Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Book Review of Chocolate Roses

Check out this book review of Chocolate Roses on Queen of the Clan.

"I was pleasantly surprised with how well done th
e story was. I loved the quotes from the original Jane Eyre at the beginning of each chapter - it lent a feeling of connection between the classic and the new, and you could see how the modern day Janie felt connected to her
favorite heroine, Jane." -Danyelle Ferguson

I hope you all will read and enjoy Chocolate Roses!

Monday, June 21, 2010

An Arizona Haunted Inn--The Gadsden Hotel

Haunts Haven is about a haunted hotel in southern Arizona. I will be featuring a few in case anyone is traveling through Arizona and would like to visit a real haunted hotel. :-)

The Gadsden Hotel in Douglas has been a favorite destination for ghost hunters for many years. It is one of the last grand hotels. Originally built in 1907, a fire leveled the hotel, but was rebuilt in 1929. The solid white Italian marble stairs pictured on the right survived the fire--the ones that history claims Poncho Villa rode his horse up during the Mexican Revolutionary War.
Tiffany stained glass windows light the second story at the top of these beautiful stairs. This cute furry fellow greats visitors on the landing.
This is a fun hotel to visit, though the ghost aspect hangs heavy on the first time visitors. The hotel has the "quaint" feeling of the past. It has restaurants and beauty parlor.

In one of the banquet rooms, I found this enchanting old Story and Clark piano.

Visit the Gadsden Hotel website and read about their many ghost visitors.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Interview with Laurie Lewis, author of Awakening Avery

Last month, I reviewed Awakening Avery (here) and I am happy to to have this opportunity to interview author Laurie C Lewis today as part of her novel's blog tour. Read yesterday's post below to learn how to win a copy of Awakening Avery.

I love the ocean and am a collector of shells. To honor Awakening Avery's therapeutic tale by the sea, I will be giving away four shells from my collection (separate from the book drawing). To win the shells, leave a comment on this post and become a follower. Winner will be announced on my wedding anniversary, June 12.

Joan: Welcome Laurie! I loved reading Awakening Avery. I found it refreshing and therapeutic. You have several previous novels to your credit. Is there one person in your life that has had the most influence on you to become a writer?

Laurie: I really did it to make my children proud of me and to inspire them to reach for their own dreams. I was a housewife who had to go back to work when my husband lost his job some years ago. Since I never completed my college degree, the jobs I could get were limited. My writing lifted my spirits and reminded me that we are all so much more than the sum of what we do everyday. I wanted my children to know that as well.

Joan: What ideas prompted you to write Awakening Avery?

Laurie: My husband, Tom, suffered a heart-attack seven years ago, (He's fine now!) While riding to the hospital in the ambulance, so many thoughts flooded over me--Who would I be? Where would I go? What would I do if something happened to him? And what would I say to the children? It's every spouse's worst nightmare. That's where the seeds of "Awakening Avery" were sown.

Joan: There are so many fun and touching scenes in Awakening Avery. I laughed out loud in places, and cried in others. What is your favorite part of Avery’s story?

Laurie: I have several favorites--I love the breakfast scene with Avery, Teddie, Rider a
nd Gabriel. It still cracks me up. And I laugh over every scene with Emilia and Gia and the flamingo rug. My favorite tender scenes are probably the letters. I really wanted them to feel real. And I'm partial to George's lines. He's priceless.

Joan: I loved those scenes too. Why did you choose Maryland and Florida for the setting of your story?

Laurie: Wow, good questions! These are two important sites I love and know. I live near Baltimore, and the Inner Harbor area is very familiar. We go there frequently. I fell in love with Anna Maria Island and the Ca d 'Zan over a four year period when we went to Florida each spring to watch our youngest son pitch for Indiana University in an annual tournament at Bradenton. I went back to tour the Ca D'Zan with a notebook and pen to capture the details. I always knew I would set a book in those places.

Joan: I love the ocean and appreciated that you set the story by the sea. What are your feelings about the ocean? Calming? Healing?

Laurie: Yes, both. The sound and smell of water takes me back to my childhood. We camped on a river and we boated in the bay. I feel at peace by flowing water. Anna Maria was a healing place for me. I explain below.

Joan: What advice would you give to unpublished authors desiring to be published?

