

Harrison looks at her, but then glances back at me. “I think,” he says, “I’ve already found what I need.”

I rest my hand on the edge of the table to keep myself steady, because the way he’s staring at me right now makes me almost dizzy with excitement.

“Oh, wonderful,” the saleswoman says.

“Yes, it is,” Harrison answers, his eyes never leaving mine.

“Well, please let me know if you need anything else,” she says before walking away.

Harrison then looks straight at me. “I do need something else.”

Ooooh, I really love this place where we are right now.

“And what would that be?”

“Well, obviously I need to buy one of these candles now,” Harrison says, picking up a Seda France box.

“Perfect. These are my favorite candles,” I say smartly.

“Are they now?” Harrison says, raising an eyebrow.

Okay. Candle shopping is an extremely hot activity. Who knew?

“Yes,” I say, picking up one to inhale. “Would you care to smell Japanese Quince?”

Harrison nods. I extend the candle toward him and he wraps his hand around mine, so we are both holding the candle.

And any nerve I had left just completely imploded the second his hand wrapped around mine.

“While I see many things I like at this table,” Harrison says, leaning forward to smell Japanese Quince, “there’s one thing in particular, other than this candle, that I need.”

He stands up straight but keeps his hand wrapped over mine.

“What would that be?” I ask softly.

“Dinner with you. At my place. Tonight.”

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**Click HERE to see other stops on Aven’s Chick Lit Plus Blog Tour!

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Photo Play

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“Photo Play” by Pam McKenna

Blurb: Shy Darla Carmody decides to jump-start her flaccid love life by presenting her fiancé with sexy photos of herself. She doesn’t bargain on the photographer, Kon Drummond, being a hunky Dom determined to personally demonstrate what she’s been missing. The photo session turns into a BDSM marathon as Kon introduces Darla to the erotic pleasures of bondage, spanking, and complete sexual submission—all under the unforgiving lens of his camera. Never has Darla imagined herself on the receiving end of such treatment, or guessed the ecstasy it would bring her. Kon has been burned by three expensive divorces and refuses to acknowledge his emotional connection to Darla. He taught her to embrace a part of herself she never knew existed. Will he let her return the favor?

My Review: Every now and then, I enjoy reading erotica short stories, so I decided to read and review “Photo Play”. While I liked the concept of the storyline, along with sometimes liking Darla’s character, I found it difficult to follow. Kon seemed way too forceful–even for an erotica–and I wished that Darla had more confidence in herself to stand up to Kon, especially if she really didn’t want him to be doing anything to her. I wanted to know more about how she felt or thought, as I found it really hard to believe Darla wanted Kon.

As for the writing, I found it to be all over the place. I didn’t know what was happening to Darla, how she felt, or how much time had passed between them.

While I wanted to like this book a lot, I found it hard to get into, nor did I find anything about it erotic.

I give this book 3 stars.

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Excerpt:

“Darla. Listen.” Kon pressed a palm to his chest. “Do you trust me?”

The look she gave him said, You have got to be kidding.

“I mean as an artist,” he said. “You came to me because I’m the best. You’ve seen my work.”

“How refreshing.” Her tone was arid. “A man with a healthy ego. The changing room?”

“There is no changing room.” Kon spread his arms. “What you see is what you get.”

She huffed out a breath. “Turn around, then. I’ll change… over there.” She nodded toward the far corner of the room where assorted pieces of cloth–drapes, scarves and the like–spilled from a cut-off refrigerator carton. “Better yet, you can hold up one of those drapes–high–to give me some privacy.”

“When I’m going to see you naked anyway? Come on, you can’t be that repressed.”

“Stop saying that. I am not repressed.” Darla’s pants slipped from her fingers and puddled at her feet. She struggled to keep her breasts covered as she bent to pull them up.

“If you say so,” Kon muttered. Obviously Darla Carmody had no inkling of her physical appeal. She was shy. Self-effacing. Vulnerable. Kon knew the type well. He should. He’d married three of them.

Which was why he had no intention of letting this one get close. It was just as well she was engaged.

“And I’m not going to get totally naked for you,” she said.

“It isn’t for me,” he reminded her. “It’s for your fiancé. Are you telling me he hasn’t seen you naked?”

“You know what I mean. Will you–will you just–” Darla emitted a growl of frustration as she tried to refasten her pants while holding up her bra. “Will you at least fasten this thing so I can pull myself together here?”

