Title: All That Glitters – A
Tale of Sex, Drugs and Hollywood Dreams
Author: Liza Treviño
Genre: Women’s Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Koehler Books
Published Date: March 1, 2017
Alexandria Moreno—clever, sexy, ambitious and, at times, self-destructive. She blazes a path from Texas to Los Angeles at the dawn of the 1980s to make her dreams of becoming an A-list Hollywood film director come true. She and her best friend arrive in Los Angeles with little more than hope and the determination to make it big. Alex, a beauty as dark and mysterious as her scarred heart, stands at the bottom of the Hollywood mountain looking up, fighting for her chance to climb to the top. Will her quest to live fast and take no prisoners on her way to success destroy her in the end?
All That Glitters is a women’s fiction Jackie Collins-type saga that introduces a strong, driven Latina heroine at the center of a rags-to-riches story spanning a decade of action. Along the way, Alexandria walks the fine line separating ambition and self-destruction, and discovers that some sacrifices will cost her everything.
What early readers are saying:
“Treviño tells her story with wit, intelligence, and an undercurrent of sadness at the plight women face to make a name for themselves as human beings instead of strictly as women. Treviño may have cloaked her ideas in entertaining vignettes and snappy dialogue, but underneath is a bite that stays with you.”
— Jonathan Marcantoni, author and publisher of La Casita Grande Press.
“Liza has a way of taking you with her as she tells this very compelling story. She draws readers in with her as she describes scenes and characters with colorful detail and vivid imagination. This story is a testament to it’s title: it really glitters!”
—Reesha Goral, author, The Servant Boy
“With distant echoes of Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls in the background, Alexandria Moreno, the protagonist of All that Glitters, chases after the allure of Hollywood, all the time substituting pills, booze and sex for genuine happiness. It is only after she reaches success that she has an awakening leading her to realize the emptiness of her aspiration, and finally accepting true love. Kudos to Liza Treviño for giving us this unique image of the New Latina! I urge reading All that Glitters. You won’t regret it.”
—Graciela Limón, author
Read an Excerpt:
Oscar Night, 1990
When did things start going wrong?
Alexandria Moreno gulped another swig of champagne from the bottle. She picked at its broken gold foil. It was the same stuff she used to buy back in the days when spending more than ten dollars on bubbly was an extravagance. Now she sat in the best limo money could buy, inching along the craggy hillside road waiting for her turn to put in an appearance at the first of many scheduled post-Oscar parties. She was obligated to dole out heartfelt hugs and kisses to any of the beautiful people who might want one. Tonight, everyone was going to want a piece of her. She was the girl of the hour.
Until recently, Moreno had been an unknown writer-producer. She rocked Hollywood, winning Academy Awards for Best Director and Original Screenplay for the lushly violent, low-budget film, Win or Lose. Moreno, widely considered a dark horse contestant in the Oscar race, was the first Hispanic woman to be nominated, and win.
Two golden statues for writing and directing lay on the limo’s floor and the vehicle glided to the top of Hollywood’s heights. Beyond the winding canyon road, the Los Angeles electrified grid shimmered like Moreno’s own personal cauldron of gold. She understood that more than just a movie had won tonight.
She had won.
So why doesn’t it feel better?
Why don’t I feel better?
Despite everything she’d done to reach this moment of glory, Alex understood that none of it mattered. Not one bit. No matter what happened to her, she was still alone and drinking the same convenience-store champagne.
“Want some of this blow, babe?” Nick sniffed and dropped his head back with a slight shake, giving the chemicals a little jumpstart in the brain he liked to say.
“No thanks,” she said, “I don’t want to mix tonight.” Alex turned her attention from the scrubby hillside to handsome Nick Sirianni sitting across from her, casually relaxed in his Armani tuxedo. Though he favored stiff Wall Street suits, Nick was always casually relaxed due to the fact that he was worth millions from a Hollywood Midas touch.
Alex heard Leonard Cohen’s gravel-rubbed, breathless voice floating faintly through the air, crooning his patented melancholy love proclamations, and she couldn’t help but let her eyes wander along Nick’s impeccably tailored suit. Her hands absently grazed the familiar bluish-purple marks on her wrists currently hidden under make-up.
