Gemma Brocato on Playing with Fire and Research

Happy December, everyone! I know I haven’t been visible for most of it thus far and for that I apologize. Just putting out a lot of fires in RL right now. And speaking of “fire,” I’m delighted to welcome Gemma Brocato back to my blog with her newest release, PLAYING WITH FIRE. This is another entry in her Five Senses series, and it’s a spicy 5-star read. You can find my review on Amazon. In the meantime, please welcome Gemma as she shares a bit about the research that went into her “sizzling” story!

~ooOOoo~

Thanks, Mae, for having me over today to talk about Playing With Fire. I loved writing this story because I got to get reacquainted with some of my favorite characters from the Five Senses Series, brother and sister, Sam Kerrigan and Pippa Mathers. This short story was an opportunity to give Sarah Willis, a secondary character from Sam’s book, Exposed To Passion, her own story.

Sarah is the Assistant Principal at Granite Pointe High School, and the story opens with her having to discipline a student who has yelled at the art teacher in an argument about different styles of graffiti. Sarah has to meet with the kid’s dad, Cris Bayfield. The chemistry between the two is strong and immediate, and to be resisted by both parties at all costs. Thankfully, their resistance is futile.

While I was writing the story, I needed to conduct a little research about the different styles of graffiti. I had no idea there were any differences at all. But while I was researching, I came across this website and fell in love with some of the art they shared.

New Year tree graffiti on the wall

Urban Graffiti on a wall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more amazing graffiti, click here

A fan sent me some graffiti she’d made on Pho.to Lab Pro I was touched that she’d pulled that aspect from the story to create something with meaning.

Graffiti image

I love my job because of the research I get to do to be sure my facts are as accurate as they can be. Sometimes my research makes me laugh or at least smile. Sometimes I end up wanting to bleach my eyeballs. And heaven forbid any law enforcement types ever get a hold of my search history. I’d have some ’splaining to do.

Thanks again, Mae, for inviting me over today. I hope you find your research as entertaining as I do.

Playing With FireBlurb
Playing With Fire

Every day is filled with conferences, obligations, and disciplinary meetings for Assistant Principal Sarah Willis. When a student is sent to her office, a confrontation with his father, the new fire marshal in Granite Pointe, doesn’t extinguish her instant attraction to the man.

When his son gets into trouble at school, Cris Bayfield discovers he’s hot for teacher. His interest in Sarah goes beyond parent-teacher conferences, but her artistic side and his past history could spell doom for any potential relationship.

When the theatrical director for the high school play resigns unexpectedly, Sarah has to step in as the understudy, throwing her in Cris’s path on a regular basis. As they spend more and more time together, her resolve to not get involved with a parent goes up in flames.

Amazon

Author, Gemma BrocatoAbout the Author
Gemma Brocato was born with a book in her hands, and learned to read shortly after. She Able to read in a moving car without getting motion sickness, a fact she’s proud to share. After spending too many years making financial products and advisors sound sexy, she quit her full-time job to focus her efforts on contemporary romance novels. As a hybrid author, she has several indie titles as well as traditionally published work, with plans to add four more titles this year to her growing list of books.

Connect with Gemma at the following haunts:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gemma.brocato
Website: www.Gemmabrocato.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GemmaBrocato   @Gemmabrocato
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7229886.Gemma_Brocato
Instagram: https://instagram.com/gemma_brocato/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+GemmaBrocato/posts

Mae Clair Presents: Gemma Brocato with Exposed to Passion #romance #contemporary

I am blogging with Sara Walter Ellwood today, so if you get a chance, please pop over and say hello. In the meantime . . .

She’s baaack!  I love having Gemma Brocato visit my blog, so naturally, when I heard she had a new release coming up, I invited her over to chat. Please say hello to this talented, extremely supportive, and friendly writer again! 

It’s great to have you back, Gemma. Let’s start off with what attracts you most to your chosen genre. Please share! 


To be completely honest, I chose to write in Contemporary Romance because I’m lazy by nature. I love to read historical novels, but the amount of research involved in making sure the details are correct must be monumental. I prefer to spend my time getting the details of emotion right, not how a lady in ancient times got dressed, or ran her household, or the social order of who gets to sit above the salt. Makes me tired just thinking about it.

LOL! I admit I enjoy doing a fair amount of research when it comes to novel writing, but could never tackle a full blown historical for exactly the reason you mentioned—the time involved. Right now I’m working on a novel set in 1983. Not an excessive amount of research, but I have to remember cell phones didn’t exist and the pop culture was considerably different. When I screw something up, I have two critique partners to rein me in. How about you? Do you have a critique partner and how has that been beneficial to you?

