Novel Spotlight & Excerpt: Waiting For Aegina by Effie Kammenou

waiting for aeginaAbout the Book

Book Two in The Gift Saga: The continuation of Evanthia’s Gift …

In 1961, five little girls moved into a suburban neighborhood and became inseparable, lifelong friends. They called themselves the ‘Honey Hill Girls,’ named after the street on which they lived. As teenagers they shared one another’s ambitions and dreams, secrets and heartaches. Now, more than thirty years later, they remain devoted and loyal, supporting each other through triumphs and sorrows.

Evanthia’s Gift follows the life of Sophia Giannakos. In Waiting for Aegina the saga continues from the perspectives of Sophia and her friends as the story drifts back and forth in time, filling in the gaps as the women grow to adulthood.

Naive teenage ideals are later challenged by harsh realities, as each of their lives takes unexpected turns. Now nearing their fiftieth year, Sophia, Demi, Amy, Mindy and Donna stand together through life-altering obstacles while they try to regain the lighthearted optimism of their youth.

EXCERPT…

 

Chapter 1

Sophia

October 2004

 

 

Sophia was seated at the edge of a worn leather chair with her eyes fixed on Dean, tears streaming down her cheeks. Ignoring the sting from the cuts and bruises on her forehead and nose, the soreness on the left side of her body, and the sharp pains coming from her casted arm, she gently gripped her husband’s hand, hoping her touch would will him into consciousness.

Not twenty-four hours ago, they were having the time of their lives—reconnecting with old friends, dancing, and maybe drinking a little too much. Which is why Sophia took the keys from Dean and insisted she drive home.

Their joyful night came to a crashing end when a bright light reflecting from her side view mirror blinded Sophia. It was as though everything after that happened in slow motion—the sound of crunching metal and screeching tires, a surreal feeling that the car may have flipped over and over, and the shattering of breaking glass when a car struck theirs, slamming into the passenger door where Dean was seated.

When their vehicle came to a sudden halt, Sophia found that the car had not turned over as she thought, yet somewhere in her confused and disoriented mind, it had registered that they must have spun around.

Clouds of white surrounded Sophia and she screamed out to Dean, afraid he was unconscious or severely injured from the impact the car had taken.

Her door flung open. “Sophia, I have to get you out of the car. Help is on its way.”

“Dino! Help Dino!” Sophia desperately pleaded, not sure to whom she was speaking to. It was so dark and she was blinded by fear.

Slapping away the airbags obstructing her view, she called out to her husband. “Dino! Talk to me. Say something.”

Struggling to open his eyes, Dean groaned, but his lids remained closed.

Michael, who had been following in the car behind, could see that metal from the car had compressed around the lower half of Dean’s body and, without help, he would not be able to pull him from the wreckage.

Sophia reached for Dean, but Michael stopped her.

“It’s better not to touch him until the EMTs get here.”

Panic-stricken after watching the erratic driver crash into her brother’s door, Demi helped Sophia out of the car and clung to her.

Within minutes, the dark road was polluted with flashing lights and the sound of blaring sirens. Rescuers came swiftly, assessing the situation quickly deciding to rely on the ‘Jaws of Life’ to cut Dean out of the car.        Another medic came to Sophia’s aid, placing her arm in a splint and tending to the open gashes on her face and arm.

“Forget about me! Take care of my husband,” she demanded, her voice strained from fear.

“Your husband is in good hands.” The female medic looked up after she finished wrapping Sophia’s arm. “They’re about to load him into the ambulance now, ma’am.”

“Take me to him.”

“Of course.”

The uniformed woman guided Sophia to where Dean was strapped on a stretcher and about to be lifted into the back end of an ambulance. Too many people surrounded him, making it impossible for Sophia to get close.

