Featured Author – Ruth Mancini #SALE Swimming Upstream

Ruth ManciniHi Ruth, thanks for taking the time to answer a few of my questions. 

Being a Londoner have you ever longed to live in a more rural surrounding?

Actually, I live in the countryside now!  It’s a very easy commute to London, though and I do miss The Big Smoke, so we visit quite often. We live on the outskirts of Oxford and are surrounded by fields. We often get visits from fieldmice and we used to live opposite a field full of around thirty cows who would all walk over to the fence and stare at us every time we came in or out of our house.  You’d have thought they’d have decided after a couple of weeks “Oh, it’s just them again.” But, no.

When you studied at Cambridge did you partake in any kind of sport?

You know, I didn’t study at the University. I think I should make that clear! I’m quite common really. I was at CCAT, as it was then known – the College of Arts and Technology.  But, to answer your question, I have always loved swimming and I did lots of that.

Was working in the publishing industry a logical step to you when you finished your Law degree?

My first degree was in French and Spanish and I then did a post-graduate diploma in law several years later after deciding to retrain as a lawyer. I don’t think that my languages degree particularly equipped me for a career in publishing although I worked in the international sales team so I imagine it helped a little. I certainly caught the travel bug when I was studying languages and had the obligatory year abroad. I then became a sales manager in the team that published for developing countries – my job was to travel round the Caribbean two or three times per year. It was a hard life…

Hahahha, I believe you. 🙂  

Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?

Wine. Hmmm. I do like a glass of wine. Or two.

What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?

I’m not much of a cook, Lucy.  I don’t think there is anything that I’d be able to teach you or your readers. Unless they’d like to know how to make a cheese and piccalilli sandwich. Now those, I love. I’m a real fan of pickles actually.  Pickled onions. And gherkins. Yum. Everyone always asks, “Are you pregnant” when they see me tucking in, but that was actually the only time in my life when I couldn’t face them.

What is the title of the book you would like to talk about, and can you give us a small taster of it?

It’s a women’s fiction novel called Swimming Upstream.Front Cover

AMAZON | B&N | KOBO

It’s been described as “Thinking Women’s ChickLit”. It’s the story of a woman who finds herself unhappy with her long-term relationship and with her life, despite having achieved all the things that she thought would make her happy. Then a series of unexpected events begin to change her life for ever. It’s very much inspired by events in my own life!  But I also wanted to write a story with lots of drama. I love psychological thrillers so wanted to create a story that had some of that aspect to it too.

Below you can read the backside blurb of the book


“I once read that the end of a relationship is like being involved in a road traffic accident. Which is quite fitting really, given what happened.”
After seven years, Lizzie wonders whether she’s truly happy with her long-term boyfriend. When one wrong step and a chance meeting set off an unexpected chain of events, her life begins to unravel. On the same day that she meets Martin, an attractive lifeguard, her old friend, Catherine, re-appears. But is Martin really all he seems? And what is the secret that Catherine is hiding? As Lizzie struggles to confront the ghosts of her past, can she survive the shocking twist that will change the course of her future?
Swimming Upstream is a life-affirming and often humorous story about a young woman’s pursuit of happiness. It is also a story of female friendship, love, and divided loyalties – and the moral choices that we find ourselves making when the chips are down.

Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

No, not really. I think the title created the story really. I’d read a Marilyn French novel in which she described women as being like salmon, always having to swim upstream. And then I was in the swimming pool one day and I saw the parallels between swimming (or indeed any sport) and life, and how ultimately satisfying it is to push yourself out of your comfort zone in order to achieve a greater degree of satisfaction in the long term.

What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?

I’m on Twitter and Facebook and I have a blog where I talk about subjects that interest me. I can’t say that I do anything much more than socialise online, which is great because I love talking to people and making new friends.

Okay, now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want to blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something noone has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂

I don’t have any naughty secrets, I’m afraid. People think I do, because I’ve been confused a number of times with the porn star of the same name. The first time I Googled my name, looking for images of my book cover, I got a real shock. Fortunately I’ve way outranked her now. But I still get contacted from time to time on Twitter by men congratulating me on my latest performance. I’m like, seriously? Come on. Take a look at my avatar first. Do I look like a porn star? Hang on. Do I? I’ve just realised you’re all going to go and Google her now and then she’ll be back up in the rankings next to me. Doh!