Nick’s thin lips curled into a slow, understanding grin. “Fine, but I have some X for later, and I don’t care what you’ve taken already,” he said in a tone Alex had learned not to question. “I’ve got plans for you, babe.”
“I guess it’s gonna be a long night.”
“The longest ever.”
Alex could tell he had taken off. She absently twirled a lock of her black, shoulder-length hair.
“Hey,” Nick nudged her leg with his polished leather dress shoe, “let me see.”
“Not right now.”
“I’m not asking, Alley Cat. Let me see. And do it right.”
Alex locked eyes with him, but she relented.
She found the fold of her straight wraparound skirt of crepe and beading that draped to the floor. She peeled it back and uncrossed her legs beneath the gown, giving Nick a peek-a-boo of her
narrow ankle and high-heeled foot. She loosened her knees, proving to Nick she’d followed his instructions.
Nick looked her over and loosened his collar.
“Good girl,” Nick said and shifted toward her, the leather seat creaking beneath him. He knelt between her legs and softly traced the length of her pale grey stocking from her shoe, along her leg, up to the matching garter, and over her supple brown thigh exposed between the garter and its straps. Nick kissed her just above where the stockings ended. He breathed in deeply and peered up to her.
“I gotta have a taste, baby,” he said and dipped his handsome face between her thighs.
Alex sighed and sank back into her seat.
How did things get so out of control? Isn’t tonight supposed to be everything I’ve worked for? Everything I’ve sacrificed for? Or, what I’ve sacrificed everyone for?
Alex knew she had purposely cut off anyone who had the misfortune of ever giving a damn about her. And there were such people.
It certainly wasn’t Nick. She’d made her deal with this particular devil nearly a year ago. Things between them were comfortably tawdry. Nick owned her. She knew it. He knew it. They had an understanding.
A flicker nudged her: so many things that could have been. She took another swig of champagne, letting the alcohol’s fizz and burn push everything back into the darkness.
Alex registered Nick’s velvet tongue expertly stroking her crevices, and she couldn’t help but give him all the access he wanted. She felt him smile when she dropped her head back and settled deeper into the limo’s bench. The car halted forward and the lazy, swaying sax turned up the tension in Cohen’s sonic plea for love.
Alex peered beyond the cracked sunroof, searching the starless LA sky for some answers. A corner of the tinted sunroof caught her faint reflection and she saw a vacant-eyed, thirty two-year-old wasted stranger. She’d never known herself less than at this moment. Her passion for work was burned out and, even tonight, she couldn’t muster excitement. Now, everything was just a game requiring too much effort.
She shut her eyes tight and sucked in air sharply, breathing in the car’s mixture of broken-in leather and artificial lemon scents. She clasped at Nick’s broad shoulder, wringing the expensive jacket sleeve as if it were nothing more than a cheap cocktail napkin. After a moment, she relaxed.
Nick brushed a sweet kiss on her inner thigh before he returned the thin black crepe material of her skirt to its full length. He slid back to his seat across from her and smoothed his hair back.
“Damn, you taste good, honey.” He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
“We’re next in line, ma’am,” the chauffeur’s voice crackled through the intercom. The limo moved into place with a definite stop.
Nick grinned. “It’s show time, Alley Cat.”
The cool night air took Alex by surprise as she waded into the sea of people and flashing cameras. She staggered, unsure she could move.
“One foot in front of the other,” Nick said in his soft voice through her hair. “I’ll get you a drink once we get inside.”
Alex smiled serenely and nodded. She focused on the live band somewhere in the distance belting out a Sinatra standard. Her eyes found the majestic Griffith Observatory looming in the distance, hovering above the white party tents.
Inside, the camera flashes kept coming.
“And here we are,” Nick offered as he swiped a couple of champagne flutes from a roving waiter’s tray. “This should get ya right, babe.”
Alex took the glass automatically. Another bulb flashed near her and she saw blue sprinkles. She regained focus quickly, but then her stomach dropped. Across the room was the last person she wanted to see.
Jamie Douglas stood out in any crowd. Angular looks punctuated by oceanic blue eyes, a naturally lean athleticism, and down-to-earth boyishness had made him a reigning movie star around the world for almost twenty years. And right now, Alex saw Jamie’s eyes find hers through the crowd. When they caught each other, a flash sparked between them like one of those popping camera bulbs. Jamie’s surprised look gave way to a lopsided grin; it was a look so familiar to her.
