Bio: Ellen Cardona wrote Brownie Fix to help deal with the postpartum depression she experienced after one of her pregnancies. Through her writing, she found that postpartum depression was real but conquerable, especially when one has the help of some dark chocolate and even darker humor.
When Ellen is not writing, she teaches literature to college freshmen and attempts to help them understand the writing process, though they think she’s crazy because of her love for literature and writing.
Ellen graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a PhD in Humanities with a specialization in Literature. Even though she has published several academic works on Ezra Pound, she could not ignore her true passion as a fiction writer.
Ellen lives in Richardson, Texas and continues to learn daily from her husband and two children. In good times and bad, she still enjoys her brownies.
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005IC38EU/ref=as_li_tf_til?tag=ellencardonac-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=B005IC38EU&adid=1AR1GXZZAECEWZJEMZMT&&ref-refURL=http%3A%2F%2Fellencardona.com%2F
Thanks to Chrissy Anderson for sharing this guest blog on the dreams of a novelist!
Buriiiiiing, buriiiiing, buriiiiing….
“Hi, is this Chrissy Anderson?”
“Yes, it is.”
“Hi, hunny, this is Rita Wilson. It’s an honor to speak to you.”
(Long dubious pause on my end of the receiver)
“Hunny…are you there?”
“Rita Wilson? The Rita Wilson…as in Mrs. Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson?”
“Yep! Hey, listen, I read The Life List and I have to tell you I was blown away. It’s not your average chick-lit read and Chrissy’s not your average chick-lit heroine; she’s opinionated, judgmental…snarky. I found her personality hysterical, clever and totally relatable!”
“Are you surprised?”
“Well, no, not surprised with what you said. It was my intention to write about myself as an authentic person that women of all kinds-twenty-somethings, housewives and super woman wanna-bes- could relate to. I think all of us can connect to the pressure of constructing the ideal life, only to fall short. I guess…I’m surprised the book found its way to you. I’ve been trying to get a copy of it in your hands for over a year. I think the closest it got was to your agent’s assistant’s assistant.”
“Are you kidding? I found my way to your book! Everyone in Hollywood is reading it. You’ve created something really special and I want to help you take it to the next level. It’s got to be a movie.”
“That’s exactly what I think!”
“You know what I love the most about it…well, beside the fact that the role of Chrissy’s therapist, Dr. Maria, is made for me!”
“I love that The Life List is part I of a trilogy. This whole project has the shelf life of a can a soup! It’s going to last forever. And the whole love triangle thing happening between Kurt and Leo, and how you took two men who are polar opposites, sexy and compelling in their own right, and made them both these guys that Chrissy could easily fall in love with…it makes me giddy with excitement! I went to your website and voted for my choice. Love how you have the ability to do that there! It’s so cool to see how the votes are split between the two guys, isn’t it?”
(OMIGOD, OMIGOD, OMIGOD! Rita Wilson went to my website!)
“I go crazy thinking about the marketability of your work, Chrissy!”
“I know, right? Show me one woman who can’t identify with something I went through in this book, and I’ll show you a woman who is either very young, very much in denial, or the very luckiest woman on earth.”
“Well, hunny, I hope right now you feel like the luckiest woman on earth, because we’re about to make all of your dreams come true. Your convoluted and chaotic real life love story is about to become the American version of Bridget Jones’s Diary. Are you ready?”
Aaaaaaand this is where you hear a record scratch.
I’m chick-lit novelist Chrissy Anderson, and the pipe dream above has been my pipe dream ever since I wrote the first word of the first chapter of The Life List. Introduce me to one chick-lit novelist who says she doesn’t have a pipe dream like mine and I’ll slap her senseless for being a big fat liar! Isn’t world-wide recognition and critical acclaim for a story well-written why we stay up long after our day jobs are done, our families have been fed, the laundry folded and our kiddos have fallen asleep? Don’t we write with the hope that women everywhere will benefit in some way from the distinctive words we scour the thesaurus to find and fill our novels with? Every single time we hit CTRL-S before logging off of the computer don’t we let out a big sigh and say a little prayer that something huge will happen with our work? Don’t we all secretly wish that someone like Rita Wilson will stumble upon our books and be so moved by them that she insists on acting as a force accelerator, catapulting our work to Twilight-like proportions?
