Monday, November 30, 2015

0 Cover Reveal: Cooking Up Trouble


Title: Cooking Up Trouble

Author: Judi Lynn

Publisher: Lyrical Shine

Genre: Romance

Format: Ebook



Nothing stirs the pot like a new man in town…



Welcome to Mill Pond and small-town country living, filled with fresh air, fresh food, and plenty of fresh gossip—especially when it comes to romance…



It’s impossible not to notice when someone new shows up in Mill Pond. Especially someone as obviously out-of-place as Ian McGregor. His stylish suit and fancy car scream “city slicker.” And when Tessa Lawrence discovers he can’t even change a tire, she has no choice but to help. That’s just what the locals do. And when she finds out Ian’s her new neighbor, of course she’s obliged to invite him to dinner too…



Turns out Ian’s come from New York to open a luxury resort on the property next door to Tessa’s farm, where she grows berries and sells her famous jams and delectable baked goods. But despite their quickly growing friendship and temptingly close proximity, Tessa plans to keep things with Ian strictly neighborly. For one thing, Ian’s got a fiancée who, unlike Tessa, doesn’t have dirt under her nails. Plus, Tessa knows from bitter experience that a guy this gorgeous is all too likely to break a simple country girl’s heart. Even if he’s as sweet as one of her cinnamon buns—and equally hard to resist…


ORDER INFORMATION
Cooking Up Trouble is available for order at
amazon
BN
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All of my works are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, smashwords, Scrib'd, Kobo, and more.

I'm a member of Goodreads and my author page can be found at:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5023544.Judith_Post



I'm lucky enough to be represented by Lauren Abramo at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

I've been a member of Summit City Scribes for more years than I care to remember, and they've made me a better writer.  Thanks, guys!


My blog can be found at http://writingmusings.com/ 

My author's facebook page is:  https://www.facebook.com/JudithPostsurbanfantasy 

You can tweet me at:  @judypost 

To sign up for my newsletter: http://eepurl.com/_fal5 






Wednesday, November 25, 2015

0 Dysfunctional Character's We'd Invite To Our Thanksgiving Dinner

Around the holidays there are always articles written about how to deal with awkward and uncomfortable and people and situations during the holidays. And let's face it, we're all a little dysfunctional now and then. I got to thinking . . . which dysfunctional characters would make Thanksgiving a little more interesting? So I got Nancy and Steve involved, and we each chose a few characters that we think would fit the bill. These are in no particular order.




Alastor Moody a.k.a. Mad-Eye

Alastor Moody from Harry Potter has been through a lot and seen a lot. And he would definitely have some interesting tales to tell. He's not a very trusting sort. Not that you can blame him. But he would be the kind a guy to bring his own food and drink in a tightly sealed container. And you would probably catch him out of the corner of your eye taking sips of something peculiar in a flask. 



Mr. Darcy

This is the Mr. Darcy before he falls in love with Elizabeth Bennett. The Darcy at the beginning of Pride and Prejudice is a bit of an ass. I can imagine him sitting in a corner brooding. You try to engage him in a conversation and it would go like this:

Me. How's the turkey, Mr. Darcy?
Darcy: It's tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me. You had better return to your dinner and enjoy it, for you are wasting your time with me.


Captain Ahab

Captain Ahab from Moby Dick would by so annoying to have dinner with. Can you imagine. All he does is talks about that damn whale and how awful his life has been. What a downer!  Somebody please put a harpoon in that conversation! 


Gollum

Gollum from The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings is probably at the top of my dysfunctional list. He would probably be upset because you 'overcook' the turkey. After all he likes it raw and wiggling. Also he would probably argue with himself over who gets the wishbone. He'd also probably try to eat the Cheshire cat.


Haymitch

Haymitch from The Hunger Games would definitely be an interesting guest. He'd mostly likely show up drunk, carve his name in your grandma's mahogany table, and pass out in the desert. It wouldn't be dull, to say the least.

Ebeneezer Scrooge

Scrooge wouldn't want to be at your Thanksgiving dinner, and he wouldn't be shy about telling you. He'd also complain constantly about the cost of the meal and how everybody should be working instead of eating. He'd be a real barrel of laughs. I'm pretty sure nobody would want to sit next to him.


