O is for OPRAH
I got the letter O in the #ChickLitMay scavenger hunt and w hat I know for sure is that Oprah is the ultimate chicklit heroine.
Chicklit books to me are the stories of women working towards their dreams with a sense of humour. Women grappling with careers, with friends and with romantic entanglements. Chicklit heroines have highs and lows, ups and downs and lots of laughs along the way. They're women with hobbies and passions who are looking for love and meaning in life but they're finding their own way. Does that sounds like Oprah to you?
Oprah did not start her life with a perfect family in a perfect house waiting for Mr Perfect to rescue her. No she did not. She got out there and worked her butt off. That's part of what makes her so successful, she's relatable.
So much of her life is documented because like many a chicklit heroine she's an over-sharer. We all know she moved to Chicago to pursue her dream career in television and that's where she met her BFF's Gayle and Maria Shriver. (We know she went to Maria's house and like many a book character had family-envy.) For all those women in that circle of friends careers and men have risen and fallen but the core of their friendship has kept them strong. We've watched them celebrate each other's milestones and laugh themselves stupid on national television as well.
One of the things I love about chicklit books is that the characters often have their own language and shorthand for how they communicate and Oprah is the queen of that. Aha moments, full circle moments, what I know for sure are all Oprahisms.
We've watched Oprah struggle for years with her weight (just like Bridget Jones with whom there are many Oprah parallels. Bridget had her own language too v. happy or v.anything really is a good example.) We could see Oprah believing if she just hit that goal life would fall in to place only to realize that wasn't the answer.
There's a criticism by some that chicklit can be vapid (shoes and handbags anyone?) but the truth is in the Oprah era and the chicklit era for the first time women have found themselves making their own money and their own decisions about how they spend it. If that means one nice pair of Jimmy Choos or in Oprah's case four houses each with a colour-coded temperature controlled walk-in robe then bring it on. It's okay for women in books and in life to want pretty things and to celebrate their milestones by getting them.
Of course that's not all that the chicklit heroine or Oprah are about. They want to find their bliss. Whether through family, friendship or pursuing a dream. The journey is the fascinating part.
How do I know so much about Oprah's journey? I possibly may have read every O Magazine ever written.
You know something else Oprah loved to do? Give away her favourite things and what do authors love more than anything? Books. So the authors participating in this Scavenger Hunt are giving you the chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite and a $100 Amazon Giftcard to load it up with books.
Want to win a Kindle Paperwhite + a $100 Amazon gift card? Visit each of the 26 stops on the #ChickLitMay A to Z Scavenger Hunt and collect the alphabet word at each stop (A, B, C, D, etc.), then submit the A-Z list of words via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "A to Z Scavenger Hunt Entry." Entries will be accepted until Sunday, May 22nd at midnight E.D.T. A winner will be chosen on Monday, May 23rd. Good luck!
The next stop on the Scavenger Hunt - the letter P - is here. https://whitneydineen.com/2016/05/15/chick-lit-scavenger-hunt/
If you'd like to start back at the beginning of the Scavenger Hunt (the letter A), go here. http://katieoliver.com/ko/2016/05/chick-lit-a-to-z-scavenger-hunt/
Good luck!! I hope you win big.
My personal connection to Oprah and chicklit
One last thing - my very first novel Mr Right and Other Mongrels features a landscape gardener with an Australian TV show who gets called up to have his own big US Show. I modelled the character on an Australian TV personality called Jamie Durie and the question I asked while writing was "What if Jamie got chosen to be on Oprah?"
And then that ACTUALLY HAPPENED while I was finalising my book. Jamie got called up and was sitting there on the Oprah stage doing designs with cute Nate Berkus.
If you'd like to read the full version you can get Mr Right and Other Mongrels here and it's on sale for #ChickLitMay getBook.at/MrRightandOtherMongrels
Echoes of the Past Synposis
Emily Bradshaw waited over twenty years to see Connor again…
When her childhood friend, Connor Walsh, returns home to see his ailing father, Emily is elated to be reunited with the handsome man who moved to London so many years ago. But excitement fades to disappointment when he doesn’t remember her—or their first kiss. With her crush on Connor still in full swing, she’s determined to enjoy the short time he’s in Fermosa Bay, even though she knows her heart will break when he returns to his life in London.
