To celebrate the launch of the new anthology It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chick Lit, which I have a story in I'm doing a series of interviews with some of the authors involved in the project. First up is Amy Gettinger.
The Five (Holiday) Five With Amy Gettinger
1. You have a holiday story in It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chicklit...what’s your favourite holiday?
I probably love Thanksgiving more than Christmas at this point. I used to love Christmas best, but for the woman of the house, it is a huge, exhausting, month-long production with few surprises. Thanksgiving is much less material and just involves a huge, gorgeous meal with a lot of lovely people. Besides, I love turkey and mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce AND pumpkin pie.
2. What book are you reading right now or looking forward to reading next?
I’m reading In a Gilded Cage and Crowned and Dangerous, both by Rhys Bowen. I love mystery with a female sleuth, and I really enjoy both Bowen's Molly Murphy series and her Royal Spyness series.
3. Of your own novels do you have a favourite?
Probably. I think Roll with the Punches is my favorite. I loved the research into roller derby, and I really knew my stuff as far as Alzheimer’s, so it was easy to write. Plus, it helped me process my father’s long siege of Alzheimer’s.
4. Are you working on a novel/book/story now? Can you tell me a little bit about it?
I have a WIP about another roller girl, the biggest one on the team. I can’t say more at the moment. It’s very much in process, and it just isn’t calming down into a smooth story the way I’d like. (darn characters)
5. What’s your favourite holiday song/or food or tradition?
I send Christmas cards to over 100 people every year. If you’re on my good list, you get one—plus a long, thorough Christmas letter with pictures. I’m a good writer, and these letters are hilarious. It’s my favorite thing to do at Christmas.
Amy Gettinger, once a community college ESL instructor, now coaches reader’s theater for seniors. She lives in her dream house in Orange County, California underneath a eucalyptus windrow full of parrots and crows. For fun, she walks the local beach cliff path with her husband and the dogs--and thinks up perfectly ridiculous characters and crimes to write about.
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.
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.
It's Australia Day today so I thought I'd do a post of some of my favourite Australian novels. I have chosen classic stories that have stayed with me over the years.
1. A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute
I loved this book. I have read it several times. It's an epic love story about an Aussie soldier and an English woman who meet when both are prisoners of the Japanese in Malaya after the fall of Singapore in WWII. It's about their struggles through the war and their journey home afterwards. There is also an excellent mini-series but read the book.
2. Harp in the South by Ruth Park
This is one of Australia's must read books (or 50 Top Australian novels) in case my opinion isn't valid enough. This is about a family growing up in the slums of Sydney between the first and second world wars. It paints a picture of poverty and hardship but it's ultimately a story about love and family. It certainly shows how much Australia has changed since that time. I love all Ruth Parks books and her autobiography is also fascinating.
3. Come in Spinner by Dymphna Cusak & Florence James
This is a book about the lives and loves of three women who work side by side in the beauty salon/hairdressers in Sydney's nicest hotel during WWII. It shows how war impacts these women all at different ages and stages in such different ways. This is quite a long book but it's worth the effort.
Obviously there are so many more amazing Australian books but I wanted to focus on books that have impacted me and that highlight how different life is now to Australia of a hundred or even sixty years ago.
I'm the first in line for this Australia Day Blog Hop...
Australia Day Coastal Blog Hop
So here comes another great blog hop over the next three weeks from an all Aussie contingent... leading up to a celebration of Australia Day. Over the next three weeks you'll be reading about what being an Aussie author means to the crew below, or how they celebrate Australia Day, or maybe even a lamington or pavlova recipe. It will be full of surprises!
And you'll hear about new books to add to your TBR piles!
Don't forget to call in every day and visit the blogs, leave a comment, enter the raffle copter for the fabulous gift basket.
My Memories of Australia Day
I thought I'd think back on what Australia Day means to me. It's a funny thing because I have no memory of Australia Day as a child. In fact, the first memory I have of it is during the Australian Bicentenary and even that isn't my own memory as I was overseas at the time while images of Sydney Harbour replete with tall ships and ferry boat races were beamed around the world.
Even for the couple of years after I don't remember doing much for Australia Day. Maybe I did or more likely I was packing my bags and heading to the country to help with O-Week at the University I attended.