Well, poop on you. I do! In fact, most days it’s that pipe dream that keeps me going. It’s that pipe dream that pushes me to enroll in promo day after promo day on KDP select, pimping myself out to any book blogger and website that’ll help me get more downloads than the month before. It’s that pipe dream that eggs me on to spend countless hours (and dollars I don’t have) promoting those promo days on e-reader websites, knowing that half of them forget to plug me on the right day. It’s that pipe dream that gives me the courage to shamelessly promote myself to my 799 facebook fans. It gives me the strength to draft another blog for my website (www.askchrissy.net) and SEO the crap out of it. To spend my weekends doing book signings…scouring the internet for opportunities to advance my rankings on Amazon’s best sellers list…Oh, and let’s not forget about cramming in some time to write the last novel in The List Trilogy.
For me, my pipe dream is my lifeline. I mean, I’m certainly not failing (far from it actually), but if you’re a relatively un-known writer like me, you know the struggle I’m talking about here. You know how hard it is to beat last month’s downloads, to make a buck from a sale, get a 5 star review, get another facebook fan, pull off a higher ranking on Amazon….to get the time to write an actual book, let alone read one! My pipe dream is what makes me smile through all of the trials and tribulations of being a small fish in this big intimidating literary ocean. It’s what gets me excited and…hopeful- hopeful that all of my creativity, hard work, and wit will pay off. If you’re an ounce of the dreamer I am, you know the kind of motivation I’m talking about.
So I know I’m not alone, share your pipe dream with me in the comment section. Who knows…maybe one of us reading this has the ability to fulfill one! C’mon, let’s get silly and support each other. Anyone know Rita Wilson?
Bio: J. W. Bull lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two sons. Although she has worked as a sous chef for Lavande Restaurant, she currently is a private violin teacher and a member of The Georgia Symphony. She is also finishing another novel, Musical Chairs, a mystery involving Maggie’s cousin—Molly Malone, plucky part-time symphony player and fulltime Irish fiddler. It’s a hilarious spoof on symphonies, Irish fiddling, and mysteries that continues the Malone saga.
Connect with J.W.!
Bio: Paula Tiberius is an author, screenwriter, filmmaker, musician and mom living in North Hollywood, California with her musician husband Richard, their daughter Violet, and their German Shepherd, Jackson. Paula wrote and directed the award-winning feature film Goldirocks in Toronto, which came out theatrically in 2004, played on Pay TV and Cable in Canada and is currently available on Netflix, distributed by R Squared Films. To learn more about Goldirocks, visit www.goldirocks.com You can read more from Paula Tiberius at her website www.paulatiberius.com/blog, where you’ll find lots of thought-provoking blogs, vegetarian recipes and more. The Cowboy Singer is her first novel.
Bio: Samantha Stroh Bailey has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen. In fact, she even sent her first manuscript, Freddy the Flame, to publishers when she was ten years old. Sadly, it was rejected, but a lifelong passion to write was born.
After 15 years of teaching ESL to adults, including at the University of Toronto, she decided to live her dreams of being a fulltime writer and editor. Now the owner of Perfect Pen Communications, she not only gets to write novels, but also writes and edits for magazines, websites, businesses, students and other writers.
Her work has appeared in Now Magazine, The Village Post, Oxford University Press, Abilities Magazine, on Mommyish.com and many other publications. Samantha also has a Master of Education in Applied Linguistics.
She lives in Toronto with her husband and two children. Finding Lucas is her first novel.
Connect with Samantha!
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5832614.Samantha_Stroh_Bailey
Goodreads Finding Lucas Page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13641194-finding-lucas
Buy the Book!
Bio: Tina L. Hook grew up in Orlando, Florida where she earned a Liberal Arts degree from Rollins College. After her early career in South Florida, she eventually settled into small town life near Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and two cats. When she is not daydreaming over a blinking cursor, she is blogging at GirlwithaNewLife2.com. This is her first novel.
Title: Enchanted by Starlight
Connect with Tina!
Thanks to Jessica Gordon for stopping by with a Q&A and guest post for her Becoming Mrs. Walsh tour for CLP Blog Tours! Please visit her tour page at CLP Blog Tours for more information and a giveaway!
Tell us about yourself?
Let’s see, about me. It is much easier to write about characters and think of their back story than tell your own! Long story short, I lived in New York and then moved down to Baltimore to attend Johns Hopkins University. I always thought I would move back north but I met my husband while living in DC and stayed ever since. I am now a full-fledged DC resident. I love living in DC and can not say enough positive things about living in this city.
How did you come up with this story?
I knew I wanted the setting to be in Washington. Once I knew that, the rest of the story came easily. My husband is the youngest of three boys, so when I first met his family I was introduced to many future brothers and sisters-in-law. Meeting so many new people and being a few years younger than the group inspired the idea for a story about a large family. Although the rest of course is fiction.
What are you working on now?
