Monday, November 23, 2015

A Sad and Difficult Time in Paris

Candles in memory of the victims

I live a short walk from the Bataclan and have eaten at Le Petit Cambodge. I used to live on rue Bichat. These names that were little known beyond Paris (in some cases, little known beyond the neighborhood) until recently. 

My life of the past decade is a web mapped across the sites of the Feb. 13 terrorist attack in Paris. Before the news hit, I heard the sirens. In the pit of my stomach, I knew something wasn’t right. Then silence, more sirens. When I turned on the news, images from these familiar places a few blocks from my apartment lit the screen. 

I watched the tragedy on the television and heard it on the streets: more sirens, silence, helicopters. A friend called to say he almost went to the Bataclan concert, the site of blasts, gunfire and a hostage situation. Another friend, who lives across the street from one of the attack sites, messaged about the swarm of special forces and security at the foot of his building. 

A war zone. In a period of hours, my calm neighborhood had become a war zone. I think of those who have had shootings in their communities and a lump forms in my throat. The feeling of this tragedy and a public shooting of any kind must be similar: the comfort of the past and a familiar place instantly destroyed. 

The morning after, the streets were empty, sad. We are sad. Native Parisians as well as Americans in Paris like me, who have lived here long enough to make the city our home, a place where we make and collect memories.

This attack is a human tragedy as well as a tragedy for this city known for light—but now what will it be known for? 

The Charlie Hebdo attack in January marked the beginning of this terrible transition. 

Today, there is fear in the air. And a big question mark.

As this attack hit my neighborhood, I had the chance to put my reporter's cap back on with some stories for Quartz.

Click here for my personal essay.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Enter to Win 5 Magical Books!

Forget about the gray days of November with five books that will transport you—with a bit of magic. The stories involve magicians or time travel or magical realism, along with fascinating characters and settings.

Please enter via the Rafflecopter widget at the end of the post. But hurry -- the giveaway only runs through Nov. 17th. One winner will be randomly selected to win paperback copies of all five books.

And now for the enchanting books!

The Magician’s Lie
By Greer Macallister

"This is a book in which storylines twist, spiral and come together again in an ending as explosive as a poof of smoke from your chimney...or a top hat." ―

The Amazing Arden is the most famous female illusionist of her day, renowned for her notorious trick of sawing a man in half on stage. One night in Waterloo, Iowa, with young policeman Virgil Holt watching from the audience, she swaps her trademark saw for a fire ax. Is it a new version of the illusion, or an all-too-real murder? When Arden's husband is found lifeless beneath the stage later that night, the answer seems clear.

But when Virgil happens upon the fleeing magician and takes her into custody, she has a very different story to tell. Even handcuffed and alone, Arden is far from powerless-and what she reveals is as unbelievable as it is spellbinding. Over the course of one eerie night, Virgil must decide whether to turn Arden in or set her free... and it will take all he has to see through the smoke and mirrors.


Close to Destiny
By Adria J. Cimino

"Adria J. Cimino accomplishes something that is beyond difficult to do—she successfully blurs fact and fiction, reality and fantasy, to keep not only her main character, but also the reader, guessing." -- Erin Celello, author of Learning to Stay

Alternating between the reality of day and the mystery of night, CLOSE TO DESTINY is a magical realism story of déjà vu and righting past wrongs that will delight fans of authors like Sarah Addison Allen and Erin Morgenstern.

Kat is struggling to get her life back together and put a past of anorexia and suicide attempts behind her. She needs to expel the inexplicable inner demons that have plagued her for years, and patch up the rocky relationship with her fiancé. But when she arrives in London for a therapeutic art project, an encounter with an enigmatic woman named Destiny upsets her views of reality and plunges her into a quest for the truth about her past—an astonishing past that reaches back well before her birth.

After midnight, Destiny leads Kat to extravagant parties at an eerie luxury hotel and introduces her to a man who seems to know her better than she knows herself. Kat tries to convince herself this is all part of a strange dream. But as evidence mounts suggesting otherwise, Kat is torn between fascination and fear.

Will Kat run away, or will she seize the fleeting opportunity to change her life and find true love?

A story of the role of destiny in life.


The Last Will of Moira Leahy
By Therese Walsh

"[W]rapped in luscious, dark atmosphere. A magical debut . . ." 
- Sarah Addison Allen, New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells

Maeve Leahy is a busy professor of languages at a university in upstate New York. So busy that she leaves little time for memories of her lost twin, Moira; her fractured family in Castine, Maine; and the music she left behind in the wake of tragedy nine years ago.