Then I got married and lived a block from the Dee Why beach where the local Council, in it's wisdom, decided to start a free breakfast picnic for the locals. (This event still runs every year and is no longer free and is generally so crowded I no longer attend). Still, I have always thought of this as a spectacularly Australian way to celebrate Australia Day. A bacon and egg roll on a picnic blanket, a quick swim, watch the surf boat races and listen to local musicians sing in the park. It's inclusive and it's egalitarian.
When we were first married we'd meet up with friends and sit in the sun, have a few adult beverages and let the day roll away. It was romantic to go home with a smile on your face and sand between your toes having shared the day with good friends. A couple of times we ended up back at our flat dancing on the coffee table as young people in love do.
Some times there was a new boyfriend or girlfriend for my husband and I to meet and the next year they might be gone, maybe replaced, maybe not. Australia Day, falling as early as it does in the year, was a day full of promise and opportunity. Resolutions hadn't yet been abandoned, summer felt like it still had lots of puff left and lots of people were just back from travels with tales to tell and enthusiasm.
As an adult now, and as the parent or a school age child Australia Day has a different feel. In my state it means the end of school holidays. It means school goes back, the routine resumes and reality takes hold again. Not so back then...back then it was a day of romance and hope and friendship.
(Dee Why Beach is located on Sydney's Northern beaches about ten minutes from Manly where much of Mr Right and Other Mongrels is set.) Mr Right and Other Mongrels is currently on sale for 99c.
Australia Day Coastal Blog Hop
You can enter via Rafflecopter below....also below is a list of all the talented Australian authors who are participating in this wonderful blog hop...where you win....(drum-roll!)
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$100 and 26 e-books (some print) from our generous authors
drawn Australia Day
a Rafflecopter giveaway
It is hard to grow up in Australia and not associate Christmas with the beach. Christmas means the start of the summer holidays. It means long lazy days by the sea. It means sunburn, barbeques and late nights sitting out under the stars. It means mosquito bites, sand in your swimmers and icy cold drinks.
When we were kids we were fascinated by the idea of a white Christmas. All the television shows and movies had snow and mountains. People drank egg nog (what was that), built snowmen and sat by the fire.
I suppose even now I think of a winter Christmas as romantic but seriously what can be more romantic than cocktails and prawns on the beach?
In fact I fantasise about taking my family to a gorgeous island in the Whitsundays for Christmas not unlike the one that Cassie visits in Hearts Afire. (Of course it would be inappropriate for me to flirt with a sexy fireman while on vacation with my husband and daughter I know that).
In reality my real Christmas looks an awful lot like one that Allegra from my first novel Mr Right and Other Mongrels might enjoy. I think it's probably equally romantic. We will spend the day bobbing on our boat on Sydney Harbour while children jump of the back and we feast on prawns and turkey and ham (and of course some champagne!)
I imagine if I lived in the Northern Helpisphere that would be a very exotic and romantic way to spend Christmas. In fact many young single visitors to Australia spend Christmas Day on Bondi Beach http://sunburntchristmas.com.au/
I kind of like to imagine that somewhere in that crowd of people are two people who will find each other and forge a beautiful relationship...or will find each other, get separated and spend a while finding their way back together in the spirit of a true epic romance.
Don't forget to enter for your chance to win 26 e-books and $100 Amazon GC.
If you leave a comment here and tell me about your most romantic Christmas or the destination you think would be most romantic you can win a copy of Hearts Afire and a $5 Amazon GC.
Well, not long now - one week to go!
How many of you don’t have your presents yet?
I am fortunate enough, because of the launch of The Christmas Spirit being on December 1st, to have done almost all my Christmas shopping in November. In recent years, I had adopted the practice of buying everything I could online, as I hate shopping at busy times and I loathe queues. For me there is nothing less Christmassy than feeling stressed, being jostled by fellow shoppers and being faced with weary looking shop assistants. But buying online doesn’t always go to plan and often involves driving miles to some courier depot to pick up the parcel (cue me on Christmas Eve a few years ago) as otherwise it won’t arrive in time.
Three years ago, we had terrible snow and deliveries were backed up so bad, that orders I placed on 20th Dec arrived on time but those placed on 6th didn’t! It was a logistical meltdown. Then there’s having to return items, which is just a pain in the backside.
