Surfer, Sailor, Smuggler - Melissa Burovac

Kindle sale for Surfer, Sailor, Smuggler – get it this week!

It’s a happy 4th of July book sale!

From now until July 9th, pick up the Kindle version of Surfer, Sailor, Smuggler for only $1.99! For less than a cup of coffee, you can spend your day relaxing and reading an ocean adventure.

Surfer, Sailor, Smuggler - Melissa Burovac

Get it on Amazon!

Sail from California to Mexico to Hawaii, surfing and smuggling drugs.

Two boys growing up together in a small California town are the best of friends. One conforms to his parents’ wishes and follows a preset path to a career; the other creates his own path, sailing the world, surfing and smuggling drugs to Hawaii.

Watch their lives diverge and reconnect through the years with tales of action and adventure, brushes with the law, Mexican cartels, and lost families and friends. Do they regret their lifestyles and the consequences of their choices as they approach old age?

Based on the true stories of surfers, sailors and pirates on Kauai. 

Amazon reviews:

“This was written as a narrative of the sailors life and his philosophy of life. She also protrays his feelings about the life he has led. A good read.”

“Great character development. Terrific adventure. Fun read.”

“Loved this tale of two unlikely lifelong friends. Sailing, island living, and all of the adventures that go with kept me happily entertained until the end. Another win!”

See more reviews here or leave one after you’ve read the book.

Aloha and happy holidays!

Holden Arboretum - wander with melissa

Two weeks in Cleveland

Holden Arboretum - wander with melissa

 

I’ve been in Cleveland for just over two weeks now.

And now I’ve stared at that sentence for about half an hour with no thought of a follow-up. I always imagined I would run into a time where something like post-vacation depression would set in, but thought I had enough of a plan to avoid it. I haven’t gotten a job yet, but most of the containers are planted, seeds are started for the garden, small projects on the house underway, and I’ve taken Lucy to a couple parks to explore. I didn’t really count on being so exhausted that I don’t want to do anything but sit around and read. I could easily have the entire interior of the house painted and a good start on remodeling our upstairs bathroom in the time I’ve lounged around but maybe next week… I haven’t even put all my clothes away yet.

seedlings - wander with melissa

 

I find that driving in traffic is still enough to make me tired. It’ll be a while before I’m completely used to so many lanes and so many cars. And so many losers hogging the fast lane. When I go to my parents’ house, I take all the small one- and two-lane roads instead of the highways; it adds an extra 40 minutes but the scenery is nicer and I’m not stressed out when I arrive.

In coping with post-Hawaii syndrome (which, when Googled, brings up a lot of info on rat lungworm disease), I bought a membership to Holden Arboretum and Lucy and I spent the morning there yesterday. Spring is just beginning to explode there so I will go back in two weeks to stroll through the Rhododendron and Azalea gardens when they are blooming. Our highlight was the baby geese – tiny, fluffy, fuzzy yellow balls with beaks swimming in between mom and dad in the ponds. Mama Goose did not love Lucy staring at her, even across the water. It’s hard to be a wildlife photographer while walking a hunting dog.

Baby geese - wander with melissa

 

The real reason I went to the arboretum was to visit Mark’s tree; a Quaking Aspen was planted 25 years ago in his memory, but when a new path was constructed around the lake his tree was in the way. It’s probably more trouble than it’s worth to transplant a common tree after 20 years, so his tree is young again and quite beautiful.

Mark Braun's tree - wander with melissa

 

For the most part, the weather has been rainy and cold in Cleveland. I asked my mother today when the rain usually stops and she told me this is the worst she’s seen in years. Figures. In the meantime, I’ve got two bird feeders strategically placed outside the windows of my office to keep me entertained; birds don’t mind cold rain as much as I do. I’m learning my bird names and will possibly join a bird-watching group if I can find one that is not entirely comprised of really old people. We have black-capped chickadees on the suet feeder (poor planning on my part, nobody wants suet when spring happens – I’m learning), while the seed feeder has attracted sparrows, robins, nuthatches and a cardinal. Peregrine falcons hunt the woods behind our house (and I have been throwing our food scraps a good distance away in hopes of attracting mice to attract more falcons), and I see the occasional woodpecker. Both black and brown squirrels have tried (and failed) to get the bird seed, and I see a random chipmunk. Deer are usually in the far woods, but my trail of yummy food leading to a salt lick has yet to entice them close to our house. A nuthatch family has moved into our birdhouse on the front lanai, and this afternoon a hummingbird buzzed my head – the first I’ve seen this year. I ran inside to stare through the window at the hummingbird feeder but she hasn’t found it yet.

