Second-Story Man Second Giveaway Winner!

May 30, 2015
The Brownstone Hotel with an open window or two.

The Brownstone Hotel with an open window or two.

Hi all. Robert P. Rowe here. All good things must come to an end and so it is with the Release Party for Second-Story Man. I have to turn control of the Dreamspinner Press blog back over to the publisher. Don’t forget that the book can be found here:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

Now comes the time to announce the winner of the ebook giveaway. If you saw the previous post you can see that the competition is tough. Meeting in a sex education class, or dialing a wrong number, or finding that certain someone hidden behind a mask are all great accidental meetings.

It’s most interesting that all of the stories seem to carry the same theme—two souls destined to meet.

But the story that really got to me came from Su. I liked the comparison of Second-Story Man to a fairy tale—that is intentional. I also found some significance in the library meeting. Read my book and you’ll see why. Finally, I thought that the answer itself was somewhat of a fairy tale. Like all good fairy tales there are those evil characters that cause trouble but the happy couple will survive and live happily ever after.

I hope that I can add to Su’s happiness by awarding the final giveaway ebook of Second-Story Man. Go to this address and click on email right below the picture:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

Send me your email address and I’ll pass it on to the good people at DSP to add an ebook onto your shelf.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest. I really enjoyed reading your stories and I hope that you will enjoy reading mine.

Don’t forget to check out my website and blog:
Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
Blog: http://artofrobertrowe.blogspot.com/

Second-Story Man Giveaway Countdown

May 29, 2015
The bar is getting ready to close.

The bar is getting ready to close.

The final countdown for the end of this Release Party has begun. It’s Robert P. Rowe taking over the Dreamspinner Press blog to tell you about my novel Second-Story Man. The book can be found here:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

A central theme for Second-Story Man is that there are no accidents—everything happens for a reason. With that theme in mind I invited blog readers to enter my giveaway contest the prize is an ebook version of Second-Story Man for the person who has the best answer to this question:

“What’s the most interesting accidental way that you have met someone special in your life?”

Well the responses have been so wonderful I just had to share them with you. Here we go.

Deborah says:
Congratulations on the publication of The Second-Story Man, Robert! Fun way to hold a contest. My now-husband and I met in Human Sexuality Class in college. We were in the same discussion group, talking about our sexuality and its influences before we even started dating. Then of course we did start going out, and attending class together was like getting marriage counseling as we dated. Our 20th anniversary is this summer, so I guess it worked.

Steven Traugh says:
First of all, congratulations on your book! I’m looking forward to reading it. What a fun contest. When I decided it was time to marry, I moved to a cottage on the founding estate of Palos Verdes (an exclusive neighborhood along the beach outside Los Angeles) so that I could meet the “right kind” of girl. Imagine my surprise when I found the love of my life at work–teaching in the inner city of Los Angeles! It was love at first sight and now, 27 years later, she’s still the “right kind of woman.”

Susan says:
I was visiting my sister who was still in college and she convinced me to go to a costume Halloween party. I dressed as a flapper and met a cowboy (not too original) that I eventually wound up dating when I moved back to my hometown.

Angela says:
To answer your question i did meet my (now) husband at Carnival, at the food stand he was dressed in a funny shirt and jeans and i was dressed as an indian LOL We talked a bit and when it was time to go home he walked me to my friends place (where i stayed during the carnival festivities). We got married 4 years later and this weekend we will be married 13 years

Su says:
What an interesting contest and thank you for a chance to win a copy of your book Second Story Man. I enjoyed the book brief and the Repunzel story came to mind, with the prince climbing up the side of the tower to find the one of his dreams

I wondered which of my life stories would be interesting to you, maybe the one of how my current partner stealthy pursued (or indirectly courted) me as he knew I was very shy or how I met another man who has become my lifelong best friend. Both are quite sweet stories, but I might go with the best friend one. When I was about 13 I was starting at a new school, due to being bullied at my old one, and I immediately sought my haven, the library! After a few weeks of avoiding as many other students as I could, I was quite dismayed to find my hiding place in the library occupied by a dark auburn haired boy that I had admired from afar. His socked feet were resting up on another chair, his black rimmed glasses resting half way down his nose and he was reading one of the books that I had left there during the lunch period. He looked up and smiled (sigh) and his pale blue eyes were slightly enhanced by the enlarging effect of his reading glasses. I was not sure how to react or what to say, so thankfully he saved the day by saying he was looking for this book and would I mind sharing it with him. From that day forward he started to chat to me around the school and became my protector, as quite a few other students were jealous of our friendship. Yes he was my first crush and people thought we were dating, but we more like soul friends than anything else. I should say that he had seen me hiding in the library and decided to make friends with me. We shared our shy first kiss together and eventually, when he was about 16, as I knew something was worrying him, he told me his biggest secret and his fear. To be honest I was sad about it, but also fearful for him as I knew his parents were less than understanding and we pretended to be together until we went our separate ways when we went to university. We always remained in contact and after graduation we both worked for the same company and yes he family did reject him when he came out, but I was there for him and always will be and visa versa. So that is the story of how I met my closest and lifelong friend and protector.

Theo says:
Hi, congrats on the new release!

the interesting meeting story I have is not mine but my sister’s. She met her ex-boyfriend when she called her friend but got the wrong number. Problem was, the wrong number was owned by a man with the same name as her friend. When this man insisted he didn’t know her,she exploded quite spectacularly before realizing she dialed the wrong number. she apologized and they became a couple.

H.B. says:
Thank you for the excerpt!

I met my best friend two years before we got to know each other and actually became friends. We were both about ten and she was in the same summer program as me but we never talked to each other. She was just some other kid I was passing by and was passing by me. When I had to transfer elementary school to a school that covered grade 6-8. She saw me and I saw her it was like insta-friends.

Trix says:
I met my best friend in line for an a cappella concert at college our first year. I thought “who is that cool girl in the flowered dress?,” and it turned out she had seen me around the dorm. She doesn’t remember it, though…

All of your stories were so wonderful and original. It was really hard deciding would be this morning’s winner. But I had to choose one so I chose Trix. My reasons were simple and here’s what I told her:

Great story Trix. It’s funny how often people can see a complete stranger and instantly realize, “I know that person.” That’s a theme in my book too. There are no accidents–everything happens for a reason.

There’s still time to enter for tonight’s giveaway, but you’d better hurry. I’ll be signing off just after midnight Eastern Time.

Here are links to my website and my blog:
Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
Blog: http://artofrobertrowe.blogspot.com/

If you missed this Release Party contact me through my Contact page on my website. I’m always interested in your comments.

Second-Story Man Cover

May 29, 2015

I’m back. It’s Robert P. Rowe taking over the Dreamspinner Press blog to tell you about my novel Second-Story Man. The book can be found here:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

As I mentioned in an earlier posting, book covers really make a difference in grabbing readers attention. Since art direction is what I do in my real job I couldn’t resist doing a little bit of it here too.

Dreamspinner Press art director Paul Richmond sent me a number of samples from various artists to give me an idea of what style I might like and what was available. I just looked at the art—not the name of the artist—and just so happened to land on Paul. A number of his covers had a great painterly quality along with some very handsome men.

I had such a clear idea of what I wanted the cover to look like that I had to send Paul my own sample. Just because I’m an artist doesn’t mean that I can draw anything. I have my limits. I do what I’m good at and then I hire someone else to do the things they are good at. My sample was created with a combination of SketchUp (a 3D computer drawing program) and Photoshop.

The composition is what I really wanted to convey. My challenge was to convey handsome men and yet not clearly depict their faces. I wanted my readers to be able to fill in the faces with their own imagination. For that reason the over-the-shoulder shot works best. It puts Carlos’s muscular shoulder at the edge of the frame and makes Michael appear to be the object of his affection. At the same time, as the title indicates, it appears that second-story man Carlos is up to no good.

So here is my sample composition.

My humble cover sample.

My humble cover sample.

This is where the real magic comes in. Paul took my sample and reworked it slightly to adjust the composition. He sent me a line drawing that I made a few notes on and I also gave him color direction. I knew that I wanted a cover in shades of blue to indicate that it is nighttime. I also wanted light streaming in the window from some off camera streetlight to illuminate Michael. I wanted Michael to glow like an angel.