This year I did still order some items online, but was surprised to find more than half was actually bought in person. OK, I took my then seven-month-old daughter shopping in October to Mothercare, just to see what toys she liked, and then bought them, so that’s how that trend started.
Our high street where we live isn’t much good (Mothercare was in the next town), but I managed to buy clothes for my nephews, although their toys were bought online. Quite a few members of the family have asked for vouchers (which I must remember to buy before the big day!) but we did have one proper shopping expedition as a family - to an out of town mall. We actually bought some things there this year - last year we went and returned empty-handed.
I saw a programme recently about supporting your local high street and I thought about what I had bought locally - clothes, cards, and well, not really a great deal else. Everything had been bought from retail parks, out of town malls or online. Sad, but true. To my knowledge there is no longer a toy store in my town, so where was I to buy gifts for children? We have no bookstore, only a newsagents doubling as one. And this in a town of 50,000 people...
Meredith in The Christmas Spirit, although initially coming across as a bit of a Bah Humbug, is very generous where gifts are involved and always manages to pick out the perfect present, with no expense spared. I like to pride myself in being the same - although since I am not massively rich like Meredith, I do have an upper price limit! This year Meredith needs some help with her present buying and her assistant Sophie does source a lot of it online.
Rebecca, whose finances have been somewhat constrained by having split from her boyfriend, and having to fund a property on her own, breathes a sigh of relief that she already bought one of the most expensive presents months ago, but still has to pare back on what she buys everyone else.
Stanley has never had to think about presents before, except for those for his darling wife, Edie; she always took care of the rest.
Strapped for cash, Jacob, imposes an upper limit on presents with his wealthy sister, which she duly ignores. My siblings and I have an unvoiced, agreed upon amount!
For me, the best thing about Christmas shopping, should I ever have to be out in actual shops at this time of year is the carol singers. They really do put me in the Christmas spirit - kids from primary schools in shopping centres across the country the last two weeks before Christmas. So, for all of you who still have a lot to do, or who are going to be zipping around on December 24th frantically buying last minute gifts, good luck and take heart from those carollers! Merry Christmas
Susan Buchanan lives in Central Scotland with her partner, Tony and baby daughter, Antonia. The Christmas Spirit is her third novel, published Dec 2013. Her fourth novel, What If, is expected to be released summer 2014.
Here is Susan Buchanan talking about The Christmas Spirit
I always wanted to write a Christmas novel - I just didn’t know it was this one! The Christmas Spirit took me by surprise, as I lay in bed one night trying to get to sleep. The title and the idea came at the same time and then I created the characters piece by piece. I love Christmas, but I started wondering how it would be for those who had little to look forward to this Christmas. And I figured they needed a helping hand!
Twitter - susan_buchanan Facebook - www.facebook.com/susan.buchanan.author
Blog - www.susancbuchanan.blogspot.co.uk
Buy The Christmas Spirit
http://amzn.to/1ewbuRY - Amazon UK
http://amzn.to/1dFw0TJ - Amazon US
Today I'm joined for a holiday themed Taste of Tuesday by the Karen E. Martin author of the newly released Modogomous.
Taste of Tuesday Q&A
Mary Ellen’s Hamburger Skillet Stew
For the meatballs:
Combine ingredients and shape into 16 meatballs. Brown in a deep skillet with the shortening.
For the skillet:
*Traditionally, we used Uncle Ray’s home-canned tomato soup for this recipe.
Modogomous by Karen E. Martin
Kate Adams has it all figured out. Five years out of college, she’s got a steady job, a home she loves in the big city, and good friends who always keep her laughing: her stylish but nosy roommate Evette, happily-married Cecie, and of course, good old Mitch, her seriously cute co-worker who’s been stuck in the Friend Zone since the day they met.
Everything is going just fine—until the night Kate crosses the line with Mitch, and the boundaries between friendship and love begin to blur. Things get even more complicated when hunky JP enters the scene. What’s a girl to do? Add to the mix a spunky little pug Kate never expected to fall for, and her neatly-ordered life is starting to look more like a dog’s dinner. Maybe her roommate has the right idea after all: forget the men, and stick with a canine companion instead.
It’s time for Kate to figure out what she really wants in life. But can she dig her way out of the mess she’s created before she ends up permanently in the doghouse?