Sherlock Holmes
Despite being awfully clever and a bit of a sociopath, he's also a bit of an ass. He might be fun to sit by--deducing what everyone's deal is--but you might find yourself wanting to stab him with your salad fork.


Cheshire Cat

You might be wondering why you would even invite a cat to Thanksgiving dinner. But this is no ordinary feline. This is the cryptic and somewhat creepy Cheshire cat. His unusual aurora might weird you out a bit. Also, I'm pretty sure he'll eat your dessert when you're not looking.



 Arthur Dent
Arthur Dent from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy would show up wearing a bathrobe and carrying a towel. You don't know if he's there to take a shower or eat dinner. Also he keeps bugging you about finding a good cup of tea.




Reepicheep

Reepicheep from Prince Caspian would be an unwelcome addition. After all, who wants a rodent at the dinner table even if he can talk. Not to mention that he would challenge your honor and threaten to beat you black and blue with the flat of his sword with every attempt at conversation you made. 



And finally . . . Dolores Umbridge shows up a half hour late. She's already mad because she has to dine with a bunch of muggles, but since she's late the only spot left for her is at the children's table. 


Monday, November 23, 2015

2 I am a Nora Roberts Virgin

Title: Stars of Fortune (Guardians Trilogy)
Author: Nora Roberts
Publisher: Berkley
Published: November 3, 2015
Paperback, 304 pages
ISBN: 9780425280102
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Source: Publisher






Summary:

To celebrate the rise of their new queen, three goddesses of the moon created three stars, one of fire, one of ice, one of water. But then they fell from the sky, putting the fate of all worlds in danger. And now three women and three men join forces to pick up the pieces…

Sasha Riggs is a reclusive artist, haunted by dreams and nightmares that she turns into extraordinary paintings. Her visions lead her to the Greek island of Corfu, where five others have been lured to seek the fire star. Sasha recognizes them, because she has drawn them: a magician, an archaeologist, a wanderer, a fighter, a loner. All on a quest. All with secrets.

Sasha is the one who holds them together—the seer. And in the magician, Bran Killian, she sees a man of immense power and compassion. As Sasha struggles with her rare ability, Bran is there to support her, challenge her, and believe in her.

But Sasha and Bran are just two of the six. And they all must all work together as a team to find the fire star in a cradle of land beneath the sea. Over their every attempt at trust, unity, and love, a dark threat looms. And it seeks to corrupt everything that stands in its way of possessing the stars…


My Thoughts:

Hi, my name is Marcie and I am a Nora Roberts virgin . . . or I was a Nora Roberts virgin. Before I opened the pages of this book, I had not once read anything by Roberts. Which considering she's written over two hundred books in genres that I read, it seems rather implausible. But now, I've at last had my first experience with Stars of Fortune, the first book in the Guardians Trilogy. 

From the very first page I knew I was going to enjoy reading this book. It starts out like a fairy tale would. And who doesn't love a good fairy tale. And that's just what this is.


"Once, in a time long ago, in a world beyond our own, three goddesses gathered to celebrate the dawn of a new queen."



The story centers around Sasha Riggs. She's an artist that has an unusual gift. Sasha dreams of a place she's never been and of people she's never met. So much so, that she paints them. Lured by destiny, she travels to the place she dreamed: Corfu. And once there she starts to uncover the reason why she's dreamed of Corfu and of the six mysterious strangers. And together they must become a team to help find three fallen stars that could change the fate of the world.

As I stated before, from the first page I was hooked. There are six individuals that bring something great to the story: a magician, an archaeologist, a wanderer, a fighter, and a loner. It's kinda like the breakfast club with a magical element. I breezed through this story in no time--not wanting to put it down for important things like work or cooking.

Stars of Fortune is full or adventure and romance. I love how Sasha grows from being a bit timid to a force to be reckoned with. And Bran . . . with his Irish accent. Wow. The book was a bit predictable, but I didn't mind because I loved the story so much. The only downside is that the next book, Bay of Sighs, doesn't come out until next summer.

So I'm a Nora Roberts virgin no longer. Now what Roberts book should I read while I'm waiting on the next book to come out?



