Exclusive Guest Post by Author Maria Murnane

Today I am beyond excited to share an exclusive guest post with you written by author Maria Murnane. In case you missed my posts from earlier this week I shared my review on her novels Wait for the Rain and Bridges. Read on for a little Behind The Scenes insight on how the novels came to life.

How one particular friendship helped Bridges come to life!

Bridges is a story about how friendship can overcome differences of all kinds. In my own life, friendship helped me overcome the fear that my success as an author had come to an end. I make a living off my novels but am far from wealthy, so after I finished Wait for the Rain, which I absolutely loved writing, I put a lot of pressure on myself to begin another book right away. That proved to be a terrible decision, because I didn’t have a good idea for an interesting plot. As a result I ended up spending more than a year working­­ on­­––forcing, actually––a lackluster story that was going nowhere. In the process I not only lost my joy for writing, but my confidence. When I finally decided to pull the plug on the book, I honestly didn’t know if I had it in me to write another one.

Fast-forward a few months, and during a visit to see my parents back to California I met up with my dear friend Annie, who may be the most kind-hearted person I have ever met. A devoted fan of my books—as well as the inspiration for the globe-trotting, ultra successful saleswoman Skylar character in both Wait for the Rain and Bridges—Annie convinced me to get back on the horse, and over dinner we put our heads together and came up with the idea for Bridges. It was a bare bones outline, but it got me motivated to try again.

As soon I returned to Brooklyn, I sat down and started writing. For months I wrote and wrote, and when I finished the first draft I emailed it to Annie to see what she thought.

The very next day I got this email from her:

OMG!!!  Maria…it is 5:54am here in the Canary Islands and I stayed up all night reading your book!!!  I was going to just start it by reading a couple of chapters and fall asleep (on my iPhone…not even my iPad) and ended up reading there entire thing on my phone!  I was pretty much crying or had tears in my eyes the whole book (in a good way!) so I had to expand the text on my phone a bunch of times to read through the water works!

I absolutely LOVE it!  You are an amazing writer (as I already knew) but I agree with you that this one is very special.  You really got to the bottom of these characters and I am with you…I want to be friends with them too!