Black capped chickadee - wander with melissa

 

This seems like a ton of bird activity, and I love watching it, but I can’t help thinking about how much I miss my fish. Some mornings I wake up and think I’m late to meet Mei at the pier for a swim before I realize where I am. I suppose in time I will adapt to land, like the earliest fishes with feet. I did apply for a job at the only scuba shop around yesterday – I plan on taking a dry-suit course before I stick even a single toe into the water here.

Perhaps the next time I post I will be meaningfully employed. Or perhaps the rain will stop and I’ll start building a tree house in the woods instead.

Say hello to the fishies for me.

M

 

Looking for a book?

Wandering – non-fiction travel/adventure/humor

Sylvie Writes a Romance – romantic comedy

Sylvie Falls in Love – romantic comedy part 2

Surfer, Sailor, Smuggler – adventure/ocean fiction based on true stories – now available on Nook and Apple! Click the link!

Stock photos on Adobe Stock

Sign up for this blog on the homepage to get updates on Cleveland life, and watch Hawaii Ocean Photography for extra photos!

Surfer, Sailor, Smuggler - Melissa Burovac

Kindle release for Surfer, Sailor, Smuggler: Tales of Living

I’m excited to announce the Kindle release for

Surfer, Sailor, Smuggler: Tales of Living!

 

I was too impatient to wait for the paperback proof to release both versions at the same time, but cross fingers the paperback will be available next week. You might understand my impatience if you knew how much blood, sweat, tears and vodka has gone into this book over the past two years.

The journey began on Mark’s boat, talking story and sipping cocktails. It progressed to taped interviews on Mark’s boat with cocktails (it’s hard to do anything on Mark’s boat without cocktails – just don’t let him be the bartender if you have any respect for your liver). Finally, after over a year of writing, rewriting, throwing it all out and starting again, rewriting some more, and several rounds of edits, a fictionalized tale – based on true stories – of surfers, sailors and smugglers is ready.

 

Surfer, Sailor, Smuggler - Melissa Burovac

 

Two boys growing up together in a small California town are the best of friends. One conforms to his parents’ wishes and follows a preset path to a career; the other creates his own path, sailing the world, surfing and smuggling drugs to Hawaii. Watch their lives diverge and reconnect through the years with tales of action and adventure, brushes with the law, Mexican cartels, and lost families and friends. Do they regret their lifestyles and the consequences of their choices as they approach old age?
Based on the true stories of surfers, sailors and pirates on Kauai.

 

I hope you love it as much as I do. And if you’ve managed to read all the way through to here, then I have a gift for you. For the first few days, Surfer, Sailor, Smuggler is free on Amazon for Kindle. This is my Thank You for sticking with me through these crazy writing years. Download it now before it goes up to normal price! If you don’t use a Kindle, I’ll have other electronic formats available soon, as well as the paperback. I will also be on Kauai and the mainland with copies – stay tuned for the dates!

As always, a review on Amazon is appreciated, as well as a recommendation to friends.

Thank you for reading, and have a great day!

Melissa

 

 

About Melissa:
Melissa is a writer and photographer on the Big Island of Hawaii. An avid outdoorswoman, Burovac enjoys outrigger paddling—both one-man and six-man—SUP, running, surfing, sailing, and scuba diving, as well as yoga. She is always up for adventure and loves doing things that scare her a little.
Books:
Surfer, Sailor, Smuggler: Tales of Living
Sylvie Writes a Romance – Book 1 of Sylvie’s Romance
Sylvie Falls in Love – Book 2 of Sylvie’s Romance
Wandering
Leave a review on Amazon and I’ll love you forever!
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
For fine art photography prints from the islands, check out the Hawaii Ocean Photography  website and Like the Facebook page
Publish

An Indie author’s biggest mistake

“My book is finally finished!” I yell as I dance around the house, throwing the previous draft up toward the ceiling. Papers lazily rain down on the couch, the dog; my husband runs for his life to avoid paper cuts in odd places. I pull the bottle of champagne out of the refrigerator, where it has sat for months, waiting just for this day. Who cares if it’s only 10 a.m. — I pop the cork, leaving a dark smudge on the white paint above my head. Cold alcohol fizzes down the neck of the bottle and over my hand, gushing to the tile floor before I remember to retrieve glasses from the cabinet.

“Want to watch me press publish?” I call out to the empty room; I don’t know where my husband is hiding but I’m told, quite frequently, how well my voice carries throughout the house.

*****

Finishing a novel is the most exciting moment for an author — whether it’s your first book or your fifth. Months of excruciating work have gone into the goal of seeing your words sent out to the world with your name proudly displayed on the cover. It’s a time for celebration.