Friday, November 20, 2015

0 THE 6TH ANNUAL YA DISCOVERY CONTEST HAS BEGUN!

THE 6TH ANNUAL
YA DISCOVERY CONTEST
HAS BEGUN!

NO QUERY? NO PITCH? NO PROBLEM!


Get in front of top YA Editors and Agents
with only the first 250 words of your YA novel!

 

Serendipity Literary Agency in conjunction with Sourcebooks Inc. is hosting their sixth annual Young Adult Novel Discovery Competition.
Have a young adult novel—or a YA novel idea—tucked away for a rainy day? Are you putting off pitching your idea simply because you’re not sure how to pitch an agent? No problem! All you have to do is submit the first 250 words of your novel and you can win exposure to editors and a reading of your manuscript by one of New York’s TOP literary agents Regina Brooks.
 
Regina Brooks is the CEO of Serendipity Literary Agency and the author of the award winning book Writing Great Books for Young Adults now available in a second edition.
Great Prizes
The Grand Prize Winner will have the opportunity to submit an entire manuscript to YA literary agent Regina Brooks AND receive a collection of gourmet teas from Possibiliteas.co!
The Top Five Entrants (including the Grand Prize winner) will receive a 15 minute, one-on-one pitch session with Regina Brooks, one of New York's premier literary agents for young adult books.  They will also receive commentary on their submissions from editors at Scholastic, Random House/Penguin, Little Brown, Candlewick, Bloomsbury, Simon and Schuster, and Abrams Books.
Here's How It Works: The rules of the contest are simple, and entering is easy.  Submit entries of ONLY the first 250 words of your manuscript and the title via the contest website at serendipitylit.com/contest.
 
One entry per person; anyone age 14+ can apply. There is a $15 entry fee.  Open to the U.S. and Canada (void where prohibited).  Entries for the YA Novel Discovery Contest will be accepted from 12:01 am (ET) November 1st, 2015 until 11:59 pm November 30th, 2015 (ET). 
YA literary agent Regina Brooks and her team will read all of the entries and determine the top 20 submissions.  These submissions will then be read by editors at Scholastic, Random House/Penguin, Little, Brown, Candlewick, Bloomsbury, Simon and Schuster, and Abram Books.  Judges will whittle the top 20 down to five, and each of the five winners will be provided commentary on their submissions.

NOVEMBER IS NaNoWriMo
In honor of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.org) - an international event where aspiring novelists are encouraged to write an entire novel in 30 days - this contest is meant to encourage the aspiring YA author to get started on that novel by offering an incentive for completing the first 250 words.
 
So… ENTER HERE!


 
Winner Testimonials

"I'd like to thank you and your staff for running the Young Adult Novel Discovery Contest.  I've had a YA story percolating for years and when I read the no-stress entry invitation to your contest and the amazing prizes offered, I decided to submit.  The best part of winning has been the incredible boost to my self-confidence that has extended to my writing.   I feel recharged and excited now when I sit before my computer.  My conversation with Regina Brooks and the editors' comments (taped to the wall above my desk) will continue to motivate me as I complete my manuscript.  Many, many thanks!"
—Karen Fortunati, "The D-Day List"

"I’d copied and pasted the opening lines to my manuscript and clicked “send” before my inner skeptic could talk me out of it.  I promptly put Gotham’s YA Novel Discovery Contest out of my mind, since I was already flogging myself for dusting off a years-old manuscript and beginning the umpteenth revision.  It was my albatross, not an eagle, I told myself, and it would clearly never get off the ground. Then came Gotham’s email thanking me for participating.  Well, that’s a bad sign, right?  But there under the list of five finalists was my name.  I’m number five!  I’m number five!  I now have an agent and a publisher and my novel is a fact, not a fiction, and it’s due out in 2015. Oh, and my inner skeptic has taken to measuring my albatross’s wingspan."
—Anne Boles Levy, “The Temple of Doubt”
 
“I ended up signing with an agent, she sold the book to Candlewick's Nicole Raymond, who served as one of the judges of the 2010 YA Novel Discovery Contest. Breakfast Served Anytime was published Spring 2014.” 
—Sarah V. Combs, "Breakfast Served Anytime"

