My Newest Book!

It’s out! Bad Blood of Rosewood, my newest book. I’m doing the happy dance!!

badbloodThe Rosewood series is now complete… or is it? Never say never, right? I may write more about the Thorns and Gloria Larson in the small town of Rosewood. I have quite a cast of characters just hanging out, waiting for me to put them in motion. Ronnie, Doug, Hank, Betty, Josie, Tanya and Debbie. Don’t forget Officer Connors and all the guys at the Old Man Table at the Last Stop Diner. And you know how it is. Small towns have characters around every corner. I’m guessing at some point in the future something mysterious is bound to happen.

Until then, I have written six books for you to read. You can find all of my books on my book table here on this website, or on Amazon.

And if you haven’t read the entire series yet, Please start with Thorns of Rosewood, then read Flames of Rosewood, and finally, Bad Blood of Rosewood

Just a note. I sell exclusively on Amazon for Kindle e-readers and print books. If you own a Nook or other reading device, this may irritate you! I understand. But, over the years since I’ve started selling books, I’ve found by being a Kindle Select author, I sell exponentially more books via Amazon than I do any other channel. To be a Select author on Amazon, I must enter a contract agreeing to only sell through Amazon. Now, of course, I’d like all readers to enjoy my books on their Nooks or Kindles, but earning a living is important, too. (Certainly, my husband thinks so!) So, until I become rich and famous, I’m going to use this tool available to me as an Indie Author so I can get my product out to as many readers all over the world as possible.

Having said that, there are apps you can download for your computers or Androids to read Kindle books. Here is the download, and it’s free. Kindle App

All of the highlighted words, as well as the picture of my book, will take you directly to Amazon to purchase the books, or download the App.

Please share this blog post on your social media, or forward it to your reading friends!

An Interview With Charissa Stastny

cover-between-hope-and-the-highwayAuthor Charissa Stastny has a new book. I’ve read it and can tell you that even though I’m not a romance reader, this one entertained the likes of even this cynic. Between Hope & the Highway is a delightful read with great, unique characters. I’m a fan of Charissa’s writing and Between Hope & the Highway did not disappoint. Today I’m asking her a few questions so you can get to know this joyful and fun-loving author.

Charissa, how did you get started as an author?

C: I’d always wanted to write a book, but never seemed to have time between being a mother, a caregiver, and then a preschool and art teacher. As my children matured, I suddenly found myself spending lots of time waiting for them at sports practices. That’s when I started bringing notebooks and hashing out a story (which ended up being my Bending Willow Trilogy). That hooked me on the writing process…and now I don’t want to stop.

Most writers are readers. What are some of your favorite books?

C: I love The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, any of the Harry Potter books, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, and anything by C.S. Lewis. Contemporary romance authors I can’t get enough of are Jennifer Peel, Taylor Dean, and Amy Harmon. I can reread their stories and not tire of them.

What suggestions would you give a potential author to help them become a better writer?

C: There are so many great writing books out there. Read as many of them as you can, and apply new techniques as you learn them. Go to a writing conference each year if you can, and learn how to plot. I’ve done the pantser method for my first three books, and it’s fun…but very inefficient. Story Engineering by Larry Brooks has been the most helpful writing book I’ve found for me.

Who is your favorite author and why?

C: Probably C.S. Lewis. His words are amazing; his thoughts so clear and inspiring. Everything he wrote deserves a place on my shelf and his quotes on my fridge.

author-photoAny special talents?

C: I’m not super good at any one thing, but am proficient at lots of stuff. I’ve tried my hand at painting, crafting, photography, piano, organ, teaching, crocheting, gardening, scrapbooking, basketball, mountain biking, triathlon, and now writing.

If you could have lunch with any character from a book (other than your own), who would it be, where would you eat, and what would you discuss?

C: I would dine with Dumbledore from Harry Potter. We’d eat sushi at Sakana’s (my favorite eating joint) and talk about anything he liked. Seriously, I can’t even think of a good enough question to ask the most powerful wizard ever. If he wanted to discuss Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans…then so be it.

Tell us a little about your family.

C: My husband and I are high school sweethearts and married after his mission. We have four children—3 daughters (one married who is an interior designer/architect, one who served a mission in S. Korea and is now in school for dental hygiene, and one who’s leaving on a mission to Armenia/Georgia and speaking Georgian for the next year and a half before studying to become a P.A.) and one incredible son in high school. We love being together and our favorite activities include biking, hiking, camping, and going to Disneyland.