Movement, noise, lights, and voices shouting commands—it was all happening at lightening speed, yet at the same time the moment seemed to drag on forever. Sophia became agitated. There was too much fasaria around her. Her yiayiá would say that when there was too much noise and commotion. It was the first word that came to mind as witnesses dramatically recounted the accident, mangled cars were pulled onto flatbeds, and police officers gave the drunk driver, who had sped across three lanes before hitting them, a breathalyzer test. The son of a bitch didn’t look as though he had a scratch on him, and Sophia’s Dino was—she didn’t want to think about what his condition was. She just needed to get to him, but no one would let her.

“Ma’am, we have another ambulance for you if you’ll come with me.”

Sophia pushed away from the EMT. “I don’t need one. I want to go with my husband.”

“That’s not possible, ma’am.”

“You’re hurt,” Demi said. “You need to go with them.”

“I want to stay with you. Michael, drive me to the hospital. I want to be there when Dino arrives.”

“We’ll follow along behind the ambulance you’re in,” Michael said. “You’re in shock, Sophia and you need to be examined. Let’s be on the safe side.”

 

*****

 

Leaning over the hospital bed, Sophia prayed. “Please, God, don’t take him from me now,” Sophia begged in an inaudible whisper. “Dino, oh, my Dino.” She bent over him and caressed his cheek. “Don’t leave me. Not after all we’ve been through. Squeeze my hand. Move your eyes. Give me a sign that you’re still with me. Anything.”

Comforting arms wrapped around Sophia. “Sweetie, you need to take a break. Get some sleep. I’ll stay with my brother.”

She turned to look at Demi, collapsed into sobs, and shook her head. “No. What if he wakes up and I’m not here?” Sophia’s face grew pale and her lower lip quivered. “Or what if—”

“Don’t say it,” Demi ordered. “Don’t even think it.” Demi wrapped her arms around Sophia. “The doctor said he’ll be unconscious for a while. If anything changes, I’ll call you.”

Sophia pulled away and shook her head. “I can’t.”

“If you don’t, I’ll get your doctor in here to order you to go home and rest. Your body took quite a beating also. You can’t help Dean if you don’t take care of yourself.” Turning Sophia by the shoulders to face the entrance to the room, Demi said, “Look. Everyone is here. Any one of them will be happy to take you home. I’ll stay with my brother until you get back.”

Sophia waved weakly, her heart melting at the sight of them. In the doorway stood Amy, Mindy, and Donna. They were there when she needed them—always at her side without question—her oldest and dearest friends. The Honey Hill Girls were loyal to the core.

effieAuthor Bio

Effie Kammenou is a believer that it is never too late to chase your dreams, follow your heart or change your career. She is proof of that. At one time, long ago, she’d thought that, by her age, she would have had an Oscar in her hand after a successful career as an actor. Instead, she worked in the optical field for 40 years and is the proud mother of two accomplished young women.

Her debut novel, Evanthia’s Gift, is a women’s fiction multigenerational love story and family saga, influenced by her Greek heritage, and the many real life accounts that have been passed down. She continues to pick her father’s brain for stories of his family’s life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America. Her interview with him was published in a nationally circulated magazine.

Evanthia’s Gift: Book One in The Gift Saga was a 2016 award finalist in the Readers Favorite Awards in the Women’s Fiction category.  Waiting for Aegina: Book Two in The Gift Saga is Kammenou’s latest release.

Effie Kammenou is a first generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on her food blog, cheffieskitchen.wordpress.com, you can find her cooking for her family and friends.

As an avid cook and baker, a skill she learned from watching her Athenian mother, she incorporated traditional Greek family recipes throughout the books.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University.

For updates on promotions and the release of Book Three in The Gift Saga

Follow Effie on Twitter @EffieKammenou

www.facebook.com/EffieKammenou

So many books, so many choices! I would have to say from the classics I would choose Elizabeth and Darcy. I love that they both had strength of character, integrity and loyalty to friends and family. But they were both flawed, as we all are, and because of that they could have missed out on a great love.

In contemporary stories it is most definitely Gabriel and Julia from the Gabriel Series. It’s a very layered saga of love, betrayal and redemption with so many lessons and messages for the reader.