Kon stepped behind her and took hold of the ends of her bra. The instant she released it, he flicked the ugly thing off her and slingshotted it over her head. Darla grabbed her breasts. The pants fell. Kon seized her around the waist and lifted her as he kicked her pants and sandals halfway across the room.

“How dare you!” she howled, fighting like a tigress against his hold, her back pressed to his front. They stumbled around like that, tripping on electrical cords and nearly knocking over Grandma Drummond’s Victorian piano bench.

Darla wore only that wispy, nearly invisible thong, and the muscles of her ass pummeled his cock as she squirmed and thrashed. Not too shabby as cheap thrills went. Her skin was hot satin. She smelled of vanilla and lavender and woman.

“We don’t have time for garter belts and shit like that.” Kon’s words came in harsh grunts. Her hair whipped his face and caught in his mouth. “Settle down.” If he had an extra few hours to kill, he’d let her do the sexy-lingerie routine, let her gradually get comfortable with the process, and with him, while gently coaxing her toward the full Monty. But time, as they said, was money, and as usual, “they” were right.

“If you’ve seen my work,” he huffed, “then you know I don’t do cheesy lingerie shots.”

“I’m the goddamn. Paying. Customer.” She punctuated her words with blind backward kicks to his shins. “I get to decide.”

Kon hauled her off her feet, inadvertently grabbing a breast as he did so. It was a fine, firm breast and made a more-than-decent handle as he wrestled her crosswise onto the bench, pinning her body with his and shackling her wrists behind her back one-handed.

They remained that way for long seconds, panting from their exertions, her butt angled high and still pressed to what was now a blue-ribbon hard-on. Kon felt his heart pounding–felt her heart pounding, too, against his other hand. He eased his grip on her breast, letting it fill his hand like a ripe, heavy fruit. He weighed the silky flesh, gently stroked and molded it. The nipple pulled into a tight bud, teasing his palm.

Kon sucked in a breath. Darla was still breathing hard, but said nothing. Still holding her wrists, he leaned down and kissed her neck. She trembled. He gave in to the impulse to lightly bite the place he’d kissed.

A ragged whimper issued from her throat. “What are you doing?”

“You’re delicious.” He drew the scent of her deep into his lungs, the perfume of desire she was helpless to suppress. “I can’t resist.”

And he couldn’t. Kon was going to fuck this woman. He was going to take her right there, right then, on Grandma’s piano bench under the blazing lights. His cock was practically bursting out of his pants. Darla Carmody was one of the hottest women he’d ever met, a woman of stunning natural sensuality, and the best part was, she had no clue about this part of her nature.

Which, of course, only made her hotter–to him, at least.

* * * * *

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????**About author, Pam McKenna: Pam McKenna has been an avid storyteller since she was old enough to put pencil to paper. Her number-one passion is the written word, though if you read her novellas, you might conclude that her true passions lie elsewhere. And you’d be right. Pam loves erotic romance and has never been shy about pulling out the stops and treating her readers to five-alarm fantasies. Pam McKenna is the pen name of a best-selling romance author.

**Contact Pam: Website   Facebook   Twitter

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**Buy books by Pam McKenna**

“Binding Agreement”: Amazon   Barnes & Noble

“Faking It”: Amazon   Barnes & Noble

“Photo Play”: Amazon   Barnes & Noble

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PhotoPlayButton**Click HERE to see other stops on Pam’s Chick Lit Plus Blog tour!

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**Click HERE to enter to win eBooks of “Binding Agreement” and “Faking It” by Pam McKenna!

Better Than Your Dreams

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“Better Than Your Dreams” by Dee Ernst

Blurb: In this follow-up to “Better Off Without Him”, Mona Quincy once again faces life’s tough moments with good friends, lots of laughs, and a cold, dry martini.   For the past eighteen months, Mona has had a long-distance relationship with the man of her dreams, Ben Cutler. She’s been in LA working on a screenplay, while he’s been keeping the NJ home fires burning. But now she’s back, and she needs to answer a very serious question – will she marry Ben?

Mona doesn’t think she ever wants to get married again – not even to someone as practically perfect as Ben Cutler. But before she can think about her own marriage plans, she’s got a few other weddings to deal with. Her Aunt Lily doesn’t think that being almost eighty should deter her future happiness, and has met her perfect partner in Vinnie DeMatriano, who just happens to be the uncle of a slightly notorious crime boss. True, they’ve only known each other three months, but they want to tie the knot – in Mona’s back yard. Then Miranda, Mona’s oldest daughter, announces that she’s ready to get married after a three month long courtship of her own – to Ben’s son, David.

Ben believes in love at first sight, and is thrilled for Miranda and David. Mona – not so much. She doesn’t want her daughter to marry anyone after such a short time. As they find themselves at odds for the very first time, Ben thinks they should step back and take some time away from each other. Mona is still unwilling to commit fully to Ben, and can only stand by as Carmella Ciavaglia, Vinnie’s wedding-planner daughter, circles Ben like a great white shark. Will Mona finally get her Happily Ever After? Or has she learned her hardest lesson just a little too late?

* * * * *

Excerpt:

In the eighteen months that I had been flying back and forth between LAX in California and EWR in Newark, New Jersey, I had never quite gotten the hang of it. I didn’t mind the flight out to LA. For some reason it seemed shorter and easier. But coming back—very tough. Maybe it was because I always took the first flight out at six in the morning. Which meant being at the airport by five in the morning, which meant I had to leave my house at—never mind. It’s too depressing to think about.

Then there was the time difference. I was actually flying forward in time. Now, maybe a sci-fi aficionado might find that exciting, but to me it just meant I’d lost a few hours of my life that I would never get back. I’d leave before breakfast and land midafternoon. Where did lunch go?

The flight itself was long. Very long. Five and a half hours. After being in a plane for that amount of time, I wanted to land in an exotic locale where people spoke a different language—or at least had a cool accent—and there were lots of fruity drinks with umbrellas sitting around. It was a bummer getting off the plane and everyone spoke English, and the most exotic thing I could look forward to was Stewart’s root beer.

But every time I got off the plane at Newark airport, at the end of the seemingly endless walk from the gate, was Ben Cutler.

I had known Ben for a very long time. He had been my plumber. Four years ago he became something more. Much more. And as long as I’d known him, my first glimpse of him always took my breath away. He was by far the handsomest man I’d ever known. Usually that was all people saw, which was a shame, because he was so much more than that. He was kind. He thought about things beyond his own small circle. He cared about other people, and what they thought or felt. I had found that, by and large, kindness had always been very underrated.

He was also funny and charming and smart as a whip. He loved me. I loved him. And I always ran those last few yards through security just so he could sweep me up into his arms.

This last flight, in the cold and gray of November, was no different. I threw my arms around his neck, and he lifted me off my feet in a hug, then kissed me long and hard before setting me back down.

“Welcome home, Mona. And this is it, right? No more commuting?”

I shook my head. “Nope. I’m done. I’m home. And I’m all yours.”

He grinned as he picked up my tote bag and carry-on. “Good. Let’s get you out of here.”

We walked down toward the luggage carousel. When I had flown home in the past, I’d just carried on some makeup and my laptop and wore what I’d left in my Westfield, New Jersey, closets. But this trip, this last trip, required the purchase of two more pieces of luggage to accommodate my expanded wardrobe. The new pieces were initialed MQ, for Mona Quincy. The older suitcases still bore MB, even though I had legally ceased being Mona Berman four years ago.

“I hope you brought your truck,” I said to Ben. “I bought a few things in California.”

He laughed. “Of course you did. I have the pickup. Or should we get a U-Haul?”

“Ha, ha. Very funny. Well, maybe.”

We stood and waited. I leaned against him, partly because I loved the feel of him—lean and strong—and partly because I liked letting all the other women waiting for their luggage know that this particular man was all mine.

He put his arm around me and kissed my hair. “So, how did you leave things?”

I had published the book four years earlier, after my then-husband Brian left me. For another woman, of course—younger, blond, and French. I was a writer of historical romance, and a very successful one at that, but I found my happily-ever-after switch had frozen in the off position. I ended up writing a very non-historical, nonromantic book about a woman of a certain age—like me—who got dumped by her lousy husband—also like me—but found herself much happier. It was called Better Off Without Him, and it not only became a best seller, it also won a few awards and got optioned by a Very Famous Hollywood Personage for film development.

