The Lost Heir — Cover Reveal

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The Lost Heir by Allison Whitmore, Erin Virginia, and Grace Arden will be available in December for readers! Today, we reveal our cover! And in the previous post, you can take a look at the first chapter of our book.

Synopsis:

Isabella Foxworthy was just another girl who wants to enjoy Christmas break…until she learned she was an empath, able to read the energy of others. A secret world known as the Violet City lies beneath her family’s hotel in Los Angeles. Through this discovery, Isabella is catapulted into a whirlwind of magic, adventure, and danger in the middle of the holiday season. The Violet City, in the thick of their Winter Solstice celebration, holds the key to protecting her stability; her family hotel, her friends, and her very sanity. With morphlings, empaths, and fair folk also comes a powerful entity that twists her mind into knots, threatening everything she loves. Now, Isabella and her new friends—a guitar-playing jock, his gifted but neurotic brother, and a set of over-indulged twins—have until her 16th birthday to save her world with the help of someone who’s been lost for a very long time…the lost Foxworthy heir. But will they find him in time? And will he be a friend or foe?

The three authors have worked for many years to complete the first in this series they call, The Diadem Chronicles. A Diadem is a special empath, almost like royalty, and Isabella is the last of them.

Thank you to Booktrope Publishing and our publishing team for helping us get this ready for you this Christmas!

 

The Lost Heir — Chapter 1

A girl who isn’t Katniss or Harry Potter, but a girl who can take on her world and be awesome about it.

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The Lost Heir, Chapter One

Isabella Foxworthy

Fire licked the walls and formed a canopy above her head. Numb. Trapped. Their screaming burned in her ears as the earth shook, and near-death coated her skin. The fire whipped around her, close but not touching, never touching. It was almost as if she wielded some sort of power over the flames, but that couldn’t be. She heard her mother and father’s screams over and over as they were engulfed by the blaze. She was helpless to save them. Suddenly, the screams stopped. Terror climbed into her throat as a shadow moved toward her. She tried to breathe but couldn’t. The room grew darker as her body weakened.

“Come on. I’ve got you,” the man said, as her knees buckled and she grabbed his shirt. “I’ve got you. You’re a light in this darkness. You’re safe.” The trembling in the ground stopped, but the fire continued.

Enveloped in a warmth different from the conflagration, eight-year-old Isabella Foxworthy collapsed. Cradled in the man’s arms, her terror melted into tranquility as she was taken from the house into the cool night. Her eyes opened to an oddly purple sky, and she noticed a light glowing around them, not unlike the vicious flames of the fire. Red deep as blood. An empty blackness filled the room. A foreboding fear encircled her heart. Then, her savior mumbled something, and the light turned to a silvery blue.

“Give her to me,” another man said.

“I can watch over her.”

“Give her to me,” he repeated. “She needs to be at the hotel with her grandmother.”

She felt a gentle caress on her cheek and a rush of coolness shoot through her body. “Then I’ll take her.”

Isabella reached up to touch the second man’s hand, but he was gone. “Where’s my mother?”

“Hush. I’ll take you to your Nano,” said the one who held her, the one who’d saved her.

Then, as the violet sky turned blue again and as the approaching fire engines howled in her ears, the man carried her up the narrow road to the Foxworthy Hotel.

Los Angeles, CA – Present Day

 FREAK!”

As sunlight and darkness fought for occupation in the sky, nearly-sixteen-year-old Isabella clutched her backpack as she approached Sunset Boulevard en route to the city bus stop a few blocks down the famous street. Classes at St. Agnes High School had gotten out an hour earlier that day, but she’d stayed behind with a couple other girls to work out with their capoeira instructor. She was shocked when she’d learned St. Agnes offered it as an after-school activity. Brazilian martial arts didn’t really go with the strict traditionalism of St. Agnes. Carte Blanche, the school she’d gotten thrown out of last year for something that wasn’t her fault, would have offered capoeira as standard physical education, however, along with extreme dodgeball and competitive hula hooping. Their motto: Unschool the schoolchildren and the world will be in harmony. Honestly, Isabella just wanted to go to a normal school for once, have a normal family. But she didn’t have either. In fact, all she had was her grandmother who, half the time, wanted Isabella out of the way and the other half of the time wanted her locked up in their family hotel and homeschooled until she finished college.