And naturally, I love the characters I created. Sophia and Dean, First in Evanthia’s Gift and now in Waiting for Aegina. How could they not be one of my favorites. They are an extension of me. I feel as though they are my best friends and part of my family. I cried every bitter tear with them as I wrote their story and rejoiced in every glorious moment they shared together. I will be very sorry to say goodbye to them when the third and final book is written.

Links

Amazon author page

https://www.amazon.com/Effie-Kammenou/e/B013NZRWLI/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1488327067&sr=8-1

Short URL for author page

https://goo.gl/SdhdqF

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/EffieKammenou/

Twitter

https://twitter.com/EffieKammenou

Goodreads page

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14204724.Effie_Kammenou

Food blog

https://cheffieskitchen.wordpress.com

Fan contact e-mail

effiekammenou@gmail.com

Linkedin

https://www.linkedin.com/in/effie-kameno-speyer-961682107

instagram

https://www.instagram.com/cheffieskitchen/

Pinterest

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Newsletter signup page

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Author Interview: Lyss Stern

Today on CLP I am welcome DivaMoms.com creator and author Lyss Stern! Keep reading for an interview with Lyss and watch for her new book that is releasing April 18th – Motherhood is a B#itch

lyssWhat is a Diva Mom, and why was it important for you to create DivaMoms.com?

A #divamom does not allow motherhood to define her. She is a mom but also a boss. Looking fabulous and feeling good on the inside and out. Divamoms.com was inspired by my 1st son Jackson. I realized moms needed a reason to get out of the house with and without their kids, and at the time there wasn’t an outlet that provided events, social outlets and fun.

Motherhood is a B#tch is your next book release. What can readers expect from this?

Some parenting advice, fun tips to unleashing your inner diva and hopefully lots and lots of laughter!

10 Steps to Regaining Your Sanity, Sexiness, and Inner Diva. The book tells it like it is and explains how women lose their sense of self once they have children and why it’s so important to reclaim it. In the end of the book the readers will feel happier, healthier, and hotter than before.

What is your best advice for a first time mother to be?

All mothers like to give unsolicited advice to new moms. My advice is to do it YOUR way, if it works. Ask lots of questions (no questions is stupid) and don’t google every little thing. Most important is to find your own parenting style, what works best for you and your child. There is no magic recipe for motherhood. You will find the right one that works for you and your family.

How has social media made an impact in your life and business?

Of course, social media is essential to branding and reaching a fresh new audience while growing on my established clientele. I do all my own social media and truly try and keep it real and on point with my brand. I do not believe in putting everything out there about my personal life on social media. However, that’s just my opinion. My son always jokes around that I should be more like Kim Kardashian on social media, he’s thirteen.

What is your advice for someone who wants to be their own girl boss?

Go for it! Girls are more powerful than ever before. The world is finally listening to us and we are empowered. Take your ideas and make them a reality before someone else does. Own it, and work it!

My book is the modern mom’s bible for dealing with the day to day chaos with style and grace. It’s written to empower every mom out there. It’s time to take it all back!

Pre Order Your Copy!

