ATTENTION: RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB MEMBERS!! You’ve heard us talk about the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB Writers’ Conference & Book Expo. In 2014, it was our mission to get members of RRBC from …
“Today, I had the pleasure of interviewing Allison Whitmore. She is an aspiring screenwriter as well as the author of Forget Me Not; a powerful coming of age story starting in 1933 and spanning deca…”
Just sharing this interview, all. I really enjoyed participating. Thank you, Keystoke Blog!
My blog tour is currently going with Xpresso Books as well if you’re interested in checking that out. Allison Whitmore’s Kick-off The Summer Blog Tour with Xpresso Books.
Welcome to the Write Like a Wizard April Blog Hop!
Visit each blog for a chance to win an ecopy of the books the characters are from, AND a $10 Amazon GC!
Character Q&A: Isabella Foxworthy (The Lost Heir)
Where are you from? Culver Hills, which is a neighborhood in Los Angeles right next to Culver City. Most people have heard of that more.
How old are you? 15
What do your parents do? They’re dead. But they used to run The Foxworthy Hotel. Now it’s just me and my grandmother.
Tell us about your closest friends. — My best friend’s named Lana Starr. She’s the only person I really trust a hundred percent in this world. I can’t even trust my grandmother, really, and she’s just always been there for me. I recently met these Seth and Micah, and they are okay. I think I like them, but I’m not sure yet.
Any secrets you want to share with us? I really don’t like to share my secrets, but if you won’t tell too many people… Okay. I feel like I’m going crazy almost all of the time lately. It’s because of I have this thing where I can feel other people’s emotions, and it’s getting stronger. I really don’t know what to do about it. Anyway, that’s about it for now.
Describe one moment that you feared for your life. — The night my parents died was really scary. There was a lot of fire, and to this day, I hate fire, and then I just felt like I wanted to save them, but I couldn’t. All I could do was protect myself. I don’t know. I think it’s my fault. I think it’s all my fault.
Is there a love interest we should know about? Okay, well, I have a crush on this guy Max that works at my favorite restaurant Cake N Honey and also…I think Seth Logan is kind of cute, but please, please, never tell him that. He has enough of an ego as it is. I also like him because he seems to really care about people. I think that’s a good way to be, but he is really full of it too, so I don’t know.
Anything else you want people out there to know? The Foxworthy Hotel is an awesome place to visit and if you come ask Rolf for a tour. He’s really good at the history stuff. Thanks for listening to me and my babble. I tend to do that sometimes, and also I tend to get a bit bratty, some people don’t like it, but hey, I’m a kid trying to deal with a lot. Hope you’ll cut me some slack. And I think, maybe you’ll enjoy my story!
Thanks for stopping by!
What was your favorite part of the Q&A? Comment below, enter the giveaway, and visit the next stop posted on www.writelikeawizard.com.
Forget Me Not — Excerpt, Chapter 17
The Head Student, Virginia Larson, sat behind a long brown table like she did every day after lunch, handing out mail like a drill sergeant. Virginia’s iron demeanor contrasted the rest of Teddi’s comforting days at Miss Carrington’s—or “Middletown,” to the girls who lived there. Virginia’s long dark hair hung straight down her back, pinned tightly at the sides, reminding Teddi of a nun’s habit. She wore her uniform skirts just longer than they needed to be as if to emphasize her position as the most proper and well-groomed young lady at the school.
“Bryant, Pamela,” Virginia’s voice rang out over the whispering girls who crowded together in the front hall.
“Oh, hold these, Teddi. I’m expecting a package today.” The tall blonde named Pamela stuffed her books into Teddi’s arms and pushed her way to the front of the crowd.
“She’s probably getting another gift from Randall,” said Laura Norwick. She stood beside Teddi in their usual spot near a pair of imposing white double doors that led into the main courtyard. Today, the doors were closed to keep the December chill out.
“Could be Christopher this time,” Teddi drawled tiredly.