Laurie: 1. See who is publishing books like the one you want to write and submit or query to them.
2. Strengthen your core skills--vocabulary, grammar, punctuation.
3. Get a notebook and jot down great words, great characters, settings, ideas, dress, etc. Pull from here when you write.
4. Write about something you know or at least love enough to get the details right

Joan: What is something about you that most people don’t know, that you’d like to share?

Laurie: I was a kidney donor for my daughter five years ago. We started the process a year earlier but we ran into a lot of snags as we worked to get me cleared to donate. It was a very emotionally trying time, and it coincided with our trip to Florida. Tom had to return home for work, and I spent most of that week walking the beaches of Anna Maria alone, praying for a miracle, and calling doctors to see if I had been cleared yet. Clearance didn't come during that week, but Anna Maria calmed me and brought me peace at a time when I needed peace desperately.

Amanda gave birth to a beautiful baby boy last year, and she and her husband are expecting a baby girl on July 29th, the fifth anniversary of her transplant. Poetic, isn't it?

Joan: And how good it is to hear she is doing well. What a gift you gave her! Thank you, Laurie, for a great interview.

Visit Laurie's blog and website, .
Laurie is also the author of the Free Men and Dreamers Series Featuring
Volume One: "Dark Sky at Dawn",
Volume Two: "Twilight's Last Gleaming", and
Volume Three: "Dawn's Early Light", due October 2009.
Double Finalist in the National Best Books 2008 Competition
Read the following post to learn how to enter to win a copy of Awakening Avery.

Awakening Avery--Contest!

Visit my blog (here) on Thursday, June 10 when I host Laurie Lewis. And if you leave a comment, you are not only entered to win the grand prize offered by Laurie's book tour, but will be entered to win four lovely sea shells from me.

Avery can't cope with the death of her husband and is finally convinced by
her son to return to the family's Anna Maria Island vacation spot. With the
help from some new-found friends, Avery swaps her house with a widower
named Gabriel. As Avery and Gabriel step into each others lives, they begin
a correspondence that leads to spiritual and emotional awakening for each
of them.

Laurie's blog tour is giving away 3 fabulous prizes.
Two readers will win their own copy of Awakening Avery! Yeah. There will be one lucky grand prize winner who will also win a beautiful necklace. The contest opens June 2 and will close June 13 at midnight MST.

June 1 Sheila Stayley
Why Not? Because I Said So!
LDS Women's Book Review

June 2 Alison Palmer
Tangled Words and Dreams

June 3 Kimberly Jobs
Scribbled Scraps

June 4 Nichole Giles
Random-ish by Nichole

June 7 Deanne Blackhurst
The Book of Deanne

June 8 Tristi Pinkston
*Tristi Pinkston, LDS

June 9 C.S. Bezas
For the Love of the Written Word

June 10 Joan Sowards
Joan Sowards

June 11 Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen
The Write Blocks

Entering the contest is easy--all you have to do is blog, tweet, follow, or
comment and then fill out this little form HERE.

1. Follow our reviewers blogs.
(1 entry for each blog you follow.)

2. Leave a
comment on a
(1 entry for each review you comment on.)

3. Blog about Awakening Avery, the contest, or a review. (3 entries
for each blog post.)

4. Follow us on twitter. (1 entry
for each person you follow.)
Walnut Springs Press

Nichole Giles

LDS Women's Book Review

Sheila Stayley

Kimberly Job

Joan Sowards

4. Tweet about the contest. (2 entries for each tweet.)

5. Post about the contest on your Facebook. (2 entries for each facebook post or status update about the contest.)

6. Become a fan of Walnut Springs Press on Facebook. (1 entry for becoming a fan.)

7. Anything else you can think of that
will spread the word.
(3 entries for every social media site you post
on.) If you mention it on goodreads, shelfari,google buzz, make it your
status on gmail chat, MSN or yahoo messenger let us know. We'll reward your
creativity with entries.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

My Dog Passes Away

Our faithful, loyal Springer Spaniel, Scout, passed away Friday night. He is mentioned in the back-of-the-book author bio in Chocolate Roses and Haunts Haven. We will miss him greatly. Thank you Scout for 12 plus years of companionship, service and unconditional love!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Rest, Rest for the Weary Writer

The poem I posted on the ANWA blog tells the plight of too many writers. I hope you enjoy it!