motherhoodMore About Lyss

Lyss Stern is the CEO/Founder of Divalysscious Moms (www.divamoms.com), a national, NYC-based marketing and event company with a database of millions of mothers and mompreneurs. In addition to being a successful entrepreneur, Lyss is the go-to source for toptier media, where she discusses topics ranging from business to parenting to politics. Lyss, through the strategic building of her brand, media presence, speaking engagements and business acumen, is in the coveted position as being a social media influencer, with followers who avidly trust and follow her on various social media platforms.
Thirteen years ago, before marketers were even using social media marketing to target moms, she created Divalysscious Moms, as a way to get her groove back after giving birth to her first child and help other mothers find themselves post-baby. Today, with a database of a million moms across the country, DivaMoms is the premier marketing and event company for the New York area’s well-heeled moms.
As a trend spotting mom, Stern always is researching and engaging with her followers about the latest parenting and lifestyle trends, it is this type of business instinct that led to DivaMoms launching E.L. James Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy in the U.S. When Stern posted the event invite to her Facebook page, it was at full capacity within the first two hours.
DivaMoms continues to be an in-demand platform for Mommy-driven products and services, which Lyss has single-handedly built by organizing sophisticated events and connecting highend brands including Fendi Kids, UPPABaby, Stokke Strollers, Nestle’s BabyNes, Red Carpet Kids NY, Sweaty Betty, The Chord Club, Flywheel and many more with an elite group of women and children.
In addition to her work with DivaMoms, Lyss was the editor in chief of Jared Kushner’s “Observer Playground” magazine and co-authored the best-selling book, “If You Give a Mom a Martini “ (Crown) offering her expertise on Mommy Me-time to women everywhere. The book, which has recently been optioned to become a motion picture, features contributions from celebrity moms like Kelly Ripa, Christie Brinkley, Melissa Joan Hart and more. The Long Islandnative, and mommy-of-three (sons Jackson, Oliver and sister Blake), is also the co-creator of the NickMom short-form series “Story Time For Moms” as well as the co creator of the Scripps Networks short-form series “Bad Moms In History”. Her next book “Motherhood Is A B#TCH, 10 Steps to Regaining Your Sanity, Sexiness, and Inner Diva” (Skyhorse Publishing) by Lyss Stern and Sheryl Berk (foreword by Jill Kargman, star of “Odd Mom Out”) comes out this spring.
Lyss can often be seen offering her parenting expertise to television audiences for networks like Fox News and on programs including NBC’s Today Show and CBS This Morning. Her commentary has also been featured in national publications such as Crain’s New York Business, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post. Lyss writes a few columns including the SummerLYSST, which appears in Social Life Magazine and FabULyssFinds in Manhattan Family Magazine..
Lyss also prioritizes giving back to the community, which she focuses on through her involvement with a variety of organizations including OCRF and Pediatric Cancer

Novel Spotlight: An Unsuitable Marriage by Colette Dartford

an unsuitable marriageAbout the Book

Could your marriage survive the ultimate betrayal? The emotional story of a family under pressure, perfect for fans of Joanna Trollope and Hilary Boyd.

Olivia had everything – a loving husband in Geoffrey, a thoughtful and intelligent son in Edward and a beautiful home in the Somerset countryside.

But all that changed when Geoffrey’s business went under. Now penniless and homeless, Geoffrey is living with his recently widowed mother, whilst Olivia has been forced to work as a housemistress at her son’s elite boarding school.

With their marriage under intolerable strain, Geoffrey makes a mistake – one that has devastating consequences for the guilty and innocent alike . . .

Colette Dartford Headshot2About the Author

A Londoner by birth, Colette Dartford went to university in Bath and made it her home. A scholarship to undertake a doctorate led to a career in health and social research, before she moved to California’s Napa Valley. Here she studied Viticulture and Enology and wrote her debut novel.

 

Top 5 writing tips

  1. Read a lot, and well beyond your own genre. I write commercial women’s fiction and it would be so easy for me to read nothing else, not least because I love it. But much can be learned from other genres—plotting from crime, tension from thrillers, a sense of place from historical novels—and reading them can make you a better writer.
  1. When you sit down to write, banish the censorious voice in your head. You know the one I mean—it tells you you’re wasting your time, your work is rubbish, it will never get published, no-one will ever want to read it. That voice is the enemy and if you listen to it, you will be defeated.
  1. You may have taken some writing courses, or read books about how to write a novel, but if you want to stimulate your creative juices, try to write freely rather than dwelling on the ‘rules.’ You can tidy your work up later (see below), but while you are in full flow, it’s best not to get bogged down by ‘dos and don’ts.’
  1. Don’t be discouraged by the quality of your first draft. Even bestselling, prize winning authors confess that their first drafts are dreadful. Think of your first draft as you telling the story to yourself. It’s a starting point—the bones from on which to flesh out your novel.
  1. If your goal is to be published and you have a manuscript that you’ve revised as much as possible, the next step is to get professional feedback. There are a lot of reputable literary consultancies that provide editorial critiques, which can dramatically improve your work.

My final, and perhaps most important writing tip, is to simply enjoy it.

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