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

Introducing author Lynn Donovan

Aloha readers!

Today’s post is by special guest Lynn Donovan. Although I called it “Introducing Lynn Donovan,” she has written several books (way more than me!) and has many more on the way…

 

Lynn Donovan spends her days chasing after her muses, trying to get them to settle down and behave long enough to write down their words and actions. The results are numerous novels, anthologies, and short stories.

Lynn enjoys reading and writing all kinds of fiction, paranormal, speculative, contemporary romance, and time travel. But you never know what her muses will come up with for a story, so you could see a novel under any given genre. All that can be said is keep your eyes open, cause these muses are not sitting still for long!

Oops, there they go again…

You can learn more about Lynn on her blog, follow her on Twitter @MLynnDonovan, her Face Book Author page at LynnDonovanFGG and her website http://lynndonovanauthor.com.

 

Lynn’s new series is called the Java Cupid Romance Series. She has written 3 books already, with the first, Java Break, set to release on May 17, 2017; you can preorder it on Amazon.

Here’s the series synopsis:

At the Java Cupid Coffee Shop love is on the menu and the cup. Customers come to get great coffee and some find a mysterious heat-sensitive message written on their cup. These messages lead them to their True Love and their Happy Ever After. No one knows who the Java Cupid is, but when his arrows fly two things are certain: The Java Cupid always hits the target and Java Cupid is never wrong.
Sounds great, right?? I need to visit that coffee shop!
Book 1 synopsis:

 

Wendy Ashton and Dillon Cayne were both inspired by broken bones of their own. She to become an orthopedic nurse, he an engineer, designing more efficient and effective equipment for those recovering from orthopedic incidents. Their two paths so closely aligned, yet never intersecting.

Until a mysterious message appears in heat sensitive ink on Wendy’s coffee cup. A message of love that makes her take notice of the handsome barista who must have written it. Brought together by the message, their lives begin to merge. Could this be true love?

Together they learn that his dad is dating her mom and Dillon worries about the stigma of dating his possible step-sister. Add a crazy ex-girlfriend who won’t take no for an answer and a misunderstood phone call, the trust issues become almost too much to bear.

What will it take to bring these two together? Can the Java Cupid show them their Happy Ever After? Or was it all a mistake? Will broken bones turn into broken hearts? Answers can only be found with a Java Break.

 

Other Publications by Lynn Donovan:

The Wishing Well Curse (Spirit of Destiny, Book 1)

Thorns of Betrayal (Spirit of Destiny, Book 2)

Secret Voices (Spirit of Destiny, Book 3)

Rocking Horse Shadows

Christmas Grace, Signing Seeds

Merry’s Christmas Eve

Fertility Pirates (The Abraham Project, Book 1)

Cloned Chaos (The Abraham Project, Book 2)

Java Cupid Series

Phantom Horse Series (Coming September 2017)

For more information about Lynn and her books, please visit her author page!

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this guest blog, and perhaps found a new book to read! I look forward to sharing more of my new author friends with you in future posts.

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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