Isabella shifted her eyes down to her smart phone. 3:52. Perfect. Eight minutes until the bus got there. She could make it to the stop in less than five if she walked fast. She loved the stability of the city bus system. Always coming and going on time. Well, at least in theory. Even if the afternoon bus was late, she could always count on it coming eventually. And if she missed it, another one would come along soon. It took care of her and other people, no matter who they were. It, in an odd way, allowed her to wobble on the wings of independence before she was ready to fly off on her own. She was glad her grandmother had let her ride it this year. 3:53. She didn’t want to be late, though. Not today.

WEIRDO!”

Two voices filled her ears as she got closer to her destination. One like the roar of a lion, the other—a baboon, maybe? Against her better judgment, she continued down the street, past a hippie clothing store and Mel’s Drive-In restaurant. 3:54.

Stop it!” A third voice protruded with sheer fright. It seemed to come from a young boy; his pleas punched fear straight into her chest and invaded her senses.

“Please? Please, leave me alone!” the young boy continued to plead. She could feel his fear.

Her heart squeezed as she heard another shout of, “Stop!”

She had wanted to make it home in time for Betty’s corn ‘n’ crab chowder. The cook was leaving for the Christmas holidays after her shift ended at five, and Isabella wanted one last cup. So hot, so creamy. No, that was selfish, right? Other things were more important than her stomach. It growled. But maybe it didn’t have to be her. Maybe a cop would come by.

Images of chowder fled her mind when she saw them in the opening of an alley a few feet from the bus stop. Three boys. The largest was dangling the smallest off the ground. The other stood laughing as he watched—the baboon. He and his bigger friend were dressed like skaters with no skateboards in sight while the boy was in black pants, a white shirt and a vest. Strange outfit for a little kid. The boy shook him again. She told herself that she felt absolutely nothing. She could just walk by or maybe call for help. She could call for help. The connection between her and the younger boy grew stronger.

Fat flying fists seized her heart and squeezed. Her throat narrowed as her eyes centered on the action. 3:56.

“I should help this kid.” Beads of perspiration exploded onto her temples. “I can still make the bus.” When the big boy dumped the little one onto the ground and kicked him, Isabella gave up, threw down her backpack, and marched full-speed over to the scene. With expert ease, she yanked one boy’s already low-hanging pants down. The pudgy rat-faced boy bellowed. His friend, lankier and full of acne, lost his hold on the small boy as he doubled over in fits of laughter. He was met with a swift kick to the shin, making him stumble and fall. “Come on, kid. You gotta get up. You gotta run.”

“I can’t,” the small boy moaned. She could feel him acutely. He was nauseated, worn out, and still afraid.

Isabella snatched him by the collar, forcing the boy into a squat. A large shadow loomed over them. Kicking her foot out behind her and then sweeping it backward, she tripped Lanky-Acne again, but she didn’t think she would be able to get away with her amateur capoeira tactics much longer. From the look in Lanky-Acne’s eyes as he got back to his feet, Isabella knew it was going to be game over soon.

“Run, kid! Run!” She yanked the boy to his feet, hearing the 4:00 bus pull up to the bus stop behind them. “Follow me!” She felt his hopeless fear slide into relief mingled with a sudden burst of adrenaline. The change in him was fast, but it worked for their situation. They needed to outrun these guys. The bloody-nosed boy’s adrenaline charged Isabella forward even faster as they raced down the alley to a small street that ran adjacent to Sunset. They could take that street down to her school and be pretty close to the main gates. She wanted to go back for her backpack, but she’d run away from it. Damn it. She looked behind her. Pudgy Rat-Face fisted it between his thick fingers, slung it over his shoulder, and, with his friend now fully recovered from having his pants around his ankles, chased them down the wide alley.

“Keep up, kid! We have to hurry.”

“Do you know where you’re going?” the boy asked as they ran.

“I always make sure I know where I’m going.”

They turned the corner onto the back street and ran down several short blocks until they came to the narrow road that led to the front gate of her school. White, purple, and green Victorian houses sat on the expansive grounds of a former oil baron’s estate.

The campus guard let her pass, but when the boy followed, the burly man stood. “Whoa. Whoa. Where do you think you’re going, kid?”