But are you truly ready for that moment?

An author’s biggest mistake is impatience. That might seem contradictory, given that patience is the main requirement to sit and write, especially at times when it’s the last thing you want to do.

Indie authors are penalized heavily for impatience, as they don’t receive advances for their work and struggle to finish quickly in hopes of making a few extra dollars while they labor at their day jobs. They don’t have a team scouring their words for errors or suggesting possibilities of different sentence structure. Taking your time before publishing your draft is essential.

After successfully completing a first draft, close your book for a month. Work on something new. Read. Dust off your gym membership. Remember you have a family. Let the words simmer in the back of your brain while you sleep. When I am actively writing, I frequently wake up with a new idea about the ending, or even a specific paragraph. I’m always surprised at how my unconscious mind is constantly working. If I don’t have time at that moment to write, I email the idea to myself and hope I remember to look for it later.

After a month, or however long you think is appropriate to make your book seem fresh again, start your second draft. Make changes, look for errors in grammar and punctuation, remove unnecessary sentences, add more description if needed. Then put your book away again for a couple weeks.

These breaks don’t have to be idle time, though. Use them to find a respected editor, shop your work to agents and publishers, and work on the cover design. A finished product is so much more than just the writing.

When it is time, begin your third draft. Hopefully, less changes are needed, and after you’re satisfied, your draft should go to your editor. A second set of eyes is essential, and these eyes need to be trained in the proper rules of the language — not just a friend who likes to read.

I use two editors. The first is a friend who has worked in the writing industry for many years; it never fails to shock me when I get my third draft back from him and it is drenched in red ink. After correcting the mistakes he has found and considering the word substitutions he suggests, this fourth draft goes to my mother, who is smart beyond belief. While she doesn’t have formal training as an editor, she has an eye for picking out any errors that were overlooked. In my experience, after publishing three books, no single person can find all mistakes — not least the author.

When my mother returns her copy it has much less red ink, as would be expected — my first editor is very good. Again, I make changes, and this is the point where my impatience begins to rear its ugly head, but for me, it’s still not time to publish.

After a thorough read-through of the fifth draft, it’s time for test readers, or beta readers. These are the people who love to read and aren’t afraid to tell you if they don’t like certain parts, or wish the ending was different, or maybe the beginning is too slow and they lost interest. If you’re lucky, they’ve located a grammatical error that everyone else has missed, although that hasn’t happened to me since my editor and mother do their jobs very well.

Listening to the opinions of test readers is important because they are not starting and stopping when they find a mistake — they are reading the book from beginning to end as if it were a finished work. It should flow smoothly as they read. Use their thoughts to make a sixth draft, if needed, and reread. By this time, I am so tired of reading the same thing over and over that I never want to read it again!

My sixth draft then goes back to my first editor to look over any changes I have made since he saw it previously; just because I have made changes on the advice of test readers doesn’t mean I have written them perfectly. He will likely find mistakes I have just added, and I make any corrections as a seventh draft.

And now, months after my book was originally completed, is when I publish. Now I am confident that every error has been found and my book is the best it can possibly be.

I wrote this article of friendly advice not because my books are amazing best-sellers, but because I belong to several Indie reading groups; we read each others’ published works in the expectation of finding great new authors and promoting them to our friends and the public. When I began these readings, I always purchased the books — besides a good review, a purchase is the best way to show Indies your support. But it didn’t take long to realize that most authors are not as concerned about proper grammar and test readers as I am. I was left with a pile of books full of easily corrected, glaring mistakes; most times they were grammar, sometimes spelling, and a few used the same descriptive words so repetitively I lost interest regardless of how good the storyline might have been.

Sadly, this happened so often I’ve all but quit reading Indies — which prompted me to saddle up my high horse since I am a part of this group.

As Indie authors, it is our responsibility to get over our impatience to publish and send out our work only when it has been thoroughly vetted by many sets of eyes. The reputation for sloppy work has been earned, in my opinion, but it’s not too late establish ourselves anew.

My latest work-in-progress is now in the hands of my mother. I began the book nearly two years ago, and quite honestly I am ready to be done with it, but I know it’ll be a couple more months until it is worthy of publishing. The impatience to be finished is like a constant itch in my mind, but I want my book to have the greatest chance of success I can possibly give it. The extra time and effort is always worth it.

 

*****

Huge thanks to Kay and her Summer Blog-a-day feature for making me think of something to write other than my book! Please take a moment to go through the posts and find something fun to read.

