Friday, August 29, 2014

BLOG HOP!!!! PRIZES, FUN & MORE!!!


The 'How I Spent my Summer Vacation' will be giving away a $50.00 Amazon Gift Card through the Rafflecopter. “Sponsored by Christina Cole Romance”. For *my* part...I'll be giving away a FREE copy of my novella, 'Leave Your Hat On'. To enter, you MUST make a comment on this blog about *your* favorite summer vacation. The favorite ( 'likes' or popular vote) wins the hot stripper book.

Here's my entry. :)



How I Spent My Summer Vacation

The summer I was almost eight years old, my parents took me on a 'see the whole state' vacation. Since we lived in this state, we'd probably call it a 'stay-cation' of sorts. Either way, I was excited because it was my first summer vacation I could recall away from my family's farm. And it was the first time I saw the ocean or the mountains.



I'm blessed to live in a state where there are mountains on one end and the ocean on the other. In between is everything from foot hills, to the largest banking center in the southern United States, to the sand hills area where cotton and tobacco once ruled, NASCAR still does, and now golf is King. Yes, this is the Tar heel state of North Carolina. I call it simply 'home'.
Summers in the American south can best be described one way: Imagine being wrapped in a thick wet wool blanket and then stuck into a 500 degree Fahrenheit oven. That's summer in the south. But the heat never bothered me (not as a child, anyway). I'd spend every day outside, helping in the garden with the vegetables, or watching the men in the tobacco fields checking the leaves and making sure the dreaded disease blight never struck. I had many 'secret' places: under a huge cedar tree, where the branches created a natural cave, playing on a hillside to 'bake' mud pies, the wide open fields of sand and forest behind the house where an abandoned train caboose and fallen trees invited me to pretend fairies danced and trolls growled. While I loved that farm and all the secret wonderful places, I couldn't wait to get in the car and see the beach.
But as with all vacations, last minute delays arose and arose and arose and we ended up leaving twelve hours behind schedule. I slept most of the hour and a half trip, and awoke when my mom called my name and said, "There's the ocean." I pressed my half awake nose and gaze to the car window, rolled it down, and breathed deeply of salty air. There was a tremendous roar I didn't quite understand and when my father parked, I jumped out.
It was dark. The moon had yet to rise. But I stepped out barefooted into the sand and wiggled my toes in its coolness. Then I saw dark rolling waves frothed with white. I ran toward them, splashing with delight in the water. When I stood still, it felt like the water was trying to suck my toes further into the rolling waves. I recall laughing with delight and throwing my arms out wide. Pure Joy reigned that night. 



The next day in the bright sunlight, we discovered the sun, while friendly on the farm, burned my skin in minutes at the beach. My second beach night was spent in tears and a vinegar bath, trying to ease the fiery red of bad sunburn. But I had seen the ocean and the waves. I had built sand castles and chased a Frisbee. I swam in water that seemed alive, whispering to me and laughing along as we rolled and played. I smelled the salt and sand and coconut suntan oil of other beach vacationers. I ate ice cream cones fast so the drips wouldn't leave sticky paths on my clothes. Why would we leave such a magical place?
I cried when we departed the beach and started the trek across the state. I didn't want to leave the loud, fun, mysterious ocean. I felt like I'd lost my best friend. Plus the drive was endless, and boring, and no fun. My mom, with the wisdom of a mother, had packed books on tape, plenty of batteries, and a set of headphones. I spent the next few hours happily listening to Cinderella and Snow White, to the Little House stories, and Anne of Green Gables. My dad interrupted me once to point to the growing ever closer mountains and said, "See those cows?"
I nodded, viewing the tiny speaks of black and white standing with impossible balance on the sides of cliffs.
"Do you know how they stand that way and don't fall over?"
"How?" I asked, Laura Ingalls and Anne forgotten.
"They have legs on one side shorter than the other side." My dad replied with a perfectly straight face.
My mom laughed but I was fascinated. Wow. Cows grew legs with different sizes? How cool was that?


Then I saw my first mountains up close and personal.



My dad would say every year after my mouth hung open and my eyes dazzled. They probably did. I felt like I'd never seen anything as beautiful as those mountains: the rolling hills of green, like gentle swells of the ocean waves in another color. They whispered secrets, too, tales of long ago, history they had seen since probably the earth was first formed. When I walked my first mountain trail, when I breathed deep of grass and moss and pure mountain air, I wanted to hug everything. I had come home. In many ways, I never left after that first visit. Now I live here and still, every night as the sun sets in a blaze of purple and dark blue over those still whispering ancient hills, I feel that same magical awe as the first time I saw them.
So I spent my summer vacation discovering an ocean and finding my true home.

OKAY.... *YOUR* turn. Tell how you spent your summer vacation for a chance to WIN!!!!

***SPONSORED by Christina Cole Romance***



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

GUEST POST: Is the Protagonist's Job Important?

Today we feature a Guest Post from Author of the Week DEVIKA FERNANDO.



Is the protagonist’s job important?

First of all: Mia, thanks so much for having me on your blog! I’m so glad I got this chance – and I hope I won’t bore the hair off your head with this guest post…

I recently read a blog comment that it doesn’t really matter what the protagonist does for a living because emotions, motivations, the love story and the conflict pay a much more important role. While I agree that these are priorities and make up a good book, I still believe that the protagonist’s job is relevant to the story. It’s part and parcel of who they are. Just take yourself, for example: Don’t you think if you had a different job, you’d be a different person? Doesn’t your job determine your life to some extent? Your decisions, your free time, your choices, and above all your financial situation?