Isabella turned back, chest heaving. “Oh, Sam. This is, uh, my little brother.” She felt newfound safety and warmth threading between her and the boy. He wasn’t worried that Sam was going to toss him out. It was odd. He didn’t even know Sam, and those goons were still just outside. She tried to ignore the boy’s reaction as Sam raised his eyebrows and folded his arms. Isabella’s dark, wavy frizz, tan skin, and dull, olive-drab eyes clashed sharply with the pallid, sleek-haired boy with a dust of slant at the corners of his black eyes.

“He’s adopted.”

Sam looked skeptical. “I never heard you mention a brother.”

“I…” She’d always wanted a brother. Did that count?

“You know the rules,” the burly guard said, arms across his chest. “No boys on campus.”

“Look! He’s being chased by them.” She pointed at the two boys who were huffing and snarling at the gate. “They were beating him up.” She didn’t mention that the boy standing next to her no longer seemed fazed by this. In fact, he was just picking at his fingernails as if nothing were going on at all. Sam, on the other hand, did not take the invasion of the menacing boys lightly.

He walked toward them, rattling his keys and waving his baton. “Is that right?”

The bullies backed up, shaking their heads.

Isabella approached behind Sam. “Scared now, aren’t you? Cowards! Just give me my backpack and go away.”

“What backpack? This one here? This is mine,” Pudgy-Rat-Face said, clinging Isabella’s black backpack with hot pink flowers to his chest.

“Fancy pants,” said Sam. He took another step toward them. They stepped back in unison. Rat-Face dropped her backpack, and the boys turned and shot off like two arrows released from an archer’s bow. “Good riddance.”

“Thanks, Sam,” Isabella said, patting his arm.

“Is someone picking you up?” asked Sam.

“I prefer the bus,” she said. The boy stood beside her expressionless as he shifted his eyes between her and Sam as they spoke. He seemed perfectly calm now. It was as if the episode outside the gate hadn’t even happened. Isabella wondered why she was still so connected to him. He wasn’t in danger any longer.

“I don’t think that’s such a good idea with those two out there,” said Sam. “You should call your family.”

“I don’t have a family,” she replied.

Sam’s expression was serious when he asked, “What about your grandmother and all those people living under your roof?”

“My grandmother’s all right, I guess, but those people living under our roof need to take a vacation,” said Isabella.

“Isn’t that what they’re doing?” Sam laughed.

“Maybe, but I’m not,” she said, looking down at her phone. It was 4:20. Betty would be leaving soon. “I can take care of myself,” she said as a coolness passed through her body, and her connection to the boy snapped apart as if it was a dried twig. She gasped. That had never felt so abrupt before. Not that it mattered. She had other things to worry about. The kid was fine now, after all. “Well, I guess I wouldn’t mind a ride… this time. My grandmother won’t like that I’m asking for one so last minute, though.”

Sam chuckled. “I’m sure she’ll make an exception. And what about you? Where do you live, kid?” he asked, looking at the small boy.

“I was on my way to see my Uncle Theophilus at the Foxworthy Hotel.”

“What?” Isabella’s mouth fell open. Sam laughed.

The boy continued, “The Foxworthy—”

“I heard you. That’s my hotel. And your uncle hasn’t been around for over a month.” Her old music instructor, a Foxworthy family friend for decades, did have a room at the hotel but not an apartment suite like the rest of the permanent residents. He was always on the go, and he wouldn’t be back for months. That was what her grandmother had told her.

“Oh no, that’s not true,” said the boy. “He’ll be there today to give piano lessons.” This kid really was getting on her nerves.

“Oh, great. I hope they’re for you and not me,” she said with a sigh.

The young boy tilted his head. “And what do you mean it’s your hotel?”

***

Twenty minutes later, a black town car pulled up in front of the school. A gray-faced driver with gray-blue eyes rolled down the window.

“Hi, Archie. This is my friend,” Isabella said, thrusting her thumb behind her at the boy. She turned to him. “What was your name again?” They’d chatted with Sam for a while about a lot of nonsense while waiting, and he had said it, but she hadn’t paid much attention. She had to stop being so selfish, right? But she wasn’t selfish. She did a lot for a lot of people. So maybe it wasn’t that she was selfish. It was more that she really wanted to be selfish but couldn’t. She really didn’t know.