Alex registered Nick snake his arm around her thin waist and she broke her gaze from Jamie.
“Okay, Alley Cat, time for our victory lap.”
“Perfect timing,” she said.
Timing—everything always came down to timing. It seemed to her that her timing had always been off. Not crazy off, just that extra millisecond that pushed everything either too early or too late. And now, she understood that it was too late.
Suddenly, she couldn’t bear to go through with the whole charade of tonight. Maybe, she couldn’t even bear to go through with the whole charade of her life any longer. Just leave, a soft voice whispered inside her head. There’s nothing written you have to stick around. It’s practically programmed into your DNA that you’ll be checking out of this world early.
All at once, Alex understood that simple fact. She, Alex Moreno, would leave Los Angeles tonight as anonymously as she had arrived nearly a decade earlier. She knew that wasn’t an entirely accurate account of how she’d started.
Now I’m alone, and that’s just how I knew things would always turn out.
Liza Treviño hails from Texas, spending many of her formative years on the I-35 corridor of San Antonio, Austin and Dallas. In pursuit of adventure and a Ph.D., Liza moved to Los Angeles where she compiled a collection of short-term, low-level Hollywood jobs like script girl, producer assistant and production assistant. Her time as a Hollywood Jane-of-all-trades gave her an insider’s view to a world most only see from the outside, providing the inspiration for creating a new breed of Latina heroine.
Nathan regained consciousness somewhere just before Hammer turned off I5 in Yreka. They had used duct tape on his mouth, hands, and feet, and then wrapped it around his chest and the chair for good measure. He wasn’t going anywhere soon. The blood had crusted on the side of his head where Hammer had clocked him. The pain was deep and centered behind his left eye. He had gotten lax. After all those years in Lebanon, and other more dicey places, he had left his RV unsecured. A child could have found the Glock 39. He wiggled his jaw a bit, the three days growth of beard had prevented the duct tape from adhering securely to his skin, and he worked to loosen it. He didn’t want it to drop noticeably so he did just enough so he could talk or shout if needed. The majority of the space inside the RV was taken up with stacks of plastic-wrapped marijuana bricks. There wasn’t any way he could get to his second, emergency revolver that was hidden under the sink. Pity. Hammer parked the RV in a small park and reached over to the passenger seat where he had a small cooler and pulled out a cold beer. He drank it down in three long pulls and then sat fidgeting for about fifteen minutes before he started calling. First his brother Sprocket, and then someone else called Dwight. Hammer was nervous and agitated. The trick was how to use that to his advantage.
Nathan watched the single headlight of a truck go by on the road. He knew they were in northern California, an area referred to as the Emerald Triangle. Full of nasty boys. He could only wonder why thieves from Oregon would set up a drug deal in the middle of California’s prime marijuana growing fields. Well, it wasn’t hard to figure out. These weren’t the brightest guys he’d come across. Yet, he was the one tied up. Not time to feel too superior. The truck with one headlight drove by again. A little slower this time.
“You do know that you’re trying to do your deal in enemy territory?” Hammer jumped a foot off his seat, giving Nathan a small amount of satisfaction.
“What the fuck? How did you …?” “It’s the beard. Duct tape can’t adhere strongly to it. A good thing too. I have a slight cold. I would have had trouble breathing. I assume you’re not planning to kill me?”
“Don’t be too sure, old man.”
“The way I look at it, Hammer—you don’t mind if I call you Hammer?—if your buyer doesn’t get here in the next, say, thirty minutes or so, you’re going to have an up front and probably hazardous to your health kind of confrontation with some local guys. They find out you’re selling dope in their territory, they’re going to be real perturbed. They’re going to have a short and to the point discussion about the lack of respect that demonstrates to them.”
“What the fuck? I didn’t understand half of what you said, old man. Can’t you speak plain American?”
“My name’s Nathan. Sorry about the verbiage. I was a university professor. Big words were my stock and trade, so to speak. To be simple, you may have already attracted the attention of some other bad guys. They may be coming back. If they do, they will probably shoot at you. I don’t like the idea of being in the middle of your shit. Is that plain enough?”
