Friday, May 23, 2014

Book Spotlight - Between Heartbreak and Happiness by Sarka-Jonae Miller

The new book from S├írka-Jonae Miller, MARSocial Author of the Year, runner-up,  is out. Between Heartbreak and Happiness is the third book in the Between Boyfriends series of romantic comedies. The first book, Between Boyfriends, is a #3 Amazon best seller. Between Heartbreak and Happiness completes the trilogy set in San Diego with trips to Bangkok, Sydney, Los Angeles, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Manhattan.

Between Heartbreak and Happiness 

Jan Weston is heading to the land Down Under to meet her long-lost grandfather, leaving the man she thinks is the love of her life back in Los Angeles. Instead of a pretentious gentleman with a didgeridoo up his bum, Jan is greeted by a Hawaiian shirt wearing surfie to whom she couldn’t possibly be related. 

Jan gets to know her grandfather Brady while experiencing everything Sydney has to offer, from hanging out at Bodhi Beach to visiting local spas (if she happens to find ideas to steal for a future business, even better). The final pieces of her family’s puzzling past are revealed and for the first time, Jan feels connected to a blood relation, but her need to return to Pan is a constant pull. 

When the lovebirds are reunited, they realize neither have a solution for what to do when Pan’s job ends and he must fly home to Thailand. If she could make her spa a reality, maybe there’d be a place for him there, and with her, forever? But Jan’s life is never easy. As she questions her lover’s commitment, her ability to run a business, and her sanity, Jan realizes that all the things she never considered might be exactly what she needs. BETWEEN HEARTBREAK AND HAPPINESS is an inspirational story of love, family, taking risks, and following your heart.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes (coming soon)

And don't forget to check out the first book in the series, Between Boyfriends

At first glance, twenty-one-year-old Jan Weston has it all: a gorgeous boyfriend, fun friends, and wealthy parents who take care of all those pesky credit card bills. 

Then her boyfriend dumps her, her friendships fall apart, and her parents cut her off. Suddenly without money, without a man, and without a plan, it's time for Jan to grow up. 

Determined to get her life back on track, Jan decides it's time to make it on her own. Can she find her way as a single lady in San Diego? Can she fix her friendships, her job prospects, and her hair? And can she keep her vow that she'll never date again, even after she meets a guy who just might be perfect for her? BETWEEN BOYFRIENDS is a sexy, hilarious story of living life, finding love, and growing up... but not necessarily in that order.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Book Spotlight / Excerpt / 99 cent Sale - Is This All There Is by Patricia Mann (Last Days!!!)

My friend and fellow Booktrope author, Patricia Mann's wonderful novel is currently on sale for 99 cents.   Get it now on Amazon and check out my review when I joined Patricia's blog tour last year.

In the meantime, please enjoy this fabulous excerpt and small peek into Patricia's life.

Is This All There Is? 

Beth Thomas’ seemingly perfect life is about to take a detour. At thirty-five, she’s married to her college sweetheart, has two adorable kids, and finds fulfillment teaching part time at the local university.

But when a friend persuades her to go dancing on a rare night out, a chance meeting with a handsome former student changes the course of her life. Loud music, too much to drink, and the thrill of feeling young again lead to an unforgettable kiss that was never supposed to happen. Beth feels wanted again, listened to, cared for, but she knows it’s wrong.

She tries to put the memory behind her, but he pursues her, drawing Beth back to temptation. As she travels deeper into Dave’s world, Beth struggles to choose between what her mind says is right and what she truly craves.

Introduction to the excerpt:

This excerpt is loosely based on my real life, with a bit of exaggeration thrown in for fun. Many years ago, when my first son was little, I took him to mommy and me classes at Gymboree. With my second son, we switched to the YMCA, which offered a similar but more affordable option.

The description of Beth and Jack at their mommy and me class in chapter four was inspired by my Gymboree experience. Living in the suburbs of Los Angeles, the moms were quite an eclectic mix of characters and I never really felt I fit in. Don’t get me wrong, they were all perfectly nice, but for some reason I wasn’t comfortable with them. Looking back I realize that maybe it was more because I was a young, insecure, new mom more than anything else.

Please don’t judge me for the less than flattering descriptions of the Gymboree moms. Hyperbole makes for good fiction, don’t you think? And Mandy is based on the real teacher, whose actual name was Candy, if you can believe that. Candy was so pretty and thin even though she had four kids, which made me feel like even more of a pathetic, exhausted, chubby schlub than I would have without her. But the real Mandy/Candy was kind and very knowledgeable about all things baby-related so the way she’s portrayed in the Q&A scene here is a complete fabrication. I think because I’m always trying to be so nice to everyone, somehow a little bit of “mean girl” crept out of me for this part of the book. Better in writing than reality, right?