“Pythian,” the boy said.

She smirked. “No wonder you were being pummeled.”

“Pummeled?” asked Pythian.

“You know… beaten up? Creamed? Turned into rodent bait?” She probably shouldn’t have said that. For a person who sometimes felt other people’s emotions, she certainly was good at whipping them with her tongue at the wrong time.

“How’s it goin’, Isabella?” Archie the driver asked as they got into the back of the hotel’s service car, wrinkles pinching the corners of his smile.

“Winter break starts tomorrow, and I already want it to be over.”

“What kid wants winter break to be over before it starts?”

“It’s pretty much sucked for me the past few years, so, uh, this kid,” she said, leaning back in her seat.

“Rolf told me this was a secret mission and not to tell your grandmother I had to come get you.”

Isabella sighed. “I didn’t want her to worry. There’s too much to do at the hotel.”

Archie looked back at her with a wry smile as if he knew exactly what she meant. The Foxworthy Hotel was crowded over the holidays, and Isabella had more to do than ever, but that wasn’t the real reason she wanted to skip this time of year. It never failed that she got into some sort of disaster because her weird empathic abilities heightened even more than usual during the last two weeks before her birthday, December 31.

Isabella shifted her eyes to the boy beside her. He stared out of the window, wearing that empty expression again. He was beyond strange. But if he was right and Theophilus was at the hotel, it meant even more work to do.

Nope. Isabella was not going to let her grandmother win that little game. She was going to have a normal holiday like a normal kid, even if she didn’t have a normal family anymore.

First, she’d dump the strange boy, go find Betty, and then hide in her room to do whatever she wanted. The perfect plan.

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Eating with the family can be such a wonderful thing. At least in my family, things are usually calm and just delicious. We like to keep it small and quiet for just that reason. But what about the people who did not make home for the holiday or just those of you who’ve decided to venture out to grab a meal?

Thanksgiving food

In my book, Forget Me Not, the characters spend Thanksgiving at the Plaza Hotel in New York. This type of outing isn’t just the stuff of fiction. Many people choose to spend the day outside of the house with their friends or families.

I decided to check around my hometown just to see what places were actually open for the holiday. Warning some locations may or may not require advanced reservations. Here is what I came up with:

Akasha, Culver City (Location of my soon-to-be-released book The Lost Heir)

Cafe Pinot (Downtown Los Angeles)

Bouchon (Beverly Hills)

The Culver Hotel (Culver City) (Inspiration for The Foxworthy Hotel in The Lost Heir)

Cleo (Los Angeles) (Can’t believe it, but yes, one of my favorite characters in The Lost Heir is named Cleo — total coincidence)

The Venice Whaler (Venice) (Was $12 per person last year, according to CBS, LA)

If you want to be even more economical, there is always KFC (forget Boston Market, I think they sold out yesterday).

The Culver Hotel

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The Venice Whaler

akasha

Akasha

Thanksgiving spread at Cleo (Not only is The Lost Heir character Cleo a genius fashionista, she’s also a foodie. I know she’d love this place!)

More on Thanksgiving in LA here! As for me, I’m heading home. I kick off my day after watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade (Hello, New York!) with watching Miracle on 34th Street. Such a Christmas movie lover!

Have a wonderful time this holiday. I’m thankful for all you readers!

Dedicated to the star of Miracle on 34th Street Maureen O’Hara (August 17, 1920-October 24, 2015).

Thanks for making me laugh every Thanksgiving!

The Fabliss Life of Bella Mellman Tour Stop

The Fabliss Life of Bella Mellman by Shirley Sacks spins a bold tale of a savvy woman of the world who gives a rollicking social commentary on life in the flats of Beverly Hills, men, “mature” dating habits, and the odd complexities of love, sociopaths, marriage, divorce, and living a creative life. The book also looks at the role of the older woman, her place in the sexual panoply, which has been so horribly simplified.

