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 An Ancient Introduction to Christmas and MISSION: MISTLETOE

It’s always a pleasure to have Gemma Brocato, friend and Kensington/Lyrical Press sister author on my blog. Not only does she have a great post today about the ancient traditions of Christmas, and her new holiday release MISSION: MISTLETOE, but she’s also brought along a special treat.

Gemma’s novella A WINTER WEDDING is FREE today on Amazon! A continuation of her HEARTS IN HARMONY novel, it’s an ideal holiday read. Grab your copy, then make sure you come back to read Gemma’s post and get the deets on her other holiday romance!

A Winter Wedding Free

Saturnalia — An Ancient Introduction to Christmas
By Gemma Brocato

When I first thought about writing my holiday science fiction novel, I knew I didn’t want to make the story about Christmas per se. I wanted to detail a celebration that went much further back. I began researching the Winter Solstice and discovered Saturnalia, an ancient Roman celebration that laid the foundation for our present day Christmas celebrations. It seemed a perfect solution.

Originally a one-day festival, Saturnalia soon evolved to a full week of celebration due to its popularity. The Emperors Augustus and Caligula tried to reduce the number of days, but the mass populace resisted their efforts. The event was more than just fun, feasting and games. It was a festival to honor Saturn, the god of sowing and the harvest. During the banquet, an effigy of the god could be one of the honored guests.

The best part of the festival was the temporary reversal of roles between masters and their slaves. Masters served meals and slaves were granted luxuries such as gambling and lazing around the house for a change. Their style of dressing tended to be more relaxed during the event. Santa’s hat supposedly originated at this time, a peaked woolen cap that symbolized a freed slave. This is also the time the Lord of Misrule made his first appearance in history. A family member was appointed to serve as host for the celebration.

Many of the traditions of the festival are still visible today. Decorating outdoor trees, placing greenery over doorways, merry-making pranks and gift-giving.

particular tree bare of white poplar and shrubs in the branches of mistletoeMy novella, Mission: Mistletoe is set in the future, where religious celebrations have been outlawed, but a festival for the harvest was allowed. So I set the story on a space station in orbit around Saturn, in December. It’s a story about the medicinal properties of the parasitic plant which is one of the symbols our present day holiday celebrations. The plant thrives off the nutrients of its host, usually an oak or apple tree. Kissing under the mistletoe was first associated with Saturnalia. People revered the plant as the bestower of life and fertility. Ancient Celts worshipped the plant for its mystical powers. It was also believed that Loki used the plant to poison Balder, the god of the summer sun, plunging the world into winter. Balder’s mother, Frigga, goddess of love, wept for her son, and it is said that her tears became the sticky white berries of the plant. She managed to bring her son back to life and in gratitude, kissed everyone who passed beneath the tree on which mistletoe grew.

mistletoe isolated on a white backgroundNow, here’s the sad part. Generally, when you are researching Mistletoe, you’ll come up with sites that display pictures of holly. The holly plant features sharp, pointy leaves and red berries. Mistletoe has white (and sometimes red berries) but its leaves are smooth, elliptical-shaped. So don’t be fooled. Kissing under the holly might be fun, but under the mistletoe, it’s magical.

~ooOOoo~

MISSION:  MISTLETOE
Genre: Science Fiction romance
Publisher: Gemma Brocato
Date of Publication: Nov 19, 2014 
Number of pages:
120

Mission_Mistletoe_Cover_CompressedBook Description:
In her quest to find a cure for the disease that killed her father, Rhayne Drake accepts a position as a researcher on a remote space station. Once in orbit around Saturn, she uncovers the true intent of the study: the ruling political party plans to use her research to kill, instead of cure, anyone carrying the genetic marker for the disease. Including Rhayne herself. 

Griffin Cooper, the station’s recreation manager, is charmed when he meets Rhayne. First he saved her from death by cargo-mover. Now he’ll fight to save her from a worse fate.

Set against a Saturnalia, a winter holiday festival, Rhayne and Griffin must find a way to defeat the political Coalition’s sinister plot before it’s too late.

Excerpt:
Rhayne froze as the over-laden Airfloat bore down, her mouth opened in a silent scream. Holy Titan! She’d die on this transport without ever stepping foot on the space station, not to mention Saturn.