I have several critique partners and I love what they bring to my writing. Each person involved offers something completely different. Some line edit, some provide development type of expertise, and some are just fantastic cheerleaders. When we brainstorm ideas with each other, it’s magic. They’ve helped make my books better.

Good for you! It sounds like you’ve got a great group behind you. I’m sure they helped with valuable feedback when you were working on your new release, EXPOSED TO PASSION. I’d love more details.

EXPOSED TO PASSION releases on October 20, and is the third book in the Five Senses Series (It’s on pre-order right now). This novel is based on sight. I’ve matched a traveling photography exhibit curator, Rikki Salerno, with a high school teacher and photography club sponsor, Sam Kerrigan.  I threw in a bullied student and a woman who was a bully as a young girl and never broke the cycle. She made things very interesting. I was so happy to finally write Sam’s story. He’s been begging me for it since I first met him in Cooking Up Love. The nice thing about this series is that each book stands alone. The characters and town are consistent, but you definitely don’t have to have read either of the first two to pick up the third.
ETP Cover

I really enjoyed the first two and am looking forward to Sam’s story. The plot sounds wonderful and I love your heroine’s name. Without giving too much away, tell us a bit about your favorite scene.

There is a scene where a mean girl takes a prank against another student, Katie, too far by feeding the unsuspecting girl a brownie laced with drugs. The scene details Katie’s reaction to the drugs. I borrowed the scene from something that happened once in an airport when I was traveling. Once the paramedics, airport police and the air marshal all left the area, I knew I had to use what I’d seen in a book.

That must have been harrowing in the airport! It’s amazing the things we file away as writers to use later. Share one sentence – – yes, only one! – – of dialogue or description you love.

Oh my gosh – that’s hard. In a scene where Sam is arguing with his brother, Jack Kerrigan unleashes this little zinger. “You’ve been hanging out on planet Uranus too much lately…you’re turning into a real asshole.” Oh, those boys!

Such a guy remark, and definitely a good one.  Score for Jack! 😀  Now to completely change things up, if someone gave you a working time machine tomorrow, where would you visit and why?
I’d probably go back England around 2500 B.C. I really want to know how Stonehenge was built.

Ooo, please tell me when you find out! Remember, I’m the one who pointed you in the direction of the time machine, LOL. 

Dream vacation gifted to you by a fairy godmother:
Does it come with a time machine? No? Well then, it would have to be Mauritius. I’d love to see that island nation because every picture I’ve seen looks incredible.

Favorite season: That a toss up between fall and winter.

Favorite type of music: Classic rock and roll. I’ve been on a kick lately with 70s and 80s music.

Favorite TV show: The Big Bang Theory. Love seeing what these characters get up to.

Favorite ice cream flavor: Kroger used to make one called Death By Chocolate. Yum! We don’t have that store here, so I haven’t had it in years. But I’m not much of an ice cream eater anyway.

Winter?!?! Seriously? Fall, I can see, but the white stuff only looks nice to me in December. 😉 And I love 70s music—80s too, but I’m very partial to 70s. That really takes me back to some fun days. 

Gemma, it was great having you visit as always. I’ll be looking forward to the continuation of your Five Senses series with Sam and Rikki’s story in EXPOSED TO PASSION! 

You can connect with Gemma at the following haunts:
Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads
Google+

Author, Gemma BrocatoAuthor Bio:
Gemma’s favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a ’round tuit,’ and a slip of paper from a fortune cookie proclaiming her a lover of words; someday she’d write a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss, even the rejections addressed to ‘Dear Author’ were gratifying.

After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy. Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue an avocation as a romance author.

Blurb EXPOSED TO PASSION: 

They walked through the shadows individually. Will they emerge into the light together? 

Leading a vagabond life as a curator for a traveling photography exhibit translates to a lot of bad days for Rikki Salerno. But her trouble doubles when a careless high school student shoves her into a marsh. Being rescued by teacher Sam Kerrigan should have made things better, but Rikki’s inability to confess her true identity casts a shadow over their budding affair.

When Sam refuses an overly aggressive parent’s marriage proposal, she’s determined to ruin him. Not only does she doctor photos to make it look like Sam’s behaved inappropriately in front of students, she hacks the foundation website to reveal Rikki’s true identity. Faster than the blink of a shutter, Rikki’s focus changes from pursuing her full-color future to the black and white necessity of clearing Sam’s name.