“Don’t you worry about me, Professor, I ain’t exactly unequipped for run-ins with other dudes. This here is one nice pistol. Where’d you get this? You sure don’t look like someone who’d be packing a Glock. Even if it’s a little bitty one like this.” Hammer pulled the gun out from under his seat and waved it in Nathan’s direction. Nathan pretended to flinch; unless the idiot had been playing with it there was no bullet in the chamber, so the deadly weapon was currently just a piece of metal.
“Don’t worry yourself, Professor, I ain’t hit anything I didn’t want to since I was ten.”
“I have a question for you, Hammer. Why am I here? Why didn’t you just leave me at the campground? I’m just unnecessary baggage. You could kick me out now and there wouldn’t be any way I could muck up your plans.”
Hammer snorted. “My dumb brother thought you’d freeze or something. Don’t worry, Professor, I’m dumping you as soon as I can.”
Nathan watched him closely. Hammer’s eyes and forehead were scrunched in thought. Nathan assumed he was trying to figure out a way to get rid of the problem that was Nathan. A witness who could identify him. The thought that this idiot might decide on a lethal solution to his problem made Nathan highly uncomfortable. He’d have to help Hammer come up with a resolution that didn’t end up with Nathan rotting in a shallow grave in the forest. There had only been one other time that he’d gotten in a jam, it was when he was “consulting” for a certain unnamed government agency. He kept his captor talking, trying to make himself human to a man who viewed non-believers as sub-human. That time of course, Dani swooped down and saved the day. He needed to let her know that somehow he’d tangled with some nasty boys. And in the meantime, as the great Chinese general Sun Tzu would have advised, “Pretend inferiority and encourage arrogance.” The great thing about dumb people like Hammer, they never knew they were dumb. They always thought they were the smartest people around. Sort of like the Enron guys.
as Simi. I’m from Surat, India, but I now live with my husband in California.
We’ve recently moved to Carmel-by-the-Sea from LA to indulge my husband,
Nirvaan. He’s terminal, you see, and its part of his bucket list.
and I want to know if she was as frivolous as historians make her out to be.
cracks me up even while saying the most innocuous things.
Abi decides to fulfil a lifelong dream. As a child on holiday in a Cornwall as a child she fell in love with a cottage – the prophetically named Abbey’s House. Now she is going to see if she can find the place again, relive the happy memories … maybe even buy a place of her own nearby?
On impulse Abi sets off to Cornwall, where a chance meeting in a village pub brings new friends Beth and Max into her life. Beth, like Abi, has a life-changing decision to make. Max, Beth’s best mate, is new to the village. He soon helps Abi track down the house of her dreams … but things aren’t quite that simple. There’s the complicated life Abi left behind, including her late husband’s brother, Simon – a man with more than friendship on his mind … Will Abi’s house remain a dream, or will the bricks and mortar become a reality?
Buy Links for Abi’s House
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1LQflJx
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1LNrbog
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1LNrcZs
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1HA2jMQ
1. How did you come with the idea for your current story?
The idea for Abi’s House came to me when I was looking through old family photo albums of holidays in Cornwall. I wanted to write a feel good, easy read story, and as I flicked through the faded photographs, Cornwall suddenly seemed the obvious choice of places to set my romance.
Not only is the pace of life in the south-west of England vastly calmer from that of London and its suburbs, and therefore would provide the peace that my lead character Abi needs is start a new life, but Cornwall- particularly the foot of the county- is a place I (like Abi) knew well as a child, as could describe well.
My father was born and raised in Penzance. My Grandad was a butcher in a shop along Market Jew Street, and my Nan ran a bed and breakfast down Alma Place. I have clear memories of walking through Penzance, eating fudge from the home made sweet shop, visiting Marazion, St Michael’s Mount, St Just, Lamorna, Sennen Cove, and all the other places mentioned on Abi’s escape to the south of England.
Creating Abi’s House was a real trip down memory lane for me, and will hopefully be a curl up on the beach, or in the garden on a sunny day- a real piece of feel good fiction.
2. What is your most interesting writing quirk?
No matter what I write, I have to base the story in a location I have really been to. I simply can’t locate any story in a place I’ve never been to before- I’ve tried, but it never quite works. Even though what I’m writing is purely fictional, I need to have experienced how my books setting looks, and sounds, and smells, so that I can get all the characters emotions, reactions correct, as well as the general atmosphere of the place correct.