"After I won the YA Discovery Contest, Regina Brooks offered to represent me and she found the perfect home for my novel. Bright Coin Moon will be published on November 18, 2014"

—Kristen Lopresti, "Bright Coin Moon"

Thursday, November 19, 2015

0 I got to play with paper dolls!


It may not be an election year, but you can cast your vote early with the Hillary Rodham Clinton Presidential Playset! This fold-out book features replicas of the Oval Office and other White House locations, plus perforated paper dolls of Hillary Clinton and all of her political pals and adversaries. Be HRC’s chief of staff as she takes questions at the press podium, hashes out tough negotiations in the Situation Room, or even consults with the ghost of Abe Lincoln. Complete with a pop-up cast of characters and accouterments (Bill comes with a lawn mower to keep him busy), this fun and feminist-friendly playset is perfect for Hillary fans young and old.

The book includes: 10 perforated dolls, Republican adversaries, Outfits, accessories, and expressions, and White House ghosts.

Thanks to Quirk Books, I got a chance to play with these paper dolls. Now before I get started, I would like to say this post in no way reflects the views of To Read, or Not To Read. It's all in fun or at least a rudimentary attempt at humor. 




"Hillary, I thought I told you making deals with Satan is a BAD idea."







The White House ghosts of past, present, and . . . past.

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

0 News Flash: Announcing a sublime – and scandalously wonderful – new series from New York Times, USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author Sarah MacLean!

News Flash:  Announcing a sublime – and scandalously wonderful – new series from New York Times, USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author Sarah MacLean!



The author aroused immediate interest when she announced this high-concept affair: “I'm thrilled to announce my next project -- the Scandal & Scoundrel series, which I pitched to my editor as ‘Old School TMZ,’" says MacLean.  “It’s modern celebrity gossip with a pre-Victorian twist. Basically, this is my way of convincing my husband that all those glossy magazines in our house are ‘work necessities.’

The first novel in the series, THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN (Avon Books; ISBN 9780062379412; eISBN 9780062379399; on-sale 12/29/15)  is a riff on a certain elevator incident made famous at a Met gala several years ago.  But in MacLean’s imagination, the scurrilous turns absolutely sensational, as a ballroom imbroglio sets off a very heated carriage journey along the Great North Road.  It’s a long way from London to Scotland…you would be quite amazed at how much drama can ensue between a seemingly ill-matched duo on such a wild ride! 



Book Description:

Lady Sophie’s Society Splash
When Sophie, the least interesting of the Talbot sisters, lands her philandering brother-in-law backside-first in a goldfish pond in front of all society, she becomes the target of very public aristocratic scorn. Her only choice is to flee London, vowing to start a new life far from the aristocracy. Unfortunately, the carriage in which she stows away isn’t saving her from ruin . . . it’s filled with it.

Rogue’s Reign of Ravishment!
Kingscote, “King,” the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, resulting in a reputation far worse than the truth, a general sense that he’s more pretty face than proper gentleman, and an irate summons home to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the journey becomes anything but boring.

War? Or More?
He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, making opposites altogether too attractive . . .

The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean is my favorite book of hers to date. If you’ve read her, or know me, then you know that I just said a thing.”--Smart Bitches

TAKING THE HIGH ROAD –
Sarah MacLean/THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN Blog Blitz

Great North Road Map Reveal: Destinations and excerpts from novel:


Stop #7: “Lyne Castle”

Author Commentary:
The Country seat of the Dukes of Lyne, Lyne Castle is the childhood home of Kingscote, Marquess of Eversley, who left home at eighteen after a terrible tragedy and never returned. Summoned home by his ailing father, King finally returns--with the unexpected addition of Lady Sophie Talbot, irritating and somehow irresistible. The estate boasts one of the most complicated labyrinths in Britain...where King and Sophie find solace, and heartbreak, and each other.

--

Sophie would want love. She’d want it pure and unfettered, given freely, along with all its trappings. She’d want the marriage and children and happiness and prom- ise that came with it.

King could see it, the life she wanted. The line of little girls, blue-eyed and brown-haired, in love with books and strawberry tarts. For a moment, he imagined them smiling at him the way their mother did, filled with happiness and hope.