Porn and swimming, eh? 🙂 Or rather none of the first and quite a lot of the second, way to go! Thanks for being here and sharing this with us.
Whenever you have more news, or another guest post you’d like to share with us, don’t hesitate to drop me a line.
Readers, did you Google the other Ruth or did you just hop over to Amazon and bought Swimming Upstream which is on sale until February 3rd?

Release Event – From Beauty With Love by Georgia Cates

Today I’m hosting the release event for

Beauty From Love (Beauty, #3)

By Bestselling Author Georgia Cates

Beauty From Love - Front Cover

An Adult Contemporary Romance

The epic romance between an all-American beauty and her Aussie continues in this final installment of The Beauty Series.

Jack McLachlan is fulfilled by more than he dared to dream possible. He finds everything he never knew he wanted—or needed—in Laurelyn Prescott, his last and final companion. Life is beautiful with his beloved by his side but their post-wedded bliss is cut short when his dark past springs into their present happiness. He wants to shelter Laurelyn but keeping her untainted by his previous life proves impossible when  yesterday’s sins insist on returning to haunt him. Will it be possible for them to find happiness in their forever with a past like his?

Beauty From Love is an adult contemporary novel and is not intended for younger readers due to mature content.

At the time of this post the book is not yet available, but will be soon at:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

About the Author

Georgia resides in rural Mississippi with her wonderful husband, Jeff, and their two beautiful daughters. She spent fourteen years as a labor and delivery nurse before she decided to pursue her dream of becoming an author and hasn’t looked back yet.

When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing. When she’s being domestic, she’s listening to her iPod and visualizing scenes for her current work in progress. Every story coming from her always has a song to inspire it.

You can find her on:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

She also included a giveaway to celebrate the release of her new book.

 Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

And you could win one of THREE (3) $50 USD Amazon Gift Cards – International

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New Release! Fortune Calling by Hunter S. Jones

I’m happy to be able to present to you the latest release by Hunter S. Jones, author or September Ends.

This time it’s a short story with a lot of life, love, and music.

Fortune

AMAZON

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Fortune. Reveal Your Destiny…the neon sign flashes, catching my attention on a dismal, rainy afternoon. Well, why not?
 
Nashville has always been competitive. My granddaddy called it the Hillbilly Babylon.
 
He was absolutely gorgeous and supposedly had a sex problem, the problem being he couldn’t get enough. Long curly blond hair and green eyes rimmed with long dark lashes. Billie Joe Inspiration - Donny Lewis6He was so tall and slender he could’ve been an actor or model, but like the rest of us, guitar was his love. He looked more like a rock god or a movie star than a country music star. But, his looks, talent, and charm had taken him a long way from Richmond, Virginia. Sheer tenacity, ambition, and loads of old family money had made Billie Joe the current Guitar God of Nashville, Tennessee. 
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Exciting teaser for sure. 
Since it’s a short and I know I love everything this author has produced till now, I pushed this one up on the TBR list and dove in.
Want to know what I thought after reading? Click here to read my review and find out.
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Ms Jones Official 11-13ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Exile on Peachtree Street.

Lover of all the finer things in life.

The art form I create when writing is much more interesting than anything you will ever know or learn about me. However, since you ask, I have lived in Tennessee and Georgia my entire life, except for one “lost summer” spent in Los Angeles. I was always a complex kid. My first published stories were for a local underground rock publication in Nashville. Since then, I have published articles on music, fashion, art, travel and history.

Currently, I have a music/entertainment blog @ExPatsPost.com. My debut novella, Fables of the Reconstruction, was published in 2012. Moon Rose Publishing included my novella, Magic in Memphis, available as a short story on Amazon, in their anthology, A Celtic Collection.

Edgar Allan Poe and Anne Rice have always fascinated me, although like any Southern girl, I will always idolize Margaret Mitchell for writing Gone With The Wind. I also adore the works of John Grisham, and own a huge selection of his books. I live in Midtown Atlanta, Georgia with my husband, my books, too many clothes, too many shoes and way too many stacks of notepads and journals.

October 2013 saw the launch of a novel collaboration, SEPTEMBER ENDS, contemporary fiction laced with romance, erotic and supernatural elements, bound by poetry. This novel is written with an anonymous English poet. SEPTEMBER ENDS has been labeled an “Indie Sensation” due the critical reception and international recognition the novel has received.

