eBook Review: Breaking a Legend by Sarah Robinson

Breaking-a-Legend_Robinson-2Synopsis: As one of the big names at his family’s gym, Legends, MMA star Rory Kavanagh is used to being in the spotlight—until a gruesome leg injury knocks him out of the cage. Rory is left feeling sidelined in more ways than one, battling the inner demons that come with losing the one shot at his dreams. Then Clare walks into his life and gives him a new dream: winning her heart. There aren’t many new faces in Woodlawn these days, but this tough, beautiful stranger makes Rory want to get his life back into fighting shape.

 

Clare Ivers doesn’t think she’ll be able to tell anyone what really brought her to the close-knit Bronx neighborhood where she just started bartending. But her life’s on pause and her past is catching up fast, try as she might to move on—with new friends, steady work, and a chiseled alpha male trying to get her attention. Even though Rory’s more than a little intense, she can’t deny that her heart beats faster when he looks at her with those soulful silver eyes. Clare thought she was done with love, but Rory might just be man enough to show her she thought wrong.

My thoughts: Robinson’s prose is sumptuous. Robinson’s storytelling is unequivocally spellbinding. The way Robinson creates gut-wrenching, fall on your knees, richly constructed raw emotion is absolutely flawless.

Clare and Rory are magic, mesmerizing and memorable. Robinson sketched legendary characters who harken back to unforgettable lovers of remarkable timeless literary fiction.

Even the most stoic of readers cannot escape shedding warm tears from the beautifully crafted introduction to the Kavanagh family the proficient Robinson has created with Breaking a Legend.

 

Breaking a Legend is a masterful narration brimming with courage, excitement, hope, redemption, spice, and spectacular, heart-wrenching, gripping prose that leaves you breathless!

Sarah Robinson’s writing is liquid velvet.

 

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

 

Review first appeared in Long Island Book Reviews Examiner.

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Writers on Writing: Sarah Robinson

SarahsWritingSpace“Aside from being a Top 10 Barnes & Noble and Amazon Bestseller, Sarah Robinson is a native of Washington, DC and has both her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in psychology. She is newly married to a local police officer, who is just as much of an animal rescue enthusiast as she is, and together they own a small zoo of animals and volunteer with animal shelters.”

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

If I don’t feel it, my readers won’t feel it. That’s the lesson I’ve learned that I’ve found most valuable.

 

How has this helped you as a writer?

Whether a scene is happy, sad, sexy, or angry—I need to be feeling it in order to convey it onto the page. This is why I believe that having empathy is so important as a writer. We often write about people, places, and scenarios we’ve never experienced ourselves, so we need to be able to empathize with those who have, or even with our characters, to be able to get into their heads and allow readers to do the same. My writing is often called emotional from readers and reviewers, and I think that mindset is the reason for it.

Author Photo - Sarah Robinson

Mac or PC?

Definitely Mac! I’ve had the same MacBook Pro for 8 years now and somehow, it still works like a charm. It’s a bit slower and randomly dies, but it chugs along and does what I need it to, so that’s what matters. I’m able to sync with iBooks and all kinds of other programs for writers that PC’s just don’t have access to.

 

Do you use Word or Scrivener?

Both. I use Scrivener for the first draft and keeping track of characters. Once the first draft is done, I export it into a word document and edit it, make it pretty, and send it off to my publisher!

 

Do you write or take notes with an iPad or tablet?

Nope, I’m pen and paper in that regard, with one exception. I have tons of post-its covered in random notes that are scattered over my desk and shoved into notebooks. The exception is that I do “write notes”, more like jot down quick inspirations or ideas, by texting them to myself on my iPhone. If I’m out and about and something great comes to my mind, I text it to myself. Once I open up my Mac, I have iMessages on my computer and can scroll right through the texts on my laptop and easily copy/paste. It works for me, even though it’s a bit odd!

FINAL Saving a Legend Cover

Do you have any writing rituals?