For a moment, he let himself believe he might be able to give it to her.

But she would want love, and he would never be able to give it.

He didn’t have it to give anymore. And those children, they would never be his.

He set her down on the edge of the fountain, coming to his knees, as though she was Ariadne and he the Minotaur, worshipping at her feet, adoring her even as he knew she could not survive in the labyrinth, and he could not survive beyond it.

“Tell me about last night,” he said softly, looking up at her, his hands at the hem of her skirts.
“What—” She caught her breath as his fingers explored the skin of her ankles. “What about it?”
“I hated it,” he said. “I hated stopping.”

She pressed her lips into a thin, straight line. “I hated that you stopped.”

His hands were beneath her skirts, pushing them back, farther and farther, up and over her knees. He pressed his lips to the inside of her knee, swirling his tongue there, loving the little gasp of surprised pleasure that came at the touch.

“I hate that I will have to stop today, as well."


PRE-ORDER LINK 
(Anyone who orders a signed, print copy of the book from WORD Bookstores will get a gorgeous printed copy of this map!)
or check out Sarah's website for the pre-order link


Giveaway

This is a chance to win a very exclusive early bound manuscript of THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN, along with some artisanal honey. Yum!

0 Cover Reveal: The Accidental Boyfriend




Title: The Accidental Boyfriend

Author: Maggie Dallen

Publisher: Lyrical Press

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: Ebook




What do you do when Mr. Right seems oh-so-wrong?



Holly Sinclair is ready to have it all. She’s even found her Mr. Right—a steady, reliable guy who just needs a little convincing. Now all the former wild child has to do is free herself of her very inconvenient attraction to Jack Everett. Not only does the notorious playboy and tabloid king seduce her at her sister’s wedding, he follows her to Paris! Suddenly, Holly is alone with Jack in the most romantic city in the world—and his family is leaping to the wrong conclusions…



The world’s most infamous bachelor has finally met his match. If Jack was the type to settle down, Holly would be the woman of his dreams. There’s just one hitch: Holly actually believes she wants to marry Mr. Oh-So-Boring. Intent on proving that she deserves someone better, Jack finds himself playing the role of the perfect boyfriend…a little too well. If he’s not careful, he might just lose this game—and his heart.




ORDER INFORMATION
The Accidental Boyfriend is available for order at
amazon
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Maggie Dallen is a huge fan of happily-ever-afters. She writes contemporary and YA romance and has been known to rewrite the endings to classic love stories to ensure that they end on a happy note. In Maggie's version, Ingrid Bergman does not get on the plane. She lives in Northern California and works at a yarn store to support her knitting addiction. For more info please visit maggiedallen.com.

Follow her on Twitter @Mag_Dallen. Or connect with her on Facebook





Monday, November 16, 2015

0 Check Out The Playlist For Once Upon A Time University


TITLE:  Once Upon a Time University

RELEASE DATE: October 24, 2015

AUTHOR: Savannah Ostler

KEYWORDS: Fantasy, fiction, YA, teen, clean teen fairytales, adventure, romance

CATEGORIES: YA Fantasy/Clean Teen

SYNOPSIS: The enchanting sequel to “Happily Ever After High School”

After graduating Happily Ever High, eighteen year old Albany French was living the perfect fairy tale. She had her very own fairy godmother, a delightfully eccentric grandmother, and her boyfriend was her dream knight in shining armor.

At first, it seemed like a flawless freshman year for her at Once Upon A Time University. The campus was magical and enchanted, her classes were extraordinary, and she made surprising new friends.


A chain of unsettling events followed by a twist of fate sends Albany spinning. She is forced to make the most difficult decision of her life- one that could potentially break her heart. The perfect happily ever after was still within Albany’s grasp… or so she thought.

ONE LINER: The enchanting sequel to the young adult fairy tale adventure, Happily Ever After High School.

PAGE COUNT:  440

ISBN: 978-1517504007

IMPRINT: Howling Wolf


AUTHOR BIO: Savannah Ostler was born in Alpine, Utah. Since childhood, she has enjoyed many forms of the arts. It was from her love of performing that she decided to attend East Hollywood High, a school in Salt Lake City dedicated to film, television, and writing.
In addition to acting for both stage and film, Savannah is also a singer, having released several original pop singles, and performing at well known venues in Hollywood such as The House Of Blues, and the Roxy theater.

