Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Power of Social Media

I love Twitter. I never thought I'd say that because it took me ages to figure it out, and I still giggle at the word "Hashtag." But if not for Twitter, I wouldn't have met some extraordinary people.

A while back, I stumbled onto a reader in the UK named Jackie495. Jackie495 was hilarious, irreverent and loved women's fiction--my kind of woman! So, we started tweeting, and she was nice enough to buy Finding Lucas. Well, not only did Jackie read it, but she made it her mission to tell everyone she knew of my book. I was floored. She spent so much time tweeting, taught me about all of the book promotion services I had no clue about and wrote me an amazing, never-to-be-forgotten review on Amazon UK, Canada and US. Who does that? And she did it simply because she liked me and Finding Lucas. And she is the reason Finding Lucas is now available in the Manchester Library. Finding Lucas isn't even available at a Toronto Library. Yet. I'm sure Jackie will know how to do it.

Through Jackie, I met Marlene, aka howcrazy, and I was stunned at what an incredibly talented artist she is. Thrilled that Marlene lived in Toronto, I tweeted with both of them, sometimes many times a day. As I got to know these wonderful women, I understood the power of social media when it is used for good.

When Jackie announced that she was coming to Toronto for a summer vacation, I was surprised. I'd never expected to meet her in person, and usually when someone says they'd love to visit your city, they mean ten years in the future. But Jackie is so passionate and determined and had already booked her flight.

Yesterday, I was invited to lunch to meet both Jackie and Marlene, now affectionately known as Jacks and Mars, and we spent hours eating delicious food, laughing, talking and getting to know each other. They are both as beautiful, warm and intelligent in person (breathe a huge sigh of relief because like a blind date, you never quite know how it's going to work out), and I am so glad I met them.

I went home with a huge bag of freshly baked scones and peach preserves and a smile on my face that came from taking a leap of faith. Thanks Jacks and Mars for being who you are!

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I talk about more amazing people I know in my Ode to Bloggers on Meredith Schorr's Celebration of Bloggers!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cover Reveal! Is This All There Is?

I read about three books a week. Crazy, I know, but because I read so much and so quickly, I often don't remember the details. Is This All There Is? by Patricia Mann is a rare exception. The book is so incredibly well-written, raw and emotional that I remember almost every word. 

Not only is she a wonderful writer, but Patricia Mann is also a huge supporter of her fellow authors (me, included!), and it is such a pleasure to participate in the reveal for her book's new cover. Now, isn't this an attention getter?

Beth Thomas has the perfect life.  At thirty-five, she’s married to her college sweetheart, has two adorable kids, and teaches part time at the local university.  But when a friend persuades Beth to go dancing on a rare night out, a chance meeting with twenty one year old Dave, one of her former students, changes the course of her life.  Loud music, too much to drink, and the thrill of feeling young again lead to an unforgettable kiss that was never supposed to happen.  As she tries to put the memory behind her, Dave’s pursuit leaves Beth torn between what her mind says is right and what her heart and body crave.

Here's an excerpt of this amazing book!

Chapter 7

            “Don’t you want to get back to your friends?” I asked, not really wanting him to leave.
            “Oh no, Freddie took off so it’s just me and Jimmy. We come every Friday. Sometimes a few girls from school meet us here, but they mostly come to hang out with him.”
            I noticed that two women with cleavage revealing every inch of skin right up to the nipple had joined Jimmy and his friend. He was talking and all three women were rapt. The pudgy blonde kissed Jimmy’s cheek, leaving a smudge of shiny pink lipstick.
            Dave looked at the four of them and rolled his eyes.
             “Jimmy’s not the commitment type, as you can see.”
            “What about you? Don’t you have a girlfriend?”
            “I haven’t had much luck with women lately.”
            “Really? Why do you think that is?”
            He brushed some hair off his forehead, but it slid right back into place, the tips almost meeting his long eyelashes.   
            “Jimmy says I’m too nice. He thinks women want a challenge, that they like bad boys. I guess I don’t play the game like everyone else does.”
            “Well women don’t like that game. They want a nice, honest guy.”
            “Not my last girlfriend. I gave her everything and she left me for a narcissistic football player. Explain that.” I wondered if he was trying to impress me or if “narcissistic” was actually a word he used regularly.
“She’s young. As women get older, they prefer to be treated well.”
            “Is that what you like?”
            I felt my cheeks burn. “Yes. Even if I were young and single, I wouldn’t go after the Jimmy-type. I’d be much more interested in someone like you.”
            “Really?” he asked with a touch of suggestion. I worried that my face was turning beet red.  I needed to cool things down. 
            “You’ll have another girlfriend soon.”
            “Gee, I didn’t know you were a fortune teller.”
            “I have many talents.”
            “Oh, do you?” A mischievous look in those deep green eyes. That sexy dimple.
“Stop. I didn’t mean it that way.” The heat radiated from my face to the rest of my body.  I had to take off my sweater, even though I was self conscious about my bare arms. I tried to do it carefully but Dave was so close that as I slid one arm out, my elbow brushed against his thigh.  A bolt of electricity charged through us.

Connect with Patricia and buy the book!

Website/Blog (New posts every Thursday)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Welcome, Courtney Giardina!

Movies, television, gossip mags--I am addicted to the world of celebs and everything to do with the big and small screens. So, when I discovered that Courtney Giardina, the author of  Tear Stained Beaches and co-owner of the indie press, Take Two Publishing,  is also an actress, well, I couldn't wait to have her on my blog. Welcome, Courtney!

Lights, Camera, Action …. An Actress’s Life

I can feel the butterflies in my stomach waking up. My hands are shaking and the tingling sensation that was once just in my feet has now taken over my whole body. I know what you’re thinking, a normal nervous reaction to a first date right? It would be, except it’s not a date I’m going on, it’s an audition.

An audition that takes all of about two and a half to three minutes. The drive itself is much longer than the time you get to prove to the casting directors you’re the one they need to choose for the role. It’s a whirlwind kind of lifestyle, but it’s one that has intrigued me ever since I was a little girl. Acting has always been a passion of mine. I love how a movie, when it is all said and done, can speak to an audience. How it can relay a message or take someone out of their reality for a moment of time. It’s just like words on the page of book, maybe that’s why 

I love both of them so much.

After the audition process is all said and done and the long awaited call back has been made, the filming begins. The ratio of auditions to roles landed ratio is pretty large so I make sure not to take anything for granted. On set is the surreal part of the industry. Becoming a character, preparing your mind to really bring out the person you want to convey. It’s a long, sometimes draining process, but I love every minute of it. In a full 8 hour day you’ll be lucky to film one full scene.  Scenes are shot over and over again from all different angles in order for the camera to capture that perfect shot.

The first film I ever shot was short film based in the 1600’s. The director wanted to express within the film how far women have come since then. It was a challenging role, but one I am very proud of. Just for fun, I thought I’d show all of you a sneak peek at the rough cut! This 8 minute film took about 24 hours to film and many, many more in the editing process. I hope you enjoy! Here is Subjugation.

Courtney in Action!

Courtney’s Bio

Courtney Giardina has always had a creative streak and a wild imagination. She has been fascinated by writing and the entertainment industry since she was a kid. Courtney grew up dancing, cheerleading and playing piano before she turned to writing as her creative outlet.  She won an award for her writing in elementary school and wrote countless poems, songs and short stories.

Courtney was born and raised just outside of Rochester, NY. In 2012, she moved to Charlotte, NC and has been focusing on finally doing all the things she said she would do “someday.”  After making a New Year’s Resolution in 2012 to write her first novel, Courtney completed Tear Stained Beaches after 9 months of long nights and wearing out the delete button on her keyboard. She has also started acting and has appeared in 3 short films in the Charlotte, NC area. She has a passion for health and fitness and enjoys living a very healthy lifestyle.

Haylie Julian wants nothing more than to put her crumbling marriage back together. Chase used to be a fun-loving, light hearted husband who had lately become an overworked attorney obsessed with climbing the corporate ladder. It isn’t long before Haylie starts waking up next to a man she barely knows. His secretive phone calls and late nights at the office leave her feeling alone and afraid of what he might be hiding. Ignoring his continuous pleas to just leave well enough alone, she continues to dig for answers and discovers a heartbreaking truth.

Struggling with what she has just learned, Haylie sets off to a quaint little North Carolina beach town to decide if her marriage can survive. It isn’t long after she arrives that her world is once again turned upside down as Chase’s secret stares her right in the face.

Connect with Courtney!
Twitter @sweetangeleyz