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 Angry and withdrawn, Jake blames his dad for the death of his mother, and David doesn’t know how to reach him.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”
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.
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 Madness – White 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.
Sheryl is a Loveahappyending Lifestyle Author and Feature Editor.
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!
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:
Smashwords (Nook, Sony reader, iPad)
Jami's Social Media:
LinkedIn: Jami Deise
ARIELLE IMMORTAL PASSION by Lilian Roberts
On sale for $0.99 THIS WEEKEND ONLY!
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.
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.
IT'S JUST A LITTLE CRUSH is getting some serious love from bloggers lately!
1 Book Lover's Opinion is hosting a giveaway and spotlight for me. Hop on over here and get your name in the Rafflecopter drawing for a free ecopy!
The Masquerade Crew is also hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway, and this one includes a bunch of awesome Romance authors!
Rose & Beps Blog also gave me a book spotlight this week. See it here.
Thanks so much to all three of these great blogs for everything that they do to promote indie authors!
SWIMMING UPSTREAM by Ruth Mancini is a lovely read!
Get it here!
SWIMMING UPSTREAM by Ruth Mancini is a poignant story about one woman’s journey to finding out what she really needs in life. The novel is well-written and descriptive, instantly pulling you in and making you care about each of the characters.
Lizzie Taylor tells most of her life story throughout this novel, starting in young adulthood, but flashing back to her childhood and college days enough that the reader really gets a sense of who she is and how her personality was molded by the events of her life. Lizzie is definitely a survivor, as well as a good friend, and I loved how she allowed her friends to lean on her strength when they needed it.
The characters were so vivid and so real, and I could imagine having a conversation with any one of them. The author made me care about what happened to them and worry about them as if they were my own friends. The dialogue is very realistic, as is the plot.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Contemporary Women’s Fiction, especially by British authors. SWIMMING UPSTREAM is a moving tale that will keep you thinking about it for weeks after reading it.
About the Author
Ruth Mancini was born in South London and educated in London and Cambridge where she gained a Bachelors degree in languages and a post-graduate diploma in law. For several years she worked in the publishing industry before becoming a practising lawyer, author and freelance writer.
She now lives in Oxfordshire with her husband and two children. She blogs at www.ruthmancini.com and can be found on Twitter @RuthMancini1 and Facebook at www.facebook.com/ruth.mancini.author.
Yep, that’s right, folks. August 30th is National Toasted Marshmallow Day!
(Not to be confused with S’mores Day, which is August 10th.)
I love doing these blog posts about “National (whatever) Days”—if nothing else, it gives me a reason to eat something fun. I suppose I could have gone with an article about August being National Goat Cheese Month (read about it here), but it would have been a short article, because the only thing I have to say about that is: YUCK.
Whether you’re someone who likes to gently cook your marshmallows to a perfect golden brown, or (like me) just lights the dang thing on fire and enjoys it “blackened”, today is your day.
I know, I know, I'm totally cheating here, but it’s entirely too hot and humid today in Indiana to toast any marshmallows outside around a roaring fire. But all you really need is a flame, right? In that case, I suppose you could do it with a lighter as well…
In a blind taste-test, the cooktop marshmallow beat out the lighter marshmallow. The one I cooked with the lighter wasn’t gooey in the middle like the cooktop one, mostly because I didn’t want to waste my lighter fluid on a stupid marshmallow—I went straight for setting it on fire instead of actually taking the time to warm it up first…before setting it on fire. Plus, the lighter marshmallow ended up with a big, gross black wart on it.
National Toasted Marshmallow Day is a super-easy holiday to celebrate—just grab a bag of marshmallows, a stick, find some fire, and you’re set. So get out there (or stay inside) and celebrate this sweet day!