Bella Mellman, a transplanted South African artist and writer, lives a ‘fabliss’ life (as her 8-year-old granddaughter tells it) in the flats of Beverly Hills. A long-time divorcee nearing the seventh decade of a very full life, Bella is constantly annoyed when friends, and even strangers, ask the impertinent question of “Why don’t you have a partner?” Followed by the hated phrase: “You look quite good for a woman your age.” The only thing to do, Bella realized, was to write a book that explained once and for all, her satisfaction with being older and single.

fabliss

Born in South Africa, married, two children, divorced.
Off to London, back to South Africa, mistakenly and briefly married.
Then 1987 to The United States, landing in Beverly Hills.
Writes, paints, knits, re-arranges decor, cooks, exercise a bit, reads a lot.
Loves animals and abhors animal cruelty!
Interested in just about everything except sport.
Has opinions about everything including sports.
Loves friends old and new, family near and afar.
Love … the answer.
_____________________________

Education: Fine Arts Degree, University of The Witwatersrand.
Showed art at various galleries in Johannesburg, London and Los Angeles.
Advertising copywriter, Johannesburg.

An Interview with Author, Shirley Sacks

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  1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
    I used to want to be a painter, and have a degree in Fine Arts and have shown my work at various galleries. But once I began to write seriously, in my early forties, I loved the process so much. I continued doing both and make art occassionally but I much prefer writing. I have illustrated my first book myself; so the two can work together.
  2. Do you write full time?
    I write almost every day. It’s not a chore. When I can’t write, I don’t like it.
  3. How does this book differ from your other series’?
    This is my first book in a series; The Fabliss Life of Bella Mellman: Book Two is well on its way.
  4. Describe your main character?
    Bella Mellman is almost seventy. She’s had a full, rich life. She is opinionated, passionate and energetic. She hates being told she looks good for her age. She lives on her own and cherishes that she doesn’t have to share her life with anyone irritating (like one of her ex-husbands or boyfriends).
  5. Who would you choose to play that character in the movie version?
    There are so many wonderful actresses who are older. I adore Angelic Huston, Helen Mirren (my publisher loves her best). Jacqueline Bisset suddenly came to mind. She’d maybe too gorgeous (for any age). Rene Russo was Fabliss in Night Stalker. I like Diahann Carroll and Pam Grier, but Bella’s supposed to be white. Still Hollywood can fix that. Dianne Keaton … maybe? Jean Smart? Joan Collins (I think too old now). Bette Midler … love her!
  6. Who is your favorite author?
    I do not have a favorite author. I like reading books in which I learn something. This makes for many authors, as so many write about things I don’t know. I am not the kind of person who re-reads books or goes to movies more than once. I know that every single person who manages to write a book does something that is difficult and brave. Especially brave.
  7. Do you have any advice for other authors?
    I think the hardest thing is to find out what you want to write about, especially if you love the process of writing. But you can always begin writing about yourself, what you feel and think and your interests or passions, and that can segue into something different. That’s how Bella began, with a memoir that segued into a character that segued into a whole Fabliss Life: a novel, NOT a memoir.
  8. Anything you’d like to say to your fans?
    I love you all. Anyone who likes me and my books … love you!
  9. What’s next for you?
    I am writing The Fabliss Life of Bella Mellman Book Two, and it’s well on its way.
  10. If you could live anywhere, where would that be?
    As I have moved around the world a few times, I am always thinking of other places to live that might be nicer than Los Angeles. Los Angeles is too hot, too dry and has too much traffic although the pending El Niño might change the dry part. When I went on vacation to The Big Island of Hawaii about ten years ago, I fell in love with the place. I even went to look at property to rent or buy, but my daughter, with whom I am very close, wasn’t as struck. I like living close to my family, and they all live near me in LA. But if I win the lottery or have my book bought by a movie or TV studio and make a fortune, I’d like a holiday home in either Hawaii or The French Riviera. There is good reason so many rich people – through the ages – like the Riviera; it’s heavenly. But you have to speak French. And despite having French lessons for years at The Alliance Francais, I can’t understand hardly a word when French people talk. And with my accent they probably won’t be able to understand me that well either. And seeing as language is very important to me, I think I’d have to live in an English speaking country. Maybe back to live in England, not London, but somewhere in the gorgeously green country (it’s green because it rains a lot).
  11. If you could choose a super power, what would that be?  I would like to live forever. I would like to see how my grandchildren and their children grow and so on and on. Or maybe to fly like a bird? I love birds, and find them so fascinating. They are much smarter than we think. In fact, they are probably smarter that we are, in their birdy ways.