I need either silence, or white noise (like a coffee shop background) to write, and something to drink. Normally water, plus coffee. Sometimes wine, or a beer. Every once in a while, I’ll add in some healthy snacks to keep my energy up, like almonds! Other than that, there’s nothing super specific about my routine.

 

Do you start by writing or researching first?

Writing. Since most of my stories are character driven, I can usually get the first chapter or two out before I hit research phase. The reason I do this is it helps me get an idea in my mind for what I want to write. Even if I plan or outline ahead of time, once you start writing, it changes a bit. Once I have a feel for that, then I have a better idea what to research!

 

Favorite spot to write in the winter?

My couch. Cuddly and warm!

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Favorite spot to write in the summer?

Starbucks. Or any cute coffee shop or café.

 

Visit Sarah’s website for all the latest news.

 

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

 

Interview first appeared in Long Island Book Reviews Examiner.

eBook Review: Amaretto Amber by Traci Andrighetti

SPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00001]ynopsis: Private investigator Franki Amato has just turned thirty, and she feels anything but festive. For starters, she can’t have cake because she’s given up sweets, and one of her teeth is torturing her. To add insult to birthday injury, she has to investigate a surreal strip club homicide—with her sixtyish ex-stripper landlady. Then her Sicilian grandma crashes the New Orleans non-party and insists that she steal a lemon to land a husband. Unfortunately for Franki, the man she has in mind has his mind somewhere else, and their relationship seems to have soured. Adding to her troubles, she has to figure out what a missing amber pendant and a mysterious amaretto bottle have to do with the murder, not to mention why she’s being followed. When a second dancer goes down and a third is threatened, Franki turns to a weird witch to crack the case and cancel a curse before someone blows out her candles for good.

 

My thoughts: Look out world, our enchanting, uproarious leading lady is celebrating the big three-o! Yes, our gal, Franki Amato has entered her third decade and she is not feeling celebratory at all. Again, look out world…and readers.

 

Andrighetti’s Franki Amato series gets crisper, smarter and wittier with each installment. Her storytelling skills are superior, her characters are so vivaciously sketched they jump off the page, her dialogue is authentically carved, her setting is accurately designed, and the way she delivers a mystery is brilliantly sculpted.

Andrighetti’s third outing cements her firmly as the newest heir to the comedy mystery throne. In fact, not since 2002, when Laura Levine released This Pen for Hire, has there been a mystery scribe who impeccably fuses the flawless mix of comedy, mystery and prose like Andrighetti.

Amaretto Amber deftly glides along without losing its sidesplitting momentum as it reaches its action-filled, ingeniously crafted and unforeseen climax.

 

Amaretto Amber is deliciously addicting, wickedly exciting, skillfully well-written, and her best Franki Amato outing to date.

 

Amaretto Amber authenticates Andrighetti is one of the best mystery writers of all-time.
 

 

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco
Review first appeared in Long Island Book Reviews Examiner.

3 Surefire Tips for Dealing with Writing Distractions

WritingPDND

  1. Pinpoint the cause of your distraction.

Disengage from the cause of your distraction. Are you surfing the internet? Are you getting lost in social media? Are you not taking your writing time seriously? If you aren’t, you can’t expect others to be serious about it either. Distractions happen, but there are only a few reasons you should be distracted and which celebrity is cheating isn’t one of them. The first thing you need to ask yourself is why aren’t you writing?

 

  1. Study how other writers handle distractions.

Learn how some of your favorite scribes handle disruptions. Model their strategies for dealing with interruptions until you can design your own.

 

  1. Schedule your writing time.

Make an appointment with yourself to write. Don’t do anything but write during the time you carved out to write. Simple, huh? It is, but not always so easy. If you have to do some research, you should make an appointment with yourself to do your research. You may have to unplug from the world and let your family know you are going off the grid. If you are unable to avoid taking calls, you should screen them so as not to lose your momentum. Granted, there are exceptions to every rule and if you do make exceptions, be aware you’re not perpetually interrupted by deviations in your routine.

 

Article first appeared in Long Island Book Reviews Examiner.