Purchase/Pre-Order EXPOSED TO PASSION from:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Kensington Books

Also By Gemma Brocato:
Cooking Up Love
Hearts In Harmony 

Mae Clair Presents: Gemma Brocato on Noodle Braining

I’m delighted to have Gemma Brocato as my guest blogger today. You’re going to love this post! Grated cheese, anyone?

~ooOOoo~

I have a noodle brain.

Years ago, I heard a comparison on the difference between a male brain and a female brain. Apparently, a man’s brain is set up as compartments, like a waffle. Each box has walls, and men function almost exclusively within those walls. A woman, on the other hand, has a brain like spaghetti, a lot of individual noodles that touch one another. I got to thinking about this comparison in terms of writers and the difference between a plotter, let’s call this writer a waffle brain, and a pantser, you guessed it, a noodle-noggin.

To me, a plotter lives in one compartment at a time, the focus on the action, goals, motivation and conflict. Each box has room for only one issue, and all the boxes march neatly to a conclusion. When a plotter is writing according to the outline they’ve developed, they are like guys. When they are at work, they are only focused on work, in the kitchen creating, that’s it. When a plotter is focused on a turning point, or the set-up, or whatever, their undivided attention is on the single item.

Let me just say, I have a spaghetti brain. Every noodle on the plate intersects in someway. I can switch from one noodle to the next without missing a beat (not quite Lady and the Tramp, but darn close. I’m a romance writer afterall). Every thought and issue in my story is connected to every other issue in some way. The story flows, without following a logical path.

Being a spaghetti brain allows me to multitask like nobody’s business. Whether it’s in the kitchen, where I can fix a meal, talk on the phone, make a shopping list, jot down a story idea and answer questions from the other occupants of my home, or in the worlds that exist in my mind. I can edit one story, leap over to the next to add words to the page, brainstorm a story concept and create promotional artwork within a very short span of time. And here is the most important part: Things don’t fall through the cracks, I keep the facts straight, and the stories move forward in a logical progression. In other words, the sauce sticks to the noodles. And I do all of this without an outline or storyboard or vision map.

The way I see it, there isn’t a wrong way to write a story. You just have to write it in a way that works for you. And I love spaghetti.

AUTHOR BIO:Gemma Brocato
Gemma’s favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a ’round tuit,’ and a slip of paper from a fortune cookie proclaiming her a lover of words; some day she’d write a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss, even the rejections addressed to ‘Dear Author’ were gratifying.

After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy. Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue an avocation as a romance author.

Her gamble paid off when she was a 2012 Finalist in the prestigious Golden Pen contest for Romantic Suspense and she received contracts for her first and second book.

CONNECT WITH GEMMA AT THE FOLLOWING HAUNTS:
Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads 

Gemma Brocato is the author of the FIVE SENSES romance series.
COOKING UP LOVE and HEARTS IN HARMONY are available now, with EXPOSED TO PASSION (coming October 2014) available for pre-order

HIH Cover2HEARTS IN HARMONY BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Sometimes life’s most simple melodies become songs of love.

Pippa Sanders’ life is filled with songs of leaving, longing and loneliness. Since the death of her husband, her children have been her world. She’ll do anything to protect them, including encasing her heart in ice until they’re college age. She’s made a practice of shying away from any relationship that could break her heart when it ends. And it’s worked so far.

Clay Mathers has made a temporary move to Granite Pointe, Massachusetts to help with his mother’s Christmas tree farm while she recovers from a stroke. Although his long-range plans don’t include staying in the small town, a little female companionship during his short residency would be welcome. While on duty as sentry against protestors at a military funeral, he finds Pippa visiting her husband’s grave, and begins a campaign to make her into a friend–with benefits.

What starts as a simple affair evolves to something more, something that changes the soundtracks of both their lives…the beating of two hearts in harmony.

CONTENT WARNING: Contains strong language, hot sex and a spicy hero.

Purchase HEARTS IN HARMONY from:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Kobo

Welcome Gemma Brocato with Hearts in Harmony G*I*V*E*A*W*A*Y

My friend and sister author, Gemma Brocato, is roaming the blogosphere, celebrating the release of HEARTS IN HARMONY, her hot new contemporary romance—book two in her Five Senses series. She’s got a fab giveaway going on too, but first, I’d like to introduce you to this bubbly supportive author. This girl is a gem! 🙂 

Gemma, please share a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.

Most of the jobs I’ve had have some sort of writing involved in them. Mostly marketing and advertising types of writing. Although one job I had as a sales trainer required me to conduct a training session in a prison (for the inmates, I was not incarcerated LOL). That might be my most memorable experience. Ten convicted felons and me discussing the best ways to telemarket. I’ve dedicated myself solely to writing since 2010, when I quit my full-time job to be a writer full-time. In that time, I’ve completed three manuscripts and started work on two others. And the ideas just keep flowing.

Congrats to you on being able to step into the writing arena, full-time. I think that is every author’s ultimate dream. And wow, a training session with inmates—that definitely sounds memorable!

When it comes to plotter vs. panster, I think even plotters veer from their outline to a degree during the writing process. When you finish a novel, how closely would you say the end product resembles your original concept — 100%? 50%? Something else entirely?

I’d say close to 90%. Although the third book in the Five Senses Series surprised me. I didn’t expect one of the characters to develop the way he did. But during the course of writing a crotchety old man, he kept revealing his sweet loveable side. What’s a writer to do when that happens?

I love when characters surprise you like that. I’ve had several do that to me, including someone I had pegged for a villain in a series I’m working on. He Intrigued me so much he’s actually the hero of the second book, LOL. My favorite part of starting a new novel is coming up with character names. What is yours and how do you go about it?

I love crafting the opening scene. I’ll let ideas percolate in my imagination for a while, put some basic concepts on paper (inner and outer journeys, physical characteristics, settings, etc) then wrap them all into a killer opener. My journalism education won’t let me write anything that won’t grab the reader right away.

Good for you. Openings are so crucial! Please tell us about your newest release.

Hearts In Harmony is the second book in the Five Senses Series. I’ve been writing the series so you do not have to read the first one, each one can stand alone. I first mentioned the heroine, Pippa in Cooking Up Love and offered a bit of her backstory. Since then, she’d been whispering in my ear to pay attention to her. She has twin six-year olds who try very hard to steal the show. Pippa is a war widow, grounded in her family and life in Granite Pointe, unwilling to admit she is lonely. When she meets Clay Mathers, she’s attracted, but hesitant to act on it. His mother, Seeley, is her client and he is only in town until she recovers from a stroke. But he wants Pippa while he’s there and wages a military-style campaign to turn her into his temporary friend with benefits. Throw in a scoundrel hiding behind a protest group and a growing love between Clay and Pippa and you have a symphony worth reading.

I can’t wait to read it and see how it all turns out. Was there any research involved in this novel? If so, what was the most interesting item you discovered?

When I first started writing the series, I based it on the five senses; this one is sound. I’d heard so much about music therapy when Congressional Representative Gabrielle Giffords was recovering from a traumatic head wound that I’d decided Pippa should work in the field. I reached out to the local Association of Music Therapists and they were extremely helpful.

I’m not familiar with musical therapy, but I’m definitely intrigued. Please share a few short sentences from your book to hook us.

As days went, this one was made to order. Misty. Gloomy. A perfect day…for a funeral.

That does the trick. Great impact. When you’re not writing, do you have any guilty pleasures to distract you?

I love watches and clocks. In fact, I own around ten watches right now that need to have the batteries replaced. I have two favorites, one a 20 year-old Timex with a large, readable face and a simple black band. The other is my mother’s dressy, vintage watch. It runs on a spring you wind, and has a gorgeous mesh band. The face is almost too small to read, but it makes me feel closer to my mom when I wear it. I know she still wears her mother’s watch for the same reason.

Lovely. And I have a secret . . . I’m a clock and watch fanatic too. I’ve got oodles of watches in need of batteries, and I love walking into a clock shop, being surrounded by the soft ticking and musical chimes. Clocks in my family have a unique and somewhat strange history, especially the grandfather’s clock.  

Now, that I’ve established we both love clocks, let’s find out what else you’re fond of. 🙂 Please share your:

Favorite musical group or singer: Mumford And Sons or ColdPlay

Favorite social media platform: Facebook

Food you never grow tired of: Coffee counts as food, right?

Owl or lark: Both – I’m not sleeping much lately

Mountains or beach: Mountain

Coffee counts! How could writers live without it, LOL? Hopefully, if you’re not sleeping it’s because you’re courting characters in your head or busy at writing. Otherwise no sleep, is no fun! 🙂 It was great having you here today, Gemma. I wish you much success with HEARTS IN HARMONY. I know it will be an engaging read!

AUTHOR BIO:Gemma Brocato
Gemma’s favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a ’round tuit,’ and a slip of paper from a fortune cookie proclaiming her a lover of words; some day she’d write a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss, even the rejections addressed to ‘Dear Author’ were gratifying.

After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy. Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue an avocation as a romance author.

Her gamble paid off when she was a 2012 Finalist in the prestigious Golden Pen contest for Romantic Suspense and she received contracts for her first and second book.

CONNECT WITH GEMMA AT THE FOLLOWING HAUNTS:
Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads 

HIH CoverBOOK DESCRIPTION:

Sometimes life’s most simple melodies become songs of love.

Pippa Sanders’ life is filled with songs of leaving, longing and loneliness. Since the death of her husband, her children have been her world. She’ll do anything to protect them, including encasing her heart in ice until they’re college age. She’s made a practice of shying away from any relationship that could break her heart when it ends. And it’s worked so far.

Clay Mathers has made a temporary move to Granite Pointe, Massachusetts to help with his mother’s Christmas tree farm while she recovers from a stroke. Although his long-range plans don’t include staying in the small town, a little female companionship during his short residency would be welcome. While on duty as sentry against protestors at a military funeral, he finds Pippa visiting her husband’s grave, and begins a campaign to make her into a friend–with benefits.

What starts as a simple affair evolves to something more, something that changes the soundtracks of both their lives…the beating of two hearts in harmony.

CONTENT WARNING: Contains strong language, hot sex and a spicy hero.

A Lyrical Press Contemporary Romance

EXCERPT:

Pippa opened her mouth to retort, when the irony of his words hit her. Yes, he did have a right to speak his mind. It was a privilege her husband had fought and died for. She just wished he wasn’t so crude about it.

Clay eyed her and crossed muscular arms over his chest, daring her to respond, waiting for a chance to chastise her again for her stupidity.

She swallowed the words she’d intended to use to put him in his place. “You’re right. Thank you for helping me.”

Shock and confusion rippled across his strong face, and laughter tickled the back of her throat. She’d managed to shut him up. The same way she might have with one of her kids when they needed to listen to reason. It was a little fun to take the wind out of his sails this way. She’d done it all her life with her brothers and had seen the same look of consternation floating on their faces.

But she’d never wanted her brothers to keep arguing with her. If this green-eyed hunk wanted to go another round with her, she’d relish it—welcome it. There was something about him…

BUY LINKS:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Kobo

GIVEAWAY ALERT:

2014-04-25 11.41.35

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a HEARTS IN HARMONY swag pack, loaded with goodies!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Reveal: Hearts in Harmony by Gemma Brocato

My Lyrical Press/Kensington Books sister author, Gemma Brocato, has a spicy new release coming out shortly. HEARTS IN HARMONY is already available for pre-order on Amazon. Check out this gorgeous cover,

Hearts In Harmony, Book 2 of the Five Senses Series
Coming May 5, 2014
From Lyrical Press, an imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp.

HIH Cover2

Blurb 
Sometimes life’s most simple melodies become songs of love.

Pippa Sanders’ life is filled with songs of leaving, longing and loneliness. Since the death of her husband, her children have been her world. She’ll do anything to protect them, including encasing her heart in ice until they’re college age. She’s made a practice of shying away from any relationship that could break her heart when it ends. And it’s worked so far.

Clay Mathers has made a temporary move to Granite Pointe, Massachusetts to help with his mother’s Christmas tree farm while she recovers from a stroke. Although his long-range plans don’t include staying in the small town, a little female companionship during his short residency would be welcome. While on duty as sentry against protestors at a military funeral, he finds Pippa visiting her husband’s grave, and begins a campaign to make her into a friend–with benefits.

What starts as a simple affair evolves to something more, something that changes the soundtracks of both their lives…the beating of two hearts in harmony.

CONTENT WARNING: Contains strong language, hot sex and a spicy hero.

A Lyrical Press Contemporary Romance

Read more about Cooking Up Love, Book 1 of the Five Senses Series at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IRITMS8/

Gemma BrocatoAbout Gemma Brocato
Gemma’s favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a ’round tuit,’ and a slip of paper from a fortune cookie proclaiming her a lover of words; some day she’d write a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss, even the rejections addressed to ‘Dear Author’ were gratifying.

After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy. Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue an avocation as a romance author.

Her gamble paid off when she was a 2012 Finalist in the prestigious Golden Pen contest for Romantic Suspense and she received contracts for her first and second book.

Connect with Gemma at the following haunts:
Facebook
Twitter 
@gemmabrocato
Website