Sometimes, the job is essential to the plot and the character development. Take all those books where the heroine is a wedding planner. Nothing like planning a client’s wedding and falling for the hunky groom-to-be, don’t you agree? There are many other examples. A doctor might meet a patient, or a maid might fall for the lord of the house. A relationship could get difficult or be forbidden because the boss and the secretary or the teacher and the student shouldn’t flirt. The job can actually be the reason why the hero and heroine meet or why their love story is doomed. Also, it might be their work that gets them into trouble or on the contrary gives them the knowledge and experience to handle trouble. What about all those secret agents, detectives, cowboys, and athletes? Their job is who they are, their job is basically the whole novel!

At other times, the protagonist’s occupation might take a backseat. Still, pick the job with care because what we do for a living says a lot about what we believe in and what we are associated with. Settling on too ordinary jobs might bore the reader. In my debut “When I see your Face”, I had Cathy decide to start her own cake business because that was such a total opposite to the busy, glamorous city life she ran away from. Similarly, I had Michael become a gardener to let out his sensitive side that nearly got extinguished when he was working as a business tycoon. As for my latest release “Playing with Fire”, I chose the job of a librarian for Felicia because it balances the fiery side of her. She’s been hiding her magic and reining in her temperament for most of her life, so this seemed the perfect job choice to keep her grounded and hidden. You’ll understand why I chose to make Joshua a private investigator if you read the story… *hint hint*

Use jobs to
-          Create contrasts between the characters
-          Advance the conflict
-          Fill in the blanks
-          Give your protagonists the skills and knowledge to save themselves
-          Make your protagonist stand out from the masses




 DEVIKA FERNANDO





Author Bio

Almost as soon as Devika Fernando could write, she imagined stories and poems. After finishing her education in Germany and returning to her roots in Sri Lanka, she got a chance to turn her passion into her profession. Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with her husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Her trademark is writing sweet, yet deeply emotional romance stories where the characters actually fall in love instead of merely falling in lust. What she loves most about being an author is the chance to create new worlds and send her protagonists on a journey full of ups and downs that will leave them changed. She draws inspiration from everyone and everything in life. Besides being a romance novel author, she works as a self-employed German web content writer, as a translator, and as a faithful servant to all the cats, dogs, fish and birds in her home. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing.

https://twitter.com/Author_Devika


COMING SOON!!!!!


Many THANKS to DEVIKA for her time and appearance. Best of writing luck :)

BUY LINK:
 




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Introducing....AUTHOR OF THE WEEK

I'm trying Something a bit different. Each week, a different author will be featured for two days: Day 1 will be an Introduction to him/her and Day 2 will be a special guest blog post from this author.

First up...DEVIKA FERNANDO!





Almost as soon as Devika Fernando could write, she imagined stories and poems. After finishing her education in Germany and returning to her roots in Sri Lanka, she got a chance to turn her passion into her profession. Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with her husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Her trademark is writing sweet, yet deeply emotional romance stories where the characters actually fall in love instead of merely falling in lust. What she loves most about being an author is the chance to create new worlds and send her protagonists on a journey full of ups and downs that will leave them changed. She draws inspiration from everyone and everything in life. Besides being a romance novel author, she works as a self-employed German web content writer, as a translator, and as a faithful servant to all the cats, dogs, fish and birds in her home. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing.

https://twitter.com/Author_Devika






AUTHOR INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

1. When did you first decide to become a writer? Why?
Truth be told, when I was seven years old. *lol* On a more serious note, I was looking for an online job some years ago, and found it in content writing. As it had always been my dream to write my own book, I decided to take that next step last year (2013). I just cannot not write, I think I’d go mad.

2. Do you find your unique life experiences add to or hinder your writing?
They definitely add to my writing because there were and are so many lessons to learn. Having lived in a European and an Asian environment is an advantage, too, though things sometimes get confusing.

3. What is your most frightening experience? Would you use this in a story?
Whoa, what a question! Do you want to scare me to pieces by reliving it? ;-) There are many moments, I really can’t choose (and they’re a bit personal). But I think frightening experiences work wonders for books, so essentially the answer is YES.

4. What inspired your latest work?
“Playing with Fire” was inspired by fantastic art on deviantart.com. I do so love visual writing prompts (whether they’re intended to be that or not).

5. Which media sites are your favorites? Why?
Facebook because I’ve been on it the longest, and have found so many wonderful friends and great writers through it. Pinterest is too addictive for my own good, and Twitter just doesn’t appeal to me though it’s useful.

6. How do you, as an author, handle promotion?
I try my best on social media. I hate just selling my book or spamming, but I love interacting with fellow writers and readers. Sharing interesting content on my blog is what I like most, be it author interviews, snippets from my books, articles, guests posts or spotlights.

7. Who are your favorite writers and why?
I have so many… If I need to narrow it down, I’d nominate Anne Rice, Arundhati Roy and Michael Ondaatje for their magical way with words and their memorable, unique characters.

8. If you could visit any period of time in history which would it be and why?
All of them, seriously! I’m most fascinated by ancient history though. Old Egypt and Old India sound like great places to start. Those high cultures are so awe-inspiring and exotic. And I’d love to have been present at the time when Buddha taught his religious wisdom.

9. Is there a message you want readers to take from your novels?
Several usually… above all: Believe in yourself! Love will find a way!

10. What is your favorite holiday?
In Germany, it used to be Christmas because I could stay at home without having to face the winter horrors, and because yummy food and presents is always a good idea. Summer holidays were a close second because that meant nonstop reading for six weeks… ;-)


THANK YOU DEVIKA FOR BEING THE FIRST *s* . 
Make sure to make a spot on your September book buying lists for Devika's newest book, PLAYING WITH FIRE.