Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sex, Lies, & Hot Tubs: A day in the writing life of author, Elissa Ambrose

Thank you to CLP Blog Tours for asking if I would like to host Elissa Ambrose on my Book Nook. She is a fellow Zoni so you already know she is cool!  Please sit back and enjoy Elissa's delightful guest post on the day in the writing life of an author. 

Elissa Ambrose, Sex, Lies & Hot Tubs

My Typical Writing Day

Thank you, Michelle, for inviting me to blog about my typical writing day. This was a real challenge, since a typical writing day doesn’t exist for me. I do, however, have a typical writing pattern. It consists of three phases, and my day revolves around whatever phase I’m in.

Phase 1: the concept. This is when I get a new idea and run with it. I dream, I plan, I scribble. I live it, I breathe it, I sleep it. I could be at the park or in the kitchen or in a crowded restaurant—and out comes the pen and notebook. Even a paper napkin will do. In Phase 1, I go about my normal life; i.e. reading, working out, cooking, etc. If I sit down at my desk and try to force inspiration, it doesn’t come and no amount of coaxing, begging, or bargaining does any good. In this phase, I go out a lot with writer friends. We talk, we laugh, we brainstorm. We’re famous at Starbucks.

Phase 2: the first draft. For me, this is the most difficult phase. Fact is, the story has already been told, and I don’t feel like telling it again. There’s just one problem. Except for those practically illegible pages that have meaning only to me, my writer friends, and my hypothetical therapist, it’s all in my head. I know that you’re thinking—why not just skip the first phase and write by the seat of my pants? When it comes to fiction, I’m a plotter. Maybe it’s because I used to be a programmer or maybe it’s the Virgo in me, but I always have to have a plan. Long story short, I’m itching to get to my favorite part, the revising, but I can’t revise something that hasn’t been written yet, so I have to force myself to write. I wake up, have coffee, and stare at my monitor. I check my email and then I try to write. I check Twitter and Facebook and then I write a little more. In this phase, I’m constantly looking for distractions. This is where the doubt sets in, and I ask myself, am I a real writer? This is where coaxing, begging, and bargaining actually help. Especially the bargaining. If I throw down ten pages, I get to eat that last chocolate truffle. Twenty pages? A whole slice of cheesecake.

Phase 3: revision. I once read that real writing is in the rewriting, and I agree. This is where my characters flesh out and the story gels. I mold and shape, cut and rewrite, edit and polish. When I’m in this phase, I’m oblivious to the world. One year my husband was out of town on business while I was working on revisions for Harlequin. On that last day, I started at six in the morning (which was remarkable, considering I’m not much of a morning person), and didn’t lift my head until 4:00 on the dot when, um, nature called. And then I realized that it wasn’t four in the afternoon—it was four the next morning. Not exactly a typical writing day, but close to it when I’m in this phase. Must be the programmer in me, this love I have for detail.

While I don’t have a typical writing day, one thing remains consistent. I don’t stop until I’m done. Must be the Virgo in me striving for order. Or maybe I’m a real writer after all. Isn’t that what a writer does? Try to make sense of this thing called life?

Check out Sex, Lies, & Hot Tubs:

If a woman tries to preserve a marriage that has been damaged by infidelity, is she heroic or is she delusional? How many times does her husband have to cheat before she calls it quits? How many times does he have to get caught?

Meet Ellen Dunwell, doting wife, loving mother, high school teacher extaordinaire. She’s worried that her husband, the respected Dr. Jeffrey Dunwell, successful dermatologist, wonderful father, great lover, is having another affair. A man of many interests, Jeffrey also dabbles in real estate. But Ellen won’t confront him about what she’s sure is his latest interest, his perky new lab assistant, Keeley Wilder. She doesn’t want to sound like a shrew, but worse, what if she’s right? As if that’s not bad enough, her friends don’t understand her, her neighbor’s son is a Peeping Tom, and her angst-ridden teenage daughter is stashing pot in her room and dating a control freak. When Jeffrey suddenly disappears, Ellen nearly slips over the edge. Instead, she pulls herself together and sets out on a mission to find him—only to get caught up in a web of intrigue and danger, where nothing is as it seems and the stakes are her life.


Elissa Ambrose was born in Montreal, Canada. After graduating from McGill University with a degree in English, for some strange reason she embarked on a career in computer programming. Seventeen years later, after an amicable parting with technology, she returned to her first love—the written word. First she was an editor at a company that produced educational material, and later at a literary magazine. Prior to Sex, Lies & Hot Tubs, she published four romances with Harlequin and several short stories. Along the road to publication, she raised two daughters. She and her husband now live in Arizona. (Yes, it’s hot. But it’s a dry heat, remember? And you can’t shovel heat.)

Connect with Elissa:





Buy the Book!


Barnes &Noble:


Friday, October 5, 2012

Book Review: Blue Aspen by Tenaya Jane


Seventeen-year-old insomniac, Dulcee Elders' mother dumps her at her uncle's
house and leaves without a word. Dulcee is forced to adapt to life with her
reclusive uncle and his isolated mountain mansion. Insomnia has plagued Dulcee since
her father died. Once at home at Uncle Jack's, inexplicably Dulcee now can
sleep; sleep brings not only strange and intricate dreams, but a shadow she's
compelled to follow. At first, Vincent Sands is only the silhouette of a man. When
Dulcee is asleep, Vincent can give her anything she wants, even the ability to
talk to her dead father. When Uncle Jack leaves town for business, Dulcee's
dream world and reality collide. Once she is alone, the silhouette is no longer
content to remain only in her dreams. Nevertheless, Dulcee and Vincent are torn
apart when Uncle Jack returns. Spiraling into withdrawal, Dulcee experiences
the high price of loving Vincent-an addiction rivaling that of any hard-core
drug. Desperate to bridge the gap between them, Dulcee faces a crucial decision
that carries irreversible consequences.

The sign of a talented author for me is one that can keep you completely on edge, engrossed in the book you are reading.  That is exactly what happened when I read Tenaya Jane's Blue Aspen.  It disturbed me, it fascinated me, and I kept turning the pages to find out what happened next.  The lead character, Dulcee, was such a heartbreaking figure.  Clearly she had suffered often in her young life, losing her father and having grown up with a mother that made it clear that she was in the way and not wanted.  When she was dumped off with her uncle and he showed genuine happiness at having her there, I saw a little sliver of hope for Dulcee.  Unfortunately, her uncle had his own issues to deal with and couldn't be there for her. Which is where Vincent Sands came in. First appearing as a shadowy figure looking in the window, he eventually showed himself to Dulcee and a bizarre love story began.  He was the disturbing part of the book to me.  As Dulcee started to lose her grip on reality and slip further into madness, the character of Vincent became more creepy to me.  I found the love between them to be obsessive and controlling.  I couldn't stop reading, needing to know where this was going to end up.  The alternate story of Dr Patricia Verell that ran parallel with Dulcee's was intriguing.  Both women, such polar opposites and yet so similar, let Vincent manipulate their minds. While Dulcee's ultimate decision showed how desperate she was for someone to love her no matter what, I was a bit surprised at how out of control Pat became.  And the final line of the book - completely threw me.

Tenaya Jane wrote a very gripping novel about love, madness, and sacrifice.  Saying the book disturbed me might make you wonder if I liked it or not.  The answer is yes! It is twisted, definitely, but it takes so many offbeat turns that every time I thought I had figured out what was going on, it proved me wrong.  If you want a haunting story that lingers with you, then this is the book for you and I can't recommend it enough

Hello. My name’s Tenaya and I’m an addict. I mean author. When I was growing up, writing was just something I played at from time to time. I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I was one of those people who could never finish anything. When my eldest son was diagnosed with Autism, I began to write seriously. Writing became a necessity for me in the midst of my heartbreak. It was either that or take up drinking. I ‘m thankful I chose writing as my escape because I discovered it truly is my thing. I want to be swept away when I read. That’s what I want my books to do for you. The main goal of my writing is to entertain you. I want to help you escape everyday life for a little while. I hope you enjoy my stories as much as I enjoy sharing them with you!

I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful sons. I’m an advocate for Autism awareness, and women trapped in abusive relationships. I try to always look on the bright side and help others do so too. I’ve lived many places but I currently reside in Missouri. I love reading, indie and foreign films, gardening, and moody music.
Visit Tenaya's Website!

Buy the Book!