Until a childhood relic and series of anonymous notes resurrects her long-dead dreams, a lost language, her most painful recollections, and prompts her to cross an ocean in search of ancient history. There, Maeve will learn new truths about her past, and come face to face with the one thing she truly fears. Only then can she choose between the safe life she's built for herself and one of risk, with bonds she knows can be wrenchingly delicate and more enduring than time.


Lemongrass Hope
By Amy Impellizzeri

"Amy Impellizzeri is a bold and tender writer, who makes the impossible feel not only real, but strangely familiar." -Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times #1 Best-Selling Author

Set in the past, and present, LEMONGRASS HOPE is a captivating and unpredictable love story, with a dose of magical realism and time travel, that fans of authors such as Audrey Niffenegger, Alice Hoffman, and Toni Morrison will appreciate and embrace. Like Liane Moriarty's The Husband's Secret, Lemongrass Hope weaves together ordinary lives and events to tell an extraordinary tale of connection, loss, renewal, and of course, hope. 

As Kate Sutton's decade-long marriage to Rob erodes and unravels, Kate fears that the secrets she guards from the world, including Rob's emergency room proposal, and a whirlwind love affair from her past, have always doomed her fate. When she unwittingly receives a glimpse at what her life could have been like had she made different choices all those years ago, it is indeed all she could have ever wanted. A confirmation of her greatest hope, and her greatest fears. LEMONGRASS HOPE will draw you in with characters so relatable and real, you will cheer for them one moment and flinch the next. A tale that invites you to suspend disbelief-or perhaps decide to believe once and for all-in the potent power of love and connection over time and choice. Oh, and the dress. There's this lemongrass dress . . .


Imaginary Things
By Andrea Lochen

“Cleverly written with a perfect touch of magic, Imaginary Things will take you on a journey of the unexpected, and leave you contemplating the power of your own mind.” -- Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke, authors of Your Perfect Life

Burned out and broke, twenty-two-year-old single mother, Anna Jennings, moves back to her grandparents’ rural home for the summer with her four-year-old son, David, in tow. Living next door is Jamie Presswood, Anna’s childhood friend, now much more handsome and hardened than she remembers. Jamie reminds her of simpler times—Ferris wheels and sparklers, picnics and Neapolitan ice cream—long before she met her unstable ex, and everything changed. 

But the sudden appearance of shadowy dinosaurs awakens Anna from her small-town spell, and forces her to realize that she’s either lost her mind or can somehow see her son’s active imagination. Frightened, Anna struggles to protect David, but what she uncovers along the way is completely unexpected: revelations about what her son’s imaginary friends may truly represent, and long buried secrets about her own childhood.

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Enter to Win "Paris, Rue des Martyrs" and Other Great Books!

TBMs giveaway 2
The blog "Making My Mark" is hosting this great giveaway! Read on for details: Today is the kickoff for November’s giveaway. All of the books are fantastic and the authors are simply wonderful. Seriously you don’t want to miss out. Here’s the link to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

And here are the books.

Christmas, Actually Anthology of 6 authors, including Aimee Horton and Katie Rose Guest Pryal

christmas-actually-coverYou never know how Christmas will turn out! Festive and fun, or dreary and dull? While the holidays are magical for some, they are somber for others. Christmas, Actually is a holiday collection that runs the gamut of seasonal emotions: humor, hope, joy, confusion, excitement.

Curl up next to the fire, and laugh, cry and dream along with the characters in this collection of holiday tales. Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas future... All play a part in Christmas, Actually.

Paris, Rue des Martyrs by Adria J. Cimino

paris-rue-des-martyrs-coverSome encounters make a difference.

Four strangers in Paris. Each one is on a quest: to uncover a family secret, to grasp a new chance at love, to repair mistakes of the past. Four stories entwine, four quests become one, as their paths cross amid the beauty, squalor, animation and desolation of a street in Paris, the rue des Martyrs.

Rafael's search for his birth mother leads him to love and grim family secrets. Cecile's view of herself as an unsatisfied housewife is radically changed by the promise of a passionate liaison. Andre, an aging actor, troubled by the arrival of the son he abandoned years ago, must make a choice, to either lose his son forever or put aside pride and seek redemption. Mira travels to Paris to begin a new life and forget about love... or so she intends.