 

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

Writers on Writing: J R Pearson

 

JPWSSelf-publishing cozy mystery author Jenna Pearson writes the Josie Rizzo Cozy Mystery Series under the pseudonym J R Pearson. She is twenty years old and live with her parents and younger sister in southern Maryland.JP cartoon

Pearson absolutely looooovvees to read cozy mysteries, crime thrillers, and paranormal romantic comedy books. She has over 600 books camping out her room, which will probably double by the end of the year 😉

Pearson is a Marvel Comics nerd! #TeamCaptainAmericaJPJRB1

She very much enjoys watching old 1930s Sherlock Holmes and cheesy monster movies with her family, who are my inspiration for writing—good times, delicious food, and crazy family.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

Since I self -publish, I’ve learned to just take my time when writing. I’m on no one’s schedule or deadline. It’s just me, my little world I’ve created, and all the time in the universe.

 

How has this helped you as a writer?

Being that taking my time is key, I’ve seen more consistency in my storyline and just an overall better outcome of the whole project.

Mac or PC?

 

Neither! I do all my writing on a tablet with an attachable keyboard.

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Word or Scrivener?

‘Word’ all the way.

Do you write or take notes with an iPad or tablet?

I write out my notes on a notepad but then type out my story on my tablet.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Yes I do! As I’m typing, I have re-runs of the TV show: The Big Bang Theory—in the background and have my body pillow wrapped around me. 🙂
Do you start by writing or researching first?

Research first! My books contain a lot of food, so I take the time to plan/research new recipes to include.

 

Favorite spot to write in the winter?

In my bed with a gazillion blankets and chocolate coffee on my nightstand.

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Favorite spot to write in the summer?

On my driveway…Lol! I know that sounds weird, but I’m like a cat in a warm spot on the floor. I love to lay out a blanket and get to work. The ground is toasty and I’m also getting a tan at the same time! 🙂

 

Review first appeared in Long Island Book Reviews Examiner.
Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

eBook Review: Christmas Al Dente by Jennifer L. Hart

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00028]Synopsis: Andy Buckland is determined that nothing will interrupt her first Christmas with Malcolm Jones and her last holiday spent in her childhood home. When the family recipe book disappears from the Bowtie Angel, and Aunt Cecily threatens to put “The Eye” on the entire population of Beaverton if it isn’t returned, Andy and Jones decide to put the eggnog on hold for a little old fashioned sleuthing. But as one secret leads to another, and rumors are served up along with hot buttered penne, Andy can’t shake the suspicion that her life is about to change forever.

 

My thoughts: Despite the minor editing flaws my eyes detected, but my mind swiftly modified, Christmas Al Dente is not only an entertaining holiday read, but a heart-stirring tale beautifully laced with family, friends and small-town living. Readers are able to follow along even without having read the previous Southern Pasta Shop Mysteries; however, please be prepared to rush over to your favorite retailer to purchase Hart’s backlist.

Andy, Hart’s protagonist, is authentic, compassionate, openly flawed and a winner when it comes to fictional leads.

Hart crafts emotionally multifaceted relationships and constructs remarkable secondary characters who enrich and smoothly propel Christmas Al Dente along while brilliantly weaving a clever mystery.

 

This holiday short story is a must for your bookshelf and leaves readers clamoring for more!

 

Review first appeared in Long Island Book Reviews Examiner.

 

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

Writers on Writing: Aimee Gilchrist

AG Writing space 2Aimee Gilchrist lives in New Mexico with her husband and six children. She writes mysteries for both teens and adults. She calls her lifetime of jumping from one job to another ‘experience’ for her books and not an inability to settle down. Aimee loves mysteries and a good, happy romance. She also loves to laugh. Sometimes she likes all of them together.

A fan of quirky movies and indie books, Aimee likes to be with her family, is socially inept, and fears strangers and small yippy dogs. She alternates between writing and being a mom and wife. She tries to do both at the same time but her kids don’t appreciate being served lunch and told, “This is the hot dog of your discontent.” So mostly she writes when everyone else is in bed.

Aimee also writes YA and Inspirational Romantic Comedies under the name Amber Gilchrist.