I’ve started a sequel, but I am hesitant to make it too official because it has to be worth reading. So many people have told me that they can’t wait for the sequel and need to know what happens, I really don’t want to disappoint! But, my goal is to put out something that people can feel excited about. I also don’t want to let the Walsh family down, they need to have a good path to continue on!
What character was the hardest to write and which one was the most fun?
I think Shoshana was the hardest to write because she is the main character. The issue with your main character as the narrator is that people really need to like her, to trust her opinions and be on board. If you decide you don’t like Shoshana early on, it will be hard to root for her or sympathize with what she goes through. It was really important to me that she is relatable and interesting. The easiest was Mark. Something about his voice flowed really naturally. It was fun to have such a charming character throughout the book.
Do you have a favorite comfort read?
I think chick lit in general comforts me. I love stories that are fun and make you think. There are so many good ones out there. It is the perfect type of book to curl up with when you just want an easy read with a great story. I think chick lit often gets labeled as a ‘summer read’ but I think it’s a great genre to read all year.
If you could live in any book what one would you choose and why?
I actually would love to live in the Walsh world. Writing about exotic places is one thing, but to live the lifestyle would be another! I think something about all of the Walsh family trips, glamorous events and parties has a mysterious Gatsby-like feel and it is very tempting to be part of that.
Selected Topic: What is the best advice you have ever received as a writer and how do you use it? What would you offer up as advice to aspiring authors?
The best advice I have ever received as a writer is to write clearly and concisely. You could have an amazing story that is covered up by pointless prose and irrelevant details. I think avoiding long, arduous sentences is really important, especially as a chick lit writer. The chick lit genre is so unique in that you can have colorful characters, vivid scenes, and an interesting premise all told in a fast-paced way. As writers, it is our responsibility to give readers a story that can be an escape whether for an hour or a day at the beach. But escapes have to be interesting and light. I want people to come away from reading one of my books with that feeling of not being able to put it down, or feeling excited to climb into bed and read it at night. There is something so special about connecting with the reader on that level.
I also love the idea of readers thinking about my characters even well after the book is over. Plots and characters that stay with you are so special. As a reader, I love when you can think about the characters long after you’ve put down your book and wonder where they are and what they are up to.
My advice to aspiring authors is to write often; the more you write the better you will get. I think it is important to remember writers are story tellers. So tell a great story! And tell it well!
**Everyone who leaves a comment on Jessica’s tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Becoming Mrs. Walsh before February 11 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**
I am happy to welcome Michelle Dobbs, author of the historical fiction novel The Rock Island Line to CLP today! Check out a Q&A with Michelle below, and be sure to enter the giveaway to win your copy!
Q: Why did you write this book?
A: I wrote it because I thought it was an important and alternate story to those that are currently told. It was important to me, and becomes more so every day, to preserve the story of people like my own family, who have a nontraditional approach to life, and family. It seems like the more a standard story gets told, the more it is accepted as a universal truth, and that is not always the case.
Q: How did you become interested in this topic? The trains, the people, the setting…
A: It started in a conversation with my grandmother. She said, “I wonder what ever happened to Aunt Maggie…” When I asked her who Aunt Maggie was, I was shocked to learn that she’d worked as a maid for the family and assistant in the little business my family ran when my grandmother was a child. So we started talking about the fact that we had a maid, and why my grandmother cared for her so intensely, and then we were off and running. We talked about that story every day for an entire summer. I was fascinated.
I’ve always had a thing for trains. That could be because my family really does come from Rock Island, and we really did sing that song coming up. When the actual Rock Island Line was about to shut down in the seventies, we rushed to take one last ride on that railroad line. I still collect Rock Island Line memorabilia, and listen to the Blues, although both may be out of style.
Q: What did you hope to accomplish by writing this book?
A: I hoped to educate and entertain readers with a story that strays a little from the norm, but also let them know that stories based on real people can be as engaging as stories that are completely imaginary. Many people, at first read, are amazed when they learn that these characters were built around real people. The world has long been multicultural, and has long been challenged by changing times. People have also always found ways to adapt, and thrive despite the obstacles that confront them. I want readers to be reminded of that by this book, and I hope they relate to it in a personal way.
Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
A: I was in fourth grade when it first occurred to me. I wrote what I thought was a brilliant essay, and got an F because I used the word “morn” instead of “morning” against my teachers’ advice. He told me that if I used that kind of language, it wasn’t really a story. Looking that paper over I thought, “I’ll show you. I have the right to use the words I want, in the way I want. I get to have a story, too.”
Later, I studied Journalism, because I wanted to write and get paid, but the who, what, where, when, why of newspaper reporting sort of made me feel claustrophobic. I was in Public Relations for a bit, worked in Marketing for a local nonprofit, and then found National and Community Service, the first work I felt passionately about. Years later, I remembered that I wanted to write, and so I did.