Paul sent me his first color pass and I again made some minor notes. Carlos had gotten a little pale for a Latin man and I wanted the title to have a little more punch. Well, the final product came out great. Far better than anything I ever could have done myself.

Second-Story Man Cover

Second-Story Man Cover

In the end the book has a wonderful cover that clearly promises an unusual meeting. And that brings me back to this mornings posting. I promised an ebook giveaway of Second-Story Man to the reader that had the best answer to this question:

“What’s the most interesting accidental way that you have met someone special in your life?”

Post your answer in the comments and I’ll be choosing a winner for an ebook copy of Second-Story Man just before Midnight Eastern Time. Feel free to post any other questions or comments that you may have too.

If you posted your answer this morning and didn’t win don’t worry—you’re still in the running.

Here are links to my website and my blog:
Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
Blog: http://artofrobertrowe.blogspot.com/

If you missed this Release Party contact me through my Contact page on my website. You can also contact me right here at Dreamspinner Press on my author page. I’m always interested in your comments.

Second-Story Man ebook Winner!

May 29, 2015
Wouldn't a paperback look nice on your nightstand?

Wouldn’t a paperback look nice on your nightstand?

Congratulations Trix, you’re the winner. I really liked your story of meeting your best friend because it sounds so much like destiny. If you hadn’t met in line you would have met some place else.

Go to this address and click on email right below the picture:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

Send me your email address and I’ll pass it on to the good people at DSP to add an ebook onto your shelf.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest. It was a tough choice. Keep adding your contest entries throughout the day and I’ll be back again at 10PM Eastern Time tonight to choose another winner.

Don’t forget to check out my website and blog:
Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
Blog: http://artofrobertrowe.blogspot.com/

P.S. If you entered the contest this morning, or anytime throughout the day, you’re still in the running for tonights giveaway.

Second-Story Man Places

May 29, 2015

Hello again. It’s Robert P. Rowe taking over the Dreamspinner Press blog to tell you about my novel Second-Story Man. If you haven’t checked out my bio you really ought to. It can be found along with the book here:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

Now that you’ve read my bio you know that my day job keeps me busy as an art director. I also have this huge fascination for movies and television from the mid-century. Life seemed so simple and uncomplicated then—and the movies of the era made it less complicated.

I fell in love with that world—the backlot world of Universal Studios. While I was writing Second-Story Man I kept imagining the backlot as the home for my characters Carlos and Michael. Carlos has invaded Michael’s World so the reader gets to explore Michael’s World along with Carlos.

Now for those of you who can’t wait for a tour here it is in pictures.

The Brownstone Hotel from across the street.

The Brownstone Hotel from across the street.

This first image is of Michael’s Brownstone Hotel. Carlos climbed through the open window just above the segmental pediment. Just like now the street was deserted, but it was late at night when Carlos came sneaking in. This is a view from across the street.

Michael's room with the dresser and mirror.

Michael’s room with the dresser and mirror.

Here is the interior of Michael’s room. It’s just a small hotel room with a little kitchen. Michael had left his computer on the dresser just below the mirror. That’s where Carlos spotted it.

Michael's room and his queen sized bed.

Michael’s room and his queen sized bed.

Here is another view of Michael’s room. His orange desk is next to the bed by the side where Carlos sleeps.

This alley hides more than memories.

This alley hides more than memories.

This alley plays an important role in the story.

The Hide Away with its rainbow flag.

The Hide Away with its rainbow flag.

Another location featured in the novel is The Hide Away, a gay bar. This is an exterior view. Just to the right is the alley that connects to the next block. The alley is a shortcut to and from the bar.

The Hide Away interior from just inside the front doors.

The Hide Away interior from just inside the front doors.

Inside of The Hide Away Carlos is forced to endure many a night hanging out with the pool boys. Michael hangs out with his friends over by the far exit door.

The Hide Away from the other side.

The Hide Away from the other side.

This is Michael’s point of view across the bar to where Carlos hangs out by the pool table and the main entrance. Notice that the bar itself separates the room into two halves.

It’s not so unusual to meet someone in a bar. It’s more unusual to meet someone who climbed in your window. I’m running a contest to find out an unusual way that you met someone. All that you have to do is answer this question:

“What’s the most interesting accidental way that you have met someone special in your life?”

Post your answer in the comments and I’ll be choosing a winner for an ebook copy of Second-Story Man just before 11AM Eastern Time. Feel free to post any other questions or comments that you may have too. I’ll be here answering questions for a little while longer, then I’m back tonight at 10PM Eastern until Midnight.

Here are links to my website and my blog:
Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
Blog: http://artofrobertrowe.blogspot.com/

If you missed this Release Party contact me through my Contact page on my website. I’m always interested in your comments.

Second-Story Man Excerpt

May 29, 2015
The Brownstone Hotel with an open window or two.

The Brownstone Hotel with an open window or two.

Hello again. It’s Robert P. Rowe taking over the Dreamspinner Press blog to tell you about my novel Second-Story Man. You can find my book here:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

But you can read an excerpt here and now:

A hot August night is always good for an open window or two, and I’d spotted one on a deserted street. It looked like an easy climb. From the entrance stair it was a short hop onto the balustrade, an arm’s reach to the segmental pediment, and one last stretch across the brownstone wall. By the time I reached the second-story window, I figured out the climb wasn’t as easy as the construction-site scaffolds I was used to. Biker boots aren’t made for climbing. A tank top was great for showing off my brown-skinned muscles, but for climbing up a building it was stupid—I was all scratched up. If I’d planned this, I’d’ve worn a heavier shirt, with long sleeves.
My raw hands throbbed, but at least I made it. I peered inside. The room was dark, but the streetlight showed me enough. Just what I was looking for: a laptop on the dresser. I’d seen ’em at the pawnshop going for five or six hundred—that’s all the money I needed. Across from the dresser was a bed with some white guy—sleeping like a baby. His blanket was pushed down. The guy was half-naked because of the heat, and leaner than me. If I had to, I could take him.
I climbed in without a stir from the bed and headed straight for the computer. Shit! What was that? My own reflection in the dresser mirror made me jump. Suck it up, Carlos—you can do this. Still, my nerves were on edge. How did that gringo not hear my heart pounding? My sweaty hands were shaking as I struggled to unplug the laptop. Suddenly, something caught my eye. The reflection was big and looming up behind me—
Everything went dark. Sound was muffled. I was suffocating.
Gasping, I struggled against a fabric trap, clawing to free myself until I felt a full body blow take me down to the hard floor. The wind was knocked out of me, and the gringo was on top of me. Then I felt an excruciating whack across my forehead, and my world spun out of control.

Oh, man. What happened?
My head was whirling. I wasn’t sure I could open my eyes.
I took a deep breath, then forced one eye open. Too bright. Blurry. I think I was still in the same room. I opened the other eye, tilted my head. Man, did it hurt. A table lamp was glowing and I must’ve been in the bed. Hey, where’s my shirt? I looked around and there’s that gringo, sitting in the chair next to the bed. How’d that guy manage to get the jump on me? He was still half-naked, wearing some boxers, and he was holding—a bat!
“What the… I’m gettin’ the hell outta here.” I started to get up, but my head was spinning and— “Where’re my pants, ya faggot?” I was naked in this guy’s bed. “What’d ya do to me?”
“Me? I didn’t do anything. I picked you up at the bar. On the way home you got gay-bashed. I brought you up here because I think you might have a concussion. You’ll need to get some sleep.”
“Hey, man, I’m no faggot,” I yelled, making my head hurt all the more.
“Really? Then why are you naked in my bed?” Man, he was right. This really didn’t look good. “Whacking you with a bat could get me into trouble. Climbing in my window could get you into trouble. Nobody will bother to investigate some random gay-bashing.”
“So what now?” I felt trapped, but I defiantly dared him to answer. “Ya wanna fuck me?”
“Don’t flatter yourself. I don’t waste my time with straight guys—too much drama.”

***

This is a very unusual way to meet and it sure doesn’t seem like these guys are off to a very good start. But stranger things have happened. In fact I’m hoping that you’ll tell me some strange way that you’ve met someone special in your life.

I’m running a contest to give away an ebook copy of Second-Story Man. All that you have to do is have the best answer to this question:

“What’s the most interesting accidental way that you have met someone special in your life?”

Post your answer in the comments and I’ll be choosing a winner just before 11AM Eastern Time. Feel free to post any other questions or comments that you may have too. I’ll be here answering questions for another hour.

Here are links to my website and my blog:
Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
Blog: http://artofrobertrowe.blogspot.com/

If you missed this Release Party contact me through my Contact page on my website. I’m always interested in your comments.

Second-Story Man Release Party

May 29, 2015

Hi everyone. I’m Robert P. Rowe and I’ve taken over the Dreamspinner Press blog site to tell you all about my novel that has just been released today, ‘Second-Story Man.’

Here’s the address to find the novel at a discount for the release party:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

Many readers choose books by simply following their favorite author. But how does that author become a favorite in the first place? Somebody has to take a chance and then they tell their friends. This release party should give you a chance to get to know me, and my writing—and maybe help you decide to give me a chance.

The next thing that draws a reader in is the title. These are just about the most important words in the book—especially for the first time novelist. The title has to be intriguing—it has to promise the reader something.

I carefully chose the word play of ‘Second-Story Man.’ The obvious definition is for some sort of a thief. But the title also offers the subtle promise that the story of our lives is not written in stone—we have the power to change that story—we have the power to choose a second story for our lives. I’m never satisfied following the same path everyday and neither are my characters.

They say, “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” but people do anyway. For that reason the cover has to grab your attention. Dreamspinner Press art director Paul Richmond created the cover, but I created the cover concept. I’ll tell you more about that later. For now I hope that you’ll just enjoy the cover.

Second-Story Man Cover

Second-Story Man Cover

‘Second-Story Man’ is a 260-page, 95,000 word novel and believe it or not the most important words aren’t even in the book they are in the blurb. These are the words that will get a reader to decide to open the book or move along to the next option. Here’s the blurb:

Offering a would-be thief a second chance is risky—especially when he could steal your heart.

Carlos had it all: a good-paying construction job, a truck, a rental house and his girl. Then he lost his job and everything else along with it. Desperate, he turns to crime—only to fail in his first attempt when he accidentally climbs into the wrong window. Carlos has to rethink his life when his victim becomes his only friend.

Michael has lost too many times in love. Prince Charming won’t be knocking at his door, with its do-not-disturb sign permanently in place, when fate finds Carlos climbing into his window. Michael’s compassion for this down-and-out lost soul turns to friendship. But Michael can’t allow things to go any further and still feel safe from heartbreak.

There are no accidents, and the second-story man discovers that in life and love there can be a second story.

***

When I signed up for this blog I was told that most authors have some sort of contest and offer some sort of giveaway. That sounded like a great idea to me. I wanted to offer a trip to Hawaii to the hottest single guy. I couldn’t think of a better way to promote myself than to let some lucky guy really get to know me.

Sadly I was informed that DSP really wants to promote the book instead. They recommended a contest that offers an ebook copy of ‘Second-Story Man’ as the giveaway. It seems rather ordinary to me, but I guess they know what they are talking about.

In an effort to make the contest a little more extraordinary I decided that the winner should have the best answer to this question:

“What’s the most interesting accidental way that you have met someone special in your life?”

It would be nice if this person became a love interest, but meeting a friend will do. It just needs to be an unusual meeting. Of course, I’m asking the question because it’s an unusual meeting that triggers the events of ‘Second-Story Man.’

Again, the reader with the most interesting answer will be the winner of the giveaway. I’ll be announcing the winner later on this morning.

I’ll be posting more about the book and answering your questions too. I’m here until 11AM Eastern Time. You’ll have to do the math to figure out what time that is where you live. Send me your comments, questions and answers.

Oh, and here are some links to my blog and my website:
Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
Blog: http://artofrobertrowe.blogspot.com/

If you missed this Release Party contact me through my Contact page on my website. I’m always interested in your comments.

The stress of moving…. MOMENT OF CLARITY release party (post 3)

May 6, 2015

 

MomentsinTime_FBbanner_DSP

The Moments In Time series features a couple in their early 20s and in the course of the three books one of the things they had to do several times was move—from their dorm to their summer residence on Fire Island, from Fire Island to one of the character’s brother’s house because their dorm room wasn’t ready, from the brother’s house to the dorm, from the dorm to an apartment. It’s been many years since my college days and until I wrote this book I’d forgotten how many times I moved house in my late teens and early 20s.

Moving is stressful. Putting your whole life in boxes. Remembering what you packed where. Physically packing, moving and unpacking. Waking up those first few nights exhausted and not entirely sure where you are. I don’t miss that! I’ve lived in my current house in New Hampshire for over a decade and that’s the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. I don’t miss moving at all!

Now the closest I get to having to pack up a zillion belongings is conference time. Right now I’m packing to attend the RT Convention in Dallas next week. (If any of you are going, please find me and say hello—I love meeting readers in person!)

In addition to the stress that moving puts on Collin and Tanner, several of the places they live in the beginning of MOMENT OF CLARITY are not places where they have any privacy. Collin’s brother has three young children, the friend they crash with has a roommate who’s up till all hours partying—they are both longing for time alone together.

Here’s an excerpt from the time that they’re living with Collin’s brother…

Between classes, my work at Gino’s, Tanner’s shifts at the bookstore, and commuting back and forth to Sean’s house, Tanner and I were busier than we’d ever been. I always knew it was more convenient to live on campus, but I had no idea what a hassle it was to make the added drive daily. By the time we got to Sean’s, had dinner, spent time with the girls, and did some studying, we were exhausted.

I hadn’t touched Tanner for yet another week, and I didn’t think I’d last the day without changing that. Tanner must have felt the same. I’d seen the looks he’d been throwing me, particularly the night before while we were watching a movie together, but I wasn’t about to do anything with Sean and the kids in the house. I didn’t care that the doors locked. It didn’t feel right. And I didn’t trust either of us to be quiet enough. Especially since it had been so long.

Sean handed me the last dirty dish to load into the dishwasher while Tanner put the juice and milk in the fridge.

“I’m gonna run to the grocery store while the kids are at preschool. Any requests?” Sean asked, grabbing his wallet off the counter and shoving it in his pocket.

“If you get a can of crushed tomatoes and some spaghetti, I’ll cook.”

“Thanks. The kids loved that the other night. Anything else?”

I tried to think but couldn’t. All that registered in my brain was that Sean was going out. Tanner and I would be alone in the house. My entire body was totally onboard with this thought.

“I think that’ll do it. Tanner, you need anything?”

Tanner looked up from wiping off the kitchen tables. His pupils were huge. I knew that look. I loved that look. He was thinking the same thing I was. I twitched with anticipation.

“I’m good,” Tanner said, tossing the rag on the counter.

“Okay, then.” Sean headed for the door. “It’s my turn to drive carpool home, so I’ll probably take the kids to Mickey D’s for happy meals. Lock up if you both leave, okay?”

“Sure.” My heart raced as I watched Sean trot down the back porch steps. I held my breath, listening as the car door slammed, the engine revved, and the tires crunched down the gravel driveway.

I turned to look at Tanner, but before I could even focus my eyes, he was on me. Hands on either side of my face, body pressed up against mine, lips prying mine open, tongue—oh, God, I’d missed that tongue—swirling in circles with mine.

Groaning, I grabbed him and tugged him closer. I needed to feel as much of him as possible. All of him. Immediately, if not sooner.

MOC teaser 3

 

For another chance to win an ebook from me, tell me how many times you’ve moved in your life or the longest you’ve lived in any one place. I’ll announce winners in the comment section of each post at midnight tonight (EDT).

Food and Memories —MOMENT OF CLARITY release day (post 2)

May 6, 2015

 

Food has always been a big part of my life. Not only do I love to eat, I also love to cook. I come from a half Italian, half Jewish family and the main thing the two sides of the family had in common was a compulsive need to feed people! Many of my favorite memories from childhood involve food—special occasion meals, holiday treats, or just lazy days at my grandmother’s houses anxiously awaiting the next special meal or snack.

 

O

My grandmother’s butter cookies. I make them every Christmas.

I’ve carried that tradition on to my adult life. I love cooking for friends and families, making traditional foods and trying new recipes. I’m pretty sure that whole need-to-feed thing is genetic, because if you’re at my house, odds are I’ll make you eat something!

I’ve also carried on my love of food to my fiction writing. The characters in my books will always be seen enjoying meals together. Whether they’re dining out or preparing meals together or for one another, there’s always food involved. I think sharing food with people promotes bonding. It’s also a great way to create memories. There are still scents—a certain roast of coffee, a pot of tomato sauce simmering on the stove—that will transport me back to my grandmother’s kitchen when I was a kid. There are also foods I’ll associate with a particular trip—gelato in an outdoor cafe in Florence or fudge on the boardwalk at the Jersey shore—and if I smell or taste those things it’ll bring back memories of being in that place.

Food can also become a ritual. Pizza at the same late night spot after seeing your favorite band play. A certain diner for weekend breakfasts. A favorite restaurant for birthday celebrations. You come to associate those places and foods with the people you’ve had the experience with.

In MOMENT OF CLARITY, the third book in my Moments In Time series, Collin and Tanner wind up spending some time apart. During that time, while Collin is missing Tanner, he comforts himself with Chinese takeout from the place they used to go to together. It’s sad and sweet and comforting all at once.

 

Take Away BBQ Noodles

Mmmm….noodles. Why does Chinese food taste better eaten right out of the carton?

What’s your favorite (or strongest) food memory? A holiday item you only eat once a year? A meal you grab with a favorite person? Something you haven’t had in a long time? Share your food associations and I’ll choose a random winner (later tonight) to win a copy of an ebook!.

 

Release Party MOMENT OF CLARITY (Book 3 of the Moments In Time series)!

May 6, 2015
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Hi Everyone! I’m Karen Stivali and I’m here today to celebrate the release of the third book in my Moments In Time series, MOMENT OF CLARITY.
If you’re new to the series, let me give you a brief summary. All three books in this series are about college roommates Collin and Tanner. Book one, MOMENT OF IMPACT, is a coming of age/coming out story where they realize that they’re both interested in each other as more than friends. Not everyone is accepting of this, so they leave their conservative college town behind and spend the summer waiting tables on Fire Island in book two, MOMENT OF TRUTH. The freedoms to be publicly “out” as a couple, without judment makes for a summer filled with fun and exploration, but trust and jealousy are issues they have to confront in order to stay together. When the summer ends, they return to college for their senior year in book three, MOMENT OF CLARITY. Being back in the conservative environment proves challenging in even more ways than they expected.
I know some readers worry that the books in a series will have cliffhanger endings. I assure you, that’s not the case with any of these stories. As a reader, I don’t like cliffhangers. As a writer, I choose to write romance because I’m all about the happy ending and I leave my characters in a good place at the end of every book.
3 ebooks and paperback photo 2nd version (2)
One thing has surprised me about readers of series, and that’s whether they read the books one at a time as they release, or wait until all the books are out and then binge read them. I guess I’m an old-fashioned girl. I’ve been an avid reader my whole life and I remember sometimes waiting a year or more for the next book from a favorite author. Even as recently as the Harry Potter books I remember pre-ordering the final volume and anxiously awaiting its delivery at my doorstep. It’s not that I like waiting—I don’t—but I love to read things as soon as they come out, even if that means a bit of anticipation and longing involved before I can get my hands on the next book. The same is true for TV viewing. If I find a show I like I’ll look forward to the weekly episode and axiously await the start of new season rather than skip the airing of the show and then Netflixing the whole season and watching it in a weekend.
What’s your reading or viewing style? Do you like to wait until you can read/see all the episodes at once? Or do you need to read/see things right away? Do you like the anticipation or need to know you can see what happens immediately? Tell me in the comments and I’ll choose a random winner (later tonight–I’ll be here until midnight EDT) to receive a free ebook!
(Sorry for the formatting errors. WordPress is giving me a hard time today! I’ll try to get it fixed by my next post!)