Chapter 4: Distracted Mommy

All I could think about was how many hours were left until my dinner with Shelly as I sang “The Wheels on the Bus.” Jack tried to escape but I reeled him back in to serve out the rest of his circle time sentence. Our teacher Mandy was too alert and too skinny to be the mother of four, as she claimed. Someone once told me that her husband was a Hollywood film producer so I figured she must have a nanny for each child. Her bony hands danced above her head as she sang “The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout,” and I wondered how much she paid for the eye surgery that gave her that permanently astonished look.
“So what questions do you have for me this week?” she asked when we finished singing.
Several hands shot up.
“Well, Tyler had this weird red spot on his left earlobe so of course we rushed him to the ER and they said…” I debated whether two glasses of wine with dinner would be enough or if I’d have to order a third. Yeah, three. Definitely three. I’ll need that much to relax and open up.
Mandy called on the mom with fake boobs who drove the white Lexus SUV and was always replenishing the stack of business cards they allowed her to leave on the front counter. I never bothered to read one of them, needing no confirmation that the word “realtor” would undoubtedly appear beneath her name. Her question had something to do with how long it’s acceptable to leave your baby in a playpen while you work out, shower, and talk to clients on the phone.
I jiggled a big ring of fake yellow and blue keys in front of Jack’s face to keep him from trying to flee again. It seemed unfair, with all that tempting gymnastic equipment just inches away. Like all of us, Jack just wanted more free-play time, time to roam, and explore without restrictions. I tried to tune into the next question. “When I need Hunter to skip his nap so he’ll go to bed early, I put a little of my espresso in his bottle but then…” I wondered how often Shelly and Max were having sex. We could never talk about that with the kids around. I hoped I’d find an appropriate opening in the conversation to ask her, but reminding myself that the wine would be flowing, I figured I’d probably just blurt it out in the middle of some unrelated subject.


Finally, at the very end of question time, with visible reluctance, Mandy called on the mom with black-rimmed glasses, hair the exact same color, and a UCLA sweatshirt. Her hand had been raised the entire time.
“I read on the internet that disposable diapers can cause infertility in boys. I’m really worried about this but I can’t afford a cloth diaper service.”
Mandy rolled her eyes and laughed. “Well that’s just ridiculous. I’ve never heard anything about that.”
“No, really, a number of scientists claim that the plastic in the diapers heats up boys’ testicles to such a high degree that the cells supporting sperm production don’t develop properly.”
Mandy waved a chiseled arm in the air and shook her head back and forth.
“What will they come up with next? I tell you, those scientists should be focusing on something important, like curing cancer.”
I tried to make eye contact with the UCLA mom, wanting her to know that someone did understand her concerns. But she didn’t see me. She was focused on Mandy, who had turned away from her to look at the giant clown clock on the wall.
“Well that’s all the time we have for questions today, is everybody ready for the bye-bye song? Bye bye Harrington, bye bye Serenity, bye bye Precious, we’ll see you again next week. Bye bye Jack, bye bye…”
When the class was over and all the mothers stood in line to sign up for the next month, I quietly slipped out the back door.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Submissions, Signs and Signatures AKA I've just signed with Booktrope!

It's funny how something you don't think about too much, that you just do on a whim, can lead you into a whole new direction.

Booktrope are a publishing company based in Seattle who have pioneered a concept called Team Publishing.    You get many of the benefits of self-publishing but with the support of a traditional publisher.

It started when a post from Sarka-Jonae Miller (Book Spotlight coming soon)  arrived on my newsfeed asking for  self-published authors looking for a book deal.     I have really only submitted my work a handful of times, not actively seeking deals (and of course having no luck)  but figured there was nothing to lose so put Flirting with Magick through.

This was my mindset throughout the experience:

Day 1-6

Submitted book.   Not really thinking too much about it at this stage.    Would be nice to get through but plans are already in place and nothing will change if nothing happens.   Have received some info but of course I don't want to get too involved.  They might not take it and I don't want to get myself all worked up!

Day 7

Sarka replies saying she enjoyed it (Yay!) and would be happy to refer it.   (Yes please).   It's great that it got past that first screening.   But I'm not going to think too much about it.

Day 8-9

Still not going to think too much about it, but having been reading all about it and it sounds pretty good.

Day 10

Get an email from Jesse James Freeman, the Community Manager, after Sarka e-introduced us.   He gives me more information which I'm trying not to think about nor get too excited about because really, it's fine if they don't take my book.    I ask some questions but they are pretty lame, and contact Facebook friends and booktrope authors Patricia Mann (excerpt and guest post coming up)  and Meredith Schorr who have also both recently featured on my blog (that's a sign, right?) They both tell me that Booktrope is wonderful!

Day 14

Haven't heard for a few days.     I consult some free tarot readings and psychic signs to see if it tells me anything.

Day 15

Get an email from Jesse apologising as he has been away but that my manuscript is still being reviewed.  (Arrgh) That's cool.   I'm not fussed.   (Yeah, ok, I'm a little anxious)   But I do ask a few more (better) questions.    Do another online psychic reading, even though I really don't care. Really. OK, I do.  A little bit.   I haven't done tarot or readings in years!  They're fun.

Day 16

Wake up to an email and it's the answers to my questions.    Jesse is sounding very positive but I don't want to read into it.  Read email to my husband and friends to see if they can overanalyse as well as I can.  (They can)

Day 17

Wake to an email asking about my full name.  I squee but hold it in and send back a very formal and cool reply like 'yes, that is correct.'  Because it's still not a yes and might be very simply a formalised 'no', possibly.

Later that day:

Receive an email asking if I would accept a contract.    I sit on it for a bit, as though  the chances are there that I might not and I get asked this all the time.   Then I accept, a contract is sent through, and I sign it.

The End

Actually that is just the beginning!    Sarka will be my book manager and I will select a team to help with the re-release of Flirting with Magick!    Well tell you more soon.