*

The idea for this article came from three people who asked me for tips about publishing their first book — I hope it is helpful.

*****

About Melissa:
Melissa is a writer and photographer on the Big Island of Hawaii. An avid outdoorswoman, Burovac enjoys outrigger paddling—both one-man and six-man—SUP, running, surfing, sailing, and scuba diving, as well as yoga. She is always up for adventure and loves doing things that scare her a little.
Books:
Sylvie Writes a Romance – Book 1 of Sylvie’s Romance
Sylvie Falls in Love – Book 2 of Sylvie’s Romance
Wandering
Leave a review on Amazon and I’ll love you forever!
 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
For fine art photography prints from the islands, check out the Hawaii Ocean Photography  website and Like the Facebook page
Sylvie Falls in Love (Sylvie's Romance #2) - Melissa Burovac

Sylvie Falls in Love (Sylvie’s Romance #2) eBook release today!

I’m very happy to announce the ebook release of Sylvie Falls in Love (Sylvie’s Romance #2)!

 

 

Sylvie Falls in Love (Sylvie's Romance #2) - Melissa Burovac

 

Sylvie has finally finished writing her romance novel – can she find the same happy ending for her own life? 
Continue with Sylvie’s adventures as she explores the good and bad of love in the real world.

 

The paperback will be along in about a week, and at that time I’ll set up giveaways and parties and events. One book reading is already scheduled at Kona Stories Book Store for July 3rd, so if you’re coming to Big Island for the 4th of July just come a day early! Future dates on Kauai and the mainland will be announced shortly.

For now, though, you can find Sylvie Falls in Love on Amazon and Smashwords. Use the Amazon link for Kindle readers, and the Smashwords link for iBooks; more formats coming soon. If you haven’t read Sylvie Writes a Romance yet, read it first!

 

I hope you continue with Sylvie’s adventures, and love them as much as I’ve loved writing them.

Thank you for reading!

Melissa

 

 

 

 

About Melissa:
Books:
Sylvie Writes a Romance – Book 1 of Sylvie’s Romance
Sylvie Falls in Love – Book 2 of Sylvie’s Romance
Wandering
Leave a review on Amazon and I’ll love you forever!
Sylvie Writes a Romance on Smashwords – for Nook, Kobo, etc
Sylvie Falls in Love on Smashwords
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
For fine art photography prints from the islands, check out the Hawaii Ocean Photography  website and Like the Facebook page
Sunset from the Lois Mae - Hawaii Ocean Photography

Surfer, Sailor, Smuggler – the beginnings of a new book

Aloha!

Now that the draft of Sylvie‘s sequel is finished, I am working on a 4th book – this time a biography. I’ve got a few chapters roughed out, but I’d like to share the introduction. Let me know what you think!

 

Surfer, Sailor, Smuggler (working title)

Stepping aboard Mark’s boat, a Polaris 43 double ender christened Lois Mae after his mother, the first thing you might notice is his smile — bright and welcoming for friends and strangers alike. If you walk down the pier at Nawiliwili Harbor, regardless of the time of day, you’re likely to see a small crowd gathered on Lois Mae; no formal occasion is necessary — at some point everyone is drawn to the boat to see if Mark is home, just to say hello, regardless of the reason they are at the harbor in the first place. Stopping by to say hello leads to a cocktail with music playing in the background, and depending upon the weather, that hello may cause you to spend the day sailing around the east side of Kauai enjoying the sunshine and tradewinds, or simply sitting onboard talking story until well after the colors of the sunset have faded to a starry black. Mark may not have much in terms of worldly possessions, but he has enough Aloha to supply the world.

Mark grew up in Cardiff-by-the-Sea in Encinitas, California, just north of San Diego. In the 1950’s and 60’s, Cardiff was a classic California surf town, a tight-knit community of families and local businesses. Residents enjoyed the ocean during their time off work, and the local surf spots spawned a few professionals as well as a multitude of excellent surfers who simply enjoyed the sport daily. Eventually the small town became a tourist destination, not only for the waves but for the friendly atmosphere and beautiful scenery of the Pacific Ocean with a beach walk and tide pools to explore.

Mark’s heritage is Spanish and Scandinavian; his grandparents hail from the Canary Islands and Norway, eventually meeting in Florida, then moving to Los Angeles. Mark was born in Los Angeles in 1951, moving to Cardiff by the Sea at the age of 7 with his parents, Ralph and Lois Mae, and siblings Greg, Randee, Vickie, and Jan.

Mark credits his family as the best a boy could have wanted growing up; he and his siblings were close, while his parents taught him about hard work and values. They supported each other through every life obstacle, and still do to this day.