Although Savannah is incredibly diverse with her talents, her first love is, and has always been writing. She has been writing ever since she learned how to read and write. She enjoys many different forms of writing: poetry, lyrics, fiction, and screenplays. To date, Miss Ostler has written hundreds of original poems, six original songs produced and performed by Savannah herself, hundreds of lyrics not yet produced, over a dozen produced short films, five feature film screenplays, two television pilots, and of course, her first novel Happily Ever After High School.

Savannah has always been a day dreamer and a true kid at heart. When she is not buried in her writing projects, she can be found at Disneyland, living out all of her fairy tale dreams.

She lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband Steve and their two mixed Chihuahua pups.



Music playlist

“Real Life Fairytale” by Plumb
“Complicated” by Avril Lavigne
“Why Not” by Hilary Duff
“In to Deep” by Sum 41
“Still Into You” by Paramore
“I’m with You” by Avril Lavigne
“The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World
“Smile in your sleep” by Silverstein
“Play it Loud” by MxPx
““Prayer of the Refugee” by Rise Against
“There She Goes” by the La’s
“Blank Space” by Taylor Swift
“Memory” by Sugarcult
“Fly” by Hilary Duff
“Hear You Me” by Jimmy Eat World
“Nobody’s Home” by Avril Lavigne
“In the End” by Linkin Park
“Apologize” by OneRepublic
“Re-Education(Through Labor) by Rise Against
“My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit
“Behind These Hazel Eyes” by Kelly Clarkson
“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”by Cyndi Lauper
“How You Get The Girl” by Taylor Swift
“The Hell Song” by Sum 41
“Drive” by Incubus
“Collide” by Howie Day
“Sk8er Boi” by Avril Lavigne
“Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson
“Diary of Jane” by Breaking Benjamin
“Nero” by Two Steps From Hell
“Hanging by a Moment” by Lifehouse

“Somewhere I belong” by Linkin Park



AUTHOR LINKS: http://www.writewithsavannah.wordpress.com, www.imdb.com/name/nm2997484/reference, http://www.twitter.com/SavannahOstler, www.facebook.com/savannah.ostler, www.youtube.com/SavannahOstler











Friday, November 13, 2015

3 Dark Turns Interview and Giveaway



Nia Washington is an incredibly talented ballerina. She fought her way up from the streets and was nearing the pinnacle of her profession when an injury and a broken heart derailed her career. Taking a temporary job at an elite boarding school was supposed to give her time to nurse both body and soul. It was supposed to be a safe place to launch a triumphant comeback. It is anything but.

Shortly after she arrives at the beautiful lakeside campus, she discovers the body of a murdered student, and her life takes a truly dark turn. It’s not long before she is drawn into a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with a ruthless killer. And Nia isn't the only target. She must use all of her street smarts to protect her dancers, save a wrongfully accused student, and rescue the man she loves.

A stunning and suspenseful tale of passion and betrayal, Cate Holahan's Dark Turns will take readers deep into the mind of a murderer and the woman who must put an end to the killing.




Q&A for DARK TURNS


1.)  What inspired you to write Dark Turns?

          The idea for Dark Turns came to me while watching my four-year-old in ballet class. She was pressed against a cement wall with her legs spread and a teacher pushing on her back to encourage a full saddle split. She managed to do it and, for a moment, smiled as though she’d received a new plush toy. The next moment, she was crying in pain.
          I began worrying about ballet’s intensity and wondering what happens to young women forced to push themselves to such a degree before they are emotionally mature enough to handle the physical and mental strain. My fears grew into the novel.

2.)  You studied ballet for two years while writing Dark Turns. Can you tell us a bit more about that experience?     

