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GUEST POST: Character Interview by Carolyn Ridder Aspenson

09/19/2013 10:26

Welcome to my friend, Carolyn Ridder Aspenson, author of UNFINISHED BUSINESS, a laugh-out-loud novel about an unusual mother-daughter relationship.  The unusual part being that the mother is dead, but is still nagging the daughter from beyond the grave.  

Take it away, Carolyn!

 

Today I'm happy to offer an interview with Angela Panther and her mother, Fran Richter.  Angela and Fran are the main characters in my chick lit book, Unfinished Business An Angela Panther Novel.

This isn't a traditional character interview because Fran isn't an ordinary character. Fran is dead.  I'm not sure if I'll actually be able to hear Fran or if her daughter Angela will have to speak for her, so let's start and see how things roll.

 

Carolyn Ridder Aspenson:  Welcome Angela and Fran, I'm so glad you've decided to talk with me today. I must admit, I'm a little nervous about this interview. I've never actually talked to a ghost. I'm not sure what to expect.

Angela: It's definitely interesting. There are days when I'd like to tune out my mother along with the other ghosts but I don't really have a choice in the matter. Can you hear that?

Hear what?

My mother. She's complaining.

No, I can't hear her.

Be grateful. She said, "I'm your mother for cryin' out loud, it's rude to tune out your mother."

She certainly is a character, isn't she?

Yes, she is but she's got a good heart and I'm glad I have this time with her, even though it comes with its own set of issues.

Yes, let's talk about that. How did you start seeing your mother in the first place?

My mother died of lung cancer in my dining room. Actually, we'd made it into her bedroom, which was sort of a bone of contention for her. She didn't like the bed and didn't like the chair we put in there for her.

Hold on, she's talking again.

She said the chair was ugly and uncomfortable and the bed was worse than a prison bed. Ma, when have you ever even seen a prison bed, let along slept in one?

No, Ma, seeing one on TV doesn't count. Now may I finish answering the question? I promise then you can say something and I'll tell her exactly what you said, okay?

Thank you.

Okay, as I was saying, she died in my dining room.  That night I couldn't really sleep, for obvious reasons, and I wanted to feel close to her so I went and laid on her bed, hoping it would help. That's when she appeared to me and started accusing me of stealing her Hershey Bars from thirty years before.

Ma, can I--hold on, again, please.

Ma says I was a thief and after she died she knew a whole bunch of stuff and didn't want me to think I got away with it.

Ma, I think your not knowing for thirty years was me getting away with it.

So anyway, she appeared to me about that and I thought I was going crazy. I thought it was a dream or my mind playing tricks on me but I didn't think it was actually real.

I'm sorry, I shouldn't refer to my mother as an it, she said it's rude. Even though I wasn't referring to her as an it as much as the situation. She's very sensitive.

So how did you finally come to believe she wasn't a figment of your imagination or a dream?

I think I really did know from the start but just couldn't process it. We'd always said that when she died, if she could give me a sign or come back, to do so and she did. What I didn't know because she never told me until after she died, was that I'd had this gift to communicate with the dead as a child. She just kind of let it go instead of encouraging it. Then she told me she wanted to test it out after she died and it worked.

I know Ma. She said she didn't think it would open the door for other ghosts to communicate with me too but that I'm doing a good thing by helping them.

Yes, what kinds of things have you had to do? And how do you see spirits?

As for seeing them, I see them how they passed, I think, just a little different. With my mother, she's still in the blue nightgown she died in but she's not as thin as she was when she died. She's more like she was before she was ill.

Hold on.  She's mad now.

I'm sorry, Ma. I should have told you sooner. I don't know, I just didn't. No, Ma, you're not fat, Ma.  

She's upset because she died very thin and now she's a little more voluptuous again. She told me before she died that she'd be thin for eternity. I haven't had the heart to tell her that didn't work.

