Wednesday, 28 August 2013

COVER REVEAL - Synchronised Breathing by Tara Ellison

Synchronised Breathing by Tara Ellison

Available from The Writer's Coffee Shop, Author's Website 

My Thoughts on the Cover
One of the earlier versions of the cover had light muted tones, which I just loved... it was just so light and fluffy, but I do think the greater contrast that the bolder colours display, gives the cover greater depth and structure. 

This cover has a lot of extra little elements that I think help make it work. The font is airy and supports the premise of breathing referred to in the title. The dandelion held to the lips is very symbolic, and the seeds being blown from it are bunch of tiny little images cast about in a whimsical fashion.

A very pictorial compliment to the title.

Nothing announces the failure of one’s life quite as loudly as having to move back in with your mother at the ripe old age of thirty-five. Synchronized Breathing, introduces Scarlett Spencer in just this situation: her marriage has recently imploded and she’s headed for Beverly Hills—toddler in tow—to move in with her highly over-sexed mother, CeCe.
Having squandered her twenties having adventures and losing herself in men, Scarlett—out of desperation—leapt into an unsuitable marriage, but the best gift came out of that union—her son, Oliver. After successfully escaping that ‘Lemon Marriage,’ Scarlett struggles to put back together a life that was not very together to begin with. After being a stay-at-home-mother, Scarlett wades back into the Hollywood employment pool with hilarious results.
Balancing motherhood with the unique demands of Hollywood men provides a new twist on the dating dilemma—and living with one’s mother is not without its own set of challenges. With her robust sexual appetites and colorful parade of men, sixty-year-old CeCe has plenty of startling sex tips to share. After tiring of dating jerks, Scarlett goes on a self-imposed ‘man-diet’—which isn’t easy when your mother is perpetually on a manhunt—and in the quiet of a new man-less existence, she discovers what is really important in her life. Scarlett only finds her direction in life—and love—when she stops seeking to fulfill herself through other people (men).
Tara thinks of her novel as “A Single Mother’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing in Beverly Hills.” Synchronized Breathing was born after her own lousy divorce, during a very dark time when she thought the greatest luxury was to laugh. Her hope is that other women going through challenging times will be able to share a laugh with Scarlett Spencer and relate to her missteps on the path to love.

Author Bio:
Tara Ellison was born in London and raised between Sydney and Hong Kong. Her childhood was spent immersed in American culture and she eventually realized her dream of moving to the US to pursue a career as an actress. The acting career was not a good fit and she spent many years trying to figure out what to do next. After a difficult divorce, she turned to her love of writing and Synchronized Breathing was born. 

“Every marriage is work, but the trick is to pick someone you actually want to be married to.” Susan smiled at me.

Susan was my opposite in almost every way. Logical and levelheaded, her pragmatic view of life was so foreign to me that I often thought she was speaking another language.
“I’ll try to remember that for next time,” I said. “If there ever is a next time.”

“You gave it your best shot,” she said. “Personally, I thought you should have bailed right after you found all those nude photos. You’ve been very tolerant, as far as I’m concerned.”
“What photos are you talking about?” Autumn asked. “Why I don’t know about this?”
“You’ve been away on location. Tell her.” Emma nudged me.
“One day, while I was using the computer, I stumbled upon his extensive nude photo collection.”
“Of other women?” Autumn shrieked.
“No . . . that would actually make a certain amount of sense. They were all nude pictures of him, but mostly just of his dick.”
I got up and put another log in the fire, as Autumn scrambled to reclaim her jaw from the floor.

Stunned silence followed, so I pressed on. “His penis obsession was hardly a new thing. After all, it was his most prized possession, but seeing the photos en masse was a bit much. There were hundreds of pictures of his penis—chilling out in the garden, lathering himself in the bath, erect penis checking the mailbox. It was nuts. It was like that traveling Gnome series of photos—but each one featuring his dick in a new pose. Even his winking asshole made some artistic cameos!”
“Jeez . . . how on earth did he manage that?” asked Autumn, instantly intrigued. “See . . . all that yoga pays off.” Susan’s quip sent Emma into hysterics.
“Hey, I’m not saying the guy isn’t creative! It’s amazing how creative you can be when you have nothing to do all day but play with yourself.” I squeezed myself back on the couch in between Emma and Autumn.
“Wow . . . I had no idea. I guess he’s not the total bore I thought he was after all,” Autumn said with awe.
“I just had less and less respect for him and that’s a very difficult thing to overcome in a marriage, especially with all of our other issues.”
“So, what did you say to him?” Autumn was now almost bouncing out of her seat with excitement.
“I asked him what he was doing with all the photos. He laughed and said he was ‘just having some fun’. He even turned one of the photos into his screensaver so that twelve gleaming images of his penis greeted me every time I used the computer. It felt like I was living with a teenage boy who’d just discovered the pleasures of wanking and not a nearly-forty-year-old man. CeCe caught an eyeful too. She was there when I found them.”
“What did she say?” asked Emma.
“She said she was underwhelmed.”
“And let’s face it, CeCe would know!” Susan said, sending Emma into another fit of giggles.
“Wow. I had no idea.” Autumn continued to grapple with the news. “He just looks so . . . vanilla to me.”
“That’s what all the gay guys do,” said Emma. “They send each other pictures of their dicks! Do you think he flipped to the other team?”
“Who knows what he was up to? All I could think was ‘What am I doing here?’ I’m exhausted from nursing and caring for the baby all day and night while my unemployed husband blasts music and dances around naked in the garden taking pictures of his cock, like some demented elf.”