3. What is in your To Read Pile that you are dying to start or upcoming release you can’t wait for?
I am really looking forward to the next Sidney Grice mystery, Death Descends on Saturn Villa, by M.R.C. Kasasian. I loved the first two books in the series, and I’m longing to start the third, but I’m making myself wait until I’m on my holiday in August.
4. Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
I’ve recently written a new bucket list, because I’d done everything on my first one!
Top of my new list is to visit the Mayan pyramids.
5. Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
- I always drink my first coffee of the day the same ‘Shoe People’ mug- and if I don’t, then the day never goes well!
- I can’t walk in shoes with any sort of high heel.
- I’m allergic to any perfume- makes me sneeze like mad.
6. What do you have in store next for your readers?
Now that Abi’s House is published, I am writing the next in my Another Cup of series.
Another Glass of Champagne will be the fourth in the stories about the staff and customers of the Pickwicks Coffee Shop in Richmond London. It will be released early in 2016. Following on from the bestselling Another Cup of Coffee, Another Cup of Christmas, and Christmas in the Cotswolds, this next novel sees big changes and challenges in the lives of best friends Amy, Jack and Kit.
Alongside my contemporary fiction, I also write children’s picture books. My next story, Ben’s Biscuit Tin Adventure (Hush Puppy Books), will be out later this year!
Many thanks for inviting me over as part of my Abi’s House blog tour.
Jenny Kane is the author the contemporary romance Abi’s House (Accent Press, 2015), the modern/medieval time slip novel Romancing Robin Hood (Accent Press, 2014), the best selling contemporary romance Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013), and its novella length sequels Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013), and Christmas in the Cotswolds (Accent, 2014).
Jenny’s fourth full length romance novel, Another Glass of Champagne, will be published in 2016.
Jenny is also the author of quirky children’s picture books There’s a Cow in the Flat (Hushpuppy, 2014) and Ben’s Biscuit Tin (Coming soon from Hushpuppy)
Keep your eye on Jenny’s blog at www.jennykane.co.uk for more details.
Connect with the Author
Jenny also writes erotica as Kay Jaybee.
With murder in common friendship is inevitable:
As fifteen year old Pleasant Day struggles with her mother’s distance, her father’s infidelity and the death of her best friend, she draws closer to Clarissa, an older woman with the secrets to heal her. But Clarissa has struggles of her own as she faces betrayal and seeks to come to terms with old wounds. With her unpredictable but psychic ability to ‘read people’ Clarissa uncovers the answers to a deadly crime and to Pleasant’s true identity. In the end, both Pleasant and Clarissa’s worlds are transformed by the truths they’re forced to accept.
Praise for ‘Pleasant Day’ By Vera Jane Cook:
“Absolutely unputdownable, a real page turner. Be prepared to clear your schedule for the day. You’re going to read this one straight through! This is Vera Jane Cook’s best one yet!” –Wall to Wall Books
“A beautiful blend of past and present with loveable, memorable characters and a page turning pace, I was sorry I couldn’t read it in one sitting.” –Jenn Doyle, Books & Life.
“A beautiful piece of southern fiction…a great page turner…this book is filled with delightful characters, charm, warmth, love and last but certainly not least, wonderful humor.”-Arlene Uslander, Editor and writer.
Chapter One Pleasant Day
I wanted to let loose with a good right hook to his grin. Son of a bitch was always treating me like I had nothing in my head but air, no way to reason or form thoughts. I had no purpose on this earth but to appease his need to be believed. Little bastard would never get as tall as the tales he told.
“Ain’t that something,” he said.
He stood there breathing hard, getting fat on bad news. Of course it wasn’t true, meant to scare me away from giving John Peter two minutes of my time. I raised my eyes to the sky and put my hands in the pockets of my jeans.
“You shocked?” he asked.
Now listen here, bull shit is not my middle name. I shoot straight from the hip, tell it like it is. But you throw bull shit my way it’s going back atcha, that you can be sure. I don’t’ take any crap from anyone and I don’t give it. So don’t go trying to sell me the frigging Gervais Street Bridge ’cause you can’t put a price on something that can’t be bought.
“You owe me five shiny quarters for that little bit of news.”
“Kiss my white, southern little ass, Angus.”
He stared at me like I was a detour he’d come up against, his free ride to money took a sharp left, right off the road. The little bastard was stumped, like a jeopardy question that froze him up. “Duh, what is a summer’s day? Can’t get much easier than that.”
