Friday, December 18, 2015

Kindle 7' Giveaway!

Kindle 7' Giveaway!

“Katrin’s Chronicles: 

The Canon of Jacqueléne Dyanne, Vol.1”

Today's guest is giving away a Kindle 7' to one lucky guest! Make sure you enter at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!

Meet Valerie C. Woods

Ms. Woods is a film and television writer/producer working on network and cable drama series such as Touched By An Angel, Any Day Now and Soul Food. She is a Co-Executive Producer/writer on the mini-series Tulsa for the Oprah Winfrey Network and writing/developing the film Tempest Rising for actress/producer Phylicia Rashad.

An avid reader while growing up on Chicago’s South Side, Ms. Woods began writing when, as a struggling actress in New York, she couldn’t find suitable audition material for women of color. This led her to write a book of audition monologues, Something for Everyone (50 Original Monologues). The book was initially self-published and is now published by renowned theatrical play publisher, Samuel French, Inc. (

After adapting an average play into a better screenplay, Ms. Woods was awarded a Walt Disney Screenwriting Fellowship and followed that up with writing and producing on network and cable drama series such as Under One Roof, Touched By An Angel, Promised Land, Any Day Now and Soul Food.

But fiction, her first love, compelled her to enter the world of prose. She had always written bits of fiction, short stories and a little poetry here and there.
In November 2012, Ms. Woods founded a micro-press: BooksEndependent, LLC ( to support her work and the work of other new, independent authors of fiction and non-fiction.

The first title was Ms. Woods’ novella, I Believe... A Ghost Story for the Holidays. ( Then, what began as a gift became her second publication.
Several years ago, needing a birthday present for her sister Ms. Woods wrote a short story about a girl detective -- a highly fictionalized autobiography of the adventures she and her sister experienced in childhood. Another story was written for Christmas, then one for Mother's Day. That’s when Ms. Woods realized she was writing the kind of novel she and her sister would have loved to read as children, but which didn’t exist – the adventures of African-American Girl Detectives!
The result, Katrin's Chronicles: The Canon of Jacqueléne Dyanne, Vol. 1 is now available in paperback and Kindle edition at

Check out her book!

13-year-old, Katrin DuBois decides it's never to soon to start an autobiography. She needs to set the record straight about the outrageous rumors concerning certain adventures that began when she was in 6th grade. That's when her elder sister, 8th grader J. Dyanne, began exhibiting extraordinary detecting powers. Volume 1 begins in the late summer of 1968 on the south side of Chicago, a turbulent time before cell phones, laptops and text messages became essential elements of pre-teen life. The girls manage to thrive in a world of social change with multi-generational family support, creative quick-thinking and fearless inquisitiveness. The dog days of August find them prohibited by their parents from visiting the Central Library downtown because of the riots during the Democratic Convention. However, there's plenty of adventure in their own neighborhood as they become swept up in family mysteries, neighborhood political schemes and discovery of a surprising legacy of psychic, even supernatural, talent.

"Katrin’s Chronicles is not a novel—it is an experience. It is the kind of story that can only be written by someone with a deep, knowing love of their characters and an abiding sense of place and time. This is a novel you can fall in love with. The atmosphere, the smells and the sounds of this beautiful world, created by Ms. Woods, is surely a world she has inhabited.

Although the funny and exciting adventures of the two young detectives would seem to be perfect for young teenagers, I also think this world of long ago will be a welcoming and healing place for many adults." David Man, author of "About Acting...and Surviving the Sharks

"My grand daughter likes strong girl detectives and I downloaded the book for her. She loved it and hopes there will be more. I asked her to tell me the plot and that took an hour of complicated stories. So I guess she really liked the book." Shirley Sacks, author of “Bella Mellman”

"When I finished reading this book, I found myself thinking, "Boy, I can't wait for the next book in the series!" Katrin's Chronicles is great fiction. Well written, thoughtful, and funny, it is a mystery about two sister detectives in Chicago in the 1960's. It was a great read for me, as well as for my 10 and 13 year old girls who found themselves immediately drawn into the characters and the situations and couldn't put the book down! I highly recommend Katrin's Chronicles!" – Dawn Comer-Jefferson, co-author of “The Promise”

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Kindle Giveaway! UNDER THE SHADOW Book Blitz (Top 10 List)

Children of the First Star: Volume I
J.M. Kay

Book Blitz

Top 10 List

Top ten favorite books in no particular order: there were probably thirty others that could have made the list but oh well. 