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Road Kill - A Guest Post by Alexandra Allred

Roadkill by Alexandra Allred

Published by The Writer's Coffee Shop

Follow @alexandraallred, @twcs_pubhouse and@cafeartspace


When dead prostitutes begin to appear along the rural roads of Ohio, Allie Lindell cannot stay away despite the odds—the odds being her badge-toting sister; her partner, who only wants Allie to stay home and out of harm’s way; and two little girls in full potty-training and tantrum-throwing modes. But when an old friend from The Columbus Dispatch calls with an intriguing job opportunity, Allie can’t turn her away, Allie breaks all kinds of promises to track the killer, heat up a cold case, and discover what happened to a fallen police officer. As she navigates the backstreets of Columbus, following pimps, prostitutes, sullen teenagers, and seedy gamblers, the only thing more complicated is remembering all her aliases.

Enlisting the help of her neighbor, and with the annoying voice of Snow White drumming through her head, Allie and her newfound sidekick will have you falling in love with this wonderful cast of modern heroines with day-to-day problems. Gay, straight, sleek and sexy, or rumpled and ragged—no matter how much they bicker, they’re a mighty force when they all come together. Heigh Ho!

Roadkill is the first in a series in which a former journalist and at-home mom discovers she has a knack for investigating murders. While she longs for the crazy deadlines and adult conversations, she also wants to stay home and care for her babies.

With Disney tunes, tantrums, and potty-training woes on her mind, Allie Lindell must learn to juggle the highs and lows of her family and a career she never knew she always wanted. This is the funny, sometimes aggravating, ultimately heartwarming story of a woman trying to give everything to her kids, keep the love of her partner, and not lose herself in the process.

Author Bio:

Alexandra Allred is a former national athlete and adventure writer turned humorist and fictional writer. She’s often been called the next Erma Bombeck with a grudge. Her annual Christmas letters, which have frequently made the news, could make the Grinch weep with joy.

Allred is an avid runner (though not a very good one), frequently testifies in Washington D.C. on environmental issues, is an advocate for Clean Air, and loathes people who illegally park in handicap places.

She currently lives in Texas with her husband, three children, and array of happy animals.

Guest Post

The moon and the stars and the planets really lined up for this one!  The truth is, I wrote Roadkill about 15 or 16 years ago.  Maybe longer than that.  My oldest daughter, Kerri, was a toddler, and Katie was just a baby. I was an at-home mom and, on some days, fearful that I was losing my mind.  How many trips could one person take to Kroger’s grocery store in one day? I was so used to the hectic go-go-go! lifestyle that suddenly being saddled by two babies, now matter how much I worshipped and adored them, was k-i-l-l-i-n-g me.

I come from a family of writers so writing comes easily.  My father wrote obituaries for the Dallas Morning News and then published military history.  A far cry from fiction – or so I thought.  Without realizing it, I had grown to love reading obits and pondering those lives once lived, however full or brief. Before I knew it, my character was born.  She was an at-home mother, restless after leaving her post as an obituary writer. The rest, as they say, is history.

I wrote four more books in the series and then promptly shelved them as I moved on to other things, including bobsledding, raising my children, and relocating to Texas.  After a stint in sports writing, I returned to fiction and was published with The Writer’s Coffee Shop (TWCS).

This is where the moon and stars and planets all aligned. I had plenty on my plate.  Professionally speaking, I was very pleased where I was. Truth be told, I think TWCS would have preferred for me to slow down a bit.  But one day, while feeling happily restless, I recalled the Allie Lindell series.  I have a dear friend who also happens to be gay.  She was having a particularly hard time with insurance involving her family. She is legally married to her partner but still cannot get insurance for her wife and children.  As I listened to her I realized that I had never – not once – thought about how I could get insurance or a job or acceptance or a loan or anything because of my love for my husband. Scratch that.  I never HAD to think about these things.  They just are.  With that, I began to rethink Allie and her circumstances.  I gathered up my nerve and called one of the women at TWCS to ask her what she thought of the series.  It also happens that she is gay.  I know her and love her so I was not surprised by her enthusiastic support for the idea.  That’s just how she is. What I did not expect was her own personal story.  While my first friend struggled with insurance, this friend could not get the state where she lived to legally recognize her partner as mother to their two children.  They had to search just to find a judge who would allow her partner to legally adopt the children.

As easily as that, Allie transformed into a lesbian who was in a committed, loving, devoted relationship in which both women had two little girls but those very things I always took for granted would be an on-going battle for Allie and her partner, Rae Ann.

A lot of changes had to be made.
A lot!!!  At one point, one of my editors called me and asked what year I wrote the book.  Ha.  I had pay phones and a “car cellular.”  Akk!  Allie would have to read maps because who ever heard of a GPS system in 1997?  Allie had to step up to the times and boy, did she ever!

Waiting for this book to launch has been harder than any other book I have ever waited for. I am super, super excited about it and the conversations I hope it brings.  It was a month or so ago when I was driving along and heard Mackelmores’s song, “Same Love,” and just thought, “Wow. This is so great.”  I love my friends who have been going through these issues, but I’m embarrassed to say, I’d been rather clueless as to how hard the simplest things could be.  Through Allie, I feel like I am in tuned with socially relevant and important things.  You do not have to be gay to understand how important it is that we, as a people, recognized all love, same love.  Show me a time or place in which oppression ever worked!

It doesn’t.  Maybe Allie can help us all realize that.

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Thursday, 8 August 2013

Is the Supernatural Realm Real?

Deadly Harvest 

by Heather Graham

Follow @HeatherGraham,  FaceBookWebsite


When a young woman is found dead in a field, dressed up as a scarecrow with a slashed grin and a broken neck, the residents of Salem, Massachusetts, begin to fear that the infamous Harvest Man is more than just a rumor. But out-of-town cop Jeremy Flynn doesn't have time for ghost stories. He's in town on another investigation, looking for a friend's wife, who mysteriously vanished in a cemetery. Complicating his efforts is local occult expert Rowenna Cavanaugh, who launches her own investigation, convinced that a horror from the past has crept into the present and is seducing women to their deaths. Jeremy uses logic and solid police work. Rowenna depends on intuition. But they both have the same goal: to stop the abductions and locate the missing women before Rowenna herself falls prey to the Harvest Man's dark seduction.

My Thoughts

Is the supernatural realm real? Many of her Heather Graham’s characters in Deadly Harvest whilst generally open to the possibility of supernatural phenomenon don’t really believe that it is very probable. A lot of their decisions and discoveries seem to be made with supernatural involvement, but each character’s level of skepticism leads you to believe that there could be are other more plausible explanations. 

Heather Graham uses this balance between the supernatural and the mundane is quite effectively in creating a sense of unease in the reader... a slightly sinister dream escalates when foreign matter is found between the sheets, a simple case of sleep walking and sleep talking takes on an eerie quality with the introduction of a ghost. Alternatively a person who seemingly vanishes into thin air, a victim of a rather malignant practice, turns out to have been abducted under much more earthly circumstances... but there’ll be no spoilers here.

The end result is that you, the reader are left guessing. Are there really supernatural forces as play? Who is The Harvest Man? Is Mary still alive? Is it too late... for Mary... for Salem?

I really like the way Heather Graham builds the suspense in her novels. This is the second book in the Flynn Trilogy that I have read and I am looking forward to the third.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Something more than chance - nothing less than destiny


by Dean Koontz


He lives in solitude beneath the city, an exile from society, which will destroy him if he is ever seen.

She dwells in seclusion, a fugitive from enemies who will do her harm if she is ever found.

But the bond between them runs deeper than the tragedies that have scarred their lives. Something more than chance—and nothing less than destiny—has brought them together in a world whose hour of reckoning is fast approaching.

In Innocence, #1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz blends mystery, suspense, and acute insight into the human soul in a masterfully told tale that will resonate with readers forever.

My Interest

Apart from the fact that I have always had a literary crush on Dean Koontz, especially his Odd novels and Icebound, Icebound being my all time favourite novel. This book intrigues me. Is it the cover? No! It's actually a phrase in the summary "Something more than chance—and nothing less than destiny" how perfect is that?