Books, Chocolate, and Wine

Greta Boris tagged me to participate in a chocolate blog hop. Each writer shares a few books they love, chocolate, and the wine they think will go best with both, then they pass the hop along to another author (s).

Picture 4 (2)-2Greta Boris is the author of The Wine and Chocolate Workout – Eat, Drink, and Lose Weight as well as forging the path for a new fiction genre, cozy horror. Visit her at for a free copy of her latest short story:  FAT – A Ghost Story. and sinfully great tips for living happy and healthy. (Available on Amazon.)

For such a cheeky concept (who can resist a wine and chocolate workout?), I’m going with  Salted Caramel Bees along with a small glass of Cockburn Port? (pronounced, co-burn, if you didn’t already know.) 

I’ve got so many favorite books that it’s really hard to decide which ones to pick. But because I just published a memoir, I’m going that route.

Don’t Let’s Go To The Dogs Tonight, by Alexandra Fuller.

For this raw authentic story (which takes place in Zambia where I’m from), I’m going to go a little nostalgic and take a detour back to Africa and suggest Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut. I used to eat these bars by the bucket full. And let’s go with a Castle or Lion beer, instead of wine.

Mary Karr’s, Liar’s Club. 

This book gave me permission to let it all out in my own memoir, so I’m going with Deeply Dark and Salted Caramels, and Dom Perignon (love the bubbly).

A Three Dog Life, by Abigail Thomas.

This is one of those books that stays with you, a real gem.  This means Chocolate Covered Figs, imported, mind you, from Spain. They’re filled with a silky smooth, whiskey infused Valrhona dark chocolate ganache and hand-dipped in dark chocolate. (I just had  to describe them.)  I would add something light,  like a nice, chilled Viogner.

I’ll end with The Boys Of My Youth, by Jo Ann Beard.

A smart, funny and moving book of essays about life and its defining moments. A real treat like this calls for Firecracker Truffles. I normally don’t like truffles, too bor-ring, but not these babies. I’m probably off here, but I’m thinking a Lambrusco would go down nicely.

I do hope you enjoyed my little indulgence enough to hop on over to the next chocolate blog-stop, author, Ronda Del Boccio.

ATastyMorsel-ParanormalRomance-byRndaDelBoccioRonda Del Boccio is a best selling, award-winning author of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Most of her tales take you on adventures that deepen your understanding of what it means to be alive. She also helps people turn your stories and expertise into best selling books.

BLOG HOP: Write On!

I was chuffed when sister She Writes Press author L G O’Connor asked me to participate in this blog hop, a terrific opportunity to connect with her and the fabulous bloggers you’ll read about below. Meet L G…

L.G. O’Connor is a member of the Romance Writers of America. A corporate strategy and marketing executive for a Fortune 250 company, she writes adult urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. Her debut novel, Trinity Stones, the first book in her Angelorum Twelve Chronicles urban fantasy/paranormal romance series published by She Writes Press, launches on April 22 and will be available wherever books are sold. She is currently preparing the second book in the Angelorum Twelve Chronicles, The Wanderer’s Children, for publication at the end of 2014. In addition, her adult contemporary romance will launch later this year. A native New Jersey girl, she lives a life of adventure, navigating her way through dog toys and soccer balls and loaning herself out for the occasional decorating project. When she’s feeling particularly brave, she enters the kitchen.

As for me, I’ll be at Chaucer’s Bookstore in Santa Barbara on May 8th at 7 pm giving a reading, I’d love to see you there if you’re in the area. Okay, so on to the question and answer portion of the hop. Please visit the three writers’ blogs following the Q&A.

1) What am I working on?

I’m completing a final sweep through Monkey’s Wedding, my YA novel set in Zimbabwe. It was almost published back in the late 90s, but my publisher merged with another house and I was dumped. I went on to write the sequel, Mine Dances (set in Zambia), which I’ll spiff up next. Then on to getting them both published.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hmm. That’s a tough one. I would say that in my memoir, Loveyoubye it’s my “voice” that distinguishes it, because that’s what readers first remark upon when they talk about it. But then a writer’s “voice” is something uniquely their own, no matter what the genre. However, in memoir this seems especially true.

As for the uniqueness of Monkey’s Wedding and Mine Dances, both novels started as a memoir. But then I realized I wanted to make the story “bigger,” so I created two protagonists, a white girl and a black boy and gave the story political and spiritual overtones and lots of action. But essentially it’s a story of family and friendship.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I write to discover. The poet William Stafford says it best: “I don’t see writing as communication of something already discovered, as ‘truths’ already known. Rather, I see writing as a job of experiment. It’s like any discovery job; you don’t know what’s going to happen until you try it.”