The Count of Monte Cristo (unabridged) by Alexander Dumas
Shogun by James Clavell
Constantine's Sword by James   Carroll
Atlas Shrugged by  Ayn Rand
Pillars of the Earth by  Ken Follett
Catch-22  by  Joseph Heller
Every single Calvin and Hobbes collection (counts as one 😊)  by  Bill Waterson
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by  Ken Kesey
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera

About the Author

J. M. Kay started writing seriously his sophomore year of college at University of California, Santa Barbara. A few poems here and there led to several collections of poetry, a book of short stories, and many other writing projects. Under the Shadow, Children of the First Star: Volume I is his first novel. He, his wife and their adorable Shih Tzu all hope that this is just the first book of many, as being a writer, for all of its aggravations, is still way more fun and rewarding than what he used to do.

To learn more about the author, visit:

 Book Details

In the small mid-west town of Ashton, two boys are accidently abducted by a universal archivist from a distant planet. The boys must travel with the archivist to a planet filled with secrets, all the while hoping it is in the interest of the archivist’s superiors to send them back to earth. In Ashton, the apparent kidnapping of the two missing teens spark old hatreds and suspicions in a town that once before suffered a very similar tragedy. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Chet Baker: The Missing Years: A Memoir by Artt Frank **Book Blitz**

Chet Baker: 

The Missing Years: 

A Memoir by Artt Frank 

**Book Blitz**

"top ten list of beautiful, romantic ballads that I personally like, and
Chet used to sing and play most of these also"

1- 'My Foolish Heart.
2- My Funny Valentine
3-This Is Always
4- Someone To Watch Over Me
5- Living For You (or, Easy Living)
6-Everything  Happens To Me.
7-Bewitched, Bothered And  Bewildered
8-O' You Crazy Moon
9-I'm Old Fashioned
10-Young And Foolish
Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame Bop drummer, composer, lyricist, and vocalist Artt Frank is one of the few authentic bop musicians on the scene today. He is best known for his friendship and professional association with trumpet immortal, Chet Baker, with whom he worked for many years.

Michael Armando, jazz musician and President of MJA Records, says of Chet Baker: The Missing Years: A Memoir by Artt Frank, “Artt tells it like it was, what it was like being a friend and a drummer for this great legend Chet Baker … When reading this book for the first time it is almost like you are being drawn into a time warp going back into time. Artt Frank takes you from the dark back alleys of drugs and despair to the shinning genius of Chet's playing smoke filled clubs and the streets … If you are a musician you will cherish it after reading it. Non-musicians will learn how great Chet Baker was and how great a friend drumming great Artt Frank was to Chet. The truth will set you free and Artt Frank has done this with his memoir. Amen... I give this book 10 stars...”

As reviewed by premiere jazz journalist and critic, Doug Ramsey, this memoir “…shows us sides of the great trumpeter that few people knew. In gripping detail, he [Artt] tells of the well-known drama in Baker’s life—the sudden fame, the struggle with drugs, the effects of a beating that almost ended his career. But Artt gives us new insights into Chet’s warmth, his love of family, his steely determination and the early emergence of his astonishing talent…This is a book of revelations."

Available on Amazon

Praise for Chet Baker: The Missing Years, A Memoir by Artt Frank

In August of 2012, jazz great Dave Brubeck gave the following review of Artt’s memoir:
“Artt Frank, the author of Chet Baker: The Missing Years is a devout Christian who practices what he preaches. His personal memoir of his meeting and subsequent friendship with the jazz genius of the trumpet is an unvarnished, honest portrayal of Chet Baker. In depicting Chet’s struggle to recovery, Artt reveals great compassion for a sensitive soul fighting for a life, and puts to rest the rumors and gossip that circulated about Chet’s ‘missing years.’”
Dave Brubeck, Legendary Jazz Pianist and Composer
“About Chet a lot has been written, but alas, much of it is nonsense, repeating other nonsense. To get reliable information, we have to turn to the few people who actually knew him. Artt Frank not only knew Chet but kept in touch when it seems like the world had forgotten him; a period he calls 'the missing years,’ and rightfully so.''
Jeroen de Valk, author – Chet Baker: His Life and Music

