Tuesday, September 27, 2016

THE TUMBLING TURNER SISTERS, by author, Juliette Fay

In 1919, the Turner sisters and their parents are barely scraping by. Their father is a low-paid boot-stitcher in Johnson City, New York, and the family is always one paycheck away from eviction. When their father’s hand is crushed and he can no longer work, their irrepressible mother decides that the vaudeville stage is their best—and only—chance for survival.

With so much at stake, teenagers Gert, Winnie, and Kit, and recent widow Nell take to the road, and soon find a new kind of freedom in the company of performers who are as diverse as their acts. There is a seamier side to the business, however, and the young women face dangers and turns of fate they never could have anticipated. Heartwarming and surprising, The Tumbling Turner Sisters is a story of awakening—to unexpected possibilities, to love and heartbreak, and to the dawn of a new American era.
“In this novel of love, grit, and the everlasting strength of family, the Turner sisters dare to dream big. Don’t miss this page-turner!”
~ SARA GRUEN, #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF WATER FOR ELEPHANTS
“Filled with energetic prose and colorful characters—you won’t soon forget the Turner girls!”
~ CHRISTINA BAKER KLINE, #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF ORPHAN TRAIN
Some Q & A with Juliette:

Your previous novels take place in the present time, what made you decide to write a historical fiction novel?
I’ve always loved reading historical fiction, but questioned whether I had the background to write it. Don’t you need some sort of history degree to write about a completely different time? As it turns out, the answer is no. As with any story about a complicated topic—for instance if a character has a certain medical condition or line of work that’s central to the story—you just have to be willing to submerge yourself in the subject matter and learn everything you can.

The research for The Tumbling Turner Sisters was so much fun! The world was changing quickly in 1919, just after World War I, with Prohibition and Women’s Suffrage on the horizon. These social and political changes forced people take a look at the way things had always been done, and start to question if there weren’t better ways. The subculture of vaudeville was this crazy little brother-and-sisterhood, with its own customs, rules and slang. I learned far more than I could ever have put in the book, and it was a blast.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences? 
In the past, just as I’d finish one novel, there was always another idea out there simmering, waiting for me to bring it to a full boil. That didn’t happen after my last book, and it was really starting to get to me. I had a lot of “first dates” with story ideas, but no seconds.

One day my father came over for lunch, and in an effort to help, he started listing things he thought I should write about. These included a book on President Lincoln -- and I’m thinking I’m pretty sure that’s been done before …not really dying to be compared to Team of Rivals! – or on Oliver Cromwell’s violent domination of Ireland, which basically started out as a tragic bloodbath and went downhill from there.

As he talked about how his own ancestors had fled the Irish famine and English repression, I suddenly remembered a picture he’d sent me of his grandfather dancing onstage, along with newspaper clippings about his vaudeville career in the early 1900s. Vaudeville! Sitting there over the remains of our lunch, my head was suddenly exploding with ideas.

The Tumbling Turner Sisters was inspired by the experiences of my great-grandfather, Fred Delorme, but it’s not based on his actual life. In gratitude for his inspiration, I named one of the characters after him. I like to think that he’d be tickled to be back in the entertainment business a century later!

What are you working on now?
I loved diving into the early 20th century, and learned far more than I could possibly include in The Tumbling Turner Sisters. One of the subjects that really caught my interest was the silent movie era. Once it coalesced in Hollywood in the 1910s, it really was like the wild west, attracting all kinds of people who wanted to try their luck in this budding industry. No one at the time thought much of it – it was considered more of a fad, and so it was full of risk-takers. My next novel is set in that time and place.

Juliette Fay is the award-winning author of four novels: The Tumbling Turner Sisters, The Shortest Way Home, Deep Down True, and Shelter Me. She received a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and a master’s degree from Harvard University. Juliette lives in Massachusetts with her husband and four children. Her website is juliettefay.com.