It took a while for the whole option thing to go anywhere. After the papers were signed and the first check arrived, my assistant, Anthony, and I churned out a terrific screenplay in record time and sent it off to the Very Famous Hollywood Personage. Who read it, loved it, and promptly went on to another project. So I returned to writing, concentrated on raising my three daughters, and had generally gone about my life pretty much as I had done before.

Then, eighteen months ago, I got the Call. From Hollywood. Was I interested in working on a new screenplay for Better Off Without Him? Would I be willing to move out there for at least six months and work with “the team”?

Well . . . yeah.

The Very Famous Hollywood Personage had found a producer, director, and two experienced screenwriters who wanted me to work with them. My original screenplay had been looked over several times, and was now found wanting, but they wanted me “on board.” Was I willing to get “on board?”

Yes!

That’s how I ended up in the land of the Beautiful People.

I rubbed my head against his shoulder. “I won’t know a thing for at least a few months. There’s this strange phenomenon out there called development hell where all screenplays seem to land. If it can work its way up to the top of the pile, then maybe it will be a movie after all.”

He laughed. “That’s a very odd business.”

“Oh, Ben, you have no idea.”

My suitcases began to appear. Ben, because he was such a sweet man, did not even flinch as he hauled them all off the belt. He just rounded up a skycap, who neatly arranged all the pieces on a long cart and followed us out into the parking lot, where the luggage was then thrown into the back of the truck, and money discreetly changed hands.

The last time I’d been home was three months ago, when I’d flown in for the twenty-fourth birthday party of Ben’s son David. I’d managed to drag two of my three daughters with me, and we all had a great time. Ben flew out to LA three weeks ago, and we spent the weekend skinny-dipping in full view of the entire downtown Los Angeles area. We hadn’t been together since then.

“So,” I said as we pulled onto the parkway, “should we stop somewhere for a bite, or just go right to my house and get naked?”

He laughed. His teeth were slightly crooked. Thank God, because I couldn’t stand it if he were perfect. As it was, the dark hair, amazing blue eyes, and dimples were almost too much to take. Almost.

“I think,” Ben said, “there are some other people who are also eager to welcome you home.”

Probably true. Not my children, who were scattered up and down the East Coast in various colleges. Although any of them were close enough to come home at any time, even just for a day in the middle of the week to see their beloved mother, all three of them had declined my invitation, saying they’d see me on the weekend. Fair enough. They were in college. They were all grown-up, with lives and things.

But still.

“Patricia?” I asked.

Ben nodded. “And Anthony. He really missed you. And there’s something up with Lily.”

That was not good.

Lily Martel was seventy-eight, my father’s only sister and my beloved aunt and godmother. She had been living with me since she sold her Park Slope co-op—luckily before a planned alien invasion that would have caused the bottom to drop out of the Brooklyn real estate market. Aliens never actually invaded, by the way, and she ended up very rich. She had, coincidentally, arrived on my doorstep the same day that Brian announced that he was leaving me. Lily’s arrival seemed to be a sign, and she never quite left. Her position in my home was vague and ever changing. The past several months she’d kept things running smoothly during my long stretches in California, keeping the house for when the girls came home, and making sure the dog and various cats were well cared for. It was a situation that worked well for all of us. But Lily had also managed to involve herself in a few of the more, shall we say, questionable political organizations around the town of Westfield. One, I knew, supported the idea of no central government at all, but rather a series of city-states. Another had something to do with redistribution of corporate wealth. I was always afraid she’d end up in jail, or at least on a watch list somewhere.

I sighed. “Hmm. Well, okay. We’ll say hello to everyone, hear what Lily has to say, then get naked?”

He glanced over at me. “Why, Ms. Quincy, are you suggesting that perhaps you missed me?”

“Ben, for the past year and a half, we’ve spent a small fortune flying back and forth to see each other. Before I left, we were together every other night.”

“I knew it.” He sighed, shaking his head. “You only love me for my body.”

I laughed. “Yes. And your heart. And your soul.”

“Ah, now, that’s more like it. So . . . I was thinking. . . .”

“Oh, Ben, you know that only gets you into trouble.”

“Yeah. I do know. But I think you and I should, maybe, you know, talk about getting married.”

Something hit me in the stomach, and I couldn’t breathe for a second. “To each other?” I finally asked.

He swore softly. He usually didn’t do that. “I’m sorry. I should have waited. I should have gotten down on one knee or something.”

“No. I mean, don’t be sorry. It’s just . . .”

Just what?