When Connor receives news that his biological father is terminally ill, he returns to Fermosa Bay, Australia.
With memories of his childhood tucked fondly in the back of his mind, returning to the small, coastal town leaves him to wonder how life would have been if his mother had never taken him away. Would he have been married and had children? Perhaps with Emily Bradshaw…
Secrets from long ago begin to unfold…
As Connor and his father grow closer, Connor learns his parents have a broken love story of their own. Will the echoes of the past lure him into staying, maybe for good? Or will he relive his parents’ tragic story and flee to London?
Walking away from a real chance at true love…
Get your copy here:
Amazon US - http://amzn.to/1UMSPd9
Amazon UK - http://goo.gl/K4SMKZ
Amazon CA - https://goo.gl/JO9ERL
Connor leaned against the window frame with his arms crossed as he watched the waves crashing against the rocks. In front of him, as wide as the horizon, was the ocean. With the clouds drifting in from the sea, the sky had turned grey and dark, and he knew there’d be even more rain coming later in the day.
He would’ve enjoyed the scene if it hadn’t reminded him of his changing life. He’d been back in Fermosa Bay for two days already, but the memories of the first seven years of his life he’d spent in this small Australian coastal town were tucked away in the back of his mind. Seemingly inaccessible. Nowadays, his life was in London and had been for the last twenty-three years. He took a couple of deep breaths as he looked towards the harbour in the distance, and the small town in the alcove with the hilly forest in the background where he’d spend the first seven years of his life. It was truly one very picturesque little place.
A noise from the other end of the house hauled him back from his thoughts, and he stepped away from the window. Over the last few weeks, since he’d decided to accept Jack’s invitation to Australia, he’d had visions of what he’d find here. His mother hadn’t told him much about the time she’d lived here, except about Jack owning a pub. Connor had been furious for her lack of memory, but in the end admitted to himself it’d probably not been a time she’d like to remember.
So he was surprised to find out that Jack lived in this massive house just outside Fermosa Bay, on the top of the cliffs, with a view over the ocean. The house had five rooms and a small study at the back. The lounge room, with a high pitched ceiling, had wood fire heating and a big window front. Connor had loved the house the instant he’d stepped into it.
When he entered the hall, he saw his father and said, “Good morning, Jack.”
The old man sighed sadly. “You still can’t bring it over your heart to call me Dad?”
Connor’s gaze wandered from his father to all the many framed photos along the wall. Jack was in many of the photos, but most them had people in them he didn’t know, except the biggest one, which showed Connor as a child in Jack’s arms. A wave of sadness shook him. No, it wasn’t in him to call him Dad. Or to even think of him as his dad.
After a moment’s silence, he turned to his father and shook his head. “Sorry.”
Jack coughed, and Connor quickly rushed to his side, holding him upright.
“Another bad day?” Connor asked.
“Son, there will be no more good days. One day is like the other, until it will be the last.”
The words struck Connor deep enough to feel some emotions for his father. He knew time was running out, but hearing it made it sound final.
“There’s a front coming, but I think you’d be able to sit outside for a little while. At least until the nurse comes.”
Jack simply nodded.
Connor helped his father out onto the deck where the old man sat down on his swing seat.
Without a reply, Connor stepped away and watched the sea again.
“I couldn’t keep you away from the water when you were a child,” Jack said.
“What do you mean?” Connor asked.
Jack didn’t answer, so he turned around to look at his father. The old man stared into the distance, a withdrawn expression on his face.
“You were constantly in the water. Whatever opportunity you had, you grabbed your little board and spent most of the day there.”
“So what happened?”
His father shrugged. “You left with your mother.”
Sitting down on the chair next to Jack, Connor let out a long breath. “Something must’ve happened. I never go near water, let alone go in it.”
Still gazing into the distance, Jack said, “I still have the blue board. Ethan’s little son sometimes uses it nowadays.”