Four strangers, four stories, one riveting novel.
Legacy Anthology with 14 authors, including Regina Calcaterra and Kristopher Jansma

legacy-coverWhat will you leave behind?

Long after we've left this world, our legacy remains. Or doesn't. Or remains only in the minds of those who knew us, those whose lives we've touched. Those we've written to, or about.

If you had a choice, what mark would you leave? How should people remember you? Should they remember you?

Fourteen authors sat down during the month of January 2015, shut out distractions of the outside world and wrote about the subject. The resulting fiction and nonfiction stories fill the pages of Legacy: An Anthology. The book includes stories from Kristopher Jansma, winner of the 2014 Sherwood Anderson Award for Fiction, New York Times best-selling author Regina Calcaterra and Canadian best-selling author Marissa Stapley among others.

Within these pages, there is laughter, pride and hope. There is romance and rock and roll. Certain messages are eerie, while others bestow a sense of peace. The collection, through the discerning lens of each writer, runs the gamut of the human experience.

Author proceeds benefit the charity PAWS for Reading, which pairs pets with children to improve reading and communication skills. Thanks for supporting the cause!
Christmas Confessions & Cocktails by Vicki Lesage

christmas-confessions-frontcover-v1jpgParty girl Vicki tells it like it us, from her crazy Christmases growing up in the Midwest (book auction, anyone?) to her even crazier holidays in her new home of Paris (like a marathon 8-hour meal sitting on a stool). Bizarre gifts, weird food, and holiday travel disasters are just some of tales you'll chuckle at in this collection.

This Christmas-themed memoir features 25 funny and heartwarming essays, all with a tenuous tie to Christmas, and pairs each with a delicious drink recipe. So grab your martini shaker and get ready for some great cocktails and some hearty laughs this holiday season!

The 13 Floor Complete Collection by Christine Rains

Backstairs - 5 - in an apartment building.Six supernatural tenants

Living in a haunted apartment building

On a floor that doesn’t exist.

Six novellas telling their tales:

A retired demon acquires a price on his head.

A werewolf is hunted by her pack.

A modern day dragonslayer misses his target.

A harpy challenges Zeus for the soul of the man she loves.

A vampire is obsessed with a young woman he can’t find.

A banshee falls in love with someone who’s death she has seen in a vision.

And a sweet ghost must battle a primal monster to save them all.

All the stories take place at the same time intertwining their lives together on the 13th Floor.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Travel the World in Books!

As part of the Travel the World in Books Readathon, Tanya of Mom's Small Victories kindly invited me to write a guest post. Of course, I was delighted because I love the idea of traveling through the pages of a book.

Please follow me over to Tanya's blog to read about the 5 ways I get inspired to write! A clue: They involve traveling, but not always in a literal sense...

Monday, October 19, 2015

How Do I Avoid Inconsistencies When Writing 70,000 Words? Find Out...

When it comes to editing and rereading my own work before turning it over to my editors, I am quite obsessive, going over everything countless times. However, I don't edit blindly. I use some tools to make the job easier and avoid fewer middle-of-the-night panic attacks about whether I was consistent about this or that in my novel!

Today, please follow me to BookDaily for a behind-the-scenes look at how I avoid time inconsistencies... 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Paris, Rue des Martyrs on sale for $0.99!

Feel like discovering some interesting lives in Paris? Then check out my Amazon best-selling novel, Paris, Rue des Martyrs, on sale for $0.99 through Oct. 13. (The offer also is available on Amazon U.K.)

Some encounters make a difference. 

Four strangers in Paris. Each one is on a quest: to uncover a family secret, to grasp a new chance at love, to repair mistakes of the past. Four stories entwine, four quests become one, as their paths cross amid the beauty, squalor, animation and desolation of a street in Paris, the rue des Martyrs. 

Rafael's search for his birth mother leads him to love and grim family secrets. Cecile's view of herself as an unsatisfied housewife is radically changed by the promise of a passionate liaison. Andre, an aging actor, troubled by the arrival of the son he abandoned years ago, must make a choice, to either lose his son forever or put aside pride and seek redemption. Mira travels to Paris to begin a new life and forget about love... or so she intends. 

Four strangers, four stories, one riveting novel. 