Q: How did you research the book?
A: I talked to people. I talked constantly with my grandmother, who is the model for the character of Lilly. I made sure that Lilly talked like they do in Rock Island by listening to my grandmother’s speech patterns and favorite phrases. I’ve been to Rock Island dozens of times, so I thought carefully about the way that things there look and smell and the way life is shaped by the train. Of course, I visited the Rock Island County Historical Society to see what people were wearing during different eras that are covered in the book… but mostly, the information kind of seeped into me from talking and imagining what things might’ve been like with her. It came from the long conversations with Grandma.
Q: What surprised you about the process of writing a book?
A: I was most surprised by how much I was able to relate to the story myself. I thought that I might be serving simply as a translator for someone else’s story, but while I was writing it, I became really attached. My grandmother and I are a couple of generations apart, and grew up in totally opposite manners. But I came to understand that, at our foundation, we are far more alike than we are different. At the beginning of the process, we were kin, but by the time we finished, we were really good friends. Those long conversations sealed our relationship with so much understanding and warmth, that I felt our bond, which was already a close one became very much deeper.
I was also surprised by how much my grandmother had to say about things. It made me a better listener to just ask one question and let her really go for it with her reply. Sometimes, I wouldn’t say anything after she’d told me a very long story because I was imagining it, and that silence would prompt her into telling me another doozy. It was awesome.
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
A: I most like to read. I’ll read anything that someone puts in front of me. The trouble with that can be that reading is a solitary pursuit, so sometimes I force myself to come up for air with the books and such, and join the real world. Fortunately, my family always is ready to welcome me back.
Q: Are you working on another novel?
A: My next novel is about a man who decides when he reaches retirement, to join the bone marrow registry. He’s already an organ donor, and wants to make a living gift. Then he learns that he is a descendant of Louis the Fifteenth of France when his match is made in Europe.
A descendant of The Rock Island Line, Michelle Dobbs’ professional experience spans working as an educator, consultant, nonprofit executive, and entrepreneur. She adds author to that list with the publication of her first novel, The Rock Island Line, Conversations Over Chicken and Dumplings.
Michelle is a veteran of Public Allies, Inc., whose mission is to advance new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation where she served as Vice President of Leadership Practice. At Public Allies, she designed leadership training curriculum that was later adopted nation-wide; recruited and coached teams of AmeriCorps members annually; and built a network of more than 100 public and private sector leaders to support development training for the next generation of non-profit leaders.
As a training and education consultant, she worked with clients to close performance gaps between managers and the teams they supervise, and assess and deliver organizational development initiatives.
As entrepreneur, she is managing partner of The Big Idea Group, which works with nonprofits nation-wide to deliver and implement learning interventions.
She has a degree in journalism from Howard University. She has studied in France and has taught French at Pre-College Center at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has been guest lecturer at Carroll University and provided translation services.
She was winner of a seat at the Hurston Wright Foundation Writer’s Week and semifinalist in Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards and Regional Winner of Cover Girl Women at their Best Awards.
One winner will receive a print copy of The Rock Island Line. Please fill out the form below to be entered, and note this is open for US/Canada residents only. A winner will be chosen Friday, November 30. Thank you to Michelle Dobbs for sponsoring this giveaway!
**The winner is Chuck Supple!**
Bio: Ruby Preston is an up and coming Broadway producer currently working on several new musicals on the Great White Way. She couldn’t be more thrilled to be living her dreams in the Times Square trenches of Manhattan. Ruby loves hearing from readers and Broadway fans so feel free to drop her note via email ruby (@) rubypreston (dot) com or twitter @Broadwayruby.
Buy the Book!
And on Barnes & Noble’s Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/showbiz-a-novel-ruby-preston/1110479015?ean=2940033232789
And on iTunes.
Bio: Jenn Flynn-Shon is an Author, born and raised in the Boston, Massachusetts area but currently living and working in Phoenix, Arizona. She quite happily lives, child-free, with her husband in the Valley of the Sun. She is an avid recycler, upcycler, and refuser of superfluous things. Love of sports is a cultural experience, an almost mandated way of life for most Bostonians, and Jenn is no exception to that rule. Jenn loves to travel, read, spend time with family and friends, and blog. “Ripple the Twine” is her first fiction novel.
Connect with Jenn!
Writesy – http://writesy.blogspot.com/
Ripple the Twine – http://www.lulu.com/shop/jenn-flynn-shon/ripple-the-twine/paperback/product-20117696.html
Amazon – http://amazon.com/author/jennshon
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/jennshon
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/JennFlynnShon
Twitter – http://twitter.com/jennshon