Author Contact Info:
You can contact the author on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, GoodReads, and on her blogabout writing, publishing, and literature.
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.
Modogomous now available on Amazon or Smashwords
About the Giveaway:
Join the Modogamous Holiday Hop Giveaway to win a fabulous Swag Pack full of prizes! The Swag Pack winner will receive a signed copy of the paperback, tote bag, coffee mug, Christmas ornament, and more! Additional prizes include a copy of the e-book, a signed paperback, and a limited edition, signed art print of the book's cover art.
This musical Monday I thought I'd introduce you to some Australian Christmas music. It's all very well to sing about snowmen and white Christmases and fireplaces but here in the Southern Hemisphere we don't have Christmas like that.
It's hot. We go to the beach, do our Christmas carolling outside in parks and school playgrounds and we eat lunch outside swatting away flies and mosquitos. It's just a bit different from the Hallmark Channel version but no less lovely.
This first one is all about Santa and his sleigh except it's pulled by Kangaroo's, boomers to be exact and there is not a snowflake in sight.
This one is more a tale or dysfunction and regret and what happens when you yearn for family and friends because you can't get home for Christmas. It's also a song about how we long for tradition and familiarity.
How to Make Gravy by the wonderful Paul Kelly.
Hope these songs get your toes tapping and in the Christmas spirit this Monday.
Sometimes it has to be Christmas
I confess: I can be a bit of a Scrooge. When I was younger, I loved the idea of the magic of Christmas and the rest of the solstice holidays, but as I've gotten older it's become more of an indulgence in crass commercialism. "Buy this, and everyone will love you because they'll know how much you love them!" or "If you're a good citizen, you're going to buy a lot- the economy depends on you!"
But while I prefer to mark December 25th with the ancient traditions of my people (a movie and Chinese food), I'd have to be living in a hermetically sealed bubble without access to any other people not to notice that "the holidays" are an important part of everyone's lives, whether they like it or not. If nothing else, they focus the attention on people gathering together and making an effort to show their appreciation of those who are important to them. If that frequently takes the form of sweaters (worn with or without irony) and way too many baked goods, maybe that's not such a terrible thing.
Given that the first book in my series The New Pioneers is filled with college students in a famous college town, it would have been foolish not to have taken advantage of the drama that comes with Christmas. The break in classes, the scramble to travel, the young/new adults who are trying to establish new traditions, the return of important characters and, of course, the potential to meet friends of friends: it's pretty clear why many YA and NA writers would include at least one Christmas scene.
In The Smartest Girl in the Room, Christmas is a time that my heroine Emily feels unrooted after saying goodbye to both her best friend and her new boyfriend and not having a home of her own to return to. She enters into an unfamiliar situation even though she's positive she'll be outclassed. Instead, she's introduced to a very important character with a surprising connection to some of her new- and old- friends. But clarity is postponed by the return of a prodigal son (or in this case, cousin)- and the "gift" Emily receives is to be rushed out before she can meet him.
This is a pivotal moment in my story, and if Christmas hadn't been available I could have worked it into, maybe, Spring Break. But while I would have had a very good reason for getting people out of town, getting important people back into town would have been harder to explain (unless people usually have a good reason to return to Boston in March or Spring that I don't know about). It also would have meant moving the entire timeline of my story around; instead of beginning in autumn, I would have had to have started in winter, and then I would have had to have changed some of the catalysts for my story. Doable? Yes. But ask any writer what happens to a story you have to massage one too many times.
So this year, instead of channeling my usual "Bah Humbug!", I'm going to wink just a little bit when December 25th rolls around- right after I leave a movie theater and head to my favorite Chinese restaurant.
About Deb and her writing.
Deborah Nam-Krane came up with the kernel of The New Pioneers series when she was barely a teenager. It only took 27 years, but she’s finally ready to let the world read it. The Smartest Girl in the Room was released in late March of 2013 and The Family You Choose was released exactly six months later in September of 2013. The China Doll will be released (fingers crossed) by the end of December.
The Smartest Girl in the Room
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
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?
Please connect with Deborah Nam-Krane on any of the following sites:
Join her mail list to find out first about new releases
Written By Deb
Amazon Author Page
Smashwords Author Page