Thursday, September 15, 2016

THE LANGUAGE OF SISTERS, by author, CATHY LAMB

A very short summary of The Language of Sisters...Three sisters. One brother. A secret that is chasing them down.
A little longer summary:
1) Toni Koslovsky lives on a yellow tugboat in the Willamette River in Oregon. She needed space to breathe.
2) Toni has two sisters. They can sometimes hear each other in their heads, a message coming through. It’s odd, it’s inexplicable. It’s a gift handed down from the Sabonis family line through their widow’s peaks. Their mother had it, too. 

3) The family immigrated from Russia when Toni was a little girl. They left a lot of secrets there...and the secrets have been running after them ever since.

4) The family has many crazy members and the dynamics can be mind blowing. You might relate to some of them.

5) Toni has something hidden in a little shed next to her tugboat. She doesn’t want to look at it. She doesn’t want to think about it. But she does.

6) Love. Laughter. Funny stuff. A blue heron, a woman named Daisy, a DEA agent who lives down the dock, a restaurant, a scary man. Pillow making, skinny dipping, too much wine. More laughter.

Some Q & A with Cathy:


Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started writing.
I knew I loved writing when my mother taught me how to spell the word, ‘brat.’
I must have been about four and the girl next door had thrown yet another temper tantrum and stalked out of my house. I was writing her a note. Not very nice, perhaps a bit of a vengeful streak was coming out even at that wee age.
Anyhow, I asked my mother, the kindest, most compassionate person I have ever met, how to spell ‘brat.’ Now, you would have thought the kindest, most compassionate person I have ever met would tell me not to write a note like, “Dear Sandy. You are a brat.” But my mother thought she was a brat, too, and she was none too fond of her whiny mother so she patiently said to me, “Honey, it’s B.R.A.T.”
And a writer was born.
What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I love to garden. I am a plant collector. I could collect high heels, but no, I don’t. Who needs a broken ankle? I collect plants and flowers. Innocent Husband has told me to stop buying them as we have too many.  (I call my husband Innocent Husband on my blog as no one should ever hold him responsible for the things I say or write.)

Anyhow, now I have to SNEAK my plants and flowers into the garden. What a husband doesn’t know, doesn’t hurt him, that is my motto for Gardening vs. Innocent Husband.


Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?

I’m a full time writer. No other day job except for ‘mom.’ The mom job doesn’t pay well, but the kids are cute.


Where do you get your ideas?

I get my ideas everywhere. Actually, if I’m in Starbucks and I look at someone too long, I’ll start telling myself a story about that person.  If I was across the table from you, the same thing would happen. It’s odd, I know this, I do.

I have to tell myself, “We’re going to Starbucks to work, Cathy, not to imagine what secrets the person next to you is harboring and nurturing.”

 “The First Day of The Rest of My Life,” my fifth book, was launched from an 80 year old violin I was buying for my daughter.

These questions came up as I held it: Who owned the violin before us? What made them cry? What made them laugh? Who did they love, who did they lose? Was this violin made in Europe? Who made it? What happened to the original owners? Why is there a stain on the violin? Is that blood?  Why the scratches? What secrets could this violin tell? And a story began…

The “Last Time I Was Me,” my second novel, was partially launched by a marital spat with Innocent Husband, to whom I have been married for twenty three years.

That night we’d had a bit of an argument, I can’t even remember what we were fighting about. Anyhow, the man had the gall to fall asleep when I was still steaming mad. (!!!)

I had to write another book and I decided to have my main character get revenge on her cheating boyfriend. (For the record, Innocent Husband did not cheat on me, let’s clear that monster out of the way now.) Anyhow, Jeanne decided to take revenge on her cheating boyfriend with a condom, peanut oil and an exacto knife.  How did I imagine that rather demented idea? Innocent husband is allergic to nuts.

For “The Language of Sisters” I was inspired by a yellow tugboat in the newspaper, a blue heron that flew by in front of me, a complicated and funny family, and secrets that one thinks are buried but start to come up again like sharp talons. Oh, and three cool  but troubled sisters, an adopted brother with a murky past, and a mother who owns a popular Russian restaurant and who admonishes her children for their poor choices on the Specials board at night for everyone to see.


Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

Publishing nightmare. So, I was trying to break into category romance many years ago. Rejection. Rejection. I wrote yet another synopsis, the publisher asked to see the first three chapters. I wrote them. They asked to see the whole book. I sent it. Rejected. This happened three or four times.  The last rejection took about two years.

Let’s just say when I wrote a rather “pointed” letter to the publishing house (Okay, I was ticked, the letter might have been fiery, flames leaping.) about how long the process was, the publisher apologized, and their head editor asked me to send all future work to her. What a chance! But I was then so burned out I couldn’t do it.

I wrote “Julia’s Chocolates” and just let it fly. The story is about a woman, Julia, who is on the run, away from an abusive fiancé.  She heads to her Aunt Lydia’s house in central Oregon. The house is painted pink, like a camellia, there are five giant concrete pigs in the front of the house, all named for men that Aunt Lydia doesn’t like, and a rainbow bridge on the front lawn. Julia meets a group of women, and they all begin to heal…until the fiancé hunts her down.

I sent a partial to several agents and an editor. All the agents asked to see it. I waited for my favorite agent, Evan Marshall, to respond, he did, and he requested the book.  The problem was that I had only written about the first 40 pages. I lied and told Evan I had a little “editing” to do. Ha. I wrote the book into the dark hours of night. Took months. He sold it as part of a two book deal with my current publishing house in 2005 and I’ve been happily writing for Kensington ever since.

What are you working on now? 

I am writing my eleventh novel and marketing my new book “The Language of Sisters.” Both are head banging experiences, but with chocolate and mochas, I am persevering without losing my mind. For the most part.

Is anything in your books based on real life experiences?

Yes.     Can I just end it at ‘yes?’


Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?

In “What I Remember Most,” my main character, Grenadine Scotch Wild, (I know!! Yes, that is her name. Grenadine. Scotch. Wild. As soon as I knew her name, I had my story.) is an artist. I have the artistic talent of a gnat. Or maybe an ant eater. I loved writing about the paintings and collages Grenadine was making. I could live vicariously through her.


Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

My advice to writers who want to publish?

Write all the time. Read all the time.

Figure out why you love the books you do, and why you don’t. Study pacing, character development, plots, ending, word choice, structure of the novel, dialogue. Everything.  

What makes you keep reading? What’s compelling?

Go to writing conferences. Take writing classes.

Be open to criticism. Don’t get your panties in a twist about it. It’s not personal. Listen. Learn. Move forward.

Read Bird by Bird, On Writing, and Jessica Morrell’s books on writing.

Keep going.


Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

Have a lovely day.

You can connect with Cathy here:


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

TRIPLE LOVE SCORE by author, Brandi Megan Granett

What happens when you stop playing games?


Miranda Shane lives a quiet life among books and letters as a professor in a small upstate town. When the playing-by-the-rules poet throws out convention and begins to use a Scrabble board instead of paper to write, she sets off a chain of events that rattles her carefully planned world. 


Her awakening propels her to take risks and seize chances she previously let slip by, including a game-changing offer from the man she let slip away. But when the revelation of an affair with a graduate student threatens the new life Miranda created, she is forced to decide between love or poetry.

Publisher: Wyatt-Mackenzie – Sept. 1, 2016

What readers are saying . . .

"An entertaining romance novel with an engrossing plot, a conflicted heroine, and a couple of surprising, poignant takeaways."
   Kirkus Reviews

“Combustible romance and fame slather a sexy gloss over more complex issues of familial love and true accomplishment for Granett’'s cast of endearing characters. An entertaining and perceptive story of our times.”
— Kathryn Craft, award-winning author of The Far End Of Happy and The Art Of Falling

“Brandi Megan Granett’s beautifully written debut novel, full of twists, turns and truths about the ups and downs of life, had me spellbound from the very first page. Triple Love Score proves that, in matters of the heart—as in Scrabble—when you get it right, it’s nothing short of poetry.”
   Kristy Woodson Harvey, author of Dear Carolina and Lies and Other Acts of Love

“A charming mash-up of viral poetry, relatable characters, and slow-simmering romance. Granett explores how doing the unexpected might lead to what you had always wanted.”
   Amy E. Reichert, author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake and Luck, Love & Lemon Pie

Triple Love Score is a wonderful love story and a novel with such intriguing twists and turns that it kept me turning those pages until the very end! A fun, unique read.”
   Anne Girard, author of Platinum Doll 

"Women seeking a solid story of a poetry professor's awakening will find Triple Love Score a delightful romp through options Miranda never realized she had."
   Midwest Review of Books

“Like tiles on a Scrabble board, Granett's characters unfold and connect and diverge again. Readers will be spellbound as they follow Poetry Professor Miranda Shane's unlikely adventures - ones that take her across the country and as far away as Istanbul and France - as her long-held dreams concerning love and career are both challenged and re-defined.”
   Amy Impellizzeri, author of Lemongrass Hope

“A romantic pleasure with delightfully unique characters and a plot that takes you on an unexpected journey. Granett has a clear writing style that brings each scene to life and makes for a tremendously engaging read. As a fan of love and poetry, I highly recommend it!”
   Anita Hughes, author of Santorini Sunsets

“A love story that is on one hand sweet, but on the other full of surprises and intrigue, set against the background of competitive…Scrabble? It sounds entirely unlikely but this is exactly what Granett has spelled out in a slim novel that deserves kudos (using that ‘k’) and could easily become a guilty pleasure.”
   Jacquelyn Mitchard, author The Deep End of the Ocean

Some Q & A with Brandi:
1.     Tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you started writing.

I’ve been writing since about the third grade; my elementary school published my first story about sledding in the snow and hooked me to writing forever. Luckily, I found great mentors at the University of Florida during my undergraduate time there that continued to foster this love of words and story.  In addition to being a writer, I am a mother, wife, competitive archer, and writing professor.

2.      What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

The number one thing I enjoy when not writing is archery. I started about nine years ago when my daughter wanted to either be in a Renaissance faire or the Olympics. Our local archery shop talked me into taking lessons with her, and I was hooked. I traveled the Olympic recurve circuit for a number of years and represented the USA in the 2010 World Field Archery Championships. Recently, an injury gave me the opportunity to switch to compound archery, so I am enjoying learning a whole new ballgame in my archery career.

My family and I also enjoy eating; we love finding new restaurants, talking to people about food, and exploring what cuisines are local to any place we travel to. I recently experienced heaven in the form of a butter cake cannoli in St. Louis. I am still thinking about it.

3.      Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?

Ah, yes, the day job. I am lucky to have one that I love! I love teaching. It lights me up to help other people reach their goals. And as a composition instructor, I see a variety of students at the start of their educational journeys. I love learning from my students as much as I love teaching them.

4.      Where do you get your ideas?

I’m big into exploring what if. My first novel, My Intended, was sparked by a news report about a woman marrying her fiancé posthumously. My mind immediately went to the ramifications of this in her life, and her relationships with the people in her life. For Triple Love Score, I found myself wanting to write a book that was fun. I had recently fallen in love again after leaving a long and kind of tough marriage. Writing about a woman’s romantic and life choices as I rebuilt my own life gave me a great outlet for exploring some of the what ifs and what matters that I faced in my own circumstance.

5.      Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?

I’ve been inspired by a number of writers, but I have to say that Charles Baxter’s Feast of Love stands out to me as a major influence. He found a way to use a literary style while talking about love and romance.

6.       Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published? 

Triple Love Score is my second published novel. I love everything about the process of working with Wyatt-Mackenzie and how the internet expands an author’s reach into the world of readers. When my first book was published, Harper Collins bought William Morrow, my publisher, right before the book was launched. Everyone on my team lost their job. And then I had a baby. In that process, I felt rather orphaned and my time and focus turned to my daughter instead of my writing. Now, she is sixteen and works as an intern helping me along on the journey to connect Triple Love Score to readers. Nancy Cleary, my publisher, is also an amazing and supportive person. And I have the Tall Poppy Writers, a collective of women fiction authors that work to support each other and each other’s books. The experiences between my first and second books are polar opposites of each other.

7.      How do you market your work?

Part of my marketing plan is giving back to other writers. I’ve been accomplishing this goal with three separate prongs.

·         First, I belong to the Tall Poppy Writers. I have pledged to support 40 other women’s fiction authors through thick and thin. We tweet and like and share each other’s accomplishments and offer moral support on the sidelines.

·         Second, I interview authors for my blog on the Huffington Post. I like to introduce readers to authors they might not have considered in the past.

·         Third, I am building a community event called River Reads. So far, I have 25 local authors signed up to read, sign, and promote their books at the historic Prallsville Mill in Stockon, NJ on October 23 from 10am to 4pm.

8.      What are you working on now?

I am working on a novel called Straight Shooter. This book combines my love of archery with my desire to own a campground. Through the novel, I get to explore the “what if” of following that dream!

9.       Is anything in your book based on real life experiences? 

The romance part of my book most reflects my own life, but Miranda’s experiences as the Blocked Poet and seducing a student are purely her own. I related with the choices she faces between trusting someone from her past or making her way on her own terms.

10.     Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?

I think my favorite line in the book is “Put out or get out.” It’s a little vulgar, a little crass, but in that moment, Miranda is finally done taking a back seat to what others want.

11.     Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Keep writing. Even a sentence a day. You can’t be a writer if you don’t do it.

Make writer friends. I learned from archery that having other people around that are trying to reach the same goals can push you to succeed. Every time I log in to Facebook and see a picture of someone else’s target, I am reminded to go practice. The same it true when I see that #amwriting. It makes me want it more for myself.

12.     What are the downfalls of your writing career? The best parts?

The downfalls are how tough the marketplace can be and keeping spirits up. Publishing has changed so radically in my brief time, and it really takes some readjustment and attitude adjustments to keep upbeat and in the game. The best parts: hands down is seeing my daughter come into her own as a writer. She attended a slam poetry camp this summer, and watching her perform her poem on stage rivaled any feelings of pride I could get from seeing my own work on a shelf. That I get to be a role model to her dreams is the icing on my cake.

13.     Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

I’d like to say thank you. Without readers, writing would be a lot less fun. I’d also love to hear from readers on Facebook or Twitter. I’d love to know what they connected with in Triple Love Score and what they would like to see more of in the future.



About the Author

Brandi Megan Granett is an author, online English professor, and private writing mentor. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University, Wales, an MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College, a Masters in Adult Education with an emphasis on Distance Education from Penn State University, and her BA from the University of Florida.

Granett is the author of My Intended (William Morrow, 2000). Her short fiction has appeared in Pebble Lake Review, Folio, Pleiades and other literary magazines, and is collected in the volume Cars and Other Things That Get Around.

When she is not writing or teaching or mothering, she is honing her archery skills. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter.

Author Social Media Links
Website:          www.brandigranett.com/
Facebook:       Brandi Megan Granett Writer
Twitter:            @brandigranett
Instagram:       mrsgranett
Goodreads:     Brandi Megan Granett


Purchase Links

Publicity Contact
Suzy Missirlian
Suzy4PR@gmail.com
Twitter: @Suzy4PR

Monday, August 29, 2016

ROOT, PETAL, THORN, by author, ELLA JOY OLSEN

In this beautifully written and powerful debut novel, Ella Joy Olsen traces the stories of five fascinating women who inhabit the same historic home over the course of a century—braided stories of love, heartbreak and courage connect the women, even across generations.
 
Ivy Baygren has two great loves in her life: her husband, Adam, and the bungalow they buy together in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Salt Lake City, Utah. From the moment she and Adam lay eyes on the home, Ivy is captivated by its quaint details—the old porch swing, ornate tiles, and especially an heirloom rose bush bursting with snowy white blossoms. Called the Emmeline Rose for the home’s original owner, it seems yet another sign that this place will be Ivy’s happily-ever-after…Until her dreams are shattered by Adam’s unexpected death.
 