What got you started on your writing journey?

C: I’ve dabbled with writing since I was a kid. I loved reading clean romance as a teen and wrote many cheesy scenes between handsome cowboys and milkmaids in my journal. The world will NEVER see these! They are cheesier than a Walmart tuxedo.

Do you have a favorite comment or question from a reader?

C: After my husband read my first book, he commented, “It would have been better with a zombie in it.” Since then, the Search and Find feature on Word has become my best friend. I always use it before I send out drafts to readers, because unfortunately, my husband is skilled at sneaking zombies into files. There is nothing worse than when the masculine hunk in my story tells the girl of his dreams that ‘he wants to eat her brains.’ Ugh!

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

C: Quite a lot. There is always one character I identify with—usually the shy, awkward one with a good heart who doesn’t know how to accessorize. My cool characters are my dreams of how I wish I could be. It’s fun as a writer to live vicariously through our characters.

Do you have a favorite character?

C: I love Suvi and wish I could meet her in real life. Austan’s pretty cool too (he’s a hoot to write), but I don’t know if I’d be brave or confident enough to meet him in person. I wouldn’t be able to come up with witty comebacks fast enough. Bentley is the cutest character I write (he’s 13) and I love him to pieces.

What does your family think about your writing?

C: They think I’m crazy to sit and play with imaginary characters all day. And I am! My 2nd daughter laughed hysterically when she read my early draft of Eyes of Light. She highlighted sections and wrote: “Cheesy! Please Mom, don’t ever publish this. I will be embarrassed for you!” My husband also gave me advice: “Before you publish, you might want to do a search for the word ZOMBIE.” Their tips saved me. Also, my oldest daughter designs my covers and keeps me looking presentable.

If you were stranded on a deserted tropical island with one of your characters, who would you choose and why?

C: Since I can’t build a fire or catch fish, I’d need someone who could be responsible and take care of me. In my mind, that would be James Hinton (from the Bending Willow Trilogy). I imagine he was a Boy Scout when he was young, so he’s very handy, self-reliant, kind, creative, and honorable. I’d feel safe with him.

What kind of trials do your main characters in your newest book have to endure?

C: Liz’s hen-pecking mother has always belittled her because her dreams didn’t align with hers. This has caused internal strife with regards to her self-esteem that she has to overcome (once she realizes it’s there). Liz has also just lost her fiancé in a terrible automobile accident. That’s why she leaves home to escape painful memories. Rawson and Bentley Law are dealing with survivor’s guilt from an accident they were involved in five years ago as well. They each have secrets that have the power to destroy their present happiness.

Why should we read your books?

C: Two reasons: 1) there is a powerful message of forgiveness and redemption woven into the pages that will make you appreciate life more fully, and 2) the characters are witty, vulnerable, charming, and just plain awesome! If you’re like me, you will fall in love with them.

What is one silly fact about you?

C: I can do a ‘mean’ monkey imitation. When I did this at Biblical zoo in Jerusalem, the monkeys spit at me though. I don’t know what that means.

If you could have plastic surgery, what would you change?

C: Nothing. I think wrinkles are earned and are a sign of wisdom. I’ve worked and lived too hard to let some doctor take that away from me.

Now that you know her a little better, I hope you’ll follow her on her website: http://www.charissastastny.com/

I also hope you’ll buy her book, Between Hope & the Highway. You can find all of Charissa’s books at:

https://www.amazon.com/Charissa-Stastny/e/B00847JD1I/

 

Shhhhh. It’s only on Amazon.

I’m going to whisper this quietly into cyberspace.

My book, Flames of Rosewood, is now live on Amazon.

Why am I whispering? Because it’s only on Amazon. Nook won’t accept my cover as it is so I’m waiting for a new cover. I haven’t formatted it for Smashwords, so it isn’t on Sony or iBook or anywhere else. And I haven’t even begun to get it ready for a print copy.

Considering all of those things, I’m not really ready to launch this book, but if you are one of the few people who read this blog, you get to know about the Amazon launch first. And, if for some reason you read it and feel inclined to leave a decent review, I’d be ever so much obliged. Reviews sell books, so if I could glean a few before my hard launch, it would be delightful.

So, you can whisper this to friends who have Kindles or Kindle aps on their computers or iPads or phones. Nook and other e-reader users must wait. Print copy folks must wait even longer. I’ll jump up and down more when it’s all ready to roll.

Until then, some of you who are interested can get a first peek.

