The China Doll
By Deborah Nam-Krane
Hypocrisy, half truths and lies...
Sick of being treated like she's going to break, Jessie Bartolome is back to her old ways and calling everyone on their hypocrisy. Sheesh! One little breakdown and even easygoing Martin Shepard thinks she's too fragile to handle their age difference. Good thing her older and equally yummy teaching assistant Robert Lester thinks otherwiseâ¦right?
After spending so long cleaning up after everyone else, Jessie's cousin Richard has never had the time to start a life of his own. However had he managed to find his girlfriend Zainab? So what is Richard going to do now that everyone else has grown up? Marry Zainab and start a family? Things have never been that easy for a Hendricksonâ¦just ask his cousin Michael.
Richard's mother, Lucy, is one of the most powerful women in Boston... so when is she going to put a stop to the blackmail ruthless Alex Sheldon has been holding over her for years? And if Richard knows more than he's letting on, why hasn't he gone after Alex himself? The question is, how much does he- or anyone else- really know?
Welcome to the Bartolome/Hendrickson family.
The China Doll is Book Three in The New Pioneers Series
âMy dad drowned. My mom died in her sleep.â
âHow old was she?â
âAbout twenty-six.â Jessie shuddered just a little bit. âJust a little older than Miranda is now.â
âThatâs awfully young to die in your sleep.â
âHeart condition, they said.â
âRichard and Lucy.â Jessie shook her head. âNo. Just Richard.â
âWhat did your aunt say?â
âNothing,â Jessie said quietly. âShe just let Richard do all the talking.â
âHow old was he?â
Jessie sighed. âThirteen, I think.â
âAnd how old were you?â
âSo how do you know you remember it correctly?â
Jessie looked at him square in the eye. âBecause you know when youâre that age. When youâre a little kid, you donât have to go through the apologetic BS you do when youâre older. When youâre eight, even. You just get it. And people think youâre crazy or in the way or rude because you get it and then you say it. So then no one wants to talk to you or they send you to your room. Then you start making up excuses for why they must be right and you must be wrong. Then you grow up, and you realize that you had it right back then, and if your world seems messed up, itâs because you bought into someone elseâs lies. So donât lie anymore, and everything will be just fine.â
âAnd when did you come to that nugget of wisdom?â
âWhen I was fifteen,â Jessie said quietly. âAnd Iâve been very happy ever since.â
The Smartest Girl in the Room
Genre: Coming of Age
Nineteen year old Emily wants her college diploma fast, and she's going to get it. But when the perfect night with perfect Mitch leads her to a broken heart, Emily is blind to her vulnerability. When the person she cares about the most is hurt as a result, Emily's ambition gives way to more than a little ruthlessness. She's going to use her smarts to take care of herself and protect the people she loves, and everyone else had better stay out of her way. But shouldn't the smartest girl everyone knows realize that the ones she'd cross the line for would do the same for her?
The Family You Choose
Genre: Family Saga
Miranda Harel has been in love with her guardian Alex Sheldon since she was five years old, and Michael Abbot has despised them both for just as long. When Miranda finds out why she wants both men out of her life for good and questions everything she believed about where and who she came from. Finding out the truth will break her heart. Without family or true love, will her friends be enough to bring her back?
Deborah Nam-Krane 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 (sheâs very grateful the fourth is now college-aged).
The China Doll is the third installment of the New Pioneers series, the sequel to The Smartest Girl in the Room (March 2013) and The Family You Choose (September 2013). While her long-suffering editor works her magic on the fourth installment Letâs Move On, Deborah is working on the fifth. That book will be set in the world of Boston and Massachusetts politics, and her job will be to tone down the true stories sheâs heard so they seem believable.
Deborah is all over the place on the internet- no, really- but the best way to keep in touch is to follow her blog Written By Deb and subscribe to her newsletter (only publishing news, never spam).
$10 Amazon gift card
5 copies of both The Smartest Girl in the Room and The Family You Choose
This week I've read quite a few surveys about author earnings and what makes an author, especially an indie author, successful.