4) How does your writing process work?

So far I’ve been prompted to write by a need to resolve some issue deep inside me, to scratch an itch I can’t quite locate.  I’ve done this without an outline, without a particular direction. I’ve “pantsed” it (actually the term is “pantser”): this means to “fly by the seat of your pants,” discovering as you go. However I would love to have a go at outlining a story, seems the smart thing to do.

That’s it for me. So, let me introduce my three writer friends who will be the stops on this tour next Monday, April 28th.

Jessica Winters Mireles

Jessica Winters Mireles is a late bloomer who rediscovered her love of writing in her late forties after raising her four children while simultaneously teaching a studio of forty piano students. When her youngest daughter survived a cancer diagnosis, Jessica decided that life was too short not to pursue her own dreams of becoming a writer. She has since been published in Greenprints and Mothering Magazine as well as starting her blog: which is a musical term that means “Fast, but not too fast.” Jessica is currently working on a novel.

Linda Rosen

Linda Rosen lives in New Jersey with her husband.  When she’s not teaching fitness classes or working with private clients, she enjoys creating stories for readers to devour curled up in a comfortable chair with a cup of tea.  Her unpublished novel seeking representation, FLOURISH, was a semi-finalist in the 2012 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. She has been published in 201 Family Magazine and The Dying Goose. She is a member of the Women’s National Book Association, NYC chapter, co-coordinator of Great Group Reads for National Reading Group Month, and has a website,, which links to her blog, The Literary Leotard.

Tracey Baptiste

Tracey Baptiste is an author and editor of children’s books. Born on the island of Trinidad, Tracey became interested in fairy tales and told her mother at the age of 3 that she would grow up to be a writer someday. She wrote her first novel at the age of 13, a twelve-chapter future fantasy that she only shared with her best friend. At 15, Tracey and her family moved to New York where she discovered Rosa Guy’s novel The Friends, which set her on the path to writing books for teens and younger children. She Attended New York University for a B.A. in English and Comparative Literature and then again for a M.A. in Elementary Education.

After teaching 2nd grade for several years, Tracey left to work for McGraw-Hill, developing Reading and Language Arts programs. Teaching (shockingly) did not allow her lots of time to write. Tracey wrote her first novel on the commute to work–a YA that follows 13 year old Grace as she visits Trinidad and searches for a mysterious man in a photograph who she believes is her real father. Her debut was published by Simon & Schuster and was well received, earning her a place on the 100 Best Books for Reading and Sharing in 2005. She left McGraw-Hill to freelance so that she could stay home with her two young children, and worked for several publishers including her favorite assignment, working on Scholastic classroom magazines. During that time, she also wrote 7 middle grade non-fiction books including a biography of her fantasy hero, Madeleine L’Engle.

Tracey has recently returned to full-time work (though she happily works from home) as an editor for Rosen Publishing, where she edits non-fiction books for kids. Her second novel, a creepy middle grade called The Jumbies will be out from Algonquin in 2015.

Tracey is represented by Marie Lamba of Jennifer De Chiara Literary and is currently at work on a chapter book for younger kids, and a middle grade novel. She can be found at where she blogs a weekly-ish roundup of publishing news. She also helps other writers with their fiction and non-fiction manuscripts via Fairy Godauthor ( You can find Tracey in person at the NJSCBWI conference in June. She will be giving two presentations: non-fiction writing, and the author/agent relationship. She will also be critiquing non-fiction proposals.


Celebrate The Small Things

I joined another Blog Hop. This is a good ‘un.  So every Friday I’m going post something I want to celebrate that I achieved in that particular week. If you’re interested in signing up, check host Vikki’s post  here!

So here’s what I want to celebrate. I finally went to Chiropractor Tim. I love getting “straightened” out, it’s always such a relief, and get this, I get a free massage along with the adjustment! But for all the lamest reasons in the world I always put it off until I can’t turn my head, or until I’m crawling on all fours. What is that about?

Anyway, so not only do I get relief and much soothing (well, unless I get Olga The Terrible as my masseuse and she rips out a couple of back muscles in her enthusiasm to loosen me up, but she does put them back nicely I must add), I have a fabulous conversation about writing and learn more about Tim’s almost completed novel.  Oh, and on the way home I stop at 85°C Bakery Cafe, a Taiwanese chain of bakery/coffee shops. The line was out the door, but I didn’t care, a medium iced Sea Salt Coffee with its inch of cream on top was worth the wait!