“Ben, you and I have been getting along just fine.”

“I know. But it’s time, don’t you think? We should take the next step. Listen, this really wasn’t fair to you. I know how you are after these flights. Just think about it, okay? We’ll talk later.” He shot me a look, the kind of look that made my knees turn to water. “Maybe after we get naked?”

I nodded. That immediately put me back in my happy place.

But married? Not so much. I had been married. For twenty years. And I never, ever wanted to repeat that experience again.

* * * * *

**NOTE: While this book is a follow-up to Better Off Without Him, it is a stand-alone novel.

DeeErnstPic**Contact Dee Ernst:

Email   Website   Facebook   Twitter

Martha Woodroof

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About author, Martha Woodroof: Martha was a regular contributor to NPR news programs, and now writes for npr.org. She has also written for Martketplace and Weekend America, and for the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Radio Feature Bureau. Her print essays have appeared in such newspapers as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The San Francisco Chronicle. She lives with her husband in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Their closest neighbors are cows.

INTERVIEW

How long have you been writing? I got my first rejection letter at the age of twelve from the poetry editor of The Atlantic Monthly. As it was a personal letter asking me to send in more stuff, I took that as encouragement.

You’ve done quite a bit of freelancing for NPR. How did that come about? I met NPR’s Wendy Kaufman back in the 1980’s at a party in Charlottesville, Virginia. I’d just switched from local television to local radio (because, among other things, I got tired of answering questions about my hair), and I’d fallen in love with the story-telling possibilities of sound-only broadcast production. Wendy said I should come work with NPR.

Not being shy, I phoned up Jay Kernis (a big-deal NPR news producer at the time) and cheerfully badgered him into seeing me. I arrived toting a long, mostly-unedited interview with the late, great Blues singer, John Jackson. Jay – bless his heart – listened to it all, told me I was a great interviewer, but had no idea what I was doing technically. He said (kindly, but firmly) that I should come back when I learned something about radio production. And so I did.

I took a break from radio for a decade or so to begin recovering from alcoholism and do some other worthwhile things, then went back – freelancing for NPR and npr.org mostly on books and publishing as well as being a happy part of WMRA public radio in Harrisonburg, VA.

What else have you done since college? Well, let’s start with college.

I dropped out of Mount Holyoke College in the Sixties mainly because I wanted to experience rather than study. A decade-and-a-half later I talked my way into graduate school at the University of Virginia (MFA program in theater) and then dropped out of that. So, I’m actually a double college dropout. Mainly because I am, as my second-ex-grandfather-in-law once put it, a flibbertigibbet.

My first real job was as a teacher’s aide in a pilot Head Start program in Greensboro, North Carolina.

After that – among a lot of other things, I co-owned restaurants based on my cooking, did quite a bit of acting, got fired as a magazine editor, hosted local TV talk shows and anchored the news, wrote a book called How to Stop Screwing Up: 12 Steps to a Real Life and a Pretty Good Time, cooked for an artist’s colony, was a country music disc jockey and a psychiatric occupational therapy aide, taught preschool, published essays, was a morning drive-time personality on a tiny AM radio station, ran a college bookstore coffee shop, directed a college’s co-curricular programming, and failed to sell cars.

So you’ve been fired twice? Once as a magazine editor and once as a car salesperson? That’s correct. I think the magazine editor firing was deserved even though I’d doubled the size of the book and brought in a pretty high class bunch of writers. At the time, I had yet to address my alcoholism and so was – as active alcoholics tend to be – just a tad arrogant.

My failure to sell cars stemmed from my inability to encourage people to spend more than I thought they could afford. I remain rather proud of that particular firing.

How did you come to publish your first novel in your mid-sixties? I finished an early draft of Small Blessings a couple of years ago and then put it away to work on some radio and non-fiction projects.

I’ve never been all that frightened of failing (which is lucky, as I have failed a lot). It seems to me we are each responsible for living our own lives kindly, productively and well; figuring out what we need and want to do with our time and our talents, and then going after those things full-tilt.

With this in mind, when I hit my early sixties, I made a bucket list. As I’ve done (and failed to do) a lot of very different things, my bucket list had one item on it: Publish Small Blessings! I’d recently reread the novel, re-fallen in love with its people, and the one thing I really wanted was to land them a better gig than life in a cardboard box in my home office.