The family didn’t have much money during Mark’s childhood. Lois Mae was a stay-at-home mom, and Ralph worked for the California Highway Patrol as a motorcycle policeman, spending his off hours diving for fish, lobster and abalone. Providing for five children on a policeman’s salary was not easy, and money for school lunches was lacking. Instead of going hungry, Mark and his siblings normally had lobster tails or abalone sandwiches, products of his father’s diving. Nearly every day Mark was offered a bologna or peanut butter sandwich in exchange for his ocean-caught delicacies, and instead of being ashamed at his family’s lack of money he was the envy of his schoolmates.

At San Dieguito High School, Mark found a love for reading, even though he had no love for school itself. He felt his time was better spent surfing or diving, while learning on his own. Between the ages of 14-18, he spent the majority of his time as a competitive, sponsored surfer, and throughout his life surfing has remained his greatest passion — one that has persisted to this day, regardless of the health obstacles due to aging. Toward the end of high school, Mark was entering the “Junior Pirate” phase of his life, causing him to drop out in 11th grade. He took classes at a junior college a few years later, oceanography and history among others, but by that time his money-making pursuits were starting to pay off and he became a full-time student of life.

 

 

About Melissa:
Books:
Sylvie Writes a Romance – Book 1 of Sylvie’s Romance
Sylvie Falls in Love – Book 2 of Sylvie’s Romance
Wandering
Leave a review on Amazon and I’ll love you forever!
Sylvie Writes a Romance on Smashwords – for Nook, Kobo, etc
Sylvie Falls in Love on Smashwords
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
For fine art photography prints from the islands, check out the Hawaii Ocean Photography  website and Like the Facebook page
Lifeguard Lucy

Where has the time gone?

Lifeguard Lucy

 

As I sat down to write today, I looked back through this blog and realized nearly 3 months have passed without any updates. Where has the time gone?

Quite a bit has happened since my last post. I finally shed my indecision and made a move to forward my photography career on the Big Island of Hawaii; I love Kauai, and still consider it home, but to up my underwater game I needed to live somewhere with more wildlife, better visibility, and more people to learn from.

In some ways, the transition has been heartbreaking. After building friendships for 12 years on Kauai and learning the island, I left it all to go somewhere I didn’t know anyone save a woman I haven’t seen since high school and a couple moving away soon, and being completely lost wherever I go (thank god for gps). I left without having a home or a job, just my puppy Lucy and what would fit in the back of my truck when it shipped across the ocean.

Lucy and I spent a couple homeless weeks in a hotel and a vacation rental, the first week with my sister Mary who was amazing at helping us get our feet and paws on the ground with much less stress than anticipated. During the second week I started a job on a boat as crew for manta ray night snorkel trips out of Keauhou Bay, and moved into a tiny house 1500 feet above Kona town. If I thought I was tired, stressed, and confused, poor Lucy had no idea what had happened to the happy life she led on Kauai. Her best-puppy-friends were nowhere to be found; between the hotel, vacation rental, and new house she didn’t recognize any of the smells; her daily beach walks and normal routines were gone. At 6 months old, she was scared and angry at these major changes to her life, and was quite upset with me. When my truck finally arrived and she could ride in her customary passenger seat she settled down a little, and when I unpacked a few boxes and found her stash of well-chewed dog toys she relaxed a bit more. In the two weeks since we moved into our house we’ve found a dog park and made new puppy friends, and a couple beaches where she can splash in the ocean again. Lucy can’t come to work with me anymore, but quickly got used to spending her evenings in her crate and patiently waiting for me to come home.

I’m not sure I’ve adapted quite as quickly as Lucy, though. After packing up my house and giving away or selling most of my possessions, travel, stress about finding a place to live and work (even if it’s a short-term job), finding my way around, unpacking boxes, financial worries, and having to work nights (and – gasp – having to be somewhere at a specific time!) after a couple years of keeping my own schedule, I had to spend all my free time sleeping off the stress. I’m not sure I’ve recovered even now, and am just over a nasty cold – inevitable after the major changes in my life, I guess. My body went into survival mode, and all unnecessary functions shut down. I finally found the energy to take my camera into the ocean a couple days ago to begin building my business on this island, and sat down to work on my next book. I was blessed with a friendly pod of dolphins on my first day back in the water, and managed to write a couple pages of the book before I had to take a nap.