 DiggingUpBones_5in

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

Personally, I don’t really think classes and books on craft are helpful.  I know some people swear by them, but I think the only way to learn to be a good writer is to write, write, and write.  And when you’re not writing, be reading.  Those are the best teachers.

 

How has this helped you as a writer?

The twenty years I spent writing before I started writing for publication were something I did because I enjoyed it.  I didn’t ever consider publishing because the business side of writing wasn’t something I wanted to deal with.  I have half a dozen children, literally, and my time is limited.  I wanted to spend the time I had writing and I wanted to just enjoy it for what it was.  There came a point where I decided I had to take it more seriously if I was going to waste my time doing it.  So as soon as I started trying to get published I was successful very quickly, as I’d done my time for years before I got to the point I wanted to bother with the ‘hard part’ of query letters, synops, and social media chatting with readers.  New writers sometimes want to jump right in before they are ready.  Years of writing for the sake of writing was very helpful to me.

 

Mac or PC?

Definitely PC.  I’m very low tech haha.  The more confusing something is the more likely I am to avoid it.  PCs have remained fairly static over the years, so those are my best friend.  I always write on a desktop.  I hate laptops with a passion.  When we’re on a trip or something and I’m forced to use my husband’s laptop, there always comes a point where I will inevitably yell, “I hate laptops!”  I know they are becoming obsolete, but I don’t care.  The high tech masses can have my desktop when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.

 AG Writing space 1

Do you use Word or Scrivener?

For reference, see above 😉  I’ve tried using Scrivener before, but I was stymied by my complete inability to use technology.  I should mention here that I’m not as old as I make myself sound.  I’m a Gen Xer, and technically technology should be in my blood, but it’s just not.  I hear there are amazing benefits to Scrivener, but the only part I could ever figure out was the cork board/note card features. Then I just decided to just put three cork boards on my wall and put note cards on them.  Problem solved.

 

Do you write or take notes with an iPad or tablet?

I feel like I’m going to come across as primeval here, but again, I don’t do technology much.  I do take notes and plenty of them, but I do them in notebooks.  I have a wicker basket of notebooks on my desk. I take notes in them.  Then I invariably leave them somewhere I can’t remember and have to make the whole thing up again, but hey, there’s value in just taking notes, right?

 

Do you have any writing rituals?

Not a one.  As mentioned above, I REALLY have a lot of kids.  My bio says I only have three, but that was written many moons, and kids, ago.  If I had rituals I needed to follow to get work done, I swear I’d never get anything done.  My process is to sit down and write when I have a chance.  Loud, chaotic, crazy, I have to ignore all of it if I want to write.

 AG Writing space 3

Do you start by writing or researching first?

Actually, neither.  I start by spending serious time, sometimes weeks, thinking about the characters.  I’m really an intensely character driven writer, and to me there’s no sense in writing if I don’t know the characters very, very well.  So I spend a long time letting the characters talk to me before I even start writing.  Some are chattier than others, so this process is variable.  I don’t plot.  I just write.  But the reason I can do that is because the characters tell me their story.  I just write what they say as I go along.  Which can sometimes lead to me not knowing what will happen next, but it works for me.

I was writing a romantic suspense once, and the character was kicking in a door in an old theater.  He didn’t know what was behind the door, but, hey, neither did I.  That’s how much of a pantser I am.  Once the door was open, he and I got to figure it out at the same time 😉  If I do need to research, I stop what I’m doing in the middle of writing and research whatever that specific topic is.  Sometimes it can be annoying, but I rarely know what the topics will be beforehand.  Which is probably why it’s best that I don’t write historicals…

 

Favorite spot to write in the winter?

I always write at my desk, so the season doesn’t matter.  I am very attached, as mentioned above, to my desktop, and I do have a designated office space where I work every day.  It does have a window, but I’m a terrible hermity sort of person when I’m writing, so I never open it.  I don’t know if it’s winter or summer from where I’m sitting.
Interview first appeared in Long Island Book Reviews Examiner.
Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco