Saturday, November 18, 2017

Research...Not Necessarily a 'Necessary Evil'!

One of the things I envy other writers is the research that must have gone into some of their books. I have several historical series that I love reading not just for the characters and plots, but for the details of the periods in which they are set. Whether it’s Charles Finch’s Charles Lenox Victorianmysteries or Lana William’s Medieval romances or the Scotland of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander , I never get tired of stepping into another time along with a great story.

But history isn’t the only thing authors might research. In A Road Back to Grace, I didn’t need to step back in time since it’s a contemporary tale. But I did need to learn a little more about wine making. The main character, Claire, is a lover of all things red (cabernet, merlot, etc.), although I haven’t actually written her turning down white or rose...so it’s hard to say where that line is, or even IF it is!

How fortunate for Claire that she fell for a guy who owned a Colorado winery and vineyard. As an ‘almost’ native of Colorado, I was already familiar with our western slope wineries in the Palisade area, and I knew the valley beneath the sandstone Book Cliff mountains, that is nurtured by the Colorado River.  It was a natural setting for my book, with a few tweaks here and there. But what did I actually KNOW about making wine?

As some of you may know, my sons own a brewery...so I already had some appreciation of what may go into it. Still, some research was called for and, frankly, I can’t say it wasn’t fun—it was! Mr. Google had links to tons of info, plus I made connections with a few wineries I’d never heard of before and learned, through them, more about the process. I never was able to go for anything ‘hands-on’, unfortunately...but I’m hoping someday to make up for that.


In the meantime, I’m literally savoring the fruits of that labor (aside for the book), and looking forward to my next research project...but that’s another blog. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Character Interview: Claire, from A Road Back to Grace

Interviewing Claire, from A Road Back To Grace. This could get steamy--again!

I’m once again interviewing Claire, one of my trio of main characters in my new women’s fiction release, A Road Back To Grace.  This is the sequel to the first book in my Keeper Series, The Shell Keeper. Both are humorous and touching stories of three women who become unlikely friends.
Some of you may remember reading my interview with Claire back when The Shell Keeper first came out. 

If you missed it, click HERE to read it. Claire’s been through a great deal since that book concluded, so today, I’m sitting down again to talk with Claire about the new book...or rather I should say we are both in meditative cross-legged positions as Claire is wrapping up a yoga session.

RN: So Claire, you’re into yoga now?

Claire: I used to think this was a bunch of new age crap but there’s really something to it. Even after all that’s happened, I figure it’s still good to keep my chi and chakras and junk like that in a good place. Hey, don’t you have to do some sort of spoiler-alert or something?

RN: Oh, you’re right, thanks. For our readers, if you haven’t read The Shell Keeper yet, you might want to stop here...there could be spoilers. But we won’t go into detail about the new book, A Road Back to Grace. Just some teasers.

Claire: Teasing I can do.

RN: Yes, I’ve definitely written you with a talent for that, among other things.

Claire: I’m good at the other things, too.

RN: And we’re moving on... So, you went through a terrible situation near the end of the last book and this books picks up after you’ve moved to Grande Valley to be closer to Bob—

Claire: And Gwen. You know, I don’t do things just because of a guy. I’m taking some time to rest and get my bearings after...you know. I shouldn’t say, right? In case they haven’t read the first book. The situation, as you say.

RN: Exactly.  So now you’re resting and getting your bearings, trying to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life. Who you want to be.

Claire: Not a gardener, that’s for frickin’ sure! (Claire laughs, then adds) or a cook. That zucchini thing was out of control. But the wine over here in Colorado’s wine country is awesome; especially the wine from Bob’s vineyard. He’s very good at making wine. Well, he’s very good at a lot of things.

RN: You’re getting kind of a dreamy look there, Claire. I think you really like this guy.

Claire: Well, you should know, but I think you plucked me out for this interview about half way through the book so I can’t say where this is going.

RN: Yep, that way you won’t accidentally reveal something you shouldn’t, since your story is still going.

Claire: We I can tell you Gwen’s bakery is off the charts successful. And her new cook, Jason. Oh my, he makes me want to cook up something. (she winks at me). But what’s up with Del? Her love life is a hot mess. I kinda feel sorry for Jimmy, is he out of the picture now?

RN: I can’t say...spoilers, you know, but I can tell you Del’s story is far from done.

Claire: That girl’s getting her own book after mine? (I nod) ‘Bout time. I’m in there too, right? (I nod again). Of course, I mean, it would be rather dull without me. (another wink).

RN: We’d better wrap this up and you’d better get back in the book. I think the Larson sisters need your help.

Claire: Spunky little old ladies, those two. They’re kinda growing on me.

RN: And you on them. Have a great read, Claire.

She grabs her yoga matt and is gone, off to discover her story at last. If you want to discover it as well, check out A Road Back to Grace. The second book in the Keeper Series, this one is Claire’s story. Hope you have a great read as well!



Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Thank you to the Booze and Bookworms Book Club!

Thank you to the awesome members for the Booze and Bookworms Book Club for making my latest book, A Road Back to Grace, their October selection. Thank you so much for inviting me to join you at your latest lunch meeting.

In honor of the winery theme in A Road Back to Grace and it's protagonist, Claire's, love of all things red (cabernet, merlot, etc...) it was held in a winery!

Some of the readers had also read The Shell Keeper, which I totally appreciate. I was happy to hear they enjoyed both books. And it was interesting that they were very curious about the book publishing process. It is a BIG part of the Indie Book industry, and I think they were surprised by the amount of time and effort that authors put into both marketing and publishing, in addition to actually writing their books!

I also learned my readers are waiting for the final installment of the Keeper Series, Del's story. So I'd better get back to writing. Thanks again, Booze and Bookworms for including me. I totally appreciated it!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Free copies of my books?!? It's true! I'm running Giveaways for both books in the Keeper Series on Goodreads so follow the clicks below to enter to win today!

Click HERE to enter for The Shell Keeper (only 5 days left-enter now!)

Click HERE to enter for A Road Back to Grace (this one just started so you've got a few days, but don't delay, enter for this one too!)

After you click, scroll down and look for the link that says "Enter the Giveaway". Click it, fill out your info and your all set. 

If you have time, please give the book a Goodreads Status. Something like 'Want to Read', 'Reading', or 'Read'...if you have. 

That's all there is to it. GOOD LUCK! I hope I'll be sending you a FREE PAPERBACK copy soon! 

Friday, September 29, 2017

More Free Books?! This is Crazy Talk!

But it's true! Enter the Goodreads Giveaway to win a FREE paperback of The Shell Keeper. The Giveaway runs until October 23rd...but why wait and risk forgetting? Click on this link to take you to the Giveaway now-it's free to enter and you can win a free book. You've got nothing to lose so CLICK HERE now. Good luck to everyone! 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Limited Time FREE Offer!

The Shell Keeper is FREE on Kindle today through September 23. If you haven't read it yet now's the perfect time!

Click HERE to find it on Amazon. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Short and Sweet Review: Crosstalk by Connie Willis

I’m a huge Connie Willis fan. There’s no arguing Willis knows her genre as one of the most award winning Sci-Fi authors out there (Nebula, Hugo, etc.) I’m particularly fond of her time-travel adventures. I can’t imagine anyone who does it better with books that are chocked full of fascinating history (i.e  Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Blackout, etc.)—my mind is boggled by the extensive research she must have done to prepare to tackle some of these subjects (The Black Plague, Victorian England, The Blitz!). But she knows how it’s done.

Clearly this latest, Crosstalk, took some in-depth research to understand the concepts and history behind the science and myth that propels this tale of a near future where a small implant in our brains can ramp up the emotional ties between two people. But Ms. Willis is creating a future, not tweaking a past, and sometimes that works and sometimes...it still works, but it puts her readers to the test, as she does this time around.

Our heroine, Briddey, is persuaded by what she thinks is love to receive a surgical implant that will enhance her empathetic connection to her co-worker and (hopefully) soon-to-be fiancĂ©, Trent. But there’s more going on with Trent’s proposal than she realizes and she soon discovers why the company geek, C.B., tried so hard to persuade her from having the procedure done. Briddey finds herself connected to a whole lot more than Trent’s emotions, but she’s also finding out who really cares about her, and what real love truly means.

Great concept, right? But throw in the MOST annoying family and co-workers, mix with more guessing and second guessing and interrupting just when a character is about to reveal vital info (MULTIPLE times!), and stir it all together with far more words than are necessary and you have a recipe to stress and challenge even the most ardent Connie Willis fan. But I persevered! And I was glad to finally reach the end and a satisfying conclusion, if not also one constantly interrupted by another family member!  (I get it...maybe all this confusion is designed to make us feel some of what Briddey feels, but still...). 

So here's my advice about this book. If you love Connie Willis read it-you gotta, it’s part of the package of being a fan. If you love Sci-Fi in general, you might love this. We’re not talking Classic Sci-Fi here (Dune, War of the Worlds, 1984), it’s a future that’s right around the corner...but contemporary references probably will date this book in an equally not too distant future.  If you love characters-and relationships-worth rooting for, this fits the bill too. But if you don’t have patience with a little more of the written word than really is necessary and endless rehashing of facts and science...maybe you should start with Doomsday Book.