How Small Blessings came to St. Martin’s is a long, funny story involving some more major non-shyness on my part and (as any first novelist will tell you) a giant helping hand from the serendipity gods. One auction later, Small Blessings and I had fetched up at St. Martin’s, which is publishing heaven as far as I’m concerned.

Why did you write Small Blessings? Why this particular story set on a small college campus? About the story: If I had to be stuck on a desert island with only one book, it would be The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor, edited by Sally Fitzgerald. In one particular letter, someone asks Ms. O’Connor (who was a seriously devout Catholic) what our duty in prayer is. Ms. O’Connor replies something to the effect that our duty is to figure out what we want and ask for it.

The above italics are mine, as I read this at a point in my life when I was not yet sober and so was really floundering. And even though I wasn’t even a person of faith at the time, I remember those words hitting me like a blow.

Our duty is to figure out what we want…

At the time I was clueless about who I was, let alone what I wanted. That moment with Ms. O’Connor began an ongoing process of learning to accept myself exactly as I am in the world as it actually is. This has been both challenging and, at times, very scary. But – yowza! – it’s also, in my opinion, the most alive way to live. How can we possibly be happy without first being our real selves?

So – back to Small Blessings – in general, I think I’m interested in writing about nice, well-meaning people who are willing to face the extreme challenge of accepting themselves as they really are and, in the process, learning what it is they really, truly want.

As for setting Small Blessings at a college, I’ve been connected with college campuses all my life. They are, in my opinion, the ideal setting for an examination of community. Which, I think, is something a lot of us are examining afresh as we wade into the I.T. Age.

One note about the college bookstore where Rose Callahan (one of Small Blessings’ central characters) works. As I mentioned before, I once ran a quite magical coffee shop in a quite magical college bookstore. None of the characters in Small Blessings are based on real people (Rose is most emphatically not me); but The Bookstore is very much a tribute to that bookstore.

You’ve mentioned two things that a lot of people shy away from being so open about: your age and the fact that you are in substance-abuse recovery. Why? Oh golly, why not? As Popeye put it (anyone remember Popeye?), I yam what I yam. Life is change, and, it seems to me, if you don’t embrace life – if you let it scare you – you miss out on so much!

As far as being open about recovery, it’s the only way I’m able to share my experiences, strengths and hope with others who are still struggling – or who are concerned about someone else’s struggles. Secrecy about issues such as substance abuse, mental illness, and child abuse does nothing but perpetuate suffering. Life is often uncomfortable. That’s no reason to deny reality. Deny reality, and reality gets worse.

As for being in my sixties, why is that something I should be ashamed of? We Second and Third Wave Feminists fought so hard to be thought of as more than sex objects. Until, it almost seems, we were no longer viable sex objects. I want to see us Boomer Babes embrace womanhood in all its glory – and all its glorious stages.

Just last night, I heard an ad for “Botox and other anti-aging remedies.”

Yuck!!!

* * * * *

SmallBlessingsCoverPic“Small Blessings” by Martha Woodroof:

From debut novelist Martha Woodroof comes an inspiring tale of a small-town college professor, a remarkable new woman at the bookshop, and the ten-year old son he never knew he had.

Tom Putnam has resigned himself to a quiet and half-fulfilled life. An English professor in a sleepy college town, he spends his days browsing the Shakespeare shelves at the campus bookstore, managing the oddball faculty in his department and caring, alongside his formidable mother-in-law, for his wife Marjory, a fragile shut-in with unrelenting neuroses, a condition exacerbated by her discovery of Tom’s brief and misguided affair with a visiting poetess a decade earlier.

Then, one evening at the bookstore, Tom and Marjory meet Rose Callahan, the shop’s charming new hire, and Marjory invites Rose to their home for dinner, out of the blue, her first social interaction since her breakdown. Tom wonders if it’s a sign that change is on the horizon, a feeling confirmed upon his return home, where he opens a letter from his former paramour, informing him he’d fathered a son who is heading Tom’s way on a train.  His mind races at the possibility of having a family after so many years of loneliness. And it becomes clear change is coming whether Tom’s ready or not.

A heartwarming story with a charmingly imperfect cast of characters to cheer for, Small Blessings‘s wonderfully optimistic heart that reminds us that sometimes, when it feels like life has veered irrevocably off track, the track shifts in ways we never can have imagined.

**The release date for “Small Blessings” is August 12th, 2014!