“Chet Baker’s friend and drummer Artt Frank shows us sides of the great trumpeter that few people knew. In gripping detail, he tells of the well-known drama in Baker’s life—the sudden fame, the struggle with drugs, the effects of a beating that almost ended his career. But Artt gives us new insights into Chet’s warmth, his love of family, his steely determination and the early emergence of his astonishing talent. Frank’s photographic memory for conversations rivals Truman Capote’s. This is a book of revelations.”
        Doug Ramsey, Author of Jazz Matters and
        Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond
Chet Baker: The Missing Years is perhaps the most accurate account of Chet’s life and true spirit to date. Superbly written by Artt Frank ... the book gives fresh insight into the man behind the music. A must-read for everyone from the casual jazz fan to the serious student of jazz history.”
        JB Dyas, PhD, VP, Education and Curriculum
        Development, Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

Artt Frank, bop drummer/composer, and author, is one of the few authentic bop musicians on the scene today. Born in the small paper mill town of Westbrook, Maine on March 9, 1933, Artt is best known for his long-term association with Chet Baker, with whom he collaborated for over 20 years. Artt has also been worked with an impressive list of jazz luminaries over the past sixty years including the great Charlie Parker, Tadd Dameron, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Jimmy Heath, Al Cohn, Ted Curson, and many others, including one memorable night with the great singer, Billie Holiday
In 2004, Artt completed his book “Essentials for the Be Bop Drummer” with Pete Swan and published by Tim Schaffner, publisher (and drummer!) of Schaffner Press, Inc.
Artt Frank was inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in November, 2010.
He currently lives in Green Valley, Arizona with his wife, Lisa Frank.
To learn more about the author, visit:


Chapter  1
Our First Meeting
met Chet Baker in March of 1954 in a Boston jazz club called, “Storyville.” But the first time I heard Chet’s music was over the Armed Forces radio aboard the USS Des Moines in ’53 toward the end of the Korean War. Listening to Chet’s trumpet on that radio, I cried inside, unable to understand how a trumpeter could affect a drummer so much. Right then, I sincerely sent up a prayer that I would get home safely and get a chance to meet and play with Chet Baker.

Since I was about six years old, I’d been playing drums on anything I could find. By the time I was in my teens, I tried to imitate the beats of my favorite drummer, Gene Krupa, on the tabletop at home in Westbrook, Maine. Still, the only other musician who had affected me the way Chet did, was when I first heard Charlie “Bird” Parker and the new form of jazz – Be Bop. At 17, I hitchhiked to New York City from Westbrook, just to hear Bird in person at The Royal Roost. And maybe get the courage to ask him if I could sit in. I did, and he and Max Roach were kind enough to let me play.

Now, at 21, the war was over, I was honorably discharged and home working at the paper mill, like my father and most everybody in Westbrook, and still in love with jazz and drumming.

Chet Baker had just won both the Downbeat and Metronome jazz magazine polls for America’s number one new jazz trumpeter. That night in ’54 when I got to Boston, the Storyville club was jam-packed. My first impression of him was not only was he gifted, but also he was a very handsome young man as evidenced by all the beautiful young girls surrounding him. I waited until most of the girls and fans left, then made my way over to the bandstand to say hello. I wanted to make him think we had met once before, so as I approached I extended my hand, and said, “Hi Chet, Art Frank. Remember me?”

He looked at me for what seemed an eternity, shook his head, and said, “No, no, I don’t remember you, man. Sorry.” He said it softly but directly. I learned right then and there that Chet was very quick, intent and painfully honest. He looked you in the eyes when he spoke. It seemed like he could pretty much read your thoughts on the spot. I got the feeling he’d tell you the truth even if it meant his losing a fan by doing so. Man, if Chet had been a gunfighter during the old Wild West days, he no doubt would have stared down Jesse James. That’s how intense he was. And conversely, he was quite approachable.