 

Hawaii dolphin pod

 

I’ve been on the Big Island for a month now, and see plenty of hard work ahead. I have a list of goals to achieve, and am finally ready to begin. All-in-all, though, I’m quite proud of myself for the progress I’ve made in such a short time. As each day passes I have a little more energy to put into things that aren’t merely surviving or making sure Lucy is cared for. It’s time for writing and photography, and having some fun. It’s time to explore this giant island and learn new things. It’s time to really begin to live here , and I’m excited about a whole new life with all the undreamed-of possibilities waiting just outside my door.

But first, maybe a quick nap…

 

 

About Melissa:
Books:
Sylvie Writes a Romance – Book 1 of Sylvie’s Romance
Sylvie Falls in Love – Book 2 of Sylvie’s Romance
Wandering
Leave a review on Amazon and I’ll love you forever!
Sylvie Writes a Romance on Smashwords – for Nook, Kobo, etc
Sylvie Falls in Love on Smashwords
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
For fine art photography prints from the islands, check out the Hawaii Ocean Photography  website and Like the Facebook page
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

Follow The Cosmopolitan Ialsnder on Facebook

Follow Michelle on Facebook 

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:
Books:
Sylvie Writes a Romance – Book 1 of Sylvie’s Romance
Sylvie Falls in Love – Book 2 of Sylvie’s Romance
Wandering
Leave a review on Amazon and I’ll love you forever!
Sylvie Writes a Romance on Smashwords – for Nook, Kobo, etc
Sylvie Falls in Love on Smashwords
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
For fine art photography prints from the islands, check out the Hawaii Ocean Photography  website and Like the Facebook page

 

Jennifer S Alderson

Introducing author Jennifer S. Alderson

Aloha readers!

Today I’m especially happy to introduce author Jennifer S Alderson – a fellow traveler, writer, and all-around neat-o woman. We connected several months ago, and besides writing interesting books that combine fiction with the specific geographical settings of her travels, she has taught me a lot about supporting other indie authors. Her latest venture, aside from her newest book coming out, is Travel by Book, a Facebook page Jennifer administers to recognize the work of travel writers; whether you’re a reader or a writer, if you enjoy writing with a sense of place – fiction or memoir – join this page and find great new books to read.

Jennifer S. Alderson worked as a journalist and website developer in Seattle, Washington before trading her financial security for a backpack. After traveling extensively around Asia and Central America, she moved to Darwin, Australia, before finally settling in the Netherlands.

Jennifer’s travels and experiences color and inform her internationally-oriented fiction. Her first novel, Down and Out in Kathmandu: A Backpacker Mystery, is a travel fiction adventure through Nepal and Thailand. The Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery, her second book, is a suspenseful ‘whodunit?’ which transports readers to wartime and present day Amsterdam.

Both are part of an on-going stand-alone series following the adventures of traveler and culture lover, Zelda Richardson. The third installment, another art-related travel thriller (working title: Smuggler’s Deceit) will be released in the fall of 2017.

Her travelogue, Notes of a Naive Traveler: Nepal and Thailand, is a must-read for those interested in learning more about, or wishing to travel to Nepal and Thailand.

Notes of a Naive Traveler

 

About Notes of a Naive Traveler: Nepal and Thailand:

“The ride back to Kathmandu was comfortable and relaxing. There were more overturned trucks (the gas-powered ones seem to tip the most, I’m surprised there weren’t more explosions), goats being herded across the highway by ancient women, children playing games in traffic, private cars and buses alike pulling over in the most inconvenient places for a picnic or public bath, and best of all the suicidal overtaking maneuvers (or what we would call ‘passing’) by our bus and others while going downhill at incredible speeds or around hairpin turns uphill with absolutely no power left to actually get around the other vehicle.”

I was twenty-six years old, had a well-paid job, fantastic apartment and large circle of friends. I had everything, except I didn’t. I couldn’t shake the feeling I was missing out on the experience of living.

Part cultural and travel guide, part journey of self-discovery, this travelogue takes you on a backpacking adventure through Nepal and Thailand and provides a first-hand account of one volunteer’s experience teaching in a Nepali school and living with a devout Brahmin family. 

Trek with me through the bamboo forests and terraced mountaintops of Eastern Nepal, take a wild river rafting ride in class IV waters, go on an elephant ride and encounter charging rhinoceros on jungle walks in Chitwan National Park, sea kayak the surreal waters of Krabi and snorkel in the Gulf of Thailand. Join me on some of the scariest bus rides you could imagine, explore beautiful and intriguing temples, experience religious rituals unknown to most Westerners, and visit mind-blowing places not mentioned in your typical travel guides.

Notes of a Naive Traveler is a must-read for those interested in learning more about – or wishing to travel to – Nepal and Thailand. I hope it inspires you to see these amazing countries for yourself.