Find Paris, Rue des Martyrs on Amazon!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Enter for a Chance to Win These Exciting Books!

All 5 of these babies are up for grabs, courtesy of the T.B. Markinson over at Making My Mark.

To enter, just click here (or via the widget at the end of the post): Rafflecopter page. At the end of the month one winner will be randomly selected to win an e-book copy of all five books.

And now for the fabulous books!

Close to Destiny by Adria J. Cimino

close-to-destiny-front-coverv10jpgDoes déjà vu have a deeper meaning? A puzzling gift from a stranger in a hat shop. Whisperings and footsteps in a dim luxury hotel. Dreams that transport to elegant parties where champagne flows like water. Kat is both frightened and intrigued by the events that have plagued her since she arrived in London, in a final effort to save herself from anorexia and recover from her latest suicide attempt.

Most disturbing is an encounter with a mysterious woman who introduces Kat to Will. And this lovely messenger has information she desperately wants to share with Kat: an incident from more than a century ago that could transform Kat’s future. But will Kat listen?

A story of the role of destiny in life... and of righting the wrongs of the past.

Entanglement by Katie Rose Guest Pryal

entanglement-coverAwkward, 21-year-old Greta Donovan, the fiercely intelligent daughter of a philandering physics professor, doesn’t relate to people nearly as well as she relates to facts and figures. While Greta gets quarks and string theory, she hasn’t a clue where men are concerned.

Which is exactly why she doesn’t see it coming when someone tries to kill her.

Newly transplanted in L.A. after being kicked out of her father's house, Greta moves in with her best friend Daphne Saito, a troubled girl with an abusive past. The charismatic Daphne teaches Greta how to wear stilettos, apply lip gloss, and navigate 1990s Hollywood nightlife. Daphne is determined to succeed, and she drags an unwilling Greta into the limelight with her.

When Greta walks out on her, Daphne tries to win her back. But Daphne’s desperate tactics just push Greta further away. Reeling, Daphne betrays her friend. Can Greta survive? Can she forgive?

Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer by Vicki Lesage

confessions-of-a-paris-potty-trainer-coverIf you think motherhood in America is a challenge, try navigating the City of Light with a stroller in one hand and a croissant in the other. In this riotous memoir, author Vicki Lesage shares the highs and lows of raising her family in Paris.

A former party girl, Vicki has now traded wine bottles for baby bottles. If she's awake at 2 a.m. it's because of a crying baby, not a wild night out on the town. Follow her journey through pregnancy to raising two kids with her ever-patient French husband, all while trying to enjoy life in Paris.

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy by Shannon A. Thompson

MBScoverTwo destinies. One death.

"Her kiss could kill us, and my consent signed our death certificates."

Eric Welborn isn't completely human, but he isn't the only shade in the small Midwest town of Hayworth. With one year left before his eighteenth birthday, Eric is destined to win a long-raging war for his kind. But then she happens. In the middle of the night, Eric meets a nameless shade, and she's powerful―too powerful―and his beliefs are altered. The Dark has lied to him, and he's determined to figure out exactly what lies were told, even if the secrets protect his survival.

Jessica Taylor moves to Hayworth, and her only goal is to find more information on her deceased biological family. Her adoptive parents agree to help on one condition: perfect grades. And Jessica is distraught when she's assigned as Eric's class partner. He won't help, let alone talk to her, but she's determined to change him―even if it means revealing everything he's strived to hide.

Minutes Before Sunset is the first book in The Timely Death Trilogy.

Once upon a Nightmare: A Collection by Cherie Reich

Once upon a Nightmare ebook coverA monster hunts us. After hibernating for a decade, it’s ravenous. We long to stop this nightmare, but the end of the road is far. There is no waking up once a legend sets its sights on you.

Disappearances every ten or so years make little impact on the small town of New Haven, Virginia. Hikers get lost. Hunters lose the trail. Even when a body is discovered, the inhabitants’ memories last about as long as the newspaper articles.

No one connects the cases. No one notices the disappearances go back beyond Civil War times. No one believes a legendary monster roams the forests in Southwestern Virginia.

I don’t either until the truck breaks down on an old mountain trail. Cell phones won’t work in this neck of the woods. It’s amazing how much a person can see by starlight alone. So what if we can’t feel our fingers or toes as we hike toward the main road. How many more miles left to go?

Crrraaack! Hear that noise?

Enter now to win these 5 books! Good luck!

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