As I spoke, he studied me for another few seconds or so and asked when and where we were supposed to have met. Rather than continuing to lie, I confessed that I hadn’t really met him in person, but how terribly moved I’d been by his sound and the way he played when I’d first heard him on the radio aboard ship during the war. He smiled, obviously liking what I had said, and when he did, I couldn’t help notice that one of his upper front teeth was missing on the left side. I was about to ask him how he’d lost it when the bass player, Carson Smith came over and stopped my train of thought. Chet introduced us, and we shook hands briefly. Carson excused himself and walked off toward the bar area. Chet didn’t appear to be in any particular hurry to get rid of me, smiling and nodding at the beautiful young chicks as they walked by.
I went on to tell him about the prayer I’d made when I had first heard him play; that I’d be able to meet him one day, maybe even get the chance to play with him and his group. He studied me curiously and asked what instrument I played. I told him I was a drummer, and had sat in with Charlie Parker at the Royal Roost, and a lot of other great bop musicians along 52nd Street. Bop drummer Stan Levey had also given me a lot of inside tips on how to play. Chet seemed impressed and smiled warmly. As far as getting the chance to play with him one day, he said in his soft, melodic voice, “One never knows, man… one never knows.”

Carson and Russ were on their way outside and asked Chet if he wanted to go out for a breath of fresh air. He nodded, excused himself and left me standing there. Much to my surprise though, he stopped, turned half way around and gestured for me to join him. I couldn’t believe it. Here was Chet Baker inviting me to join him. Once outside the club, I lit up a cigarette and offered one to Chet. He just shook his head and told me he didn’t smoke. He stood by watching the traffic whiz by. He had the interest and intensity of a little boy on some long ago Christmas morning watching his father operate a set of Lionel trains on a miniature set of tracks on a worn out linoleum covered floor.

After a minute or so, Russ and Carson told him they were going back inside the club, but Chet was too focused on watching all the cars go by and didn’t respond. They left and I don’t think Chet even realized I was standing there beside him until a minute or so later. He turned around and asked me where Russ and Carson had gone. When I told him what happened, his face lit up with a smile. He told me that whenever he watched a lot of cars speeding by, it brought to his mind one of the few things he would most like to do in life -- drive a race car at Le Mans and win. “What a thrill that would be, man,” he said, a kind of daydream look in his eyes.

While I stood there listening to him, it occurred to me that I was talking to the nation’s number one trumpet player, and he’s telling me how he’d like to be a racecar driver. I told him he could probably do anything he set his mind to. Where I came from in Maine, racing cars against each other was what most of the young guys did every night and weekends for excitement. Hearing that brought another smile. He told me that most of the young cats in L.A. were doing the same thing. I guess it must have been pretty much the same way in every city and town across the country.

I asked him where he and his group were going after they left Boston. He said they would be doing back-to-back gigs in different cities before winding up doing a full month at “Birdland,” the world-renowned jazz club in New York City. The first two weeks of that gig he would play opposite sets with Dizzy Gillespie’s group, and the following two weeks, opposite sets with Miles Davis’ group. He was real excited about the prospect of that. He was gracious and told me that if I could make it down during one of those weeks, I’d more than likely get the chance to sit in with him. I was ecstatic when he said that, and told him I’d do my damnedest to make it down on one of the nights he’d be sharing the stand with Miles Davis. He said he hoped so, and I believe he genuinely meant it.

I knew he had other things to do, and I didn’t want to get off to a bad start by taking up any more of his time. He still had another set to play, and I had a hundred and five mile drive back to Westbrook, Maine. Also, I had to be at work at the paper mill by 6 a.m. the following morning. I worked the ‘swing shift.’ One week I’d work the 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. shift, the following week I’d work from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., the next week I’d work from 6 p.m. to midnight, and finally, I’d work the graveyard shift, from midnight to 6 a.m. I hated the swing shift because it was very difficult to make plans to do anything. I really didn’t want to leave the club, but knew I had to. I shook Chet’s hand and told him I hoped to see him again when he played Birdland, and left the club reluctant, but elated.

Almost as soon as I had driven out of Boston, a mixture of snow and rain started to fall softly, causing the roads to be a bit slippery, not the least unusual in early spring. But I didn’t care. I was absolutely ecstatic because I had finally met and talked with my main inspiration in jazz, Chet Baker, and he’d been very warm toward me. I praised and thanked God for hearing my prayers about meeting Chet.

The snow continued to fall but it never really amounted to anything, at least until I hit Route 1 in Maine, where the road became even more slippery. I made it home just before 5:00am, about the time my father would be getting up. He had to get up at that time each morning to get the wood stove fire going so he could make his ‘Eight O’Clock’ brand coffee. He’d have to do this in the spring, summer, fall and winter because we only had one wood-burning stove in the house and that was in the kitchen. Whenever I’d get home late, as I did in this case, I’d come upstairs very quietly so I wouldn’t awaken him. But lo and behold, there he was, already up, dressed and sitting at the table waiting for the coffee to finish perking.

It seemed that every winter morning in Maine was a particularly cold one, and this March morning was no different. My father busied himself putting pieces of wood into the stove in order to have it warm for my mother and the other kids who’d soon be getting up. I swear, every other room in that apartment was freezing and the floors were as cold as glaciers. There was absolutely no insulation or storm windows, no central heating system nor even running hot water. In order to have hot water, we would have to fill a pan with water and heat it on the front of the stove.

This was a routine my father did each and every morning before he would sit down and enjoy his cup of coffee - after which, he’d put on his light weight frock coat, a railroad cap, leave the house and go out into the freezing cold. Not having a car, he’d walk the mile and a half through deep snow to get to work at the local paper mill. But God bless his heart, he was happy for me when I told him about the whole episode of meeting Chet. My dad played a C Melody sax, which is comparable to a soprano saxophone, but he never really got the opportunity to play in any of the nightclubs in nearby Portland. He was too busy working seven days of every week to support seven of us kids.

While we sat there talking, my mother woke up and joined us. Still being excited, I went over the whole story again, filling in each and every little detail, and later the same day, I relived it again with my three brothers and three sisters. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s how important it was for me to have met Chet Baker.

My mother, having a ‘steel trap’ memory, recalled how I’d bought a record by Chet the year before, the day after my discharge, and wanted me to play it. I got the turntable from my room and played it for them. Hell, all I did for weeks and weeks was play The Lamp is Low on that Chet Baker record until I nearly wore the grooves out. There was something in Chet’s music that got to me. I was so excited about the possibility of seeing Chet again that I wanted to share his music with everybody. I’d open the windows and play his record so the neighbors next door would be able to hear the sounds too. Some of them didn’t mind. But there were a few others who always squawked. They were too square, but I played the records anyway!

As luck would have it though, when it came time for Chet and his quartet to begin his month at Birdland, I was working the top part of the swing shift, 6 a.m. to 12 pm - which meant that by the time it came around for Chet to be playing his two weeks opposite Miles Davis, I’d be working the 6 p.m. to midnight the first week and the midnight to 6 a.m. shift the second week. Unless I could find someone to swap shifts, I’d not only miss the chance to see Chet again, but also miss the chance to sit in and play with him and his group. To say that I was frantic would be an understatement. I called the other two guys who worked the swing shift, and asked each one if they’d be willing to swap their shifts with me for the last two weeks of the month, but unfortunately for me, they could not for each had made plans of their own. So that March night of 1954 in Boston turned out to be the last time I would see Chet for the next fourteen years.

#  #  #

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

“The Fabliss Life of Bella Mellman”

“The Fabliss Life of Bella Mellman”

**Blog Tour & Interview**

Good day! Please help me welcome today's guest author. Today we have an interview with the lovely Shirley Sacks. You'll find a bit about the author, her book, and pieces of advice to fellow authors. Enjoy!

1.       When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I used to want to be a painter, and have a degree in Fine Arts and have shown my work at various galleries. But once I began to write seriously, in my early forties, I loved the process so much. I continued doing both and make art occassionally but I much prefer writing. I have illustrated my first book myself; so the two can work together. 

2.       Do you write full time?
I write almost every day. It’s not a chore. When I can’t write, I don’t like it.

3.       How does this book differ from your other series’?
This is my first book in a series; The Fabliss Life of Bella Mellman Book Two is well on its way.

4.       Describe your main character?
 Bella Mellman is almost seventy. She’s had a full, rich life. She is opinionated, passionate and energetic. She hates being told she looks good for her age. She lives on her own and cherishes that she doesn’t have to share her life with anyone irritating (like one of her ex husbands or boyfriends).

5.       Who would you choose to play that character in the movie version?
There are so many wonderful actresses who are older. I adore Angelic Huston, Helen Mirren (my publisher loves her best).  Jacqueline Bisset suddenly came to mind. She’d maybe too gorgeous (for any age). Rene Russo was Fabliss in Night Stalker. I like Diahann Carroll and Pam Grier, but Bella’s supposed to be white. Still Hollywood can fix that.  Dianne Keaton … maybe? Jean Smart? Joan Collins (I think too old now). Bette Midler … love her!

6.       Who is your favorite author?
 I do not have a favorite author. I like reading books in which I learn something. This makes for many authors, as so many write about things I don’t know. I am not the kind of person who re-reads books or goes to movies more than once. I know that every single person who manages to write a book does something that is difficult and brave. Especially brave.

7.       Do you have any advice for other authors?
I think the hardest thing is to find out what you want to write about, especially if you love the process of writing. But you can always begin writing about yourself, what you feel and think and your interests or passions, and that can segue into something different. That’s how Bella began, with a memoir that segued into a character that segued into a whole Fabliss Life. A novel, NOT a memoir. 

8.       Anything you’d like to say to your fans?
I love you all. Anyone who likes me and my books  … love you!!

9.   What’s next for you?
 I am writing The Fabliss Life of Bella Mellman Book Two and it’s well on its way.

10.   If you could live anywhere, where would that be?
As I have moved around the world a few times, I am always thinking of other places to live that might be nicer than Los Angeles.  Los Angeles is too hot, too dry and has too much traffic although the pending El Nino might change the dry part. When I went on vacation to The Big Island of Hawaii about ten years ago, I fell in love with the place. I even went to look at property to rent or buy, but my daughter, with whom I am very close, wasn’t as struck. I like living close to my family and they all live near me in LA. But if I win the lottery or have my book bought by a movie or TV studio and make a fortune, I’d like a holiday home in either Hawaii or The French Riviera. There is good reason so many rich people – through the ages – like the Riviera; it’s heavenly. But you have to speak French. And despite having French lessons for years at The Alliance Francais, I can’t understand hardly a word when French people talk. And with my accent they probably won’t be able to understand me that well either. And seeing as language is very important to me, I think I’d have to live in an English speaking country. Maybe back to live in England, not London, but somewhere in the gorgeously green country (it’s green because it rains a lot).

11.   If you could choose a super power, what would that be?

 I would like to live forever. I would like to see how my grand children and their children grow and so on and on.  Or maybe to fly like a bird? I love birds, and find them so fascinating. They are much smarter than we think. In fact they are probably smarter that we are, in their birdy ways.

Born in South Africa, married, two children, divorced.
Off to London, back to South Africa, mistakenly and briefly married.
The: 1987 to The United States, landing in Beverly Hills.
Writes, paints, knits, re-arranges decor, cooks, exercise a bit, reads a lot.
Loves animals and abhors animal cruelty!
Interested in just about everything except sport.
Has opinions about everything including sports.
Loves friends old and new, family near and afar.
Love ... the answer.

Education: Fine Arts Degree, University of The Witwatersrand.
Showed art at various galleries in Johannesburg, London and Los Angeles.
Advertising copywriter, Johannesburg.

The Fabliss Life Of Bella Mellman spins a bold tale of a savvy woman of the world who gives a rollicking social commentary on life in the flats of Beverly Hills, men, “mature” dating habits, and the odd complexities of love, sociopaths, marriage, divorce, and living a creative life. The book also looks at the role of the older woman, her place in the sexual panoply, which has been so horribly simplified. Bella Mellman, a transplanted South African artist and writer, lives a ‘fabliss’ life (as her 8-year-old grand-daughter tells it) in the flats of Beverly Hills. A long-time divorcee nearing the seventh decade of a very full life, Bella is constantly annoyed when friends, and even strangers, ask the impertinent question of “Why, don’t you have a partner?” Followed by the hated phrase: “You look quite good for a woman your age.” The only thing to do, Bella realizes, is to write a book that explains once and for all, her satisfaction with being older and single.

Available on Amazon

Monday, November 16, 2015

An Interview with Celia Kennedy **Blog Tour**

An Interview 

with Celia Kennedy

This week we feature author, Celia Kennedy. Please welcome her in the comments!

Celia Kennedy was born in Wurzburg, Germany on a military base. Her parent's penchant for traveling has stuck with her, she's lived in and traveled through several countries.

The imagined world has always fascinated Celia. She has studied Art History, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, and Architecture. Her thirteen year career at UW in Seattle ended in 1996. Not wanting to be homeless, she left the academic world and worked as a Landscape Architect, married the love of her life, became a mom, has been PTA President, and both Boy and Girl Scout Leader.

The unimaginable wealth in her life is the most fascinating thing to her.