I know, Ma, I shouldn't keep stuff from you. Does it matter? You're dead. I mean, really, you're wearing the same thing for eternity, it's not like you're out partying and want to look good. Geesh. I promise, I'm not holding anything else back. I already mentioned your teeth.

Her teeth?

Yes, she had false teeth and apparently those don't travel between here and the afterlife. She has no teeth now.

Oh.

Yup.  Okay, so back to the question. The things I've had to do?  So many different things. I had no idea there were so many ghosts here. I'm still not even sure why a lot of them stick around, like my mother. I mean, I get that some have unfinished business but there's this one British man, he hangs out at Starbucks and does a little performance in the parking lot.

Ma, I'm not sure they want to know about that.  Okay, fine.

My mother wanted me to tell you that he's naked, too.

Naked?

Yeah. He runs around juggling his balls.  Oh, not those kind but actual balls.

Stop laughing, Ma.

I have dealt with some serious issues though.  One woman died when her child was very young and he is sick. Her husband didn't know and she wanted him to know. It broke my heart.

Do you find that people believe you when you give them messages from their loved ones?

Actually, it's been easier than I thought. I still worry about how I'll appear to them but for the most part, if I can give them sort of proof, they accept it.  I think everyone would want to hear from a loved one who has passed. I think they're more open to believing when it's up close and personal.

I'm sure anyone who has lost their mother or any loved one actually, would love to have this gift, to be able to still have them in their life.

My mother said to tell you that she thinks the same way. She said, and I'm quoting her at her request, "You'd think my daughter would be happy to have me around but she's constantly getting on me about stuff. Says I shouldn't spy on my grandkids one minute and then asks me to do it the next. It'd be nice if she'd make up her mind and stop confusing me."

As I've told my mother many times, it's not that I don't want her around. I love having her around but there is a time and a place for her to make her presence known and there are things she shouldn't do, like say, scare teenagers. You know?

I know, Ma. She said she doesn't see the harm in tossing a few pillows now and then to get someone's attention.  And that she didn't mean to break the glass table at the boy's house.

I know, Ma, and I do appreciate you helping me out with Emily (that's my daughter, by the way) but I think maybe the way you handle things could be tweaked just a little, you know?

She said I'm a pain in her big, Italian butt and that having a big butt is at least good for that.

Does anyone else see your mother?

Yes, my son, Josh does and my niece too but I haven't mentioned that to my brother and I don't plan to.

No, Ma, he wouldn't believe it. She wants me to tell him but he and I have an interesting relationship and I'm confident he wouldn't believe me.

I know, Ma. He's a good boy. You've told me that for years.

He's her favorite even though I'm the one that took care of her when she was sick and the one she called for any and everything when she was still alive.

Yes, Ma. I know. Daughters are supposed to do things for their mothers. Trust me, you've made that perfectly clear.

Anyway, as for Josh, I'm not really encouraging or discouraging him from talking to his grandmother. He hasn't seen any other ghosts that I know of but if he does, we'll deal with it together unlike my mother did with me.

I know, Ma. I was younger and I know you did what you thought was best. No, I'm not mad at you.  Yes, Ma, you did a great job.

Do you have any cupcakes? I could use a cupcake right now. And a coffee.

I'm sorry.  I didn't think to bring cupcakes.

That's too bad.

I have so many questions to ask but I know this takes a lot out of you, so I'll cut it short. Is there anything you'd like to say to our readers? Do you have any messages for them?

Ma says they should buy the book because she's a hoot even though I'm a pain. Thanks, Ma. I'm feeling the love.

I just want to tell everyone to take the time to be with the people they love. I've been lucky, for the most part, in having this gift. I get to have my mother with me still, even though she drives me crazy.

In a good way, Ma. I promise.

But seriously, I've seen so many people who have regrets and who would give anything to tell their loved ones just one more time that they love them. Life is precious and it can be taken away in an instant so tell the people you love that you love them and don't let anger or life get in the way of that love. But if it does, know that there is something else, something after our life, something that we go to and see them again. Death isn't a final goodbye.