Not sure where the conversation was heading, Connor just went along. “Who’s Ethan?” he asked.
The reaction from his father wasn’t what he expected. With his shoulders sagged, Jack closed his eyes. He looked so old and frail. From what Connor saw in all the photos around the house, cancer had taken a lot of life out of his father, leaving behind a haggard body with no energy left. Initially, he’d been taken aback by their similarities in looks, with their dark brown eyes and dark blond hair, including the stubborn curl above the ears, but after all, Jack was his father.
Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London, as well as Canada where she met her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper only emerged a few years back, but now her laptop is a constant companion. Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her beautiful two daughters as well as their dog. Next to her job at a private school, she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.
Social Media Links
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4067254.Iris_Blobel
Twitter - @_iris_b
Website - www.iris-b.blogspot.com
Google + - https://plus.google.com/107759085454255573026/posts
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/iris_blobel/
Iris has three copies of Echoes of the Past to give away click here to enter.
Only one day left to enter the Any Way You Fight It Bog Tour Give- Away. There's $20 Amazon gift card up for grabs so go on and take a chance.
Any Way You Fight It
Matchmaking came easily for Cherie . . . unless she was matching herself. A successful realtor, Cherie could sell a piece of property with ease, she could match up her friends with their perfect mates, but she couldn’t seem to find love for herself. Heck, even her seventy-five-year-old Nona was dating again! Cherie had the perfect love once, or so she had thought. But that was a long time ago, and yet, Luke was the standard by which she measured all potential mates.
After matching her two best friends and watching them live their happily ever afters, Cherie decides it’s time to make a change and get back in the game. Now all she needs to do is balance what she wants (a Luke-alike) with the demands of her crazy Italian family (a good, Catholic Italian boy).
Just when she is ready to shake off her past and move forward, her past walks through the door of her favorite local pub with her best friends. Luke is back, looks better than ever, and still has eyes for Cherie. And Cherie can’t control the heat she still has for him. But as with most long-lost loves, he has a past as well, and that past just might prevent Cherie from finding her happiness despite what her Nona’s visions predict.
Can Cherie and Luke make peace with their pasts and look forward to a new life together? Or will this be the final good-bye?
Welcome to the Here Comes The Bride Blog Hop
here we are on the first hop of the Here Comes The Bride Blog Hop. Please stop by all of the stops on the hop this week (details at the bottom) and be sure to enter our competition to win copies of ebooks from all five authors on the hop.
Character interview with Cassie Callahan from Hearts Afire.
Let's find out a little bit about Cassie and her wedding day.
Were you nervous on the big day?
Actually I really wasn't nervous at all, I thought I was marrying someone who really got me. I guess that shows what I knew because my fiancé called to say he'd changed his mind on the morning of the wedding and he wasn't coming.
Then I was more mad than nervous.
Did anything go wrong?
You heard what I just said right? I was jilted on the day of my wedding. Still that actually wasn't the worst thing that happened that day, believe it or not. I'm a caterer so I decided to cater my own wedding (okay in hindsight maybe not a great idea) and in all the fuss my sister left the stove on and the kitchen caught fire so the fire brigade turned up. I think the real question should be - did anything go right that day?
Be honest were you a total bridezilla? (Or do you have a Bridezilla story?)
It turned out was not even a little bit bridezilla, in fact my fiancé chose my wedding dress - maybe he was a groomzilla. Is that a thing? It should be. I am a caterer so I have dealt with my fair share of highly string brides so I think that made me extra anxious about not being one.
Bridesmaids, how many is too many?
Well I was only having two, my sister (more about her later) and my best friend Miranda. I think even one bad bridesmaid is one bridesmaid too many. I never wanted to be like Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias...so many bridesmaids.
You can’t have a wedding without family – how did yours behave in the lead-up to the wedding or on the day?
I don't have much family. My parents were killed when I was a teenager so it's always been my sister and I...she set the kitchen on fire and then came with me on my solo honeymoon with me (may as well use the tickets). However she abandoned me on the honeymoon so all in all I guess my family didn't exactly have my back.
Are you still a believer in the happily ever after?