Her love of travel, the designed and natural world, friendship, self-discovery, wine, chocolate, AND love are the foundation of her life and books.


1.       When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Fifth grade seems to be a magic era in most writers lives. I’ve read many interviews where this age, nine or ten, seems to be the magical age. My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Copeland, had us do a creative writing assignment, and I was hooked.
It was an on-going project. She had read us this great book about children lost in a cave, and it inspired me to write a science fiction story about a boy and girl lost in a cave on another planet. The visual image is still burnished on my brain. It was an expansive underworld place, where the stalagmites were massive, and the stalactites were crystalline. The whole cavern was bejeweled and beautiful. Of course, what else would a cave on another planet look like to a nine year old girl?
2.       Do you write full time?
I do! I am one of the lucky few. I began writing when my children entered school fulltime and after a few days of fulfilling the traditional role as housewife, I decided I was going to open the laptop and start writing.
For the first two years I read quite as much as I wrote. Now my day is primarily devoted to writing and marketing. I generally write 7:30am – 12:30 pm, have lunch, work-out, get my kids settled into their after—school life, and then try to get another hour of writing slipped in.
3.       How does this book differ from your other series’?
The Passport Series is The Accidental Series, but in a much more polished format, with all the characters much more flushed out, and probably a lot more grown-up. It is still fun and fast paced, but the books relate to each other much more fluidly.
4.       Describe your main character?
Charlotte Young is the main heroine in Prosecco & Paparazzi. She is from Maine, has attend graduate school at Oxford, and works and lives in New York City and London. When you meet Charlotte, you meet the impulsive side of her. This is what drives the rest of the book, but you definitely see the many other sides of her. She is fun, witty, and capable. At the time we meet her, she is a lawyer from a PR firm in NYC.
Tiziana Caputo! I always describe her as Sophia Loren. Born and raised in Rome, she and Charlotte meet when they go to the Said School of Business in Oxford. She looks like her and has Ms. Loren’s business savvy. Tiziana is willing to use all the tools in her toolbox to get the job done. No one should underestimate her. She might be beautiful, but she has a brain too. Though her actual position never comes up in the book, she too is a business lawyer for an IT firm in Italy.
Hillary Cavendish is the most conservative of the group. She was born into an upper crust family in England and has been raised to use the right fork, the correct title, to be discreet. We see her let loose from time to time, which makes her fun. She recollects… but she does let loose. Though she has the same graduate degree as Charlotte and Tiziana, she works for a philanthropical society in London. Her family name and connections are an asset to her and those organizations she champions. So, while she can be a bit stuffy, she has a big-heart. She is also the glue of the group. Though they are committed friends, it is Hillary who arranges their yearly vacations – which evolve into so much more as Prosecco & Paparazzi and The Passport Series evolves.
Marian Connolly!! She might be the most fun of the group. She’s fun to write. Marian is from Ireland and has a brutally sarcastic sense of humor. She can’t help tweaking people, and often is at odds with Hillary, but don’t underestimate the depth of their friendship. Marian works at a law firm in Dublin, and is on the look-out for a love interest. She’s much more candid than the rest about wanting to find her man.
Kathleen Ehlers is the final female character. Kathleen is aloof, elusive, and evasive to most people – but not her group of friends. She’s a big-hearted friend who lives in Paris and works as a Business Acquisitions Lawyer for L’Oreal Paris. The environment of her daily world suits her personality and her passion for fashion. In Prosecco & Paparazzi we don’t learn too much about her, which makes her book, Cognac & Couture, book two in the series, so much fun to write.
Des Bannerman is the mostly lovable protagonist. He is Charlotte’s celebrity crush, the King of Romantic Comedies that Charlotte finds herself at odds with. On top of being a highly sought after actor, he is a fun and funny guy. I had a lot of fun creating him. He is an amalgamation of all my favorite RomCom actors over the years – Hugh Grant, Ryan Reynolds, Tom Hardy, Chris Pine. He’s pretty delicious to look at.
Liam Molloy is Charlotte’s love interest. Marian is a bit peeved, because Charlotte meets him in NYC though he lives in Dublin, where she lives. He is a bit older than Charlotte, has a little more experience in life and love, and is freaking hot! A pretty fabulous combination of characteristics. He is the real life King of RomCom’s (oh, he is fictional… he seems so real to me).
Ted Blackwell is Des Bannerman’s best friend. He is also a self-made billionaire who lives in London. He has all the toys of a playboy, but since he is a techno geek he isn’t too flash. That is part of what makes him a great friend to Des. He and Des are as normal as they can possibly be when they are together.
5.       Who would you choose to play that character in the movie version?
Oh! I created a Pinterest Board for this. If you want to take a peek, here is the link:
Charlotte Young: Paz Vega (Spanish, portraying American)
Tiziana Caputo: Maria Grazia Cucinotta (Italian portraying Italian)
Hillary Cavendish: Julie Benz (American portraying English)
Marian Conolly: Sarah Parish (Irish portraying Irish)
Kathleen Ehlers: Rosamund Pike (British portraying American)
Liam Molloy: Henry Cavill (British portraying Irish)
Ted Blackwell: Daniel Craig (British portraying British)
Des Bannerman: Ryan Reynolds (Canadian portraying American)
6.       Who is your favorite author?
I have many favorite authors – I love to read all genres. I love Marian Keyes for Women’s Contemporary; I love Iain Pears for Historical Suspense; I love Kathleen Woodiwiss for heart thumping romance; I love Patricia Cromwell for Mystery/Murder; my heart will always belong to Carl Sagan for Science Fiction… There are many break-out authors that I adore almost as much. I love to encourage readers to give the newbies in the group a chance (that include me!).
7.       If you could speak to them, what’s the one question you would ask?
How do you keep yourself positively motivated?
8.       Do you have any advice for other authors?
Very, very, very, very, very, very few authors make it big with their first book, or second, third, fourth, or fifth. You need to write because it is part of your soul, and writing satisfies you and no one else. This will sustain you in the moments where you wonder why you are tapping away on your keyboard and book sales are slow to non-existent. This will help you rebound from awful reviews. Oh, and write something that makes you happy. You have to do that. Trying to imitate someone else or follow trends will not likely prove to be successful.
9.       Anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Well, first I giggled, ‘cause that concept that I have fans just makes me feel goofy. I hope that I do – don’t get me wrong. I’m just a girl who does what she loves and if I make someone laugh or feel anything, I’m delighted. That’s why we write – to effect someone.
10.   What’s next for you?
I am writing Cognac and Couture, Kathleen’s book. It takes place during Fall Fashion Week in Paris. The ladies join her there, and while they take in fashion shows, fantastic restaurants, absorb the ambience that is Paris, a secret or two of Kathleen’s gets revealed. As the book evolves, the depths of her secrets gets explored and she must decide how “real” she can be. It’s fun, emotional, and adds yet another layer of depth to the friendship these five lovely women experience.
11.   If you could live anywhere, where would that be?
Barcelona, Spain. A city on a beach where tapas are served, an afternoon nap is a must and dinner at 9:00 followed by a lovely stroll through architectural wonders is definitely the place for me.
12.   If you could choose a super power, what would that be?