I never would have been able to write Bridges without Annie’s help and support, and I can only hope those who read it enjoy it a fraction as much as she did. Here’s to the power of female friendship!

~~~

The photo above is of the author Maria [left] and her friend Annie [right] at the launch party for Maria’s novels Katwalk. ❤ 

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Exclusive Author Guest Post – Melissa Baldwin

Today I’m excited to share an exclusive guest post written by author Melissa Baldwin. She has a new book releasing today called See You Later Broadway. Here’s the link to my review of the first book in the series See You Soon Broadway, in case you missed last week’s review post.

Distractions? What distractions? By Melissa Baldwin

I truly consider myself a master of multi-tasking. I’m proud to say I can fold laundry, put away groceries, get my daughter a snack and text all at the same time. So why couldn’t I do many different tasks and write at the same time?

Because even a master multi-tasker gets distracted!

No judging, as I will now reveal my FIVE Biggest Distractions that keep me from Writing…Drum Roll…

  1. The love of my life- my amazing, supportive husband. Of course I want to spend every second I can with him. 🙂 I try to save much of my writing for after he goes to bed. Thankfully he’s an early to bed, early to rise kind of guy.
  2. TV- I really don’t watch that much TV other than a few of my favorite shows (um, addictions?) The Bachelor, Dancing With The Stars, General Hospital, and 90210 re-runs. This is where the no judging comes in. It’s a good thing the Bachelor is only on once a year- I’m completely useless on Monday nights.
  3. Social Media- This is an obvious distraction because lets face it, who isn’t distracted by this? I’ve already checked Facebook three times while writing this post.
  4. My sweet little girl- There are many times that I want to sit down and write or an idea for my book pops into my head, but my daughter asks me to play with her or watch her do something. I have come to realize that as a mother of an only child, she’s my most important distraction so I jot down my idea, save it for later and give her my undivided attention.
  5. Working out, cleaning my house, talking to friends, answering emails—the list goes on. As a busy mother and wife there will always be distractions.

So, I guess I have more the five? Most of us women feel like we have to be the best or do everything. I have learned that it’s okay if everything isn’t perfect and that life doesn’t always go as planned. After a full day of errands, chores and family time I’m thankful for the time I have to write and bring ideas to life…as long as there are no good TV shows on of course. 🙂

 

 

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Exclusive Author Guest Post & Giveaway by Clare Chase

Today I’m excited to participate in a blog tour for author Clare Chase in celebration of her novel A Stranger’s House being published in paperback last week. In keeping with the fact that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, the author has graciously written a Valentine’s Day themed guest post exclusively for my readers!! Scroll on to learn about her novel and read Clare’s fabulous post.

A Stranger’s House by Clare Chase

a-strangers-house-clare-chasePublished: Hardcover – February 2016, Paperback – February 2017

Publisher: Choc Lit

Book Blurb:

What if you were powerless to protect the person you cared about most?

When Ruby finds out that her partner has done the unforgivable, she has no option but to move out of their home. With nowhere else to go, a job house-sitting in Cambridge seems like the perfect solution.

But it’s soon clear the absent owner hurts everyone he gets close to, and Ruby’s faced with the fallout. As violent repercussions unfold, her instinct is to investigate: it’s a matter of self-preservation. And besides, she’s curious…

But Ruby’s new boss, Nate Bastable, has his eye on her and seems determined to put a stop to her sleuthing. Is he simply worried for the welfare of a member of staff, or is there something altogether more complicated – and potentially dangerous – at play?

Book Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Guest Post written by Clare Chase

Valentine’s Day in Cambridge, UK

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today, Arielle. It’s great to be here.

Although my books all have a romantic thread running through them, they’re mystery fiction and so I often blog about the crime element. Given that, it makes a lovely change to be asked to write a post about Valentine’s Day!

I should say that I’m at the stage where I know who my valentine’s cards and presents come from – despite the fact that my husband and I still sign our messages with a question mark for tradition’s sake. Apparently this habit of sending cards anonymously took off when the price of postage went down with the introduction of the stamp in 1840. Not having to hand deliver cards made it easier for shy, would-be lovers who wanted to hide their identity.

Although there’s certainly something fun about sending and receiving anonymous cards (and I’m not going to turn my nose up at champagne and chocolates either!), I sometimes feel it’s the more unplanned and less deliberately romantic situations that make for the most memorable occasions – especially in a relationship that’s just starting out. In my book A Stranger’s House, a lot of the sexual tension develops over cooking: two people who don’t know each other well, collaborating on making a sumptuous meal, accidentally brushing against each other and catching each other’s eyes. The wine flows freely, and my lead characters start to find out more about each other.  The spark’s there, and it builds.

A Stranger’s House is set in the UK, in the ancient university city of Cambridge and, on Valentine’s Day, there are certain treats you can enjoy that are specific to this location. The river Cam, that flows through the city is scenic, weaving its way between college buildings that date back hundreds of years. Hiring a punt is the accepted way of making the journey. For anyone who hasn’t come across this weird method of transport before, a punt is a long, flat boat that’s square at both ends, and the punter stands on a board at the back, ready to propel the craft with a long pole. What could be more romantic? You can take a bottle of wine and a picnic, if it’s warm enough, or a hip flask of brandy if not!

clare chase guest post photo 1

But there are a few things to be wary of. The poles are either aluminium or the more traditional (and heavy) wood. If you get a wooden pole, making your way along the river and back again by shoving it against the river bed is quite hard work! What’s more, the base of the river is pretty muddy in places. It’s not uncommon to shove your pole down and find you can’t drag it up again. Meanwhile the board I mentioned that the punter stands on is outside the body of the boat, and it’s slippery if wet! And guess what? Each time you drag your pole out of the river, the board gets covered in water. (Or at least, it does when I do it. I’ve always been hopeless at punting.) If your pole does get stuck, the all-important thing is to let go. It’s hard to look like a romantic idol if your punt moves out from under you and you’re stuck clinging to your pole, sliding inexorably down towards the river! Thankfully, the punt hire people provide you with a (rather weedy) paddle, so if needs be you can eventually rescue your pole. More often than not, some kind person who’s still fully in control of their craft will nip over and get it for you. Other people seem to make the whole process look effortless…

clare chase guest post photo 2

The punt companies know all about the pitfalls, and that’s why – for a hundred pounds or so – you can book a Valentine’s punt tour instead. With these you get to sit back and relax whilst a chauffeur takes strain – at the same time as giving you a running commentary about the colleges you pass on your journey. There are also blankets, hot water bottles and a red rose for your guest. And if you go after dark you even get Chinese lanterns. I can sort of see the appeal. It’s less private, but when it comes down to it, it’s hard to have a cuddle when one of you is in charge of an unwieldy river craft and the other’s clenching their teeth and wondering how hard it would be to swim in their clothes. That said, when I went punting with my husband (then fiancé) on an unseasonably warm February 14th, he did the punting, and I seem to remember it was a solidly good experience.

Whatever you do to celebrate your Valentine’s Day, I do hope you have a wonderful time!

Enter to Win!

Enter for the chance to win an eBook or paperback copy of A Stranger’s House by Clare Chase. To enter simply email info@choc-lit.com with your details and the subject heading Living Life with Joy competition. Good luck!

About the Author – Clare Chase

Links: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

clare-wartnaby-1Author Bio:

Clare Chase writes women sleuth mysteries set in London and Cambridge. She fell in love with the capital as a student, living in the rather cushy surroundings of Hampstead in what was then a campus college of London University.

After graduating in English Literature, she moved to Cambridge and has lived there ever since. She’s fascinated by the city’s contrasts and contradictions, which feed into her writing. She’s worked in diverse settings – from the 800-year-old University to one of the local prisons – and lived everywhere from the house of a Lord to a slug-infested flat. The terrace she now occupies presents a good happy medium.

As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people’s books.

She lives with her husband and teenage children, and currently works at the Royal Society of Chemistry.

ash-blog-tour

 

Arielle Joy

 

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Thank you to Choc Lit for including me in the blog tour fun!