Ma says the worst thing about death is you don't get to have coffee. She really misses coffee.

Thank you Angela and of course, Fran, for talking with me today. It's been interesting and of course, fun!

You’re welcome.

 

 

To learn more about Angela and Fran, visit

http://www.carolynridderaspenson.com

http://www.facebook.com/unfinishedbusiness

http://www.twitter.com/awritingwoman

 

Purchase Unfinished Business An Angela Panther Novel at

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

 

 

AAAARRRG! It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

09/19/2013 09:28

Avast, me hearties!  Today be

International Talk Like a Pirate Day!  

Get yerself out and have a pint o' grog with yer maties.

(This here photograph be from me lassie's birthday party.  Those wee scallywags had a fine time dividing up the booty!)

 

Fer more pirate-speak, ye can sail on over to  http://www.talklikeapirate.com/piratehome.html .

 

 

SPELLBOUND IN HIS ARMS, on Sale today for $0.99!

09/18/2013 12:07

My author friend Angel Sefer's wonderful and exciting romantic mystery novel, SPELLBOUND IN HIS ARMS, is on sale now through Friday for only $0.99!  Pick it up now--it will make a great weekend read!  And, if you'd like to read the first chapter, it's now on Wattpad here--sweet Angel even dedicated Chapter 1 to me!  Thanks, Angel, I am touched!

As promised, I'm also sharing where you can win a copy of SPELLBOUND...along with copies of other great novels like BETWEEN BOYFRIENDS (Sarka-Jonae), the ARIELLE IMMORTAL SERIES (Lilian Roberts), and IT'S JUST A LITTLE CRUSH (me)!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Welcome Author Sheryl Browne!

09/18/2013 10:34

Today, author Sheryl Browne stops by on her ROMANTIC HEROES Blog Tour!

Go to her Facebook events page here for a chance at a prize!

 

 

What is your book about? Give us your “book jacket” summary.

 

Learning to Love

Exploring the Fragility of Love, Life, and Relationships

 

Widower, Dr David Adams, has recently moved to the village – where no one knows him, ergo there’s no fuel for neighbourhood gossip – to start afresh with is ten year old son, if only he can get to a place where his son wants to speak to him. Angry and withdrawn, Jake blames his dad for the death of his mother, and David doesn’t know how to reach him.

 

Andrea Kelly has too many balls in the air. With three children and a “nuts” mother to care for, her fiancé can’t fathom why she wants to throw something else into the mix and change her career. Surely she already has too much on her plate? Because her plates are skew-whiff and her balls are dropping off all over the place, Andrea points out. She needs to make changes. Still her fiancé, who has a hidden agenda, is dead-set against it.

 

When Andrea’s house burns mysteriously to the ground and Andrea and her entourage are forced to move in with the enigmatic Dr Adams, however, the village drums soon start beating, fuel aplenty when it turns out someone does know him – the woman carrying his baby.

 

 

Are any characters in your book based on people you know (yourself included)?  Are there any situations based on things that have happened in your life?

 

I do feel drawn to write about real people dealing with some of the traumas life tends to throw at us, people who, hopefully, the reader identifies with and wants to get to know. A story portraying characters readers can relate to and hopefully laugh and cry with as they cope with those traumas, because the reader is empathising with the character, because they’ve been there. My subject matter, therefore, always needs careful research as well as emotional exploration, sometimes calling on my own life events. So, yes, in writing Learning to Love I did examine my own experience of loss: Someone who left behind him a fiancé and child. It’s not hard to view that loss through the eyes of a child, take the bewilderment and multiply it ten-fold. The child needs to cherish the good memories, to laugh, to cry, to bake the cake mum would have baked, walk the dog the same route Dad would have; to be allowed to express the emotion. Also, as mentioned, I did undertake a lot of research, talking to other people who have lost spouses. The coping strategies of fathers, who’ve traditionally spent hours away from children and home, I found were touching and often amazingly inspiring.