Striving to be strong for her two children, Ivy decides to tackle the home-improvement projects she and Adam once planned. Day by day, as she attempts to rebuild her house and her resolve, she uncovers clues about previous inhabitants, from a half-embroidered sampler to buried wine bottles. And as Ivy learns about the women who came before her—the young Mormon torn between her heart and anti-polygamist beliefs, the Greek immigrant during World War II, a troubled single mother in the 1960s—she begins to uncover the lessons of her own journey. For every story has its sadness, but there is also the possibility of blooming again, even stronger and more resilient than before…

Some Q & A with Ella:


1.  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m the mom of three teens: A boy who leaves for college a week before my book hits the shelves, one sixteen-year-old girl who is a teen cliché (but we still love her madly), one who barely became a teen and would like to find at least one armpit hair (nothing yet). I have a super supportive husband who also works from home, so we wear matching bathrobes all day long and meet in the kitchen at noon for frozen burritos. I also have two dogs who, I swear, smile at me every time I look at them (more than I can say for the teens).

I live in Salt Lake City, Utah and I based my first two books in my neighborhood which is full of old houses and history. I’ve always loved imagining scenes from the past when exploring an ancient place (you can only imagine how long pondered the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris), so when we searched for our home, I insisted we buy one which spoke to the passage of time. My husband groaned about the old wiring and I squealed about the porch swing. Guess who won?

2.    What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I love to travel (see above – I have an obsession with historic locations). I spend as much time in the mountains near my home as I can. And I adore all things summer (outdoor concerts, al fresco dining, art festivals, family reunions, farmers markets, cold drinks with a kick). And I read, like crazy.

3.    Can you tell us how you started writing and your challenges in getting your first book published?

I was one of those nose-in-book kids. Of course, I tried to write back in the day. I would complete one opening chapter, exactly like the book I was currently reading (names and location changed). Then I would stop writing, as I realized how hard it was, and I would pick up another book. Throughout junior high and high school I scripted angsty-teen poetry and diary entries full of broken hearts and 1980’s pop-culture. As an adult, I wrote hundreds of two-page analyses on the financial stability of publically held companies – and died a little every day.

After my youngest kiddo started first grade, I decided to teach myself how to write a novel. Not so easy. It was slow going at first, maybe three hours a week. When I finally typed THE END I didn’t realize I was actually at the beginning.

Years of rewrites, querying and rejection followed. I developed a thick skin, likely rewrote the entire book several times, and sent hundreds of query letters. It took me almost eight years from conception to publication.

4.    What are you working on now?

Currently I’m working on a “sister” book, publishing September 2017. The title is: WHERE THE SWEET BIRD SINGS. It’s not a sequel but a linked book, sharing a couple common characters. Here’s the elevator pitch:

Though she has a loving husband, Emma Hazelton is adrift, struggling to rebuild her life after a tragedy. But one day, a simple question and an old black-and-white photograph prompt Emma to untangle the branches of her family tree, where she discovers a legacy of secrets. Where the Sweet Bird Sings explores the meaning of family and identity. What connects us to another? Is it shared history? Is it ancestry? Or is it love?

5.    Is anything in your book based on real life experiences?

Oh, don’t get me started. Root, Petal, Thorn takes place in a hundred-year-old bungalow and traces the stories of five women who lived in the home over a century. The location is based on my own home, in my own neighborhood.
Some unknown family inhabited my beloved home when the Titanic sunk, on V-E day, when JFK was assassinated, when the Beatles performed on Ed Sullivan – and all the years in between. So I started imagining. Then I started writing. And a story was born. The characters, by the way, are entirely fictional. Their lives are much more interesting than mine.

6.    Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

The easiest advice to give and the hardest advice to follow is: Just Keep Writing. If you give up, the book you want to write will never be written. There are oodles of times you’ll want to quit: after someone insists your main character is unlikeable, after a red-pen session with a beta reader, after you read a gorgeously written book and realize yours is nothing like it, after your hundredth query rejection, after you celebrate selling your book to a publisher then realize you’ve been paid essentially $.07 per hour for your hard word, after you realize you must spend most of said advance to promote your own book, after your first bad review…

7.    Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

Please read my book! Too desperate. Read it, love it, and write a fantastic review! Too direct. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy! Better. I’d love to connect!

Twitter: @ellajoyolsen

Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/show/14740197.Ella_Joy_Olsen