Her breath squeaked out in a rush as someone grabbed her around the waist and swung her out of the path of crushing death. Her body went one direction while her briefcase flew the other. The screeching sound of the airbrakes engaging on the cargo float rang in her ears. A cacophony of other sounds erupted—men roared warnings to watch out and glass broke as boxes crashed to the floor with the sudden stop.

Rhayne’s body came to rest between the solid wall behind her and a hard, man-sized body that covered her, protecting her from falling containers and shattering glass. The aroma of Cassini Ale tainted her olfactory cavities, bitter and astringent, as broken bottles released their contents onto the floor in front of them.

“Are you okay? What in Titan’s name are you doing in the cargo bay? This area is off limits.”

The deep voice was velvety smooth in her ear. Warm breath tickled her cheek, and she rubbed the spot as she nodded her head. The large man eased away enough to give Rhayne her first glimpse of his rugged features.

The flow of his face was mesmerizing. From the top of his perfectly-shaped and completely bald head to strong brows, poised over eyes the color of Earth’s sky just before leaving the atmosphere. A shiny gold earring winked on his earlobe, an oddity in a society that had ceased mutilating their bodies with piercings and tattoos generations ago. He was the kind of rebel she’d fantasized about while at university, where she’d been forced to conform to a regimented curriculum with no room for individuality. Sharp cheekbones and a square, stubbled jaw completed the look. This man was beautiful and dangerous. Rhayne’s breath caught. She cleared her throat attempting to appear less awestruck.

“I turned right when I should have turned left. I’m looking for the off-load bay.” Rhayne frowned at the raspy quality of her voice.

Suddenly aware of her rescuer’s body pressed intimately against hers, she put her hands on his chest and pushed. “You can back away now. The danger is past.”

Purchase MISSION: MISTLETOE from Amazon

Author, Gemma BrocatoAbout the Author:
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 a vocation as a romance author.

Connect with Gemma at the following haunts:
Website and Blog 
Facebook
Twitter 

Goodreads 
Wattpad
Google+ 

Also By Gemma Brocato:
Cooking Up Love
Hearts In Harmony
Exposed To Passion
A Winter Wedding 

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

Seven Random Facts by Mae Clair

Recently, the lovely Alicia Coleman honored me with the Very Inspiring Blogger award. Alicia and I originally met when we took a Savvy Authors course together, and have remained friends since. She’s hard at work on an upcoming paranormal romance release that I know you’ll love. Thank you, Alicia, for thinking of me!

very-inspiring-blogger-award

In accepting, I am required to

  • Link back to the person who nominated me for the award.
  • Display the Very Inspiring Blogger Award logo (isn’t it attractive?)
  • Reveal 7 things about myself
  • Nominate others to receive the award and continue the fun

So here goes:

  1. Fever DreamMy favorite book boyfriend is Aloysius Pendergast. I am in awe of authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child for creating such a mesmerizing character. I would love to see some of their books made into a movie (especially Fever Dream which cries out to be filmed) but am afraid no living actor could ever begin to capture Pendergast. The man has no equal (well, maybe Gerald Tarrant, my other book boyfriend). In the meantime, I can dream. 🙂
  1. I grew up in a small town and to this day dislike big cities. Probably why I have never been to—gasp!—New York City.
  1. Rarely does a day past that I don’t speak to, or think of, God.
  1. I detest any type of red meat and am “weird” about most other forms of meat, although I am not a vegetarian.
  1. I would willingly give up chocolate before chips or bread.
  1. I really enjoy talking with senior citizens, especially when they share their life experiences.
  1. DancingI am an introvert who dislikes being the center of attention, but I love to dance.  On a dance floor, I have no problem being an extrovert!

And now to pass along the award. I nominate the following bloggers to carry the torch, should they wish to participate:

Emma Meade
Flossie Benton Rogers
Donna Cummings
Lorraine Paton
Cd Brennan
Gemma Brocato
Daisy Banks

 

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

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Would you search for a mythical creature? by Mae Clair

I can actually say “been there, done that,” in relation to the question above. If you’ve visited my blog before, you might know I’ve traipsed around West Virginia in the area where the legendary Mothman was sighted — all in the name of research which I’ve factored into an upcoming novel.

But going out on a charter boat to track down a leviathan larger than a whale . . .a mythical seabeast that has a taste for gobbling up ships? Nah, probably not.