Laura giggled, then slumped against the wall with a sigh. “I wish I had just one boy writing to me and sending me gifts.” Laura hadn’t received a scrap of mail for weeks. Her parents weren’t exactly the overprotective types, and boys… well, she was far too shy to talk to one.
“What about Stu Buchanan?” Teddi asked with a knowing smirk, causing Laura to blush.
“Oh, he’s too handsome for me. Besides, any boy I’m interested in will look right through me and ask about Jeanne.”
Laura’s sister Jeanne was an actress, to the chagrin of their parents, and engaged to a famous Broadway producer. Jeanne graduated from Miss Carrington’s the year before, and therefore, was the talk of the girls—and any boys who visited the school. They joked about Jeanne in ways that Teddi didn’t think the former debutante would have appreciated. Being an actress seemed glamorous to Teddi, but at the same time she knew a world like that would never be hers. She loved the movies and movie magazines, but she couldn’t imagine being in that life. Laura, she knew, felt the same way.
“Ask him to dance with you tonight,” Teddi suggested, referring to the winter formal that was taking place that evening.
“I don’t think so,” said Laura, shaking her head as if even the thought of such a thing would cause sudden death.
Teddi shrugged. She didn’t feel like talking about boys right now. She was done with them. Unfortunately, she was not going to get her wish as Pamela approached them holding a rectangular box in the palm of her hand.
“Well?” Teddi smirked with a raise of an eyebrow.
Laura was a bit more enthusiastic with her inquiry. “Is it from Christopher or Randall?”
“Paul,” Pamela said quickly. “But not as big as I was hoping. Well, you know what they say about small boxes.”
“Paul? Who’s Paul?” Laura asked, wide-eyed.
“Hotchkiss boy. He’s rather good looking, I suppose. He’ll be here tonight,” she said with a flippant wave of her hand. “Ted, you’ve got a couple of packages waiting for you up there. Do you want me to run back up to the room and put this away so I can help you?” The house they roomed in was just across the snow-speckled lawn.
“No, I think I can manage.”
“I’ll help her,” said Laura.
“Thank goodness,” she said. “That nearly put me in a spot. I still have to finish that history report.”
“It’s due in twenty-five minutes!” Teddi admonished her.
“Well, I guess time’s a wastin’,” Pamela said, waving at them as she turned then dashed out of the building.
Teddi shook her head. “Some roommate.”
“At least you don’t room with Bertha the Bull.” Laura glowered.
Teddi laughed as she thought of the field hockey captain and her brutish attitude. To say she was a contrast to the bookish, giggly Laura would be an understatement. Teddi found her nice enough, but Laura was scared to death of her and spent most her time in Teddi and Pamela’s room.
Pamela was also quite different from Laura, but as Laura pointed out, Pamela was like her sister Jeanne. Boy crazy and glamorous. She was used to those types of contrasts.
“Donovan, Theodora,” Virginia boomed. Teddi and Laura gathered their things and headed for the table.
There were three midsized parcels waiting for her. “Thanks,” she muttered, placing both on top of her books.
“My grandmother is crazy. We have one more week before the holidays. What is the point of all of this?”
Laura helped Teddi carry her last package and noticed a red envelope fall to the floor. “Hey, Teddi, don’t forget your letter.”
“This.” Laura held up the red envelope only to realize that Teddi couldn’t see in front of her for all she was carrying. “Oh, it looks like a Christmas card or something. I’ll keep it for you,” she said, navigating Teddi through the crowd so she wouldn’t drop anything.
When they reached Teddi’s room, they dumped everything onto her bed, books and all.
Pamela sat scribbling on a pad of paper at the edge of her own bed. Her desk was too cluttered with pictures of boys and decorations for practical use. “Wow, positively symphonic timing, ladies.” She smirked without looking up. “I’m just about done. And I’ll wager one of those packages contains goodies prepared by a certain housekeeper extraordinaire named Gertrude, Miss Theodora.”
“My grandmother exploits her. She works for another family, too, and doesn’t have time to waste baking stuff I’m never going to eat just because my grandmother feels guilty about judging everyone and destroying my life.”