Well… I’m a mom. So, that answer has to be, the power to heel emotional angst. It’s really hard to see your children have setbacks, but that is part of life, the stuff we truly grown from. I don’t want to take it away, I just want to be able to show them the benefit of having gone through the experience so that dealing with the negative emotions isn’t quite so bad.

When fifteen minutes of fame goes horribly wrong… 

Charlotte Young and her five closest friends ring in the New Year on a ski vacation in the swanky, celebrity-packed French Alps, where her world collides with long-time celeb crush, Des Bannerman—aka “The King of Rom-Com.” Unexpectedly, Charlotte finds herself happily reconciled to an innocent evening of drinking champagne, gambling, and chatting to the celebrity of her dreams. 

Charlotte’s friends join forces to help her realize her lifelong fantasy, yet his girlfriend, the latest Bond Girl, proves an insurmountable obstacle. Lighthearted banter turns into tabloid fodder and leaves Charlotte saddled with a restraining order. 

With the help of her friends, Charlotte finds the answers to life’s biggest questions while trying to deal with the fallout of her fifteen minutes of fame. 

Prosecco &Paparazzi is a contemporary romantic comedy about what happens when the paths of a celebrity god and a mere mortal collide. 

Previously self-published under the title Charlotte’s Restrained, The Accidental Stalker. It has been re-edited.

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Official hashtags: #Prosecco&Paparazzi and #PassportSeries

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