Thailand

 

Reviews for Notes of a Naive Traveler: Nepal and Thailand:

For anyone who has never traveled to a country whose culture is different from your own, you don’t know what you are missing. It’s an incredible experience, as this journey through Nepal and Thailand portrays. The author’s story is whimsical and at times flirting with danger. For those who have traveled, it’s the trip home that actually is more of a culture-shock, than the places visited. Travelers expect and anticipate differences, but once experienced, we look at our own culture with entirely new eyes. This book gives you that look at Nepal and Thailand, and I recommend it for anyone thinking about taking a trip … anywhere.” 5 stars – Amazon review (Author Rebecca Carter)

“In this phase of my life when time is scarce travel becomes the casualty, but thanks to the eloquent and detailed ticket that authors like Jennifer Alderson buy on our behalf, along we can go for the ride into the most exciting, uncomfortable, frustrating and exhilarating backwaters of our planet — without the need to risk our digestive system on the questionable water and dubious plumbing.

I had the advantage of having traveled to Thailand some years ago, so that with more than half the book in the Himalayas and the balance in my familiarity, I was able to identify strongly with that part-2 of the travelogue and so set a gauge for me to sense how accurately she captures the spirit of a place.
I am happy to say that my experience aligns precisely with how she characterized Thailand; I have confidence then that I can fully trust her opinions from the Himalaya.

“Notes…” is a wonderfully engaging companion that took me to the Himalaya a place I’d love to someday see but am unlikely to ever reach. It did more than send me down the well worn path of Jane or Joe tourist, instead, it gave me an in depth view into the lives or ordinary folk I’d pass on the street of a backwater but likely learn nothing about.
To Jennifer then I say “thank you!” This is a rare gift indeed. Keep traveling for me and us.” 5 stars – Amazon review (Author Michael Smorenburg)

Read more 5-star reviews!

 

Thailand hat tham phra nang

 

Find Notes of a Naive Traveler: Nepal and Thailand on Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Amazon UK.

Connect with Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads. Learn more about Jennifer on her blog or JenniferSAlderson.com.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s author introduction, and are intrigued enough to buy one (or all!) of Jennifer’s books. From my own reading experience, her writing is colorful with cultural descriptions, fast-paced, exciting, and worth your time.

 

Have a great week!

M

 

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

For fine art photography prints from the islands, check out Hawaii Ocean Photography

Introducing author Dora Ilieva

Aloha readers!

I’m so pleased to introduce another author you may not have read! Please take a moment to read about her work.

 

Dora Ilieva is my pen name. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria which is why this part of the world plays an important role in my books. However, Toronto is the place my family and I call home now. Cicero once said: “if you have a garden and a library, you have everything.” I have both and I also have my family and my job, so I consider myself very lucky. Writing for me began almost as a joke, a dare to myself, but it has become an essential part of my life. I’ve written two novels (both are historical thrillers) and a collection of short stories. All three are available on Amazon. My third novel is almost finished (I still have to think of a title, though). It should appear on Amazon before the end of the year.”

My two thrillers The Devil’s Gorge, published in 2014, and The Master, published in 2016, feature some of the same characters and can be read as a series or as stand-alones.

The Master: Three years after her father’s tragic death, Kossara, a young Bulgarian scholar who lives in Toronto and works at a coffee shop, receives a mysterious phone call and a lucrative job offer involving the search for a long-lost book. Desperate to relaunch her academic career, she silences the voice of caution and accepts the proposal which requires that she return to her native Bulgaria. There she discovers that what seemed like an innocent research opportunity is a race against death and destruction.  Aided by her friends, she struggles to locate the valuable document only to realize that it must remain hidden forever.

“I loved this book. It caught me completely off-guard with simply how high quality the story was. Kossara is living a dull life and doesn’t really know what do with herself, but then suddenly everything is turned on its head when she decides to try something new. I love stories about characters who start out ordinary and become extraordinary, and this book was certainly no exception.” – Amazon Review

Read more reviews of The Master.

Follow Dora on Facebook and Goodreads.

 

I hope you’ve found some new books to read today!

Melissa

 

 

Find Melissa’s 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

Follow me on Twitter

For fine art photography prints from the islands, check out Hawaii Ocean Photography

An Enlightening Quiche

Introducing author Eva Pasco

Aloha!

I’m happy to share my new friend Eva Pasco‘s work with you. I hope you enjoy finding new authors and books as much as I do.

Eva Pasco is the author of acclaimed Contemporary Fiction novel, An Enlightening Quiche, which has merited a Readers’ Favorite 5-Star Seal, ranks 1st out of 78 books set in Rhode Island (Goodreads Listopia), and is a 2017 ATAI Fiction Finalist.

Eva became a proficient typist at the age of nine, courtesy of her mother.  Thrills from the spill of words on a blank page occurred during adolescence, sparked by a malfunction in the electrical wiring which caused a doorbell to ring automatically. The bizarre incident prompted a budding author to compose, on her girlie pink Tom Thumb typewriter, “The Mystery of the Midnight Doorbell”—a short story involving secret codes and a smuggling ring!

Having composed several short stories and a Romance novella, the rigors of college and a teaching career shelved further creative writing ambitions until retirement.  Then, midlife restlessness reactivated Eva’s dormant flair for writing. As a result of that revival, she has published two books—her most recent, An Enlightening Quiche.

Eva credits Anne Lamott for the heartbeat of her writing which incorporates secrets, quirkiness, and spiritual transformations.  Eva’s novels are character-driven by flawed female protagonists who grapple with, confront, and overcome their personal dilemmas by empowering themselves to make profound life changes for the better. Written primarily for women over forty, her plots and themes are infused with realism befitting this age bracket.

A native Rhode Islander, Eva interweaves elements of historic landmarks, geographic entities, and regional culture as they pertain to the novel.  Besides pounding the keys writing memoirs or blogs in-between novels—Eva enjoys reading, solving challenging crossword puzzles, and walking along the shore.

Eva Pasco, author

An Excerpt from An Enlightening Quiche  where an heirloom quiche recipe and baking rivalry turn up the heat in northern Rhode Island’s French-Canadian mill town of Beauchemins during the aftermath of a tragedy precipitated by reckless behavior:

Augusta: I sprawled provocatively on the sofa and leaned back against overstuffed fringed pillows, a temptress in waiting. For a factory Gal Friday, my surroundings were none too shabby thanks to the largesse of a lothario. Replicated Baroque grandeur prevailed: hand-carved mahogany, gilded trinkets, ball-and-claw foot, winged griffins, and velvet opulence in shades of burgundy trickled from the parlor to the boudoir like spilled wine.

Yet, I was partial only to the elongated, leather keepsake box I’d scored at Lorraine’s yard sale last October, a false lull of normalcy before an Iraqi bullet struck her son dead two months later. Its bed lining simulated a much more suitable coffin to lay my mother’s effects to rest than Tante’s nondescript shoebox.

No doubt about it, the somberness of Louis XIV’s Versailles Revival suited my dark side, heretofore devoid of taking the high road along beau chemins.

The doorknob turned, prefacing his stride across the room. Boyish good looks and mannerisms belied the dysfunctional poseur hiding beneath a charming exterior. The tinge of his breath suggested he may have had a belt or two to blunt the edge of an illicit rendezvous precipitated and sustained by desperation. I sat up, ready for him to kneel at my feet and bury his face in my lap while he shed tears coursing from feelings of inadequacy. And, as of late, consumed with anxiety and gripped in its paralysis. I stroked his waves, knowing full well the gesture groomed a merge between two people fraught with human frailties.

 

Consumer Reviews:

“I really loved the characters. Flawed and believable, the characters were wonderful. The women were strong, independent, and, at times, snarky. The friendships and relationships in An Enlightening Quiche were both beautiful and refreshingly realistic.” (Amazon Customer)

“Wickedly sharp, bitingly sarcastic, Eva Pasco creates an unforgettable novel about life in a small town.” (Amazon Customer)

“Eva Pasco’s writing is descriptive and quirky, reflecting the French-Canadian idiom of the fictional town of Beauchemins, Rhode Island. The reader is drawn into the story through the parallel narrations of the lead characters, making them them feel as though they are a one of the townsfolk and leading them to decide for themselves who is honest or justified in their actions as the story progresses.” (Amazon Customer)

See more reviews:

Midwest Book Review

Readers’ Favorite

Authors Talk About It

AN ENLIGHTENING QUICHE is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

*Get Discounted Autographed copies @Authors Den Signed Bookstore

You can follow Eva on Goodreads, Facebook, and Author’s Den.

 

Enjoy!

Melissa

 

 

About Melissa:
Books:
Sylvie Writes a Romance – Book 1 of Sylvie’s Romance
Sylvie Falls in Love – Book 2 of Sylvie’s Romance
Wandering
Leave a review on Amazon and I’ll love you forever!
Sylvie Writes a Romance on Smashwords – for Nook, Kobo, etc
Sylvie Falls in Love on Smashwords
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
For fine art photography prints from the islands, check out the Hawaii Ocean Photography  website and Like the Facebook page

 

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