You know what a funny thing happened since my botched wedding day. I've started to see that maybe I was with the wrong guy all along and that maybe the right guy isn't too far away at all.
Follow the Here Comes The Bride Blog Hop authors and
enter our give-away
Monday - Monique McDonell
Tuesday - Samantha March/ChickLitPlus
Wednesday - Laura Chapman
Thursday - Nikki Mahood
Friday - Kathleen Irene Paterka
I've been a pretty bad blogger the past couple of weeks but admittedly I have been on vacation. See those pictures up above, they prove it. We went on a family road trip from sunny Sydney to the Gold Coast in Queensland. It is the middle of winter so although you see and sand it wasn't as toasty warm as these photos imply. Whoever said the camera never lies well that guy was a liar.
Anyway it's always nice to recharge the batteries, drink a few cocktails, ride some rollercoasters and get ready for the months ahead.
As a parent I'm amazed at how fast time is passing and am all too aware that my delightful 13 year old will be off on her own adventures soon and I will no longer be part of her vacations so I really do try and seize the moments now because they are all too fleeting.(Having said that I'm kind of theme parked out for now!)
So back to the desk. My new novella which will be out in August will be making it's way to the editor this week. That's exciting for me. I'm working on it's sequel. The novella is the first in a series and I hope that readers like the characters. I like them. Smart women making their way in the big city while keeping their sense of humour...the kind of women I like to hang out with both in real life and in a book.(Sneak peek of the cover coming soon - sign up to my newsletter if you want to see it.)
Don't forget about this give-away I'm part of. It's a great opportunity to win some prizes donated by a wide variety of authors. (See entry form below).
And finally for Musical Monday...one of my favourite songs for singing loudly in the car on a road trip - Story of a Girl. very fitting for a writer whose main characters are usually girls finding their way.
I'm participating in the wonderful Summer Splash Blog Hop this weekend.
Stop by because you could win the grand prize:
Kindle Paperwhite or a $50 Amazon gift card
This hop is a great way for you to win some fabulous prizes, find out about new authors, get some bargain books (lots on sale for 99c) and stock up your e-reader for the Northern Summer (or the winter down here in the Southern Hemisphere - also an excellent time for reading!)
There are so many blogs to stop by and visit so please click on the image above or the link below to find out all about the many authors involved in this hop. Every author has prizes up for grabs on their page so make like a bunny and get hopping to each page.
My novel A Fair Exchange is only 99c during the Summer Blog Hop so please grab yourself a copy.
I'm also running a give away here on my page where you can win $20 Amazon Gift Card or a copy of my novels Building Attraction or A Fair Exchange.
If you are a first time visitor to my page you may wish to sign up to my newsletter while you are here - to hear about further competitions, promotions and upcoming releases.
I seriously can't believe it is Monday again. I also can't believe that I am participating in a thing called a Summer Splash Blog Hop (which I totally am, this coming weekend) because it's cold here in Sydney now and really not at all summery. My brain is having serious difficulty processing.
I'll be giving away a $20 Amazon GC and some e-books during the hop so you really want to come back and enter.
The hop, for those who haven't participated in one before is where a group of authors get together and do a joint promotion where they host giveaways, promote their books and get the word out about great books. There are lots and lots of prizes up for grabs - some of these authors are very creative people - and even a Kindle Paperwhite.
My advice is COME BACK 13 June.
In other news I'm hoping my novella will be off to the editor in early July and then will be out as soon as possible after that. I've been messing around about doing a Box set of my first 3 books and I'm almost ready with that as well. I have the cover (I'll show you next week).
Oh yeah and I'm trying to master Scrivener which is a really cool software program for writers but apparently I am not really cool because I'm doing some basic stuff very wrong. (eg Why can't I create a new Chapter that appears where I want it? Why? Why?)
Anyway it's musical Monday and so that calls for a song. My daughter has been practicing her clarinet today but I'll spare you a concert.
Instead because I seem to be eternally attached to my computer I'll give you the song Electric Dreams, the theme song to the movie of the same name about a computer that is obsessed with it's owner in a romantic way. Ah the 80's.