“Be grateful she’s not sending you dried berries and nuts like my mother. What did she send this time?” Pamela asked, looking up with hopeful eyes.
Teddi opened a box and found several pairs of socks inside.
Pamela tossed her essay aside and went to sit next to her roommate. “Hmm, nothing. Okay, next box,” she said, putting the socks behind them and handing Teddi another parcel.
In it were pictures of the family, several of them. “Aw, is that you, Teddi?” asked Pamela, grabbing one of the framed photographs from the box. “You were too adorable.”
“Oh, you were. Who’s this?” asked Laura, squeezing in beside Pamela and pointing at the picture.
“My sister Liza.” Teddi’s brow furrowed. Why would her grandmother send her a picture with Liza in it? She hadn’t seen one in plain sight of their house since before she moved in.
“Okay, Ted,” Pamela sing-songed, holding the remaining box in her lap, “open this up before we have to go to class.”
Teddi put the pictures aside and ripped through the third and final package.
“Kippy! Oatmeal raisin! That woman is a goddess,” Pamela said, grabbing one of the voluminous cookies and sinking her teeth into it. “Mm, well, time for class.”
“Did you get it done?”
“Yep. It’s a little over a page.”
“It’s supposed to be three,” Teddi snorted.
Pamela shrugged. “I’ll say I had a stomachache.”
“I’m sure she’ll believe that.” Teddi sighed, watching Pamela stuffing the last bit of cookie into her mouth before grabbing another.
“What? I didn’t have much at lunch.”
Laura laughed and Teddi shook her head, eyes dropping to her watch. They had three minutes to make it across campus. She pushed her friends out of the door, and they high-tailed it to their lesson.
**Photograph courtesy of WikiCommons of Choate Rosemary Hall
Eating with the family can be such a wonderful thing. At least in my family, things are usually calm and just delicious. We like to keep it small and quiet for just that reason. But what about the people who did not make home for the holiday or just those of you who’ve decided to venture out to grab a meal?
In my book, Forget Me Not, the characters spend Thanksgiving at the Plaza Hotel in New York. This type of outing isn’t just the stuff of fiction. Many people choose to spend the day outside of the house with their friends or families.
I decided to check around my hometown just to see what places were actually open for the holiday. Warning some locations may or may not require advanced reservations. Here is what I came up with:
Akasha (Culver City) (Location of my soon-to-be-released book The Lost Heir)
Cafe Pinot (Downtown Los Angeles)
Bouchon (Beverly Hills)
The Culver Hotel (Culver City) (Inspiration for The Foxworthy Hotel in The Lost Heir)
Cleo (Los Angeles) (Can’t believe it, but yes, one of my favorite characters in The Lost Heir is named Cleo — total coincidence)
The Venice Whaler (Venice) (Was $12 per person last year, according to CBS, LA)
If you want to be even more economical, there is always KFC (forget Boston Market, I think they sold out yesterday).
More on Thanksgiving in LA here! As for me, I’m heading home. I kick off my day after watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade (Hello, New York!) with watching Miracle on 34th Street. Such a Christmas movie lover!
Have a wonderful time this holiday. I’m thankful for all you readers!
Dedicated to the star of Miracle on 34th Street Maureen O’Hara (August 17, 1920-October 24, 2015). Thanks for making me laugh every Thanksgiving.
It is my great pleasure to welcome Celia Kennedy to my blog today.
Celia’s new novel, Prosecco & Paparazzi is a comical, romantic tale of what happens when the paths of a celebrity god and a mere mortal collide. My favorite kinda story.
When fifteen minutes of fame goes horribly wrong…
Charlotte Young and her five closest friends ring in the New Year on a ski vacation in the swanky, celebrity-packed French Alps, where her world collides with long-time celeb crush, Des Bannerman—aka “The King of Rom-Com.” Unexpectedly, Charlotte finds herself happily reconciled to an innocent evening of drinking champagne, gambling, and chatting to the celebrity of her dreams.
Charlotte’s friends join forces to help her realize her lifelong fantasy, yet his girlfriend, the latest Bond Girl, proves an insurmountable obstacle. Lighthearted banter turns into tabloid fodder and leaves Charlotte saddled with a restraining order.
With the help of her friends, Charlotte finds the answers to life’s biggest questions while trying to deal with the fallout of her fifteen minutes of fame.
Sounds like a lot of fun!
What does it take for a writer to write what she writes? Celia Kennedy tells us how she came to be a writer and a little about how she gets it all down the page.
In the fifth grade my teacher, Mrs. Copeland, gave us homework, a creative writing piece. The details of the story that remain are the nuggets that appeal to most ten-year-old girls, bedazzled caves, a handsome boy, a girl striding with purpose, her pigtails swinging across her back, and the feeling of excitement of being on a grand adventure. Oh, and receiving high praise from my classmates and teacher. We wrote four installments, and the euphoria I felt when the class asked her to read my mine is, still, indescribable. It had nothing to do with being the center of attention, and everything to do with the knowledge that my passion to write had transported them.
It took another thirty years for me to write a book. Along the way I was the editor of my high school newspaper, went to college and wrote papers on all manner of subjects: art history, paleobotany, urban development, and famous figures in English and American literature and history. I knew the spirit of a writer was still skirting the walls of my brain when I wrote a paper for an Urban Planning class, including the sentence, “She quaffed her mall-do!”
When the opportunity to follow my lifelong dream of writing arrived, I literally booted up my laptop and started tapping away at the keyboard. No outlines, angst, or hesitation.
My first novel, Prosecco & Paparazzi, was based on a conversation I had with my husband after watching an episode of Inside the Actors Studio. Host James Lipton had interviewed Clint Eastwood. This multi-talented man completely captivated us. After the interview was over, we chatted about how amazing it would be to invite him over for dinner and get to know him. We brainstormed about how we would go about contacting a celebrity, and then how would we get him or her intrigued enough about us that they would agree to dine with complete strangers (preferably somewhere fancy and on their tab).
My writing process started out very simple. I opened my laptop, borrowed on the conversation with my husband about Clint Eastwood, and started reading tabloids from around the globe. I picked an attractive mega-star to follow. An unexpected but very important side benefit of this was that I was reacquainted with the necessity for research; in this case it was fashion, glamor, hotspots, jet-setting, and lifestyles of the rich and famous. And as we all know, these details add the sparkle.
After I had the main male lead characters in place, I had to create his counterpart. She felt elusive. I wasn’t writing a romance novel. My goal was to write an intelligent comedy. Which made it important that Charlotte could stand her own ground with her personality versus dazzle men with her pouty lips and perky breasts. I invited a friend to have coffee (I had hot apple juice, she had a soy latte) and she helped me hack my way through the possibilities. Together we arrived at the village concept. Which is ironic really, because I rely on my own for honest opinions on everything from sagging jowls to tight pants.
So, why not create a village of women around Charlotte so that she could be the grounded, intelligent, girl next door she needed to be? No reason not to! Charlotte’s village is inhabited by Hillary, Tiziana, Marian, and Kathleen. Together, they are an unstoppable force – Hillary is from a wealthy English family, and is all things proper. Hailing from Italy, is Tiziana. She possesses a natural sexual flamboyancy which often prevents people from recognizing her intelligence. Irishwoman Marian is amazingly witty and it is her sarcastic banter that often provides the opportunity for vulnerable discourse. The final member of the group is Kathleen; an American living in Paris. She is strong and aloof; bringing the best of the American and French cultures to life.
Writing a funny book is hard work. ALL books have many layers, but to write a comedy one has to feel light. There are many days I can write page after page of usable material. But some days I don’t. On these days I write the infra-structure, making notes in the margin, “Insert something funny here.” Then I have blessed days where I go back in and search for notes, read the situation, add banter, rework scenarios to create double entrendre’s, and generally lighten the mood of some passages.
At one point I actually quit writing for a few months because the weather was so bleak that all the characters were generally miserable. It takes an amazing amount of discipline to sit down at a keyboard and shake off your personal feelings and life issues and jump into the personalities and circumstances of those who live within your manuscript. Over the years the discipline to do this has improved dramatically. Generally I read the last four of five pages I wrote, edit a bit, and off I go, back into the world of my imagination.
I have read a million blogs by authors and am always amazed at their creative processes. Some have written outlines for the entire book. Some have written novellas for each character. Some have sticky notes plastered all over the walls and computer screen. One author was panicked because she was moving and her desk had to be packed up. So, she took close-up photographs of her work space: notepads, sticky notes, and computer screen, so she could set up exactly as things had been. She posted a picture on Twitter less than twenty four hours later and everything was exactly the same in her new place. I could feel her relief.
My style is… more contained. For example, because I am writing a sequel to Prosecco & Paparazzi, I have it and my work-in- progress, Cognac & Courture, open on my laptop plus ten to twelve windows with research sites open. A dictionary, maps, blogs (food, fashion, and travel), tabloids, YouTube, and various websites pertaining to what I am currently writing about (right now I have links to Christmas in France and Italy open). I will admit that if there is a website that is crucial, I take a photo of it.
Other things I do: I clean my house before I start writing. I cannot have outstanding chores that MUST be done (clean clothes for tomorrow, some concept of dinner, an alarm scheduled for events I cannot miss). All of this is finished by 7:30 a.m. I cannot have mental or visual distractions. I’m easily distracted.
When I hit a wall, I do one of several things: get a chore out of the way, work-out, listen to music, paint, weed, or read. That means I do one or two of these things every day, because, I come to a stop every day. Usually a distraction gives my brain a chance to percolate through the chaos. When I hit a major wall I have coffee with a friend to hash it out, or grab a pen and paper and go at it the old-fashioned way. One quality I would say a writer needs is tenacity. You will wrestle ideas like a cowboy riding a slicked pig.
Then one day, you’re characters are flushed out, the twists and turns of your plot lines have been carefully woven, and your edits and rewrites made. I liken this day to your first day of school, both exciting and terrifying. So much potential, so much unknown.
— Celia Kennedy
In addition to having written Prosecco & Paparazzi, Kathleen’s Undressed and Venus Rising, and five short stories for seasonal anthologies. Celia Kennedy is a mom, wife, friend, and a practicing Landscape Architect. She lives in Redmond, Washington, where she lives a spectacular life. If you’d like to learn more about her, visit www.celiakennedy.weebly.com, follow her on Twitter (@KennedyCelia) on Facebook (Celia Kennedy, Author) or Goodreads. If you want to see the actual locations that she writes about in her books, check her out on www.Pinterest.com.
Celia Kennedy was born in Wurzburg, Germany on a military base. Her parent’s penchant for traveling has stuck with her, she’s lived in and traveled through several countries.
The imagined world has always fascinated Celia. She has studied Art History, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, and Architecture. Her thirteen year career at UW in Seattle ended in 1996. Not wanting to be homeless, she left the academic world and worked as a Landscape Architect, married the love of her life, became a mom, has been PTA President, and both Boy and Girl Scout Leader.
The unimaginable wealth in her life is the most fascinating thing to her.
Her love of travel, the designed and natural world, friendship, self-discovery, wine, chocolate, AND love are the foundation of her life and books.
As a young girl, she was haunted by an angel
Or was it a phantom, whose onyx eyes
Fired like the sun and whose scepter
Of crystal perverted a future told?
To a child, six, ten, seventeen then twenty
This angel repeated a fable of a husband, a dear,
A bundle born, a pearl in a feathered shell
This fable shone bright, rainbowed on each face
Jeering without shame, eating smiles
And unfleshing memories
This angel, or phantom with onyx eyes
Told unwithering lies then twined a rope
To bloody the dreaming girl’s palms
To tease her taste buds and tickle her throat
With envy, lust, and distrust
with mayhem, with disdain
Then with its wicked power
Clumped and clotted, spit out
the last of her virgin virtue
And left Pandora lost