Cover KindleThat, is however, exactly what my heroine, Rylie Carswell, does in my new indie release, SOLSTICE ISLAND. Today, I’m visiting with my Kensington Books/Lyrical Press sister, Gemma Brocato on her fabulous blog. If you get a chance, I’d love for you to pop over and say hello.

 

 

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 

 

 

 

Guest Blogger Gemma Brocato: Listening To The Muse Even When She Whines

I’ve got a treat for you today as Gemma Brocato, author of COOKING UP LOVE, has agreed to share her thoughts about The Muse. Gemma and I connected as sister authors at Lyrical Press, now the digital imprint of Kensington Books. Initially, I had an interview planned with Gemma for today, and wanted to put the spotlight on COOKING UP LOVE. As we wait for everything to sort itself out between Kenstington and Lyrical, book titles are temporarily unavailable, but rather than cancel her visit, Gemma agreed to write a post on a subject I adore — mythology!

Let’s see what she has to say about the elusive, fickle, and oh so wondrous, muse!

~ooOOoo~

Thanks to Mae for inviting me by today, and for being flexible about what type of post I would present to her lovely followers. See, I’d completed a post about my debut novel, Cooking Up Love and had it ready to go. But the Muses moved the powers that be at Lyrical Press and Kensington to form a partnership that I’m very excited about. Unfortunately, it means my book is temporarily off the market and it doesn’t make sense to promote the book. So, I was inspired talk to you about the Muses.

AThe word Muse actually means desire or wish. As in, I wish I knew where this post was heading.

Did you know there were nine Muses? And they were all girls (wouldn’t you hate competing for bathroom time in that house?). According to Greek mythology Zeus bewitched Mnemosyne and spent nine consecutive nights with her, producing the Musai. The goddesses were born in Pieria, at the foot of Mt. Olympus. Their names might be recognizable for what they’ve come to inspire in present day. Here’s a chart:

Muses Chart

When I look at their names, I see Choir, Eros, Hymn, and Ha.

After the girls were born, Zeus fostered them out to Apollo to raise them. Apollo moved them to Mt. Elikonas where he helped them dedicate their lives to the arts, teaching them to support and encourage creation, enhance imagination and inspire artists. But the power most frequently attributed to them is the power to bring to mind…and clarify…the story the writer wishes to tell. Apparently, listening to what the Muse had to say was important. Ignore it, and she could be spiteful; leaving the artist blind or the singer or poet mute. I suppose that’s what we’d call writer’s block today.

Since the days of Ancient Greece, writers, musicians and artists have called upon their Muse for help and guidance. Homer asks his Muse to tell him the story in the proper way in both the Iliad and The Odyssey.

Eric Clapton spoke about his Muse this way: “I wish I could write easily. I’m one of those guys who’s visited by the Muse when things are dire.”

fotolia_36132060_xsOne of my favorite authors, Harlan Coben, has this to say about his Muse: “The Muse is not an angelic voice that sits on your shoulder and sings sweetly. The Muse is the most annoying whine. The Muse isn’t hard to find, just hard to like – she follows you everywhere, tapping you on the shoulder, demanding that you stop doing whatever else you might be doing and pay attention to her.”

Donatella Versace has a one and it looks a lot like her: “My Muse changes all the time because I think every designer is a bit of a Muse for themselves in a way – they just don’t want to say it.” While I do believe some of her creations are inspired, I wonder what her Muse actually wears? I’m thinking maybe Chanel.

Can you summon your Muse at will? Or must you wait for her to come? I think Amy Tan answered this best: “Who knows where inspiration comes from. Perhaps it arises from desperation. Perhaps it comes from the flukes of the universe, the kindness of the Muses.”

All I know is when my Muse speaks, I listen to her, even when she whines.

~ooOOoo~

cookinguplove_CoverWhat a great post! I loved that line about the bathroom. Cat fight, guaranteed, LOL. I’m anxious to hear your thoughts and answers to Gemma’s questions about your personal muse. And although COOKING UP LOVE is temporarily off the market, you can still add it to your Goodreads list, here.

Author Bio
Gemma’s favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a ’round tuit,’ and a fortune 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.

Gemma BrocatoConnect with Gemma at the following haunts:
Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads