Michelle P. Tonnesen

Introducing author Michelle P. Tonnesen

A writer, reader, traveller and chocolate-lover, soon to have two novels under her belt – meet Michelle P. Tonnesen!

I am originally from Denmark, but grew up in a multicultural family and have lived in Brussels, the Middle East and London before moving to the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea with my family in 2011. My experiences with living in different countries and cultures inspire a lot of my writing, sprinkled with a bit of an anthropological globetrotter’s perspective on life due to my degree in Intercultural Management and Communication.

Words and playing with them have always been a great interest of mine. I am a linguist at heart; I grew up in a bilingual family, speak four languages and read from an early age. I have written for many years, but it was primarily non-fiction, academic papers and corporate communication.

When we moved to the island it opened the door to the opportunity of being more serious about my creative writing. I was lucky to become a writer here for Gallery and Agenda magazines, alongside working on my novels and running my consulting business.

I write contemporary fiction about strong female protagonists and the challenges they encounter in today’s world. Both my books have the geographical settings as drivers for their story and could be categorized in the travel fiction genre as the reader is taken on adventures around the globe.

My debut novel, The Cosmopolitan Islander, is an enlightening story of female roles and identity in the 21st century, traversing the timeless themes of love, desire, family, friendship, power and ambition. It takes the reader from the Isle of Man and around the world, joining the thirty-something globetrotter Chloe on her quest for happiness.

I am very proud of the five-star reviews my first published work of fiction has received on both Amazon and Goodreads. It is so gratifying to hear that readers from Atlanta to Australia not only enjoy the fruit of your hard work, but also can relate to the characters and the story. This is why you write. Not just to get that story out which is burning inside you, but in the hope of making a positive impact on others. Winning a gold award was the cherry on top!

Women in particular can relate to the main character, Chloe, and her challenges of juggling a career with family and relationships, discrimination in the work place and having to work twice as hard for recognition – especially when you are younger. I have had a lot of local women who recognised their own struggles of relocating to the island and finding their feet in a foreign environment. I have also had several men tell me that the story really struck a chord with them in relation to their careers and life crises – people who have been running and running till they hit a wall in one way or another and consequently questioned the purpose of their work struggles and whether there is a better way to find that elusive work-life balance.

I am running a Goodreads Giveaway throughout July – please enter if you are interested in winning a signed copy of The Cosmopolitan Islander.

My second novel is targeted at adventurous globetrotters and readers just longing to escape, who would enjoy a unique coming-of-age love story in an exotic setting. It is set in the Middle East in the nineties and follows the journey of a privileged young woman, Olivia, from Scandinavia to a region rich in history, culture, conflict and passion. A whirlwind romance with an Israeli kibbutznik, Chaim, takes a dramatic turn, leaving her caught between countries, belonging nowhere, and with the love of her life in danger far away.

It is a thrilling journey of self-discovery and rebellion, during which the female protagonist encounters the dangers of travelling unaccompanied in a male-dominated society, explores magnificent historical sights and cultural experiences, as well as questions the concepts of hate, fate, war and peace – all set against the backdrop of music and key events of the nineties. It will be released later this year. I am currently building my book launch “street team”. Feel free to contact me on social media @mptonnesen if you are interested in an Advance Review Copy or would like to feature on the book blog tour. 

When I don’t write I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I love good food, but unfortunately do not have as much time for culinary experiments as I would like. I try to be gastronomically creative or go out for dinners when I get the chance.  I do as much travelling as possible. I enjoy discovering new places and cultures – particularly in the sun! I also dabble in yoga and running to look after my body and mind in a hectic life.

One of my favourite travel quotes is by Saint Augustine: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” So venture out there and explore the world – through fiction and in reality!

 

Michelle P. Tonnesen

 

The Cosmopolitan Islander

 

What if life as you know it was turned upside down? Would you still be the same person?

When Chloe is forced to leave behind her cosmopolitan life in London to move to a small island in the Irish Sea, she is faced with a myriad of challenges.

How will she and her family adapt to island life? Will she find new friends? What about her career? Most importantly, will the love of Chloe and her husband survive their amorous adventures?

Join Chloe on her journey through her past and her present to make sense of her life, herself, her hopes, and dreams amid her personal upheaval.

The Cosmopolitan Islander is a thrilling novel about female roles and identity in the 21st century – and about how the journey of life can change your destination in the most unexpected way. It takes the reader from the Isle of Man and around the world, traversing the timeless themes of love, desire, family, friendship, power, and ambition.

The Cosmopolitan Islander is a must read for the modern woman – and man; for expats and others in cultural encounters, for islanders and globetrotters, and for anyone in-between.

 

Michelle P. Tonnesen

 

Reviews:

“A richly evocative examination of life, love, loss!” Goodreads Review

“An entertaining and enlightening ride” Goodreads Review

“Absolutely riveting” Goodreads Review

“Intelligent, funny and well-written” Amazon Review

“Sexy and complex plot lines that make you think, feel, dream and believe… Awesome!” Goodreads Review

 

Find The Cosmopolitan Islander on Amazon UK

Find The Cosmopolitan Islander on Amazon US

Follow Michelle on Goodreads

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Watch the YouTube Book Trailer Video

******

I hope you have found a new book to read, and a new author to follow. Can’t wait for the second book to come out! I’ll definitely let you know when that happens.

Melissa

 

 

About Melissa:

Sylvie Writes a Romance

Wandering

Leave a review on Amazon and I’ll love you forever!

Sylvie Writes a Romance on Smashwords – for Nook, Kobo, etc

Recent articles:

From Travel to Romcon and Beyond

BookDaily.com

Travel Writing on JenniferSAlderson.com

Recent reviews:

Indie Reader Review for Sylvie Writes a Romance

Kirkus Indie Review for Sylvie Writes a Romance

Follow me on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter

Kauai Adventure Photo

Sylvie Writes a Romance is on Smashwords – get your 50% off coupon!

Aloha readers!

If you’re unfamiliar with Smashwords, it is a wonderful online book store for both readers and writers. Thousands of books are available in every electronic format available – iPad, iPhone, iPod, Nook, Kindle, Kindle Fire, Kobo, or even simple PDF downloads for reading on your computer.

As an author, Smashwords is an uncomplicated site to sell your books – download a Word document formatted properly, and voila, your book is now for sale on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and many more retailers, plus added to library catalogs. The only catch is getting the format down correctly; but if you’re not computer savvy they even provide a list of people who will format your book for a reasonable price.

To celebrate my new foray into “the world beyond Amazon,” I am offering a 50% off coupon for purchase of Sylvie at the Smashwords site. You are free to email this coupon to anyone you think might enjoy Sylvie Writes a Romance! Spread the Love!

Coupon Code VT59Y – expires on 6/12/17 – use it for a Sylvie ebook.

Enjoy!

Melissa

 

Find my books on Amazon:

Sylvie Writes a Romance

Wandering

Leave a review on Amazon and I’ll love you forever!

Sylvie Writes a Romance on Smashwords – for Nook, Kobo, etc

Recent articles:

From Travel to Romcon and Beyond

BookDaily.com

Travel Writing on JenniferSAlderson.com

Recent reviews:

Indie Reader Review for Sylvie Writes a Romance

Kirkus Indie Review for Sylvie Writes a Romance

Follow me on Facebook

Melissa Burovac

From travel to romcom and beyond – an evolution of my writing

In 2012, I embarked on a solo RTW trip that lasted nine months. I had never traveled solo before, and have a healthy dose of social anxiety plus a great fear of getting lost with my poor sense of direction, so this was an enormous undertaking for me. I had help getting prepared from traveler friends, creating lists of places to visit and gear I might need along the way. I put my furniture in storage, not knowing what to expect for how long I would be gone, sold my beloved Jeep Cherokee, and bought a one-way ticket to Mexico. I got a ride to the airport in Lihue, Kauai, carrying only a backpack containing clothes, a point and shoot camera, a 13” Mac laptop, and a water filter. A couple months after my 40th birthday, I was as ready as I would ever be.

During my travels I visited nine countries: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Cuba, Australia, Cambodia, and Thailand. I encountered natural disasters in most of the countries — two hurricanes, a volcano eruption, an earthquake and a wildfire. As I blogged, my friends joked they knew where I was by where the natural disasters were occurring. “Something exploded? Let’s see where Melissa is!”

Blogging as I traveled was mainly to let my mother know I was still alive. I had childhood dreams of being a writer, but those got lost in the flurry of making a living after college and were completely forgotten. When I returned to Kauai after my trip I didn’t expect such a reaction to my blog; people were amazed I traveled for nine months, mostly solo, and that I didn’t die in the drug wars of Mexico, or some other place they only knew from news reports. Or even that as a woman, I was able to make my way through the world without trouble — some trouble, but not much. The women who followed me online were especially impressed and wanted to know how I did it all by myself. As I heard, more and more, “You should write a book,” I recalled those forgotten dreams of becoming an author and decided to give it a try.

Wandering was born from my blog posts, mostly written in bars and cafes around the world— a little bit drunk, a little bit lost, and toward the end, a whole lot homesick from being alone. This first book of mine was self-published in June 2014.

It wasn’t as easy as it sounds, though. I was working full-time as a bookkeeper, writing full-time after work — mostly from the back of my truck at the beach with a $200 laptop — and I was exhausted. I lost touch with most of my friends, and was a little depressed with the sudden lack of freedom.

Finally, though, Wandering was finished, published, and it was the most exciting thing in my life to see a book I had written in print. I immediately had dreams of writing more books, but didn’t see enough income to allow me to quit my regular job. I sent copies to every major outlet and publisher I could find online but no one picked up the book. While visiting my sister in Portland I took copies to Powell’s and sold them as used just so I could go back a week later and see my book on the shelf at a bookstore.

So what comes next? I wanted to be a full-time writer but it wasn’t working out exactly as it had in my daydreams. I didn’t have another book planned, and couldn’t begin to imagine what to do with myself.

One afternoon I was flipping through articles about writing on the internet and came across one about romance writers. The three women depicted in the article were raking in huge monthly incomes from churning out romance e-books, and I thought to myself, How hard could it be to write a romance novel?

I was sitting at a bar in Portland, drinking Bloody Marys and turning my imagination to writing a quick, sexy romance novel to generate some income — and I failed miserably. This is actually the only non-fiction scene in my second book Sylvie Writes a Romance.

I love to read classic fiction, sci-fi, horror, biographies — really, anything but romance novels. In my snobby view of the writing world I didn’t consider romance novels as literature, but just a means to pass the time, and not even as “real writing.” I was completely confused when I couldn’t write anything in that genre that was remotely good. It opened my eyes to how much work any type of writing entails.

I came back home to Kauai and bought a couple used romance novels at a thrift store, and sat down to read them. The books weren’t grammatically complicated, and didn’t contain any lofty ideas, and I sat down to write again, never actually finishing either of them. I just wanted to write something for a mass market so I could concentrate on writing something more profound.

I failed again and again, never writing anything I was happy with. But these failures evolved into a new project about a writer trying to write a romance novel and failing, turning to online dating to meet men and hoping to learn the meaning of romance. It’s more comedy than romance, which suits my style much better.

Sylvie Writes a Romance was born, and published in 2016.

Since Sylvie was written, I have been working on a sequel, plus trying my hand at writing a biography. I hope to have both published this year, and still have my sights set on a full-time career in writing.

 

 

Find my books on Amazon:

Sylvie Writes a Romance

Wandering

Leave a review on Amazon and I’ll love you forever!

Sylvie Writes a Romance on Smashwords – for Nook, Kobo, etc

Recent articles:

BookDaily.com

Travel Writing on JenniferSAlderson.com

Recent reviews:

Indie Reader Review for Sylvie Writes a Romance

Kirkus Indie Review for Sylvie Writes a Romance

 

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Wandering

Wandering Kindle sale – April 8 – 15, 2017

Aloha!

Because of Jennifer S Alderson‘s new group Travel by Book, I’ve arranged for a special sale of Wandering. Beginning on April 8, 2017 you can buy the Kindle version for only 99 cents! During the week, the price will slowly creep back up to the regular Kindle price of $4.99, so get it in the first couple of days for the best deal. Please share this post with anyone who might enjoy a fun travel/adventure book, and sign up for my blog for sales, short stories, and a first look at my new adventure book coming out later this year.

Wandering is the true story of my first RTW trip…

 

Traveling solo as a woman certainly has its ups and downs, but Melissa Burovac will be the first to tell you to embrace the adventure as you encounter it.

Facing her 40th birthday as a single woman in a job she was tired of, Burovac decided to do something. Always keen for adventure, she chose to buy a one-way ticket to Mexico—and quit her job, sell her beloved Jeep, and store all her belongings.

Though she’d gone on trips abroad before, Burovac didn’t feel like she’d ever earned the title of “traveler.” But that was about to change.

Wandering relates the adventures, and misadventures (she encounters so many major weather events that her friends start predicting where the next disaster will strike based on her next destination), of her nine months traveling through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Cuba, Australia, Cambodia, and Thailand.

Her stories will crack you up—and they will inspire you. As someone with no sense of direction, no ability to plan, and plenty of social anxiety, her experiences prove that anyone who wants to travel can!

 

Happy reading!

Melissa

 

Check out my books on Amazon:

Sylvie Writes a Romance

Wandering

Leave a review on Amazon and I’ll love you forever!

Recent articles:

BookDaily.com

Travel Writing on JenniferSAlderson.com

Recent reviews:

Indie Reader Review for Sylvie Writes a Romance

Kirkus Indie Review for Sylvie Writes a Romance

Photography:

Kauai Adventure Photo

Last Reflections – NYC Midnight round 2 submission

Last Reflections:

 

The glimpses of my past race slowly through my mind as the pills make me drowsy.

My mother’s voice sounds, condescending and condemning as always. You did this to yourself. I raised you as best I could, and you threw it all away because you couldn’t keep your legs together. Look what you have to show for your life — nothing but misery.

I inch toward the edge of the table, a centimeter at a time. It’s already hard to breathe. This is best for everyone.

I hear my estranged father next, even though he hasn’t spoken to me in close to 11 years. Just like your mother, you are. Have to drive the men right out of your life with your irresponsibility and unpleasantness. How many fathers do your kids have? I’m ashamed you’re my daughter.

Another inch, and my youngest daughter’s words from last week replay themselves. I’m pregnant, and I’m moving in with Jason and his family. We don’t want you in our baby’s life; don’t try to contact me.

My baby, I think, and a tear slips down my cheek. The youngest of my 10 children. I tried so hard for my kids, to have at least one of them turn out differently than me. I can’t teach what I don’t know, and they all followed in my footsteps. I’ve created and ruined 10 lives.

I reach for the flask in my pocket, this will be my last drink ever. I can’t help but smirk at that thought since I’ve thought that same sentence thousands of times in the past 30 years. This will truly be the last one.

The rope is tight, making it hard to swallow, but I force the vodka down my throat. It burns pleasantly; my old, familiar friend. My only friend now.

I close my eyes, hoping to just fade away, and my eldest son speaks to me from our last visit. My first-born child, the one who entered my life when everything was a game, so much fun. They’re treating me okay, I guess I can’t complain. I started a GED class and I’ve been going to AA meetings. Not like I’ll ever have any use for a GED but it helps me kill the time in here.

Another tear slides out and I empty the flask in my mouth, drop it to the floor with a startling crash of metal on cement that echoes through the nearly empty garage. I wait patiently for each of my children’s voices but so much time has passed since I’ve spoken to most of them that nothing is left. Ten children, and so many grandchildren I’ve never met, yet so alone. No pictures with Santa Claus, no family reunions with toddlers chasing soccer balls, no swimming lessons, no idyllic life for my family. I tried my best.

I hear my mother nagging for hopefully the last time as I wobble on the table top. A bad investment, that’s what your life is. Random men, booze, drugs — what good did any of that do for you? You should have invested in yourself, been a better person for your kids. Her last words to me, so many months ago.

The mix of pills and alcohol are finally making my vision dim. I hope the rope holds, I think, as blackness takes me and my legs buckle.

 

(PS  – my assignment was drama, mother of 10 children, a bad investment – just in case you were wondering…)

 

 

 

Just what you wanted today – my long-awaited second story for the NYC Midnight short story challenge. Cross fingers I get to the finals! A big THANK YOU you to my test readers for your input.

PS again – It’s my birthday, and the greatest present ever would be an Amazon review for one of my books, or recommend one to a friend. Links are below!

 

 

 

Check out my books on Amazon:

Sylvie Writes a Romance

Wandering

Leave a review on Amazon and I’ll love you forever!

Recent articles:

BookDaily.com

Travel Writing on JenniferSAlderson.com

Recent reviews:

Indie Reader Review for Sylvie Writes a Romance

Kirkus Indie Review for Sylvie Writes a Romance

Indie Reader review for Sylvie Writes a Romance

Aloha!

I entered Sylvie into a contest, and got a review as well. Click to see the Indie Reader online version.

 

Relax into a breezy beach read with SYLVIE WRITES A ROMANCE

 

Verdict: It’s hard to feel anything but happy after finishing SYLVIE WRITES A ROMANCE. It is a humorous story that is ultimately hopeful about our ability to connect to others and rescue ourselves from ruts along the way.

Sylvie Jacobsen is a 43-year-old accountant looking to fund her travel-writing passion by penning a cheesy romance novel. Her money-making scheme proves more difficult than she thought as she dives into the strange waters of online dating to conduct research. But is it only fictional love she’s looking to explore?

SYLVIE WRITES A ROMANCE has the quality of sunlight on the tropical blue water that surrounds its island setting. It’s pleasing to look at, but you can’t help but wonder what lies beneath the waves. The novel has a fun premise and Sylvie is a charmingly self-deprecating narrator. It’s fun to join her as she stumbles through the absurd rituals of female grooming and online-dating: applying face-masks, practicing walking in high heels, writing a how-to-flirt cheat sheet on her wrist for a date.

Author Melissa Burovac’s sense of humor sustains the narrative. The back-and-forth between Sylvie and her friend and dating-guide, Colleen, is believably witty and friendly.  (“No one’s gonna smell you through a picture,” Colleen says when Sylvie asks if she should shower before her dating-profile photo shoot.) Burovac also mines the contrast between Sylvie’s romance-novel fantasies and awkward real-life dates to great comedic effect.

The only thing missing is a greater sense of the inner lives behind the banter. Having a deeper sense of why Sylvie has waited until 43 to learn how to apply eye-liner and why her sub-conscious has picked this particular moment to send her on a quest for love would have made me more invested in her story. Burvoac does mention some past failed relationships, but it seems like a generic explanation rather than a character study that matches the detail afforded to Sylvie’s newly learned grooming routines.

Similarly, it would have been helpful to have know more about Sylvie’s potential suitors. Her dates keep going wrong because of almost slapstick mishaps, which are funny to read about. But romance is ultimately about the building relationship between two unique people. Without much sense of the men in Sylvie’s life as complex individuals, it’s hard to really care which one she ends up with.

SYLVIE WRITES A ROMANCE is set on a Hawaiian island, and one of the pleasures of reading it is to learn how the mundane details of daily life interact with the romance of the setting. “I’ve had sex during a hike at the top of a waterfall, and it was the most unsexy thing I’ve probably ever done in my life,” Sylvie thinks at one point. As with the characters, I only wanted more about both the beauty and realities of the setting.

It’s hard to feel anything but happy after finishing SYLVIE WRITES A ROMANCE. It is a humorous story that is ultimately hopeful about our ability to connect to others and rescue ourselves from ruts along the way. Think back to that tropical water: even if you don’t have a chance to plunge in, you won’t regret watching from the shore.

~Olivia Rosane for IndieReader

 

 

Find my books on Amazon:

Sylvie Writes a Romance

Wandering

Leave a review on Amazon and I’ll love you forever!

Sylvie Writes a Romance on Smashwords – for Nook, Kobo, etc

Recent articles:

From Travel to Romcon and Beyond

BookDaily.com

Travel Writing on JenniferSAlderson.com

Recent reviews:

Indie Reader Review for Sylvie Writes a Romance

Kirkus Indie Review for Sylvie Writes a Romance

Follow me on Facebook

How NOT to get Reviews or Sales for your Book – BookDaily.com

Good morning!

I’m pleased to share my guest blog with you. I wrote an article for BookDaily.com, and it appeared in today’s edition.

How NOT to Get Reviews or Sales for your Book

It’s not often I get anyone to listen to my opinion 🙂

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Find my books on Amazon:

Sylvie Writes a Romance

Wandering

Leave a review on Amazon and I’ll love you forever!

Sylvie Writes a Romance on Smashwords – for Nook, Kobo, etc

Recent articles:

From Travel to Romcon and Beyond

BookDaily.com

Travel Writing on JenniferSAlderson.com

Recent reviews:

Indie Reader Review for Sylvie Writes a Romance

Kirkus Indie Review for Sylvie Writes a Romance

Follow me on Facebook

Nippon Maru

NYC Midnight and photography distractions

I haven’t written a single sentence since NaNoWriMo. I’ve been meaning to get in touch with other participants to see if it’s general burnout from writing so much every single day, or if I just got a little lazy. One reason I haven’t begun editing Sylvie‘s sequel is the the work on my photo blog Kauai Photo Challenge.

The Short Story Challenge is coming up in a few days and I hope to kickstart my writing again. Anyone else participating? I’d love to have a writing buddy for this contest.

Have a great day! I’m headed out for the sunshine instead of sitting at my house writing again…

 

Sylvie Writes a Romance

Surprise Kindle book sale! 2 days only!

Download Sylvie Writes a Romance free for the next two days! Get it, read it, leave me a review on Amazon!

https://www.amazon.com/Sylvie-Writes-Romance-Melissa-Burovac-ebook/dp/B01I6C5AGW

If you love it, check out Wandering, my first book:

https://www.amazon.com/Wandering-Melissa-Burovac-ebook/dp/B00L222TNQ

Thanks for reading!