Another Free Book

I’m feeling gifty this month. Tis the season. I gave away a free signed copy of Casting Stones to Donna Wilder for commenting here on my blog.

Now I’m going to give away a free signed copy of my book, Recipes For Revenge, to one person who comments on my author Facebook page. Yeah, I’m switching it up. I want to find out where I get the most comments. This social media thing is an experiment waiting to happen.

So, go to this link. Like my Facebook page. Comment with at minimum your name, but conversations are great, too. Whatever you choose. I’ll pick one winner, probably on Sunday. Then I’ll mail the book. Give it as a gift or let it be my gift to you.

Now, about this book, Recipes For Revenge, a Four-Course Novel. I published this in 2012 and it been one of those books people have had fun with. It’s four (five actually) short stories. Each story has a different main character and a different problem revolving around a bad boy in their life. Fates step in and teach that bad boy a lesson. The lesson happens to be served by a recipe. Yes, each of the story’s main characters have that one special recipe they’re known for. I include that recipe at the beginning of the story, but there is a little secret ingredient I don’t add to the actual recipe, but gets added in the story. I’d advise leaving that ingredient out if you choose to make the recipes. Oh, and every recipe is a good one. I’ve tried them all. The cookies are especially delightful. Oh, and good news… if you don’t end up being the person who wins the signed print copy of this book, it’s available on Amazon and B&N as an e-book for only .99 cents. You can afford to buy it anyway!

So, I’m tickled if you comment here, but my goal is to see your name under this post on my Facebook page. So if you comment here, that’s fine, but I hope you’ll then go and put your name on my FB page… oh and while you’re there, “like” the page. Thanks!

A Gift of Reading

Many of my friends who are writers achieved a goal this month. They participated and won something called Nanowrimo—an acronym for National Novel Writing Month. And it’s grown to be a world-wide event. The winners claim the prize of having written a first draft of a new novel in one month. Technically, 50,000 words. The spirit of competition drives the writers, and the prize is twofold: a pat on the back you give yourself at the end because, by golly, it’s a big deal to write 50,000 words of anything! The other prize is the actual novel. I participated back in 2010.  The novel I wrote happened to be the first book I published, Casting Stones. It’s still selling and I have to say, it’s a book I couldn’t stop thinking about when I wrote it, a book I hated while I was editing it, and a book I have come to love like a first-born child. I read it every year, and every year I like it more.

My writing has grown and maybe even improved since then (5 more books under my belt to date.) But, as far as stories go, I would have to say Casting Stones is still a favorite of mine. The characters are very real to me, and I am proud of the book. So, thank you, Nanowrimo! You showed me I could write a book.

A few thoughts about this novel. It’s a tale about a woman who needs a husband. A woman so broken she doesn’t know how to love, only how to judge. The man she desires could be any man. Strong, yet with weaknesses. Life deals him the hardest of blows and the woman brings him salvation, but it’s a binding , suffocating weight. He isn’t saved, as much as imprisoned. The man’s hard times seem never-ending, but he finds a true savior in an old friend. Sacrifices are made, to be sure, and hands are dirtied, but in the end, the man finds joy and love and peace. Was it worth it? Was it justified? These are all questions I put to the reader as I tell the tale of James Raven and Esther Barton. Set in Nebraska and Missouri, this story’s timeline runs from the ’20s through the ’50s. It’s an emotional experience meant to make the reader think and rethink. It may make the reader cry. It may make the reader angry at moments. But there is a message, and maybe it’s different for every reader.

Casting Stones was originally written as three different books—Prelude, Casting Stones, & Conclusions.  A year later I decided to combine all three parts into one book. I called it the Unabridged version. Now the book is only available with all three parts, and the name is simply, Casting Stones. This book is available in print and as an ebook.

If you’ve read this book, I thank you. If you purchased this book, I thank you even more! (editors aren’t cheap!) If you’ve helped me promote it, or given it as a gift, you are a treasure to me! But if you haven’t read it, or haven’t gifted it, I hope you’ll consider giving it to anyone who enjoys thought-provoking literary fiction. It is time to buy gifts, you know. Christmas is literally weeks away. This small artist would certainly appreciate your support during the 2014 holiday season. I noticed Amazon is offering 30% off on online orders. The book is $12, $10.69 for Prime members, and now with an additional 30% off, you save even more.

Win a free print copy of Casting Stones—my gift of reading to you—just add your email address to your comment at the bottom of this post on my blog, or email me directly at ginabarlean@gmail.com. One winner will be chosen. I will mail the book to the winner.