I find these articles really interesting for a variety of reasons which I list in no particular order:
1. I'm a bit of an information whore...I love it, I gather it, I covet it.
2. I have a PR and Marketing background so they how and why and the why not of book sales is interesting to me.
3. I look at my writing career (when I'm not suffering from writer's block, deep frustration or the inevitable self-loathing that is part and parcel of writing) as a bit of a puzzle. I like finding the pieces and putting them together...although I think writing's probably more like a rubix cube...in that there is more than one way to finish it off...(That's good and bad for me because while I'm not bad at puzzles I'm absolutely rubbish at that multi-coloured cube.)
4. They're often written from a very specific point of view - and especially the interpretation of the studies and the comments which I find fascinating. I find most writers to be a lovely accepting bunch, but there are always a few judgemental types out there. Fascinating!
Anyway, I digress...one of the articles read broke down what these studies said one should do to succeed as an indie.
These things included:
- write a series
- get professional cover design
- get professional editing
- release a certain number of books per year and over more than one year
Finally - and this is where the branding comes in I suppose. The survey showed you which genre's to write in if you wanted to succeed ie how to brand yourself for success like those very successful authors.
Chicklit, is what I write and naturally it wasn't one of those areas recommended for success - of course if I write a chicklit series I would increase my odds (see above) but unless I added some other elements then that still probably isn't enough. (I do write in other genres and I have been published in them but I do that under a different name.)
This is where branding comes in. As you can see by my banner, my covers and my collateral I'm very much branded as a chicklit author. I've done that on purpose because I don't want to mislead my readers.
This is where it gets interesting I suppose because everyone who knows anything about writing will tell you that you must write the story in your heart, you must write the story the characters tell you and you must be true to yourself and your story.
So how do you match those things up? Writing what you want to write and writing what sells best. (By the way I think people read chicklit and I know plenty of people who sell it - it just doesn't sell "best".)
So what does an author do?
I think you just continue to be yourself. I mean, maybe you don't have the blinding success of someone who loves to write erotica but then again maybe the wheel will turn and next year the surveys will tell people to start writing chicklit. Either way I don't think you succeed when you're disingenuous and certainly not in creative pursuits.
Today for #chicklitlove the theme is Galentines Day...what is this Galentines Day you ask? Ok, I'll be honest I had no idea either but I'm totally loving it. Let's get the fabtabulous Lesly Nope (aka Amy Poehler) to explain it to us.
(For the record if Amy Poehler needs a new BFF I would be very happy to help her out.)
So the idea is for me to talk about the gal-pals and BFF in my novel (s). This posed a problem for me because I love the female friendships in my books and so I really struggled to choose which book to write about.
In Alphabet Dating Serena's friends have seen her through heartbreak and through a terrible accident and then decide to set her up on 26 dates in a month in the hope she'll find someone special based on the theory our friends know us better than anyone else. I really love her friends who all met at college and were part of an all-girl acapella group. (for the record I wrote that book long before the fabulous Pitch Perfect movie was released).
In Mr Right and Other Mongrels Allegra's friends are like a surrogate family for her. They've supported her through the difficulties of her relationship with her mother and the loss of her grandmother. These are friends who show up for each other no matter what. And the fact that they may have had a few drinks at some of my own favourite haunts just makes me love them more.
Likewise both Holly (Building Attraction) and Cassie (Hearts Afire) have a best friend who is always there for them.
I'd love to have a Galentine's breakfast with all my female characters and their best friends. That would be quite the morning. I think we'd probably start with mimosas and breakfast would turn in to a very long lunch.
In fact we'd probably end up here - a bar that features in Mr Right and Other Mongrels and that would be a fantastic day.
I try and create female friendships in my books that are real. Real friends do hang in there for each other through the highs and the lows. Real friends are your bridesmaids, your drinking companions, your shoulder during a break-up and the person you ring when you meet a new guy.
I'm lucky to have had a great many friends like that through my life and I can't imagine how empty my life would be without my gal pals. I don't want to read or write about characters with empty lives and that's why my books are full of wonderful female characters that you absolutely would want to split a frittata or a bottle of bubbly with!