The Fabliss Life of Bella Mellman on Amazon

fabliss bannerBlog Tour Hosted by The Book Nymph 11/17-12/8

Enter The Bella Mellman Fabliss Giveaway to Win A Kindle Fire Cover

Happy Thanksgiving!

Prosecco & Paparazzi Tour Stop

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It is my great pleasure to welcome Celia Kennedy to my blog today.

Celia’s new novel, Prosecco & Paparazzi is a comical, romantic tale of what happens when the paths of a celebrity god and a mere mortal collide.  My favorite kinda story.

Synopsis:

When fifteen minutes of fame goes horribly wrong… 

Charlotte Young and her five closest friends ring in the New Year on a ski vacation in the swanky, celebrity-packed French Alps, where her world collides with long-time celeb crush, Des Bannerman—aka “The King of Rom-Com.” Unexpectedly, Charlotte finds herself happily reconciled to an innocent evening of drinking champagne, gambling, and chatting to the celebrity of her dreams.

Charlotte’s friends join forces to help her realize her lifelong fantasy, yet his girlfriend, the latest Bond Girl, proves an insurmountable obstacle. Lighthearted banter turns into tabloid fodder and leaves Charlotte saddled with a restraining order.

With the help of her friends, Charlotte finds the answers to life’s biggest questions while trying to deal with the fallout of her fifteen minutes of fame.

Sounds like a lot of fun!

Prosecco & Paparazzi Cover 3D

Guest Post:

What does it take for a writer to write what she writes? Celia Kennedy tells us how she came to be a writer and a little about how she gets it all down the page.

In the fifth grade my teacher, Mrs. Copeland, gave us homework, a creative writing piece. The details of the story that remain are the nuggets that appeal to most ten-year-old girls, bedazzled caves, a handsome boy, a girl striding with purpose, her pigtails swinging across her back, and the feeling of excitement of being on a grand adventure. Oh, and receiving high praise from my classmates and teacher. We wrote four installments, and the euphoria I felt when the class asked her to read my mine is, still, indescribable. It had nothing to do with being the center of attention, and everything to do with the knowledge that my passion to write had transported them.

It took another thirty years for me to write a book. Along the way I was the editor of my high school newspaper, went to college and wrote papers on all manner of subjects: art history, paleobotany, urban development, and famous figures in English and American literature and history. I knew the spirit of a writer was still skirting the walls of my brain when I wrote a paper for an Urban Planning class, including the sentence, “She quaffed her mall-do!”

When the opportunity to follow my lifelong dream of writing arrived, I literally booted up my laptop and started tapping away at the keyboard. No outlines, angst, or hesitation.

My first novel, Prosecco & Paparazzi, was based on a conversation I had with my husband after watching an episode of Inside the Actors Studio. Host James Lipton had interviewed Clint Eastwood. This multi-talented man completely captivated us. After the interview was over, we chatted about how amazing it would be to invite him over for dinner and get to know him. We brainstormed about how we would go about contacting a celebrity, and then how would we get him or her intrigued enough about us that they would agree to dine with complete strangers (preferably somewhere fancy and on their tab).

My writing process started out very simple. I opened my laptop, borrowed on the conversation with my husband about Clint Eastwood, and started reading tabloids from around the globe. I picked an attractive mega-star to follow. An unexpected but very important side benefit of this was that I was reacquainted with the necessity for research; in this case it was fashion, glamor, hotspots, jet-setting, and lifestyles of the rich and famous. And as we all know, these details add the sparkle.

After I had the main male lead characters in place, I had to create his counterpart. She felt elusive. I wasn’t writing a romance novel. My goal was to write an intelligent comedy. Which made it important that Charlotte could stand her own ground with her personality versus dazzle men with her pouty lips and perky breasts. I invited a friend to have coffee (I had hot apple juice, she had a soy latte) and she helped me hack my way through the possibilities. Together we arrived at the village concept. Which is ironic really, because I rely on my own for honest opinions on everything from sagging jowls to tight pants.