He squinched up his nose, his leprechaun impression, I guess. He looked Irish as a shamrock, eyes the color of a glossy post card pea green sea and his jaw line was just begging to be grown into, waiting for him to get handsome, which one day he would be, I guess. But for now, he was irregular looking, like his poor features didn’t know where to go to get caught up with.
“I never understand what the hell you’re talking about,” he said.
He wasn’t too smart. “Shall I compare thee to…..” “What? I swear, Pleasant, you’re out of your mind.” “What is a summer’s day, asshole. It’s a Jeopardy question. It’s Shakespeare.”
He made some whishing sound in his throat and kicked the dirt, like he wished I was getting the benefit of the end of his shoe. I always made him angry, angry as my daddy gets when he looks at his paycheck and wonders where the zeros went.
“You hear what I’m saying, Pleasant? You’re nuts.” “Good thing to be, I hear.” He made a whishing sound again. “Can you believe what I just told you? I wasn’t lying. Hell, I wish I was. What the hell reason would I have to be lying about a thing like that?”
“You want to play Jeopardy or not?” ”No. You listening to me?” ”I hear words falling like bricks from your mouth.
They have no meaning but they are awfully heavy, hard to bare.”
“Why do I bother telling you anything?”
“You don’t tell me shit, you are one big piece of crap and your mouth is filled with things that don’t mean nothing. Your mind is the same.”
“You don’t believe me?”
“You want me to believe that Mrs. Clottey found a dead body in her son’s box-spring? You really want me to believe that?”
“It’s the truth.”
“No truth on this goddamn planet ever made its way out of your mouth. If truth was hanging out of your nose you’d blow that goddamn truth bugger into a snot rag and toss it into a fire pit.”
“Fuck you, Pleasant.” And off he walked.
Damn Angus Ray would have me believe that Pluto is the planet with rings and Mars got nothing to do with the God of War. Oh no, the God of War is a freaking pansy and he took his name from those little hard candies look like hearts. According to Angus we got Cupid to thank for slaughtering the assassins of Caesar.
He must think I got nothing better to do on a July afternoon but swallow any line of bull he wants to feed me.
Truth is though, I don’t have much better to do on a July afternoon but join all the other aimless souls got nothing in their heads but some kind of fuzz. Damn if I understand what we’re doing on this earth. I mean, I can’t justify getting born. I didn’t ask for it, nobody did. Then all of a sudden you’re here, screaming at the top of your little lungs ’cause you know what you’re in for. Hard times is what you’re in for. I can’t even begin to tell you what bad news is lying on my path through life but I best be ready for it. I best be putting on my armor and I’d best be prepared to fend off all the bullshit coming my way head on.
People make up things to do before they go insane doing nothing. Now, ain’t that the truth? Most people I know don’t take the pleasure in reading that I do. That’s what keeps me from terminal aimlessness. I got my own July classroom up on Piper Hill with my copy of To Kill a Mockingbird in my knapsack and five dime store paperbacks stuffed under my arm.
Winner: Eric Hoffer Award for publishing
excellence and the Indie Excellence Award for
notable new fiction!
5 Star Clarion ForeWord Review!
Vera Jane Cook, writer of Award Winning Women’s Fiction, is the author of The Story of Sassy Sweetwater, Lies a River Deep, Where the Wildflowers Grow, Dancing Backward in Paradise and Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem.
Jane, as she is known to family and friends, was born in New York City and grew up amid the eccentricity of her southern and glamorous mother on the Upper West and Upper East Side of Manhattan.
An only child, Jane turned to reading novels at an early age and was deeply influenced by an eclectic group of authors. Some of her favorite authors today are Nelson DeMille, Calib Carr, Wally Lamb, Anne Rice, Sue Monk Kidd, Anita Shreve, Jodi Picoult, Alice Walker and Toni Morrison. Her favorite novels are too long to list but include The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Cheri and The Last of Cheri, The Picture of Dorian Grey, Wuthering Heights, Look at Me, Dogs of Babel, The Bluest Eye, The Art of Racing in the Rain, Body Surfing, Lolita, The Brothers Karamazov, She’s Come Undone, Tale of Two Cities, etc., etc., etc.,
Buy ‘Pleasant Day’ by Vera Jane Cook:
Follow the Tour:
Teddy Rose Book Reviews Apr 7 Spotlight & Giveaway
Bound 4 Escape Apr 8 Review
Confessions Of A Reader Apr 9 Interview
What U Talking Bout Willis? Apr 13 Review
Mythical Books Apr 14 Interview
Room With Books Apr 15 Review & Giveaway
Winter Reads Apr 17 Interview & Giveaway
Elizabeth McKenna Romance Author Apr 20 Excerpt
Wall To Wall Books Apr 21 Review
Teddy Rose Book Reviews Apr 22 Review
From Isi Apr 27 Review
Writer In Progress Apr 28 Review & Giveaway
Sapphyria’s Book Reviews Apr 29 Excerpt
The Book Diva’s Reads Apr 30 Review & Excerpt
Suko’s Notebook May 5 Review
Deal Sharing Aunt May 6 Review & Giveaway
Lightning Chronicles May 12 Review, Interview & Giveaway
Indie Review Behind the Scenes May 14 live I 6 pm cst
Melina’s Book Blog May 18 Review & Giveaway
Cassandra M’s Place May 21 Review & Giveaway
Jersey Girl Book Reviews May 22 Review & Excerpt
The Mama Games May 25 Review
Pinky’s Favorite Reads May 26 Review
Pinky’s Favorite Reads May 27 I & G
Bassgiraffe’s Thoughts May 28 Review
Book Title: Visiting the Sins by Melanie Denman
Category: Adult Fiction, 244 pages
Genre: Women’s fiction, Southern fiction
Publisher: Word Association Publishers
Release date: January 2015 (Second Edition)Content Rating: PG-13 + Mature
Set in the Bible Belt of Deep East Texas, Visiting the Sins is a darkly funny story about mothers and daughters, naked ambition, elusive redemption, and all the torment it’s possible to inflict in the name of family.
Down through the decades, the lofty social aspirations of the feisty but perennially dissatisfied Wheeler women — Pokey, the love-starved, pistol-packing matriarch; Rebanelle, the frosty former beauty queen turned church organist; and Curtis Jean, the backsliding gospel singer — are exceeded only by their unfortunate taste in men and a seemingly boundless capacity for holding grudges. A legacy of feuding and scandal lurches from one generation to the next with tragic consequences that threaten to destroy everything the Wheeler women have sacrificed their souls to build.
Melanie Denman is a native of Nacogdoches, Texas and a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University. An eighth-generation Texan, and a former banker and cattle rancher, she currently lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is working on a second novel.
Connect with Melanie:
Where to buy the book:
A word, a single word defines a moment for Anne. She needs to find a new one when her spouse leaves her at the age of 47, coming out of the closet literally in a closet. She finds herself back in her hometown amongst her high school friends which she left behind in her past.
An inheritance from a friend leaves her with the means to meddle and spy on the lives of some of their mutual acquaintances. In an attempt to run from her reality Anne gets engrossed in a game of “fun” and “flirtation” with her friend and fellow sufferer Connie at her side. Anne however did not read all the files and what to her is fun games turns into a deadly reality. It is no longer a game.
Life, death and not even a defining word can stop the reality of manipulation.
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a $15 Amazon gift card!
The characters in Defined by Others are predominantly women. They are all flawed and for the most part very superficial. Some of their flaws are surprising and others are logical.
I chose women born in the year 1965. I did this to work with a play on Chinese Astrology. I made them 47 years old as the book takes place in 2012. One of the characteristics of female snakes according to Chinese Astrology is that they are all very beautiful.
I wanted characters that were superficial and very worried about their physique and how others see them; thus being defined by the opinions of others.
The women have a connection as teens from growing up in the same affluent town in the American Northeast. The story is fueled by who they are at 47 and who they were at 17.
ANNE is one of the main characters and the story is told from her point of view, in her voice. She is fluent in many languages and loves words. She likes to define every moment with just one word. Her husband recently left her, and he left her broken and confused. Divorce is hard at any age, but divorce because the man you shared almost two decades with realizes he is gay must be brutal.
Anne has a nice side. She is forgiving of her husband. She tries to get into his skin and appreciate his confusion. She is still, however, so confused and vulnerable that when life presents her with a way to make other’s suffer as she has, she is pretty quick to grab it.
She has adolescent twins. She is, however, a very detached parent. As the story evolves, she identifies that she continued the family pattern with which she was raised.
In the course of the story, she has to make numerous life changing decisions. Anne is in a journey of self-discovery and she has likable and dark traits.
CONNIE is also a main character. She is curiously linked to Anne because her respective husbands have fallen for each other and left them. Connie has been carrying the pain and confusion longer than Anne. She is broken and lonely, and in Anne, she sees the possibility of a friend, ally or at the very least fellow sufferer.
Like Anne, she does not blame the man who left her, and respects that as the father of her children, she needs to wish him nothing but the very best.
She loves to nurture and to cook. She goes completely against her nurturing nature as the story evolves, because she is so hurt, confused and unbalanced.
As much as Connie chooses to also manipulate those she sees as her foes, there is a very tender and likable side to Connie. She loves her children very deeply and is very lost when the main focus of her life changes; she was born to be the quintessential mom.
AMANDA is dead, during the entire story-line she manipulates with her legacy from the very grave. She was ravaged by an illness that magnified her negative traits, and if the other characters are to be believed there was nothing positive about Amanda.
As the story progresses, I do give Amanda a background, a reason to be so dark. I did so because otherwise the character would be too flat or cartoon like as an image of pure evil.
During her illness, she devices a way to be cruel and most involved with the women in her past and present. Upon her death (not a spoiler this is the opening of the book) she leaves her “game” to Anne, it is a game of manipulation and deceit through social media.
ALLISON is mean. She is identified as Amanda’s mean girl side-kick, but she too is a victim of the manipulation game. I have had readers contact me, and it is indeed Allison they seem to dislike the most. I did not feel a need to give her as much depth or an excuse for her nastiness, as she is a secondary character. I just wanted to show that although she is vulnerable, she is also a natural leader.
She is clever and assumes she is far cleverer than she really is. As I wrote Defined by Others, I did want Allison to be a sort of live walking continuum to Amanda’s nasty side.
PETER is the only male in the story who is very present. The husbands are in the sidelines. Peter is a lawyer. He connects with Anne at the beginning of the book as Amanda’s lawyer.
He is kind and understanding. He falls for Anne and he falls hard. He is also divorced and as such looking for a new way to fit in. He is not privy to Anne and Connie’s machinations, but he does suspect they are up to no good.
I wanted Peter to be a very easy man to love, intelligent, successful, and vulnerable. I had to make him vulnerable by having his ex drop him in a cruel and hurtful way. I made him Amanda’s reluctant lawyer so that he would be aware that Anne had inherited something odd and questionable from Amanda. I did not want to turn him into a detective. He needed some level of awareness to make him believable.
I also had him fall in love with Anne, but fall in love with Connie’s cooking and thus forming a strong bond with both women.
MRS. G. (Anne’s mother) is a character that is as much represented by her dialogue and appearances throughout the story as she is by her “secret room”. Mrs. G. was a liberal adventuresome lady who is also defined by others, and as such she pretends to be as conservative as those who surround her world.
She has a special room, full of New Age Books and other secrets. She is as such very present throughout the story.
About the Author:
M.C.V. Egan is the pen name chosen by Maria Catalina Vergara Egan the author of The Bridge of Deaths and Defined by Others. Catalina is originally from Mexico City, Mexico. She has lived in France, Sweden and various parts of the U.S.A.
She has called South Florida her home for the last twenty-five years; she is a writer, a mother a wife and a pretty good cook.
Her first book The Bridge of Deaths is available in two different versions, her book Defined by Others is the first in a series Defining Ways exploring what makes us flawed and human.
Book two Climbing Up The Family Tree; Defined by Pedigree will be released in November 2015.
‘The writing achieves the balance between lightheartedness and truth to look at family ties — cosy, lovely, messy, and uncomfortable, all tangled up — with real affection and honesty.’ –Vine Voice
for sisters, Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell who collaborate across the mighty
Atlantic, finding writing together the perfect excuse for endless phone
conversations. They are equally passionate about travel, animals and the
great outdoors. Although Pam lives near London, with husband, three children
and a dog, while Lorraine is on a Colorado ranch near wild and wonderful
Boulder with husband, five horses, five cats, one dog and four chickens
– they both believe in enjoying life to the fullest, be it discovering new
remote locations or going on trail rides in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.