2/11/2014 0 Comments
Today as part of #chicklitlove we are getting to know Teddy Green, lifestyle TV guru, who recently had an unexpected encounter with Allegra (who you met on Monday) from
Mr Right and Other Mongrels.
Ok, Teddy, here we go...
Celebrity you've been told you look like:
Hmm there’s an Aussie guy I look a bit a like or so they say but I don’t see it. His name is Jamie Durie. (That's him in the photo.)
Naughty food you like to indulge in:
I’m not one of these guys who watches what they eat. I work hard and I exercise so if I want a burger and chips at the end of the day I’ll have it. I like to eat healthy but I don’t sweat that stuff too much. Life is too short to deny yourself all the time.
What you wear to bed:
Well nothing is my preferred option or when I’m travelling which I do a lot, boxers, just in case. You only need to be scrambling for clothes in a dark hotel room when the fire alarm goes once to embrace the idea of sleeping in something.
Favorite body part of the opposite sex:
I’ve got to be honest with you, there isn’t much about the opposite sex I don’t like but if I have to pick one, I’m probably a boob guy.
How many people you've said "I love you" to: Well now there have only been two now, if you don’t count my lovely mother.
I like honesty and I don’t like to be manipulated. My last girlfriend was highly manipulative so I’m not falling for that again.
Your first kiss - How old were you? Did you instigate it?: Wow, that was in Primary School with MaryAnne Mosely. She kissed me I think, but maybe she remembers it differently.
Do you have any tattoos or piercings? If so, describe: Actually I don’t. My mother basically said she’d kill me, and while I know I’m a grown up and it is my body, I don’t like to upset my mum.
Favorite alcoholic drink: I work outside in the garden on my TV show and so we get pretty hot. You can’t beat a long cold beer at the end of a hot day’s work.
Describe your dream girl: I think I’ve just met her. Dark hair, a sweet smile, a curvy body and the soul of an angel.
I hope you're enjoying the #chiclitlove posts this week... visit my author page to see all my novels.
Today as part of #ChickLitLove I'm giving you an extract from Hearts Afire (which by the way is only 99c on Amazon this week). I love all the men in my books but I have to say of my released novels I do think Jack from Hearts Afire is my favourite (although wait till you meet Matt in A Fair Exchange - due out in April!!!).
I really like the chemistry between these two and their banter, I hope you do too!
Jack leaned down and whispered in her ear. “You’ve done a good job.”
“Sorry?” Here quizzical eyes looked up at him.
“With Lisa, that’s what you’re worried about right? Well she’s OK.”
“I don’t know about that.”
“Look, she’s a normal twenty-year-old. That’s what they do. That’s how they act.”
“Selfish, over-sexed, self-absorbed and shallow?”
“I think so, pretty much.” He smiled at her.
“Well, we should raise our glasses to what a great parent I was then, because she is all those things.”
“You wanted to make sure she got a chance to do all the things you didn’t get to do, right?” Cassie nodded at him. “Well look, she’s doing them all.”
“Does she have to do them all at once, though?” Her voice smiled as she spoke.
“I guess so.”
“So now you’re talking to me again, huh?”
“I have trouble staying mad at you, apparently.” He touched her silky skin lightly on the shoulder. “You do strange things to me.”
“Yeah, well, if you keep touching me we’re both going to be in big trouble, Jack.” He didn’t move his hand. Instead he ran his finger down her arm. “Listen Jack, I just need to say…”
“You need to say nothing, Cassie.”
He placed a finger over her lips to silence her. With his other hand he grabbed her hand and pulled her back outside. And against the wall which pulsated with the beat from the music from inside, he found her mouth and kissed her hard.
Cassie leaned into him. It was a warm, inviting, kiss. He was pressed against her and she could feel every muscle of his lean body up and down the length of her own. She closed her eyes and just went with the glorious feeling of his mouth melting into hers. She needed this. She needed him.
He pulled back and looked into her eyes. It was a searching look. She knew he wanted her to say something now, but what? She didn’t even know what she wanted. She knew he would break her heart but maybe it would be worth it.