And I'm actually giving you two versions - movie soundtrack and a recent live version because I would have lost money and bet that no way would The Human League be able to fill a stadium with people happy to shout along to this! I thought I was the only tragic out there...just goes to show.
Thanks to everyone who entered the competition to win a $25 Amazon gifts certificate as part of the A Fair Exchange launch.
The winner of the Gift Card is Jessica Meddick.
The winner of the e-copy of A Fair Exchange is Crystal McNeely Guidroz.
Ladies I'll be e-mailing you later today.
Sorry to those who entered and didn't win. I hope you'll continue to visit the blog, my Facebook page and follow me on twitter, and maybe even read my books and leave me a review.
Today is Monday. It's cold and wet here in Sydney - the reason for that is simple - it's school holidays (or as the Americans call it vacation). It always rains in the Easter holidays. Can anyone explain why this is when Easter moves and so do the holidays and yet it always rains every time. it's a big long-weekend here over Easter we get Good Friday and Easter Monday off and lots of people go camping. They usually get very wet.
What does this have to do with anything I hear you ask? Today I bring you two songs from musicals...both about parades - one Easter themed and one rain themed. That's the kind of gal I am.
First the Glee version of Don't Rain on my Parade and then the lovely Judy Garland serenading Fred Astair in his easter hat for The Easter Parade. Have a lovely week.
As I have often said here on the blog, although my characters are often nothing like me (I guess the fact I've been happily married for 20 years kind of distinguishes me from these largely single and completely lovely characters I write about ) they do all have elements of me in them.
Amelia in A Fair Exchange is probably the most and the least like me.
I was an exchange student in Massachusetts when I was in high school and it was the most fabulous, exciting and life changing experience for me. I did loosely base some of the characters in the book and some of the experiences I had on that time.
I certainly drew the premise of the novel from that experience. Being chosen to be an exchange student back then (and I assume now as well, especially for a year-long program) was quite a gruelling process that had several stages including essays, interviews, family interviews and selection camps. As a result most of the kids who applies and got accepted tended to be smart, funny and personable kids. They were independent and capable and reasonably outgoing.
So what happens to those people down the track? I happened to do a course at a small university where there was a disproportionate number of kids in my course who were prefects and school captains and exchange students (unusually for Australia at the time you had to do an essay to be accepted - marks alone didn't get you in). So I've spent a lot of time with these sparkling young women who expected to sparkle their way through adulthood, and luckily lots have.
This novel had me thinking about the ones who don't continue to shine - those who lose their way due to lack of confidence, a bad decision or a bad relationship. How do you reconcile the self everyone expected you to be with the one you became.
Then add in the guy who broke your heart way back when, well then that's a story. Everyone has that person (well almost everyone) and we'd rather they found us at our best than our worst.
I didn't have a boyfriend disappear into the ether on me at sixteen but lots of the feelings and experiences and expectations Amelia had then and as an adult I can relate to. With the internet and Facebook it's very easy to find that person you've been wondering about, but should you? I know people who have and that fuelled the idea for this novel.
I had a lot of fun writing this because I got to go down memory lane but more than any of my novels it was hard to write. Maybe because as much as I don't really resemble the grown up Amelia, I was a lot like the sixteen your old version - if only on the inside.
Don't forget the book launch/blog tour Rafflecopter competition is open till Friday enter below.
This week I thought I'd give you a break from talking about A Fair Exchange because I know if you visit my blog that you already know it came out last week and is available at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JBPPC08.
The thing about being a writer is that by the time one book is released you are usually well and truly knee-deep in the next project.
I have a few projects up my sleeve but lately I have been working on a novella with the working title Any Way You Slice It. (Even though I like that title I'll need to change it because that's way too long for Twitter. I'm serious.)
The characters in the book have an interesting journey and this song by Justin Timberlake completely resonated with me when I heard it. This is the perfect song for the main male character to sing to the female - if in fact the book were a musical, which of course it isn't.
I wanted to remind you that my Book Blog give-away is still going until April 11th so if you want to go in the running for the $25 Amazon gift card please enter below.