So, why not create a village of women around Charlotte so that she could be the grounded, intelligent, girl next door she needed to be? No reason not to! Charlotte’s village is inhabited by Hillary, Tiziana, Marian, and Kathleen. Together, they are an unstoppable force – Hillary is from a wealthy English family, and is all things proper. Hailing from Italy, is Tiziana. She possesses a natural sexual flamboyancy which often prevents people from recognizing her intelligence. Irishwoman Marian is amazingly witty and it is her sarcastic banter that often provides the opportunity for vulnerable discourse. The final member of the group is Kathleen; an American living in Paris. She is strong and aloof; bringing the best of the American and French cultures to life.

Writing a funny book is hard work. ALL books have many layers, but to write a comedy one has to feel light. There are many days I can write page after page of usable material. But some days I don’t. On these days I write the infra-structure, making notes in the margin, “Insert something funny here.” Then I have blessed days where I go back in and search for notes, read the situation, add banter, rework scenarios to create double entrendre’s, and generally lighten the mood of some passages.

At one point I actually quit writing for a few months because the weather was so bleak that all the characters were generally miserable. It takes an amazing amount of discipline to sit down at a keyboard and shake off your personal feelings and life issues and jump into the personalities and circumstances of those who live within your manuscript. Over the years the discipline to do this has improved dramatically. Generally I read the last four of five pages I wrote, edit a bit, and off I go, back into the world of my imagination.

I have read a million blogs by authors and am always amazed at their creative processes. Some have written outlines for the entire book. Some have written novellas for each character. Some have sticky notes plastered all over the walls and computer screen. One author was panicked because she was moving and her desk had to be packed up. So, she took close-up photographs of her work space: notepads, sticky notes, and computer screen, so she could set up exactly as things had been. She posted a picture on Twitter less than twenty four hours later and everything was exactly the same in her new place. I could feel her relief.

My style is… more contained. For example, because I am writing a sequel to Prosecco & Paparazzi, I have it and my work-in- progress, Cognac & Courture, open on my laptop plus ten to twelve windows with research sites open. A dictionary, maps, blogs (food, fashion, and travel), tabloids, YouTube, and various websites pertaining to what I am currently writing about (right now I have links to Christmas in France and Italy open). I will admit that if there is a website that is crucial, I take a photo of it.

Other things I do: I clean my house before I start writing. I cannot have outstanding chores that MUST be done (clean clothes for tomorrow, some concept of dinner, an alarm scheduled for events I cannot miss). All of this is finished by 7:30 a.m. I cannot have mental or visual distractions. I’m easily distracted.

When I hit a wall, I do one of several things: get a chore out of the way, work-out, listen to music, paint, weed, or read. That means I do one or two of these things every day, because, I come to a stop every day. Usually a distraction gives my brain a chance to percolate through the chaos. When I hit a major wall I have coffee with a friend to hash it out, or grab a pen and paper and go at it the old-fashioned way. One quality I would say a writer needs is tenacity. You will wrestle ideas like a cowboy riding a slicked pig.

Then one day, you’re characters are flushed out, the twists and turns of your plot lines have been carefully woven, and your edits and rewrites made. I liken this day to your first day of school, both exciting and terrifying. So much potential, so much unknown.

— Celia Kennedy

In addition to having written Prosecco & Paparazzi, Kathleen’s Undressed and Venus Rising, and five short stories for seasonal anthologies. Celia Kennedy is a mom, wife, friend, and a practicing Landscape Architect. She lives in Redmond, Washington, where she lives a spectacular life. If you’d like to learn more about her, visit www.celiakennedy.weebly.com, follow her on Twitter (@KennedyCelia) on Facebook (Celia Kennedy, Author) or Goodreads. If you want to see the actual locations that she writes about in her books, check her out on www.Pinterest.com.

Celia Kennedy Headshot

Celia Kennedy was born in Wurzburg, Germany on a military base. Her parent’s penchant for traveling has stuck with her, she’s lived in and traveled through several countries.

The imagined world has always fascinated Celia. She has studied Art History, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, and Architecture. Her thirteen year career at UW in Seattle ended in 1996. Not wanting to be homeless, she left the academic world and worked as a Landscape Architect, married the love of her life, became a mom, has been PTA President, and both Boy and Girl Scout Leader.

The unimaginable wealth in her life is the most fascinating thing to her.

Her love of travel, the designed and natural world, friendship, self-discovery, wine, chocolate, AND love are the foundation of her life and books.