She grabbed his shirt and pulled his mouth down to hers initiating another long searching toe-tingling kiss. Well her toes were tingling anyway, she didn’t know about his toes but she could feel other parts of him springing into action. He wrapped his arms around her and locked one hand in her hair at the back of her neck, holding her in place. It felt amazing.
If you want to read how Cassie and Jack got into this situation - or if you like sexy firemen and tropical islands -go and download Hearts Afire from Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009V2UKWQ
As part of #ChickLitLove (oragnised by the wonderful ladies at @ChickLitChat) I'm taking part in some fun events here on the blog and on twitter this week.
Today in the lead-up to Valentine’s Day we have a Q&A with Allegra from Mr Right and Other Mongrels. Although a true romantic Allegra hasn’t exactly been lucky in love so let’s get her thoughts on romance, shall we?
1)What three qualities do you find most attractive in a partner?
I find stability very attractive, I had kind of a bumpy childhood so I like a bit of consistency in my men. I’m big on loyalty because I’ve been burned before and I’m not looking to go through that again. Finally I like some good old fashioned manners and courtesy, that might not be fashionable but then I’m not really the most fashion forward girl on the planet.
2) What’s your idea of romance?
Romance is walking hand in hand on the beach under the moonlight. However, once you get past that initial blush it is also about showing up, remembering the details and creating a life together. I’m kind of a hopeless romantic. I want a happily ever after, but I’m not exactly expecting one.
3) Who's your favorite on-screen couple (Film or TV)?
You know I did have quite an obsession with Carol and Mike Brady for a while. It was a pity he was gay and she was dating her eldest son off screen, that kind of ruined it. Still, on screen, I loved the way they had such a united approach to their kids and family, plus their colour coordinated flares gave them a touch of something special.
4) What's been your most embarrassing moment in regards to the opposite sex?
One embararssing moment? You want me to choose just one? Seriously most of my encounters with the opposite sex are embarassing…can we please talk about something else?
5) What was your first impression of your partner or crush? How accurate was it?
You know I’m very embarassed to say that I didn’t recognise him when I saw him the second time (or the first, apparently everyone in Australia but me would have instantly known him). Admittedly I was quite focussed on having a panic attack and getting away from the humiliation that caused the first time I met him so I did avoid looking at him and eye contact. Still, he’s so cute and my goodness that smile, I don’t know how even I managed to forget that face.
6) How have you coped with break-ups in the past?
WOW, do we have to talk break-ups? My last break up was very, very awkward. I caught my boyfriend sleeping with someone, I can’t even tell you who, it’s too awful (if you read the book you’ll understand why). So I just kind of went into a bit of a funk, swore off men and made a nice neat life for myself that revolved around my friends and my business.
7) Which hot actor would you want to be stranded on a deserted island with and why?
I like old movies, anything vintage works for me, so I think Cary Grant and I would probably have a fine time on a deserted island. I don’t think we’d last long but we’d look stylish as we went.
8) What is the craziest thing you've ever done for love?
I haven’t really done anything crazy for love yet but I have a feeling Teddy Green, who is also in Mr Right and Other Mongrels is going to have me going all kinds of crazy.
9) PDA: How much is acceptable?
I’m not really all that good with PDA’s for myself. I mean you may go right ahead and snog whomever you like where ever you like, I grew up on a commune so I have seen it all before and I’m not here to judge. Personally when I’m in a relationship I’m more of a hand holding in public and peck on quick kiss on the lips girl, I think some things are just between the two people involved.
10) What is the best relationship advice you've ever gotten?
The best relationship advice I’ve been given – I just don’t know. I think it is follow your heart, but I don’t exactly trust my heart so it’s quite hard to know where to follow it to.
I have a few things to tell you about this week so I thought I'd start the day with a post...and in what may be a first I'll be back later today with another post...I hope the earth doesn't spin of it's axis.
First off I'm participating in a Valentine's event called #ChickLitLove this week. Lots of wonderful authors are involved...look for the hashtag on twitter to find their posts.
I'll be doing lots of fun stuff here for that this week.
Secondly I have put Hearts Afire down to just a 99c for a few days so it's the perfect time to get a copy. For 99c it would also make a cute Valentine for a girlfriend who could use a little love and escapist romance in her life (and who couldn't?)
Thirdly you can find me here at J'aimee Brookers website talking about Building Attraction as part of the #Ozromance Valentine's Showcase.
Building Attraction is my newest book and it's lots of fun. If you haven't read it, I think you'll find it a fun read.
Finally for Musical Monday a song to put some pep in your step....Imagine Dragons - I'm On Top of the World. (Or as my daughter and I call it the happy song you sing when you're feeling just tad Canadian, eh!) We actually saw them in concert here in Sydney last year with a group of friends...very fun.
Anyway, I'm not really feeling on top of the world but sometimes you need to act as if and music sure can help.
I'll be back later to get my week of #ChickLitLove underway.
2. How does my work differ from others in it's genre?
That’s an interesting question. My female protagonists are always Australians so I suppose that’s a point of difference for non-Australian readers, who in fact make up the majority of my readers. I think my books generally have a strong female friendship component that most women can hopefully relate to. It annoys me immensely to read about characters who seem to have no one in their life, even in romance, if the character is so amazing that this guy thinks she’s amazing he can’t possibly be the first person in twenty-something years to have noticed. I hope the books also have a strong sense of place, except for one book they’ve been set in Sydney so far and I like showing readers around my home town.
3. Why do I write what I write?
I didn’t always write women’s fiction, chick lit or romance (half the time I’m still not quite sure what to call what I write – I probably should work on that). In fact my short stories tend to be quite dark. The reality is it takes a long time to write a book and you have to spend lots of times in the world you create. I don’t want to spend all my time in a dark place. I made a conscious decision to write books about people that I would like to spend time with, books that make people smile. I think being happy is a great thing to aspire towards and turning towards the light rather than the shadows is healthy, so I try to have the energy in my books. My books don’t necessarily have a happily ever after but they certainly don’t have a misery ever after.
4. How does your writing process work?
When I write a character appears to me in a certain situation. For all of my books the main character has appeared to me in opening scene and I start writing from there. Usually when I’m about a third of the way through I do an outline for the rest of the book. It’s not super specific, more like sign posts to help me get to the end. When I’m writing I usually write every day. I find that’s easier for me than dipping in and out of a story. I love the initial creation of a story, it’s exhilarating. The re-writes are a whole different ball game.
Keep the chain going:
As part of this blog chain I had to tag three authors who will post their won answers to these questions next Monday 10th February.
Leigh Bennett is an Australian author who lives in Melbourne’s hilly and rugged outer east with her husband, three sons, 2 beagle x cavalier dogs and any number of chickens.
Currently a stay at home mother, she has worked in the public service, education, road and music industries.
She enjoys reading, cooking and writing stories full of fun, drama, love and always with a happy ever after.
Her first novel, Flirting with Magick was released in February 2013 and she is currently working on her next romantic tale.
Social Media Links:
Karen E. Martin, M.Ed. is a full-time freelance writer/editor. She has been in the publishing business since 2004, working on books and publications for major and independent publishers, universities, businesses, and private individuals. Prior to entering the field of publishing, Ms. Martin worked as a Senior EFL Fellow (English as a Foreign Language) for the U.S. Department of State in Romania, a Junior EFL Fellow for the U.S. Department of State in Jordan, and a teacher-trainer for the U.S Peace Corps in Mauritania, Jordan, Romania, and Morocco. Ms. Martin served as a Peace Corps volunteer for two years, teaching English in the Errachidia Province of Morocco. This is Ms. Martin’s first novel.
Monica is an Australian author who writes contemporary coastal romance.
She has always been a hopeless romantic who believes in love at first sight and ‘happily ever afters’. She does however, also know that the path to true love is not always smooth.
Her Henley’s Bluff romance series charts the romantic entanglements of the Doherty family and their friends in the sea-side town of Henley’s Bluff.