          When I realized that I wanted to write a book where ballet would feature prominently, I knew I had to take a dance class. As a long-time journalist, I’m a big believer in research. You don’t have to write what you already know, but you better learn about it before you let anyone read a word. So, I enrolled in an adult ballet class.
          Most of the class members had significant dance experience. Some were retired professional ballerinas or area women who had danced in college and high school companies. One woman was a former gymnast. I was one of the few in class without any prior experience.
          On my first day, my teacher patted my stomach and said that she could help me “fix my problem.” I had given birth to my second child several months earlier, but had lost the baby weight. I was back to what I’d thought was a slender, hundred and eighteen pounds and feeling pretty good about myself. “My problem?” I asked.
          She again pushed her hand against my abdomen. “You are a marshmallow. But I will make you a rock.”
          I don’t know if I ever became a rock. However, my posture and flexibility, which was awful, greatly improved. My legs became stronger and leaner. Ballet definitely did things to my body that no Zumba class had ever accomplished. It also was terribly humbling at times. Ballet is about the details. How is a foot pointed? How is an elbow angled? Does the spine resemble a steel rod? Every movement I performed, even when I somehow accomplished the act, was clunky.

3.)  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I plot out everything. Then, as the characters develop, I rip up the plot and rewrite my twists and turns. But I always have a road map.

4.)  If Dark Turns was made into a film, who would you choose to play all your characters?

o   My protagonist is an African American ballerina. In my dreams, Misty Copeland would play her. She’s beautiful and she overcame plenty of adversity to become ABT’s first African American principal dancer, which I think would give her the inner strength to fight off some of the antagonists in my novel. She’s driven. She’s amazingly athletic and graceful. Who wouldn’t watch her do anything?
o   Zoe Saldana could also fit the role.

o   Aubrey, the school’s competitive star ballerina, would be played by Elle Fanning.

o   Peter, a charming guy with a somewhat complicated backstory, would be played by Michael Pitt.

o   Dimitri, Nia’s former flame, would be played by dancer Sergei Polunin.

o   Marta would be Kristin Stewart.

o   Lydia would be Selena Gomez.

o   Joseph would be Harry Styles.


5.)  The cover art is amazing. Was this the first and final design or did you consider another direction?

Thank you. This was the second cover. The first was too much like another book out there so my publisher decided on this one. They do an amazing job at Crooked Lane with cover art and with helping shape the story. I am very fortunate to be working with them.

6.)  You nailed the boarding school vibe so well. Did you base your setting on a real school?

          I based the aesthetics on prep schools my friends have attended and on Princeton, where I went to college. However, the vibe really came from marrying my memories of high school social interactions with my experience of the work it takes to hack it in an environment where everyone is smart and competitive.

7.)  You begin each chapter in a very unique way with a specific ballet pose that sets the tone. Did you place these in your first draft or were they added in later once the story took shape?

I owe this to my agent Paula Munier who I am very blessed and lucky to have in my corner. She told me I needed an organizing principal that could help bring readers into the world of professional ballet. Each term does relate to the chapter in some way, whether it’s a double entendre or a move done in class. I had fun with them.

8.)   What do you think is the most difficult part of writing a book: the beginning, middle or end?

          For me it’s the middle. Stories tend to take shape in my head with an opening chapter and an ending. The work comes with getting there and adding enough misdirection so my destination isn’t painfully clear.

9.)  What’s the best piece of advice you received while writing Dark Turns?

The best piece actually came from Matt Martz, Crooked Lane’s Editorial Director, before I started writing Dark Turns. At the time, he was working at St. Martin’s Press and he spoke at a conference that I attended, The Algonkian Writers Conference in Manhattan. He said something along the lines of don’t torture a story to death. If one novel isn’t getting published, put it in a drawer and write something else. Don’t keep changing the same tale in hopes that the next rewrite will land a deal. That proved true in my case. It was the book I wrote after the one I’d been pitching at the conference that sold.

10.)         What are you working on next?

          I am working on the finishing touches of my second novel, tentatively titled The Widower’s Wife. It is due out August 2016. I love the story. It’s about a woman who fell off a cruise ship and a life insurance policy. Was her death an accident, a failed insurance fraud attempt, or murder? I’m really happy with the way it turned out and I hope to return to the characters in future stories.







Giveaway


Thanks to Meryl Moss Media, I have one copy to giveaway to a bibliophile! This giveaway is open to US addresses only. You must be at least 13 years old to enter. Please read our giveaway policy before entering. 

 

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