Spotlight: Venice in the Moonlight

Today is all about Elizabeth McKenna’s latest novel, Venice in the Moonlight. It has a striking cover, which caught my eye in combination with the title. Find out more about Elizabeth and her new novel!

Venice in the MoonlightTitle: Venice in the Moonlight
Author: Elizabeth McKenna
Release Date: October 2013
Length: 194 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Romance
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

Take a vacation from the London ton and visit Venice in the Moonlight!

A Story of Vengeance, Forgiveness, and Love 

After her husband’s untimely demise, Marietta Gatti is banished from the family’s villa by her spiteful mother-in-law. She returns to her hometown of Venice and her only kin—a father she hasn’t spoken to since her forced marriage. Her hope of making amends is crushed when she learns she is too late, for he recently has died under suspicious circumstances. Grief-stricken, Marietta retraces her father’s last night only to discover someone may have wanted him dead—and she may be next. When the prime suspect turns out to be the father of the man she is falling in love with, Marietta risks her future happiness and her life to avenge the death of a man she once hated.

Elizabeth McKenna’s latest novel takes you back to eighteenth century Carnival, where lovers meet discreetly, and masks make everyone equal.

About the Author

Elizabeth McKennaElizabeth McKenna works as a full-time technical writer/editor for a large software company. Though her love of books reaches back to her childhood, she had never read romance novels until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene). She had always wanted to write fiction, so she combined her love of history, romance and a happy ending to write her debut novel Cera’s Place. Her short story, The Gypsy Casts a Spell, is available for free on her websitehttp://elizabethmckenna.com/. She hopes you will enjoy her latest novel, Venice in the Moonlight, as much as others have enjoyed her previous works.

Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and a sassy Labrador. When she isn’t writing, working, or being a mom, she’s sleeping.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Advertisements

Guest Post: Elizabeth McKenna

Today is all about Elizabeth McKenna’s latest novel, Venice in the Moonlight. It has a striking cover, which caught my eye in combination with the title. She’s here today to chat – so grab your most sinfully delicious treat and enjoy!

Lusting After Your Hero

My first novel, Cera’s Place, is set in post-Civil War San Francisco. It features a feisty saloon owner named Cera and a war-weary soldier named Jake. When I created my first hero for what I hoped would be a long fiction writing career, I went with my ideal man – the rugged cowboy type. I pictured Aragorn, Viggo Mortensen’s character in Lord of the Rings, in all his sweaty, tangled hair glory.

Untitled

(Why not Viggo as Frank Hopkins in Hidalgo, you ask? I don’t know. He was sexier in Lord of the Rings.)

I enjoyed the FOUR years I spent writing about Jake and didn’t want to see him go, but I had to move on. So, I said goodbye to post-Civil War San Francisco and hello to eighteenth century Venice for my second novel, Venice in the Moonlight.

With crumbling Venice as the backdrop and the beautiful women’s fashions of the eighteenth century, I thought I had the perfect setting for romance, but I soon discovered I didn’t like the men’s fashions of this era. How can a man be sexy in stockings? I could get behind my hero Nico Foscari’s personality – who doesn’t love a charming rake – but every time I pictured him, my libido said, yeah, ok, whatever.

I needed inspiration, and a Google search for Italian men did the trick.

Untitled3

I don’t know his real name, but to me, he is my Venetian hero. Finally, I was in lust. Of course, I only imagine him from the thighs up, preferably in a white open-faced shirt. But at least now when I think of Nico and my heart races and my skin flushes, I know it’s not just another menopausal hot flash!

I hope you enjoy reading my historical romances and that my heroes make you snap open your fan and say, “Ooh-la-la!”

Take care,

Elizabeth McKenna

Venice in the MoonlightTitle: Venice in the Moonlight
Author: Elizabeth McKenna
Release Date: October 2013
Length: 194 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Romance
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Elizabeth McKennaElizabeth McKenna works as a full-time technical writer/editor for a large software company. Though her love of books reaches back to her childhood, she had never read romance novels until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene). She had always wanted to write fiction, so she combined her love of history, romance and a happy ending to write her debut novel Cera’s Place. Her short story, The Gypsy Casts a Spell, is available for free on her website http://elizabethmckenna.com/. She hopes you will enjoy her latest novel, Venice in the Moonlight, as much as others have enjoyed her previous works.

Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and a sassy Labrador. When she isn’t writing, working, or being a mom, she’s sleeping.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

2014 Summer Reading Program!

summer-reading-logo-clear-backgroundSummer is on the horizon – or, if you live in Texas like I do, it’s already here!

Katie is hosting the 2014 Book Blogger Summer Reading Program for all book bloggers. All you have to do is set a goal for the summer, read those books in your TBR pile. If you meet your goal, you can enter the the grand prize giveaway at the end of summer.

Go to Katie’s Book Blog to sign up and get started!

My goal for summer is 50 books. I’m hoping to clear out my Kindle, and I know this will barely make a dent, but that’s what I’m shooting for for the summer.

Release Day Book Blast: Prejudice Meets Pride

 

Prejudice Meets Pride

 Prejudice Meets Pride is available today! 

Synopsis

After years of pinching pennies and struggling to get through art school, Emma Makie’s hard work finally pays off with the offer of a dream job. But when tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to make a cross-country move to Colorado Springs to take temporary custody of her two nieces. She has no money, no job prospects, and no idea how to be a mother to two little girls, but she isn’t about to let that stop her. Nor is she about to accept the help of Kevin Grantham, her handsome new neighbor, who seems to think she’s incapable of doing anything on her own.

Fun, compelling, and romantic, Prejudice Meets Pride is the story of a guy who thinks he has it all figured out and a girl who isn’t afraid to show him that he doesn’t. It’s about learning what it means to trust, figuring out how to give and to take, and realizing that not everyone gets to pick the person they fall in love with. Sometimes, love picks them.

Find the book: Website | Goodreads 

About the Author

RachaelUSA Today bestselling author Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.
Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Sunday Post (April 27)

Sunday PostThe Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news, a post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things received, and share news about what is coming up on the blog for the week ahead. To get in on the Sunday funday, see the rules here: Sunday Post Meme.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This week was a stressful one! The 130 students I teach took the math and language arts STAAR tests. With any standardized tests comes pressure, but these kids feel the pressure to do well much more. I was asked more than once “If I fail the STAAR test, do I stay in 6th grade?” Since 6th grade in Texas is not an SSI year, students will move on to 7th grade, but in 8th grade they will have to pass all of their tests (math, language arts, science, social studies). I will say it is extremely hard to be locked in a room for four hours in absolute silence and not able to read a book in the quiet and calm!

Last Week on G1000W

Review: REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer by Andrew Joyce

Author Interview: Nancy Pennick

Review: Shackled by Angela Carling

Spotlight & Excerpt: Stealing Time by Nancy Pennick

Spotlight & Excerpt: Patriarch Run by Benjamin Dancer

Guest Post: Benjamin Dancer

Author Interview: Benjamin Dancer

This Week on G1000W

Release Day Blast: Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson

Spotlight: Venice in the Moonlight by Elizabeth McKenna

Review: Venice in the Moonlight by Elizabeth McKenna

Author Interview: Elizabeth McKenna

May Monthly Chit Chat

Around Town in the Spotlight

An amazing giveaway over at Meredith & Jennifer’s Musings.

An LGBT read, One Man Guy, over at Candace’s Book Blog.

Lisa at Turning Pages shares her fear of reading scary books at night.

Tara at The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say SHHH! shares her Top Ten Characters who deserve their own book.

Marni at Word to Dreams review of a new time-travel novel, Essence.

Author AJ Joseph dishes about those toxic people in our lives on Mysti’s Unwritten.

Kathy’s review of Don’t Call Me Baby – Imogene has grown up her entire life being in her mother’s blog spotlight. Talk about embarrassing!

Kindle giveaway on Feed Your Reader.

Word to Dreams has an awesome folklore anthology blitz and giveaway going on.

Also on Word to Dreams, an Agatha Christie-like book, John Dreamer, and the review!

Heather’s excerpt post of Runaway, the story of a young girl lighting out.

Julie Valerie’s eight reasons she loved Elizabeth Maxwell’s book Happily Ever After.

And last but not least, a little something for my Southern roots: the Williamsburg Regional Library’s review of Mama Makes Up Her Mind: And Other Dangers of Southern Living by Bailey White.

New Arrivals to Land of 1000 Wonders

19069285 19547332 21894607  17851035 7324329  13767804  21854529 The Strange Death Of A Romantic Kidnapped (Edgars Family, #1) Nine Lives (Sam Archer #1) Murder on the Mind (Jeff Resnick Mystery, #1)  Atlantis Riptide Sandcastle Kisses: A Billionaire Love Story (The Kisses Series, #5)  Awakening (The Lewis Legacy Series, #1) Sweet Water Now or Never Where Wildflowers Bloom (Sisters at Heart #1) A Bargain Struck The Illegal Gardener Above Rubies The Outcast: a modern retelling of The Scarlet Letter  Stone Cold (Music City Moguls, #1) Artful Dodger (Maggie Kean Misadventures, #1) Run (The Hunted, #1) A Place Beyond The Map Shaking out the Dead   Honor and Innocence: Against the Tides of War  Year of the Chick The Curtain - A Novel Tourist Trap (Rebecca Schwartz, #3) Once Upon a Lifetime Cayman Summer (Taken by Storm, #3) Not His Type (Opposites Attract, #1)

Author Interview: Benjamin Dancer

Displaying paper front4.pngIn the spotlight today is educator Benjamin Dancer. For the month of April, proceeds from his book will go to a local program, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, that brings local writers into the classrooms.

Thank you for your interview. Can you tell readers a little about yourself?

I’m an Advisor at Jefferson County Open School where I’ve made a career out of mentoring young people as they come of age. I’ve been writing my whole adult life, and I am am the author of the novels PATRIARCH RUN, IN SIGHT OF THE SUN and FIDELITY. I have have three kids, and in addition to the fiction, I also write about parenting and education.

April is a month-long fundraiser for a local writing program, the Lighthouse Writers Workshop, that brings authors into the classroom. What do folks have to do to contribute to this great cause?

To contribute you can purchase PATRIARCH RUN in print or ebook on Amazon or in ebook on Smashwords. Word of mouth is very effective. So you could let other people know about the book, too. The best way to help connect PATRIARCH RUN to its audience would be to write an honest review on Amazon. All April proceeds go to the fundraiser!

 What does a typical day for you look like?

I get up around 4am to write every morning. These days, it’s to market the novel. I take my kids to school with me where I teach. And at about 5pm, we all get home. There’s dinner. Correspondence to catch up on. And by then I’m pretty spent. I tuck in the kids and hit the pillow myself.

Where do you like to write?

I write about fathers. Identity. Those are the themes that interest me.

What inspired you to write Patriarch Run?

I wanted to address themes mentioned above in a format men and boys would read. So I chose the thriller genres to carry the meaning I had hoped to convey.

How did you come to choose the title?

The story is about fathers. PATRIARCH. It’s a thriller, in which the rule is that the protagonist is always under threat, always moving. RUN.

How did you come up with and develop the idea behind Patriarch Run?

More than I am a teacher, I mentor young people as they come of age. I took the universal themes I witness in the lives of my students. Themes about the longing for a father. Themes about identity. And I made them literally happen in the story. Billy is on a quest to find his dad. Rachel, his mother, literally has to save herself. No one is going to save us in life. My students, you and I, we have to save ourselves. Learn to love ourselves. Be gentle with ourselves. This is Rachel’s quest.

Do you have any books in the works?

Once PATRIARCH RUN find its audience, I’ll bring out IN SIGHT OF THE SUN, a story about a White Mountain Apache boy going on his first raid into Mexico with his grandfather. Then FIDELITY, a story about a father who lost his son and became obsessed with his own grief. Followed by the sequel to PATRIARCH RUN.

What are your future goals as a writer?

I’d like to start by connecting with an audience. Then I’d like to contribute something meaningful to the lives of my readers.

What do you want readers to take away from Patriarch Run?

My hope is that you will be entertained. That you will carry the characters and themes. That they might provoke you. Maybe even help you.

Displaying paper front4.pngTitle: Patriarch Run
Author: Benjamin Dancer
Release Date: April 2014
Length: 312 pages
Series?: The Father Trilogy
Genre: Literary Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon 

Benjamin DancerAbout the Author

Benjamin is an Advisor at Jefferson County Open School where he has made a career out of mentoring young people as they come of age. He wrote the novels PATRIARCH RUN, IN SIGHT OF THE SUN and FIDELITY. He also writes about parenting and education. 

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Guest Post: Benjamin Dancer

In the spotlight today is educator Benjamin Dancer’s recent novel, Patriarch Run. For the month of April, proceeds from his book will go to a local program, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, that brings local writers into the classrooms.

Bringing Authors into the Classroom

I teach writing to high school students. But I don’t see myself as a high school teacher. My job, as I see it, is to mentor young people as they come of age.

I’m an Advisor at Jefferson County Open School in Lakewood, Colorado. I’m the English teacher. But the kids in my classroom are looking for more than English. They’re looking for meaning. They’re looking for something real.

Right now I’m teaching The Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I use the text to teach the kids to read. I use the ideas in the book to teach them to think. And the story Pollan tells about food…I use that as a guide for our own educational adventures in the food chain. Like Pollan does in the book, we visit farms. Food markets. I bought the kids McDonalds then drove them to a feedlot with a 100,000 head of cattle that filled our nostrils with the stench of feces and urine. The poop was piled twenty feet high by tractors. The cows were covered in it up to their spines. Our lungs were singed from the ammonia.

I had the kids eat the burgers and take it all in.

Later in the semester I had the students interview their oldest living relatives. Out of that interview, the students brought traditional recipes to class, and we prepared meals together.

This week we’re discussing the ethics of eating. I have them justify it: their choice to eat, which is to say their choice to kill. I do this because I want them to be on solid moral ground. I do this because I want their bodies to be well.

Why? Because I’m their English teacher. It’s my job.

I also facilitate a writers’ group. Because I believe kids need mentors (more than just me), I partner with Lighthouse Writers Workshop, a Denver based community, to bring local authors into my classroom.

We meet at lunch every Wednesday, the writers’ group. This is a very committed group of writers (some students have graduated and still participate in the group via email from college). They take their writing seriously and provide one another with thoughtful, constructive feedback.

Once a month, we have a guest author. The guest author actually reads the week’s submission and critiques it, along with the rest of us. Imagine being seventeen years old and having your story critiqued by a published author.

After the critique session, we invite any interested student in the school to a craft talk with the author. After which, the kids get an opportunity to interact more openly. They get to ask questions about the writing process. About inspiration. About how to get published.

What’s really happening is that relationships are being developed. This is the secret to education. They can pass any law they want at the state or at the federal level. They can mandate testing. Or they can sell our schools to corporate enterprises. None of that will fix the problem we have with education in America.

Because the answer is this: teaching is about relationships. Kids need mentors. It’s that simple. They learn from the people they trust.

What happens in this guest author program is magical. Kids begin to see themselves as writers. They develop authentic relationships with authors in the community. They have consultants.

At my school, every student completes a Career Exploration Passage. It’s one of six rites of passages each student undertakes to graduate from high school. In the Career Exploration Passage, as the title indicates, students explore a career. The project involves an internship, research, consultants, a series of interviews, a resume. And eventually the student maps out a path to his or her chosen field.

The beauty of the curriculum at the Open School is that the students I work with get to consult with actual professionals. They get to interview our guest authors and develop relationships that will last long after high school is over.

To make all this work I went to our school’s Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO) and asked for $50 a month to bring local authors into the classroom. The parents on PTSO generously supported the program, and they also asked me to consider ways to raise money to pay for it.

It was a reasonable request on their part, responsible even, but I had to think about it. What could I do to help support my own program?

Meanwhile, I went to Lighthouse Writers Workshop and told them what our PTSO was willing to do. Lighthouse generously matched my school’s contribution.

So we had $100 a month to bring local authors into the school. Not much. But money communicates value. By paying authors what we can, we let them know that we value their profession. Their work. Moreover, writers are hungry, and, so far, the guest authors have been grateful for the gig.

This week we’re hosting Caleb Seeling, the publisher at Conundrum Press. Caleb also writes graphic novels.

Then it finally came to me a few weeks ago: how to raise money for the program. I had a book release pending for my literary thriller Patriarch Run. It occurred to me that I could donate the April proceeds to PTSO and, in that way, raise money to support the guest author program at the Open School.

Which is what we’re doing. It’s a good book. It’s a good cause. And we’d welcome your support.

If you’d like to know more about our amazing school (there have been many books written about it), let me know. And if you’d like to learn more about me or my stories, you could drop me a line about that, too.

Displaying paper front4.pngThank you for finding me,

Benjamin Dancer

Title: Patriarch Run
Author: Benjamin Dancer
Release Date: April 2014
Length: 312 pages
Series?: The Father Trilogy
Genre: Literary Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon 

Benjamin DancerAbout the Author

Benjamin is an Advisor at Jefferson County Open School where he has made a career out of mentoring young people as they come of age. He wrote the novels PATRIARCH RUN, IN SIGHT OF THE SUN and FIDELITY. He also writes about parenting and education. 

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Goodreads