My newest venture is The Fortune Series. The Story of Dallas Fortune. This collection will be a series of short stories and novelettes chronicling the lives and loves of Dallas Fortune.

The release of Fortune Calling is scheduled for January 30, 2014.

So hurry and get your copy today!

FortuneAMAZON

Much more is on the way in 2014. Follow Hunter S. Jones to get all the latest announcements and updates.

You can connect with her at the following social media sites:

Twitter, Facebook, Pinterestabout.me, her site, new blog

Book Tour and #Giveaway – Song and Signal by M.E. Patterson

Song_and_Signal_Tour_Banner1-1
Today I host the tour for Song and Signal by M.E. Patterson. A book I haven’t read yet, but certainly is on my TBR (to be read) list.
Why? Well, read the synopsis and tell me what you think. 

* From the award-winning, bestselling author of Devil’s Hand and Burning Cards comes a universe-spanning science fiction adventure. *


Seventeen year-old genius Zakari Sharp has never stood on the surface of a planet, never seen a sun-streaked sky. He lives on a corporate-owned mining facility at the edge of the solar system, with a mute alien for a guardian and brainwashed, muscle-bound ex-convicts for company. The day his father vanished was so long ago that Zak thought he would never hear from him again.
Zak was wrong.
Now, chased off-station by a cabal of mythical assassins, Zak and his best friend Liz embark on a harrowing journey across the galaxy, to find his father’s hiding place and learn the universe-shaking discovery that hides with him. But their enemies will stop at nothing to steal the secret themselves.
Can a teenage boy change the fate of the universe? Or will a nanotech-wielding killer reach him first?
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PRAISE FOR SONG AND SIGNAL

“The kind of storytelling that makes a statement: M. E. Patterson is here to stay.” — Austin Post

“[Song and Signal is] WELL worth the read. Enjoyable and immersive.” — Michal
 
“Patterson’s work will blow you away… a page turning, roller coaster ride.” — ReviewsByMolly
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

M. E. Patterson is a bestselling author of highly-rated horror and science fiction novels for both teens and adult readers. His first novel, Devil’s Hand, was a Kindle bestseller in Horror, and was the winner of Kindle Book Review’s 2012 “Best Indie Horror Novel” award.In addition to writing fiction, Mr. Patterson is also an accomplished web software engineer and software consultant, currently working with the video game industry. He lives in Austin, Texas with his family and can be found online at:

I’ve asked him who would be the dreamcast if the novel was to become a movie and he came up with the following ideas. 

In casting Song and Signal, I have trouble coming up with actors for Zak and Liz. In part, that’s because they’re teenagers, and we’d have to be looking at pre-teen actors right now to find someone who will be the right age once the movie is made. (Of course, we could just go Hollywood-style and cast a 25 yr old and say they’re 17 in the movie, but I digress…) So I’m not going to try for them… leave that up to your imagination. But for some of the other roles, I’ve got ideas:

dev_patelRakesh — played by Dev Patel

For Zak’s friend in Zero City, Rakesh, look no further than Slumdog Millionaire actor (and award-winner) Dev Patel. He can pull off that mix of nerdy and devilishly charming that you need for a proper Rakesh.

Bryan-CranstonMathias Sark — played by Bryan Cranston

It might seem a little odd, but I would actually like to see Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston play Mathias Sark. We might need makeup to do some “oldifying” to make Cranston look even more the part, but I think he’d be excellent as the creepy old smuggler.

tom_hardy-bronsonJeremiah Flint — played by Tom Hardy

If you go back to Tom Hardy’s pre-Batman role in the film Branson, you’ll see why I like him. He can be big, muscular, powerful, and a little bit crazy, but not without the ability to seem sad and reflective too at times. This is critical for a character like Flint and I think he’d do an amazing job.

2012-05-07(25781)_Tommy Lee JonesPartisan-General Dominic Ventus — played by Tommy Lee Jones

Maybe it’s too obvious, but when talking about the Partisan-General, you’ve got to keep venerable actor Tommy Lee Jones in mind. He’s already got the Texan mindset, the easy twang in his voice, and the ability to snap people to attention with sharp command. As Ventus, he’d be absolutely convincing espousing the character’s particular philosophies on the universe and its denizens.

That’s a great cast! Thanks M.

What I’d like to ask the readers to give us suggestions in the comments for the roles of Zak and Liz.

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The author also organised a great giveaway for this tour.
This is only open to US residents for physical books, but international for the gift card.
Must be 13+ to Enter
mepattersongiveaway

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

Featured Author – Roberta Goodman

Today Roberta Goodman, author and relentless supporter or her fellow indie-authors is on the blog to talk about herself and her book.

Hi Roberta, thanks for taking the time to answer a few of my questions. I’d like to start with some personal ones if you don’t mind. (She can’t answer because I’ve just offered her a huge chunk of delicious chocolate and she’s in heaven right now.)

Given the choice would you rather live in the city or a small town?

Since I’ve actually lived in both, Lucy, it’s a very interesting question to start off our interview. I grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where I lived for almost twenty-five years. For the past nine and a half years, I’ve lived in a small town in Maryland. I prefer the city, because I love the atmosphere and energy generated from lots of people living in close proximity.

What does living life to the max means to you?

Living life to the max for me means appreciating every day I’m lucky enough to wake up. It means constantly moving forward toward the future by not holding onto the past. While it’s important to work hard to achieve our dreams, I also believe we all need to regularly indulge in activities that make us happy. Hobbies can be just as important to fulfill a person as the career he or she has chosen.

What is your idea of a great holiday?

In the United States we call it taking a vacation and a great one to me means going someplace I’ve never been before and being able to explore everything the location has to offer. It doesn’t matter if I go to an exotic island, or a new city, I love to immerse myself in the culture of an area. I’m married with two children, so I also love to introduce my kids to new places. I want them to realize there’s a big world outside of the small town we live in. Any holiday that provides me the chance to relax and spend quality time with my family creating wonderful memories is a great holiday for me.

I know you’re familiar with the real possibility to loose a loved one. How did that influence your writing?

When my husband was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer, I chose to write about the situation to ease the fear I had that he might die. I think fear forced me to be incredibly honest in describing the whole journey from diagnosis, through treatment, and up until he was cured. I needed to document everything that happened, because I knew our suffering and the eventual triumph over that suffering would give comfort to those going through similar situations.

After that book was done and out off your hands into those of the readers, did you ever wish you hadn’t written it?

If I hadn’t written it, I would regret it. By writing about a very dark time in my husband’s and my life, I created something I can read to remember how bad it got so I can appreciate when things are good. My children were nine and six when their father was sick, so they weren’t aware of certain things. When they’re older they’ll be able to read about exactly what went on and how we got through it.

Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?

I can’t say there’s any food or beverage I consistently write about, but chocolate is a constant factor in my life. I can’t go a day without eating something containing chocolate.

What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?

My Italian-American maternal grandmother made the best meatballs I’ve ever tasted. I could make a meal of those meatballs. Unfortunately, before she died I never got the recipe. I’ve spent years trying different recipes in an attempt to replicate her meatballs. So far, this recipe is the closest.

Ingredients make 8 servings

1 pound ground beef

1/2 pound ground veal 

1/2 pound ground pork

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 eggs

1 cup freshly grated Romano cheese

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

salt and ground black pepper to taste

2 cups stale Italian bread, crumbled

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

1 cup olive oil

Directions

  1. Combine beef, veal, and pork in a large bowl. Add garlic, eggs, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.
  2. Blend bread crumbs into meat mixture. Slowly add the water 1/2 cup at a time. The mixture should be very moist but still hold its shape if rolled into meatballs. (I usually use about 1 1/4 cups of water). Shape into meatballs.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Fry meatballs in batches. When the meatball is very brown and slightly crisp remove from the heat and drain on a paper towel. (If your mixture is too wet, cover the meatballs while they are cooking so that they hold their shape better.)
  4. I usually place the cooked meatballs into a pot of hot spaghetti sauce, cover, and simmer for at least 30 minutes, but this isn’t necessary.

NOM! I am going to try these out this week and will let you know how they turned out.

What is the title of the book you would like to talk about, and can you give us a small taster of it?

The title of my memoir is Perseveringthrough the Unforeseen: One Couple’sExperienceConquering Testicular Cancer.

PTTU eBook Cover copy

AMAZON

Below you’ll find the prologue:


We’d been married for almost eleven years. Our union had produced two healthy, beautiful children. Our lives were filled with the routines most people flourish on. There had been some rocky times like most couples experience, but overall my husband and I were living unassuming lives. We never anticipated our world could change in a short amount of time, but on a cold winter night at the beginning of January 2011 it did. Suffering from pain in his groin, Eric was sent by our family physician to a hospital thirty minutes from our home to get an ultrasound. Our doctor suspected a contortion of the right testicle, and he acted quickly. Upon further investigation, Eric was found to have two masses contained in his right testicle. The preceding months would test our strength as a couple. It was hands down the darkest period of our lives to date. I chose to document what we went through in the hopes our experience can give comfort to those on a similar journey. The battle against Testicular Cancer was one my husband won, but it’s a battle my family will never forget. From the beginning, I’ve emphasized Testicular Cancer is to men what Breast Cancer is to women. Because more women are affected by Breast Cancer every year, than men are affected by Testicular Cancer, this disease gets publicized with greater frequency. By revealing the everyday struggles we encountered, and the hardships Eric faced as a cancer patient, I hope to educate, enlighten, and bring attention to a disease that affects thousands of men all over the world. I can’t emphasize enough to every man how important yearly check-ups are to maintaining his well-being. Pain is an indication something’s wrong and should never be ignored. Testicular Cancer is a fast growing threat many men could catch in time if they just make sure to look for the warning signs. I want to thank in advance all those choosing to read our story. It’s a personal one that wasn’t always easy for me to write down, but by doing so I knew I might be able to inspire others to fight when faced with a cancer diagnosis.

Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

No, I didn’t have any difficulty at all. I knew in my heart my husband would survive, so the title came to me instinctually.

What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?

As a self-published author, I’ve had to do all my own promotion. It’s not always easy when you don’t have a substantial amount of money to invest, or people with powerful connections behind you to help, so I’ve been forced to think outside the box. I realized early on into my career I needed to create a very visible online presence so readers from all over the world would become familiar with me.

Since very few things happen overnight, I realized it was going to take years to build up a fan base through social networking sites. This fact has been very frustrating for me at times, so it’s forced me to try different approaches. I did an internet radio show which was a complete waste of time and money. I don’t recommend any author try this unless they’ve established a strong fan base. I’ve also consistently attempted to contact bloggers to review my work every time I publish a new book, but they’re not always receptive.

I can honestly say the most attention I get for my books comes from using Twitter. I’ve been trying to establish myself as an active supporter of the indie writing community for several years, because I believe there’s a tremendous amount of undiscovered talent in the world. These are people just like me who deserve a chance to be read. If I can help them achieve their dreams, it benefits every person who makes a decision to become a self-published author. Most of the wonderful people I support on Twitter have reciprocated by supporting my dreams, and for this I’m incredibly grateful.

Okay, now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂

Before I begin, I’d like to thank you for featuring me on your forum, Lucy. I always value the support I’m given 🙂 Since I don’t want to discuss my “dirty little secrets” because I’d hate for my words to come back and haunt me, I’ll disclose something very few people know about me, with the exception of my family. I possess the coldest hands and feet of anyone on the planet. This is especially true during winter months. My husband calls my

extremities “The hands and feet of death”, because they really are as cold as blocks of ice.

It’s caused by low blood pressure. I’m not prone to get heart disease, have a heart attack, or a stroke in the future, but I’ve had quite a few fainting episodes throughout my lifetime. It usually happens when I’m suffering from some sort of illness, like a virus, but it has occurred when I’m completely well. On more than one occasion my husband has had to catch me before I hit the ground. On days he hasn’t been around I have hit the ground.

One occasion stands out in my mind:

My husband was working overnight, so he wasn’t home at the time. My immune system was compromised, so I was suffering some illness. It was the middle of the night, and I’d woken up needing to use the bathroom. After I was finished, I started feeling nauseous which is a precursor to fainting. Instead of sitting down on the ground until it passed, I decided to stand up to wash my hands. I turned on the water, everything went black, and I woke up looking up at the ceiling. The water was still turned on, so I stood up to turn it off. Before I knew it, I was looking up at the ceiling again. I didn’t want it to happen for a third time, so I crawled on my hands and knees over to the faucet to turn off the water then I crawled over to my bed and carefully climbed in. I called my husband to come home from work, because the whole episode scared me to death. 

Thank you Roberta for being here and sharing all of this with me and the readers. I do hope you’ll come back to talk about your other books. 

For those readers who want to know more about Roberta, she can be found online at:

Her website/blogFacebookTwitterLinkedInGoodreads, and Google+