 

For interest, Learning to Love started life as a short, entitled The Memory Box - the theme of which is bereavement in childhood, which was accepted by the Birmingham City University to be published in their Anthology, Paper and Ink. Obviously, I was really thrilled. I think that incentivised me to get on and write the book!

 

If your book were made into a movie, are there special songs you would use during particular scenes?

I do have a ‘theme’ song which I think is perfect for Learning to Love: “Learn to Love Again” by Lawson (can you guess why?). Here are some of the lyrics:

“There's a place we know
What's cold enough won't grow
We have seen the dark
And the darkness took its toll

And the journey waits for no one
If no one breaks the mould
And our hearts are stronger
Than we know

That you and I could learn to love again
After all this time
Maybe that is how I knew you were the one
That you could still believe in me again after all our trials
Maybe that is how I knew you were the one”

http://youtu.be/irw3IbjP3vQ

 

 

 

From the time when you get the idea for a story to the finished product, do you find that your storyline stays exactly as you imagined, or does it change significantly during the writing process?

 

My books are character led, Learning to Love growing from bereavement through the eyes of a child, Somebody to Love from a single father coping alone with a special needs child, so the kernel is always there. I find, however, as many writers will concur, that characters tend to grow with the story. Often they will have traits, strengths or weaknesses that only become apparent as they find their way through a particular given situation. They tend to become very clearly defined people and often you find you simply cannot put them in a certain ‘box’ because they just don’t fit. So, inevitably, a rewrite is dictated (by the character!). I find I need at least three re-drafts before my characters are fully rounded, three dimensional people. If anyone catches me submitting before I’ve achieved that, please, slap me! 

 

You have written several books.  Which one took the longest to write?  Which one took the least amount of time? Why?

 

Without doubt Warrant for Love took the longest. The tagline for that book is: Three couples in a twisting story that resolves perfectly, which would give you a hint of the plot complications. Also though, because this book attracted an agent and publisher interest (but just wasn’t quite right at the time), it was a book I simply couldn’t give up on until I was satisfied it was absolutely the best it could be (when I say I slept with my hero, trust me, I did!). I thought I’d achieved that when it got a fabulous critical review from an editor recommended by the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

 

The fastest book I ever wrote as Recipes for Disaster and that was because I was just so totally inspired. When a publisher gets back to you saying they love your writing style and commissioning you to write a book… Well, you can see why I would have been. Kim Sutton at Safkhet Publishing wrote back to me (after I’d submitted something else to her) asking if I’d consider writing romantic comedy shorts around recipes… *ooh, now let me see…* Naturally, I jumped at the chance. When Kim came back to a nervous little me saying production had ground to a halt at Safkhet because the editors were too busy falling about laughing at my WIP to actually do any work, I was truly over the moon. For information, the fab, fun recipes were provided by Kim, the inspiration by Snoops/aka Rambo star of the book!

 

 

 

Describe your writing environment.  What is your favorite place to write?

 

This is my office space. You can see my co-writer is keen to get started! In summer, I love to write in my conservatory, where it’s light and airy.

 

 

Complete this sentence: If you like... (other author) you will love...

 

If you like… Jill Mansell you will love SOMEBODY TO LOVE (I’m not blowing my own trumpet, honestly. This is from an Amazon review. I’m honoured to be compared).

Thanks so much for letting me loose on your blog today, Caroline! It’s been lovely visiting with you.

 

Meet Sheryl

Sheryl Browne brings you Fabulous, Poignant, Heart-breaking Romance. Her novel Recipes for Disaster, commissioned by Safkhet Publishing, was shortlisted for the Innovation in Romantic Fiction Award. Sheryl now has five books published under the Safkhet Soul imprint -

 

Recipes for Disaster - Sexilicious Romantic Comedy combined with Fab, Fun Recipes.

Somebody to Love Sigh with contentment, scream with frustration. At times you will weep.

Warrant for Love - Three couples in a twisting story that resolves perfectly.

A Little Bit of MadnessWhite Knight in Blue rescues The Harbour Rest Home.

Learning to Love Exploring the Fragility of Love, Life and Relationships.

 

- and has since been offered a further contract. A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Sheryl grew up in Birmingham, UK, where she studied Art & Design. She works part-time in her own business and is a mum and a foster mum to disabled dogs.

 

LINKS:

Sheryl’s Website

Safkhet Publishing

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Author Facebook     

Romantic Novelists’ Association

Sheryl is a Loveahappyending Lifestyle Author and Feature Editor.

Twitter: @sherylbrowne

 

 

Review and Upcoming Interview

09/17/2013 10:26

 

Thanks to Clue Review for a great review of IT'S JUST A LITTLE CRUSH!  Read it here.  Stop back by Clue Review in a couple of days for my interview with them!

 

 

News, News, and more News!

09/17/2013 09:25

 

Grab a comfy chair and get ready to read, because there's going to be a lot happening this week on my blog!

(This painting, a reproduction of "Young Girl Reading" by Jean-Honore Fragonard, was painted by my great-uncle.  It now hangs in my dining room!)

 

September 18th, author Sheryl Browne will be guest posting as part of her   ROMANTIC HEROES T OUR .  I hear there are going to be prizes, too, so be sure to come back and find out!

 

SPELLBOUND IN HIS ARMS by my author friend Angel Sefer is going on sale on the 18th for $0.99!  Check back for my post to find out where you can win a copy!

 

Funny lady Carolyn Ridder Aspenson stops by the blog on September 19th to interview her characters, Angela and her dead mom Fran.  Carolyn's book, UNFINISHED BUSINESS will be on sale as well for $0.99, starting on the 19th.  I'll be hosting her giveaway on my very first Rafflecopter event!  I can't wait!

 

On September 20th, yours truly will be in the spotlight.  IT'S JUST A LITTLE CRUSH will be on sale for $0.99, and I have a fun blog post in mind.

 

On tap for next week:  September 27th, I'll be featuring Ruth Mancini, author of SWIMMING UPSTREAM, and Deborah Nam-Krane, author of new release THE FAMILY YOU CHOOSE.  September 28th, I'll be hosting Courtney Giardina, author of TEAR STAINED BEACHES.

 

I can't wait to see what all of these lovely and talented ladies have in store for us!

 

 

Review of KEEPING SCORE

09/16/2013 13:41

 

I just got done with a fantastic book by my author friend, Jami Deise!  

I hope you remember her from back in August when she took over my blog for me!  Here's her post, if you need a reminder!

 

 

KEEPING SCORE by Jami Deise is a well-written chick-lit novel about a divorced mom and her son navigating through the competitive world of boys’ travel baseball.  It’s very true to real life with the requisite mean kids, overbearing moms, and overzealous coaches, but the author also adds a great mix of quirky characters (and some hottie leading men) who help keep the story light-hearted and lots of fun.

 

Following Shannon and her son, Sam, on their whirlwind summer tour of ball tournaments made for a fast-paced read.  The play-by-play of Sam’s games was interesting (even for someone who doesn’t know a lot about baseball), and the drama in the stands was laugh-out-loud hilarious.  I’ve been to kids’ games where there was more angst on the sidelines than the field, but this book brought helicopter moms and their one-upmanship to a whole new level of crazy.  Poor Shannon also has to deal with her needy ex-husband and his trail of conquests, carpooling nightmares, and finding a little time for herself to choose between two nice guys vying for her attention.

 

KEEPING SCORE is a great read—one I didn’t want to put down.  I would recommend it for anyone looking for a fun take on life, love, and kids.

 

She is too cute, isn't she?  And she's equally talented!

 

About the Author

A lifelong resident of Maryland, Jami Deise recently moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, along with her husband Tom, son Alex, and dog Lady. A baseball mom for over 10 years, "Keeping Score" is her first novel. Jami is an associate reviewer at www.chicklitcentral.com. Along with women's fiction, she loves all things horror and watches too much TV.

 

Links to buy KEEPING SCORE:

Amazon (Kindle/paperback)

Smashwords (Nook, Sony reader, iPad)

 

Jami's Social Media:

Facebook

Blog: www.jamideise.blogspot.com

Twitter: @JamiDeise

LinkedIn: Jami Deise

 

 

ARIELLE IMMORTAL PASSION on Sale for $0.99 This Weekend!

09/14/2013 17:13

ARIELLE IMMORTAL PASSION by Lilian Roberts

On sale for $0.99 THIS WEEKEND ONLY!

Buy it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

ARIELLE IMMORTAL PASSION is the 3rd book in Lilian's IMMORTAL RAPTURE series.

I haven't got around to reading Book 3 yet, but I have read the first book in her series, ARIELLE IMMORTAL AWAKENING, and it was a wonderful read.  Here's my review:

 

This book was a delightful read.  The author blends romance with the paranormal element well.  I immediately fell in love with Sebastian Gaulle and his overwhelming, all-consuming love for Arielle. 

I very much enjoyed the close-knit relationship between Arielle and her two best friends, as well as Arielle’s relationship with her family and friends from home.  I can’t wait to see what is in store for Arielle and the people she loves in the rest of the series.

I highly recommend this book for paranormal romance fans and hopeless romantics of any kind.  You will be spellbound by the true and undying love that unfolds in this story.

 

More contest winners!

09/14/2013 16:59

 

Congrats Cristina A. and Jennifer I., who won a free ebook of IT'S JUST A LITTLE CRUSH through the 1 Book Lover's Opinion giveaway! Happy reading, ladies!

And thanks again to 1 Book Lover's Opinion for hosting the giveaway!

http://www.1bookloversopinion.com/

 

 

Remembering September 11th

09/11/2013 09:57

 

I usually go for funny and light-hearted posts on my blog, but September 11th is such a reverent and solemn day in our nation’s history, I wanted to do something different.

 

I can’t believe it’s been twelve years since the attack.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I was driving to work and heard that someone had crashed a plane into one of the twin towers.  I remember thinking to myself, “What idiot would have crashed a plane in the middle of New York City?”  I mean, things like that just don’t happen.  When you hear about plane crashes, they’re very rarely in the middle of a town, mere miles from an airport.  Pilots take great care in trying to set a crashing plane down in an unpopulated area that would suffer the least amount of damage.

 

People were discussing the crash when I got to work, but no one was using the word “terrorism”.  It all just seemed like a crazy accident until the second plane hit the second tower.  Then everything changed.  Irreparably.  This wasn’t an accident—this was a deliberate attack, and the worst part was that we didn’t know who the attacker was or why our nation was being targeted.  One of my co-workers went home to get a TV so that we could watch the story unfold.  We all sat riveted to the TV (no work was going to get done that day) with sinking hearts and teary eyes as we watched our fellow Americans literally run for their lives.

 

I can’t even imagine what it was like to have been a first responder.  So many of them gave their lives trying to save others.  Others were scarred physically and emotionally.  But they did more than just save lives.  They gave the rest of us something to believe in—that not all Americans were superficial, self-centered, and lazy like the rest of the world thought.  They became our new heroes, and as such they inspired the rest of us to get out there and make a difference in any way we could. 

 

I’ve never seen such American pride in my lifetime as we experienced after 9/11.  We all banded together, and for once everyone was on the same side and supported the government.  It was a scary time, but we were strong because we felt like we had each other.  But as with anything, that patriotic feeling waned, and unfortunately we’ve fallen back into bickering with our fellow Americans, completely forgetting how we leaned on each other only a decade ago.  In honor of this day, it is my wish that we put our differences aside and just be Americans, standing side by side to remember those who lost their lives and gave their lives on September 11, 2011.

 

 

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