The successful Chiara Ferragni, one day in Paris Fashion Week. Photo by Fred of Paris

Chiara Ferragni at Balmain - PFW

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The successful Chiara Ferragni, one day in Paris Fashion Week.
Photo by Fred of Paris

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Sometimes, CHANEL stuff can be so �l�gant, sometimes so vulgar. Photo by Fred of Paris

Unknown Mademoiselle serie at CHANEL - PFW

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Sometimes, CHANEL stuff can be so �l�gant, sometimes so vulgar.
Photo by Fred of Paris

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I met this Demoiselle aux Champs-Elys�es with Stela . But I forgot her name. How is it possible ? C'est la vie ! Photos by Fred of Par...

StreetStyle aux Champs-Elys�es - Paris

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I met this Demoiselle aux Champs-Elys�es with Stela. But I forgot her name. How is it possible ? C'est la vie !
Photos by Fred of Paris

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Tiffany Hsu, Fashion Buying Director.  Check her HandinFire Instagram page ! Photo by Fred of Paris

Tiffany Hsu at Margiela - PFW

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Tiffany Hsu, Fashion Buying Director. 
Check her HandinFire Instagram page !
Photo by Fred of Paris

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I like the yellow sweater ON the black jacket. Nice idea.  Is it ready made ? I don't know. Photo by Fred of Paris

Unknown Mademoiselle Serie - PFW

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I like the yellow sweater ON the black jacket. Nice idea.  Is it ready made ? I don't know.
Photo by Fred of Paris

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Kasia Borowicz, check the former Miss Poland and 3 times vice Miss World Instagram page at Kasiaviastyle . Photo by Fred of Paris

Kasia Borowicz at DIOR - PFW

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Kasia Borowicz, check the former Miss Poland and 3 times vice Miss World Instagram page at Kasiaviastyle.
Photo by Fred of Paris

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The lovely lady of Singapore, Yoyo Cao. See her instagram at YOYOKULALA . I must say that most of the time, I find her looks great. Photos...

Yoyo Cao at DIOR - PFW

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The lovely lady of Singapore, Yoyo Cao. See her instagram at YOYOKULALA.
I must say that most of the time, I find her looks great.
Photos by Fred of Paris
  hebergement d'image

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Saving Each Other Stacy Mitchell PR by the Book Two hearts, two souls. Devastated by loss, united through destiny. The rules: Communicate on...

How I Came to Write Saving Each Other by Stacy Mitchell + Giveaway (US only)

Saving Each Other
Stacy Mitchell
PR by the Book

Two hearts, two souls. Devastated by loss, united through destiny.

The rules: Communicate only through text messages and never reveal our real names or other personal details.

My name is Ean Montgomery. After the drunk driving accident that killed my wife, son, and unborn daughter, I was forced to see a grief counselor. In an unconventional move, she gave me a private cell phone and the first initial of the name of a woman who had been widowed by the same accident. I had no intention of ever texting her but with all hope and the will to live gone, I found myself quickly slipping down the rabbit hole. Desperate, lonely, and unbelievably sad, I reached out to her and she became my everything.

My name is Dani Adams. I was married to my college sweetheart, the love of my life. Together we were raising our four-year-old daughter and running a successful business. Then the accident happened and life as I knew it ended in the blink of an eye. I didn�t want to answer his text but I was barely hanging on by a thread and he was in tremendous pain, so I replied. And once again, my world was forever changed.

Over the course of a year, through texting alone, we bond. Friendship blossoms into something deeper. We were never supposed to meet, but fate had other plans, and in this world of loss and despair, something amazing began to grow� But can the passion we�ve found sustain itself with the deep, soul-twisting pain that never seems to fade?

The Journey to Writing Saving Each Other

Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.

� Louis L�Amour
Have you ever wandered the aisles of Barnes & Noble, or read a book and wondered, �Could I write one too?�

Have you ever known someone who wrote a book and thought, �Could I do the same?�

If you are like me, then, yes, you absolutely have.

Until three years ago, I only read when I was required to do so. I had subscriptions to several magazines, but never read any of the articles. And� I binged watched TV shows on one of the eight televisions I have in my house. Yes, I have one in every room.

At one point, when I was in my thirties, I joined a book club. Yes, I know. You�re probably wondering, �Why would someone who views reading as a chore rather than a pleasure, someone who would rather escape inside a reality show or sitcom instead of losing themselves in a good book, join a book club?�

The answer is pure and simple. I wanted to fit in�it was the �thing� to do, because, yes, in Manhattan Beach, at that time, book clubs were all the rage.

In a way, I got lucky. The book everyone was �required� to read was the first Stephanie Plum book, One For The Money.

I never made it to the second book with my chosen book club but I became hooked on Janet Evanovich�s books.

Looking back, that could have been the seed that created my, now flourishing garden.

So here�s a little backstory about me, and what got me to where I am today.

Eleven years ago, my youngest son Brian, was away at summer camp. My husband and I decided to take advantage of our time off, hopped in my car and took a road trip up the West coast, from California to Washington. We were in Oregon, nine hours away from him, when the call came in that he had had a seizure. It was the hardest drive of my life. Thankfully, we got in touch with my mother, so I knew he wasn�t alone. When I finally got to him, I was a basket case, and that�s where the double-edged sword of having my mother there came in to play. She handed me a little blue pill, to calm me. She then gave me a few more��for later.� She also gave me the name of a �dirty� doctor and told me what to say, in order to get more pills.

That little blue pill was Xanax.

By the time I ended my addiction, which was eight years later, I was not only taking twelve to fourteen milligrams of Xanax a day, I was also hooked on over a dozen other prescription drugs, and all in very high dosages.

In 2014, I traveled to Ireland with my husband, and while I was there, I ran out of most of them. The withdrawal was so bad, I spent the entire vacation holed up in my hotel room. Being that I was in a different country, my television choices were limited. In dire need of a distraction, any distraction, I went online. Long story short, I ended up on Amazon. At that time, both John Green and Gayle Forman had movies out. I couldn�t get the movies, so I bought the books. And, since electronically was the fastest way to get them, that�s what I did.

When I got home, I was in my doctor�s office bright and early the very next day. I got the refills, took a double dosage of each one, and turned the television back on.

Six months later, I was back in the same boat. The only difference was, this time I was still in California. So easy to get those needed refills. But, that�s when I said, �Enough is enough,� and flushed every pill I had down the toilet in one fell swoop. In hindsight, it was the completely wrong way to quit. Three years later, and I�m still feeling the effects of my withdrawal... especially when I�m stressed.

It was also the day I turned off my television, and opened a book�electronically, that is. I started with YA, moved to Contemporary, New Adult/College, and Romantic Comedy, before landing on my favorite genre, Gay Romance�but that�s a story for another day.

I can read a full-length electronic novel in five-hours. Give me that exact same book in print form and it takes me five-days. My guess is that my brain associates �required� reading with an actual book, while it compares e-reading with pleasure. This year my goal with Goodreads is 200 books. I�m currently at 26%... easy peasy!

So this brings me to the question at hand: Could I write a book?

Throughout the first 50+ years of my life, the thought of writing a book did cross my mind, and I do know someone who wrote a book. I�m an incredibly creative person. I was an interior decorator before I decided to be a stay-at-home mom to raise my kids. (I have two sons, in case you�re wondering. Jason is 23 and Brian is 20.) I design jewelry, create gift baskets, scrapbook, and I made Jason a t-shirt quilt to take to college. Yes, I saw it on Twilight. And, no�I had never sewed a day in my life. Thankfully I got inspired when he was still a senior in high school. I tried to write a book, I really did. But, like my attempt at knitting, it was an epic fail.

Until... Dani and Ean.

Six months after I stopped the pills, I was in bed, in that space between consciousness and unconsciousness when Dani and Ean came to me. The best way I can it describe is�like watching a movie. I saw the accident happening before my very eyes, and I felt their pain with such intensity that it took my breath away. I got up, opened notes on my iPhone, since I didn�t own a laptop, and my thumbs got to work.

I wrote it in one month. Coincidently it was during National Novel Writing Month, and I did it through them. I then got in touch with my friend, the one I mentioned above, and she connected me with my editor. She probably read two pages before she said, �No, just... no.� and put me in touch with Francine LaSala. Best. Move. Ever! I�ll shamelessly tout her until my dying day! She�s an amazing author and an incredible editor. It took eighteen months to get it to where it could be published.

By that point, I had found everyone I needed to put my book together. This is my second piece of advice to all inspiring authors. Every time I read a book, I read the acknowledgements. I started writing down the names of people, those behind the scene, who showed up book after book. Judy Zweifel and Stacey Blake! Memorize those names! Judy is a proofreader who finds things you never knew existed. She�s that good! And Stacey with Champagne Book Design, knows how to make a book look beautiful!

The saying, �It takes a village,� is so true. After I published it (self-publishing is also a story for another day), I found Marika Flatt at PR by The Book, and she led me to Leslie, my amazing PR guru!

I know I said, �Self publishing is a story for another day,� but this can�t wait. Every review I got, I read them. But not only did I read them, I responded to them, and again... Best. Move. Ever! Have you ever noticed, ears are meant to stay open, whereas mouths are meant to closed? I not only got great advice, I made great friends, great virtual friends. And, no, the irony isn�t lost on me. Saving Each Other is a story about...

You�re just going to have to read it now, aren�t you?

My biggest piece of advice is: If you�re truly thinking of writing a book, READ. READ. READ! Learn how other authors write. Learn what grabs your attention. Learn what turns you off. See how they deal with certain topics, and how they phrase certain things. The wording is key, and a thesaurus is your best friend. If something pops in your head, write it down, any way you can. But most importantly, don�t muscle through like a bull in a china shop. Take a step back, close your eyes, and just listen.

I still have no idea why Dani and Ean chose me, but I�ll forever be grateful that they did. Because, not only did Dani and Ean save each other, they saved me too.

About the Author


Stacy Mitchell was born and raised in Los Angeles, and lived in the South Bay for 20 years before moving to the Conejo Valley. She lives with her husband of 29 years and is the mom of two grown sons.


When she�s not writing, she spends her time reading, hiking in the Santa Monica mountains or enjoying a glass of Cabernet.




Giveaway!

Books � la Mode is giving away one print copy of Saving Each Other�yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
What is the stupidest thing you have ever done? Funny stories welcome!
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Stacy and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

I've blocked out a lot of my stupid decisions from memory (lol), but in high school I got involved in lots of gossip and "scandals" (typical drama) that easily could have been avoided if I'd just had the integrity to keep my mouth shut and not get involved. Lesson learned!

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist�a huge thank you to the lovely folks at PR by the Book!
Giveaway ends June 7th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US residents only�sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

0 coment�rios:

Herons Landing   ( Honeymoon Harbor #1) JoAnn Ross from HQN //  Harlequin There�s no place to fall in love like the place you left your he...

Exclusive Sneak Peek: Herons Landing by JoAnn Ross + Giveaway (US/Can)

Herons Landing (Honeymoon Harbor #1)
JoAnn Ross
from HQN // Harlequin

There�s no place to fall in love like the place you left your heart

Welcome to Honeymoon Harbor, the brand-new, long-awaited series by beloved New York Times bestselling author JoAnn Ross, where unforgettable characters come face-to-face with the kind of love that grabs your heart and never lets go.

Working as a Las Vegas concierge, Brianna Mannion is an expert at making other people�s wishes come true. It�s satisfying work, but a visit home to scenic Honeymoon Harbor turns into a permanent stay when she�s reminded of everything she�s missing: the idyllic small-town charm; the old Victorian house she�d always coveted; and Seth Harper, her best friend�s widower and the neighborhood boy she once crushed on�hard. After years spent serving others, maybe Brianna�s finally ready to chase dreams of her own.

Since losing his wife, Seth has kept busy running the Harper family�s renovation business and flying way under the social radar. But when Brianna hires him to convert her aging dream home into a romantic B and B, working together presents a heart-stopping temptation Seth never saw coming. With guilt and grief his only companions for so long, he�ll have to step out of the past long enough to recognize the beautiful life Brianna and he could build together.


Seth Harper was spending a Sunday spring afternoon detailing his wife�s Rallye Red Honda Civic when he learned that she�d been killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan.

Despite the Pacific Northwest�s reputation for unrelenting rain, the sun was shining so brightly that the Army notification officers�a man and a woman in dark blue uniforms and black shoes spit-shined to a mirror gloss�had been wearing shades. Or maybe, Seth considered, as they�d approached the driveway in what appeared to be slow motion, they would�ve worn them anyway. Like armor, providing emotional distance from the poor bastard whose life they were about to blow to smithereens.

At the one survivor grief meeting he�d later attended (only to get his fretting mother off his back), he�d heard stories from other spouses who�d experienced a sudden, painful jolt of loss before their official notice. Seth hadn�t received any advance warning. Which was why, at first, the officers� words had been an incomprehensible buzz in his ears. Like distant radio static.

Zoe couldn�t be dead. His wife wasn�t a combat soldier. She was an Army surgical nurse, working in a heavily protected military base hospital, who�d be returning to civilian life in two weeks. Seth still had a bunch of stuff on his homecoming punch list to do.

After buffing the wax off the Civic�s hood and shining up the chrome wheels, his next project was to paint the walls white in the nursery he�d added on to their Folk Victorian cottage for the baby they�d be making. She�d begun talking a lot about baby stuff early in her deployment. Although Seth was as clueless as the average guy about a woman�s mind, it didn�t take Dr. Phil to realize that she was using the plan to start a family as a touchstone. Something to hang on to during their separation.

In hours of Skype calls between Honeymoon Harbor and Kabul, they�d discussed the pros and cons of the various names on a list that had grown longer each time they�d talked. While the names remained up in the air, she had decided that whatever their baby�s gender, the nursery should be a bright white to counter the Olympic Peninsula�s gray skies.

She�d also sent him links that he�d dutifully followed to Pinterest pages showing bright crib bedding, mobiles, and wooden name letters in primary crayon shades of blue, green, yellow and red. Even as Seth had lobbied for Seattle Seahawk navy and action green, he�d known that he�d end up giving his wife whatever she wanted.

The same as he�d been doing since the day he fell head over heels in love with her back in middle school. Meanwhile, planning to get started on that baby making as soon as she got back to Honeymoon Harbor, he�d built the nursery as a welcome home surprise.

Then Zoe had arrived at Sea-Tac airport in a flag-draped casket.

And two years after the worst day of his life, the room remained unpainted behind a closed door Seth never opened since.

About the Author


New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author JoAnn Ross has been published in twenty-seven countries. Her newest Honeymoon Harbor series from HQN is set on Washington state�s Olympic peninsula.

A member of Romance Writers of America�s Honor Roll of bestselling authors, JoAnn lives with her high school sweetheart husband�whom she married twice�and three rescued dogs� who pretty much rule the house�in her beloved the Pacific Northwest.



Giveaway!

Books � la Mode is giving away a print copy of Herons Landing�yay!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
Where did you go on your honeymoon? If you have not gone on a honeymoon, where would you like to go?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. JoAnn and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Prague is my #1 honeymoon destination: romantic but not clich�d, a bustling city (my favorite!) but not too urban, at once contemporary and brimming with rich history. I'd love to go!

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher�a huge thank you to TLC Book Tours and Harlequin!
Giveaway ends June 4th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada readers only�sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for the list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

0 coment�rios:

The Storm Arif Anwar Atria Books // Simon & Schuster From an immensely talented new voice in international fiction, a sweeping tour de ...

The Storm by Arif Anwar Giveaway (US/Can)

The Storm
Arif Anwar
Atria Books // Simon & Schuster

From an immensely talented new voice in international fiction, a sweeping tour de force that seamlessly interweaves five love stories that, together, chronicle sixty years of Bangladeshi history.

Shahryar, a recent PhD graduate and father of nine-year-old Anna, must leave the US when his visa expires. In their last remaining weeks together, we learn Shahryar�s history, in a vil�lage on the Bay of Bengal, where a poor fisherman and his wife are preparing to face a storm of historic proportions. That story intersects with those of a Japanese pilot, a British doctor stationed in Burma during World War II, and a privileged couple in Calcutta who leaves everything behind to move to East Pakistan following the Partition of India. Inspired by the 1970 Bhola cyclone, in which half a million-people perished overnight, the structure of this riveting novel mimics the storm itself. Building to a series of revelatory and moving climaxes, it shows the many ways in which families love, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another.

At once grounded in history and fantastically imaginative, The Storm explores the human�ity that connects us beyond the surface differences of race, religion, and nationality. It is an epic novel in the tradition of Khaled Hosseini�s The Kite Runner and Rohinton Mistry�s A Fine Balance, by a singularly gifted and perceptive new writer.

Giveaway!

Books � la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Storm�yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
Do you have any recurring dreams?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Arif and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Even before I learned to drive, I had many steering dreams, where I was in high-pressure situations (think GTA) and needed to drive, even if I didn't know how. Now the car dreams have gotten a bit scarier; I always dream about falling off a bridge or swerving and the huge, infinite fall that goes in slow motion. Not necessarily even a car accident or crash, but the anticipation and anxiety of one!

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher�a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at Atria Books!
Giveaway ends June 2nd at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada readers only�sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for the list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

0 coment�rios:

Becoming the Talbot Sisters Rachel Linden from Thomas Nelson  // HarperCollins Twin sisters Waverly and Charlie Talbot have drifted far apar...

Top 3 Ways My Real Life Experiences Enriched Becoming the Talbot Sisters by Rachel Linden + Giveaway (US/Can)

Becoming the Talbot Sisters
Rachel Linden
from Thomas Nelson // HarperCollins

Twin sisters Waverly and Charlie Talbot have drifted far apart as they pursue opposite dreams of stardom and service to the poor. On an astonishing journey across Central Europe, they must come together to face their fears, find their courage and fight for what they love.

Celebrity chef Waverly Ross has built a successful career with her home-entertaining show Simply Perfect. Yet she and her husband, Andrew, have never been able to realize the true desire of Waverly�s heart: to become a mother. Meanwhile Waverly�s twin sister, Charlie Talbot, buries her bitter disappointment and shattered idealism beneath a life spent serving others as an international aid worked in Budapest, Hungary.

When the beloved aunt who raised them passes away, Waverly and Charlie come together in their grief after living years on separate continents. Struck by a fierce desire to bridge the distance between them, Charlie offers Waverly and her husband the selfless gift of surrogacy.

But soon the sisters find they are each in danger of losing their jobs, seemingly putting their dreams on hold once again. When Waverly shows up unannounced in Budapest with a plan to rescue Simply Perfect, the sisters embark on an adventure across Central Europe that could save them both from occupational hazards. Though the twins haven�t had to rely on each other since childhood, an unforeseen dangerous turn in their journey across Europe forces them to stand together to save their careers, the baby, and each other.

Ways My Real Life Experiences Made It into Becoming the Talbot Sisters


I love creating stories about hope, courage and connection with a hint of romance and a dash of whimsy. I also enjoy setting each story in beautiful locations around the world that are meaningful to me. So much of my own life is threaded through my books, and I think that authenticity shines through. Below are three ways my real life experiences enriched Becoming the Talbot Sisters!
  1. The main themes of the story�infertility, miscarriage, and the exploitation of women are all deeply personal for me. While living in Budapest, we lost our first baby through miscarriage, so I really connected on an emotional level with Waverly�s struggle to have a baby and her loss of multiple pregnancies.
  2. Working with a faith-based NGO, I met and helped many women in trauma throughout Europe. Some of them had endured trafficking and all had endured sexual abuse of some kind. Hearing their stories gave me very authentic insights for the plotline involving Charlie�s past trauma and her dilemma about helping vulnerable women.  I located the story mainly in Central Europe where we lived for 5 years. It�s a beautiful, somewhat undiscovered region of the world, rich with history, culture and delicious food! It was a total delight to allow Waverly and Charlie to experience so much of what I did in my years living and traveling there! My love for the region and my wonderful memories of life there definitely enhanced the story considerably.
  3. The overarching theme of the story, women being �every day brave,� is one I am deeply passionate about. As women we face so many challenges in life, and I wanted to write a story that encouraged women everywhere to face each challenge with hope, courage and strength! This theme of courage resonates strongly with me and I hope it will encourage all readers to be �every day brave!�

About the Author


Rachel Linden is a novelist and international aid worker whose adventures living and traveling in fifty countries around the world provide excellent grist for her stories. She holds an MA in Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College, a BA in Literature from Huntington University, and studied creative writing at Oxford University during college. Currently, Rachel splits her time between Seattle, Washington and Budapest, Hungary where she lives with her husband and two children.

Rachel enjoys creating stories about hope and courage with a hint of romance and a touch of whimsy.


Giveaway!


Books � la Mode is giving away
 one print copy of Becoming the Talbot Sisters�yay!!


To enter, all you have to do is answer Rachel's question in the comments below:
What is one thing you've done that took courage?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Rachel and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher�a huge thank you to the lovely folks at TLC Book Tours and Thomas Nelson!
Giveaway ends May 23rd at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only�sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

0 coment�rios:

I'd like to welcome Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of  How to Love the Empty Air  fro...

Interview with Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz, Author of How to Love the Empty Air + Giveaway (US only)

I'd like to welcome Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of How to Love the Empty Air from Write Bloody Publishing!

Welcome to Books � la Mode, Cristin! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

Cristin O�Keefe Aptowicz is a New York Times bestselling nonfiction writer and poet. She is the author of six books of poetry as well as the nonfiction books, Dr. Mutter�s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine, which made 7 National �Best Books of 2014? lists, and Words In Your Face: A Guided Tour Through Twenty Years of the New York City Poetry Slam, which Billy Collins wrote �leaves no doubt that the slam poetry scene has achieved legitimacy and taken its rightful place on the map of contemporary literature.� On the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) podcast Art Works, host Josephine Reed introduced Cristin as being �something of a legend in NYC�s slam poetry scene. She is lively, thoughtful, and approachable looking to engage the audience with her work and deeply committed to the community that art (in general) and slam poetry (in particular) can create.�

Cristin�s sixth book of poetry, The Year of No Mistakes, was released by Write Bloody Publishing in Fall 2013, and would go on to win the Writers� League of Texas Book of the Year Award for Poetry (2013-2014).

Cristin is married to fellow bestselling author and screenwriter Ernest Cline. She lives in Austin, Texas with her family and their two eccentric rescue dachshunds.

It's amazing to get to feature you today! Readers, here's a bit about the book, which hit shelves last month:

Vulnerable, beautiful and ultimately life-affirming, Cristin O�Keefe Aptowicz�s work reaches new heights in her revelatory seventh collection of poetry.

Continuing in her tradition of engaging autobiographical work, How to Love the Empty Air explores what happens when the impossible becomes real?for better and for worse. Aptowicz�s journey to find happiness and home in her ever-shifting world sees her struggling in cities throughout America. When her luck changes?in love and in life?she can�t help but �tell the sun / tell the fields / tell the huge Texas sky... / tell myself again and again until I believe it.� However, the upward trajectory of this new life is rocked by the sudden death of the poet�s mother. In the year that follows, Aptowicz battles the silencing power of grief with intimate poems burnished by loss and a hard-won humor, capturing the dance that all newly grieving must do between everyday living and the desire �to elope with this grief, / who is not your enemy, / this grief who maybe now is your best friend. / This grief, who is your husband, / the thing you curl into every night, / falling asleep in its arms...�

As in her award-winning The Year of No Mistakes, Aptowicz counts her losses and her blessings, knowing how despite it all, life �ripples boundless, like electricity, like joy / like... laughter, irresistible and bright, / an impossible thing to contain.�

Tell us about your road to publication, such as how you first queried, unexpected challenges, and things you picked up along the way.

How to Love the Empty Air is my seventh collection of poetry with my publisher, Write Bloody Publishing. I�m grateful to have such a wonderful, long term relationship with a publisher whose work I love. However, it should be noted that the reason that Write Bloody first became interested in my work is because I self-published it and toured behind it, before I ever had publishers interested in me. My first three books were all self-published at Kinkos, and available for purchase at my shows and on my website. Through this grassroots effort to share my work, I eventually caught the interested of a �basement press��literally a fantastic publisher who handmade books in his basement!�who eventually published my back catalogue, along with a new fourth book. When my books (gratefully) began selling more than the basement press could handle, I was picked up by Write Bloody. The lesson from this which I always try to impart on new writers is that you don�t have to wait for an institution�be that a venue, a literary journal, or a press�to give you a �permission� to begin sharing your art. There are so many ways to find an audience, and once you have an audience, finding a publisher won�t be as big a deal at all.


How does writing poetry compare to writing non-fiction? Would you ever try your hand at writing fiction, or any specific genres within fiction?  

The common thread that, to me, links my nonfiction writing and my poetry writing is how it forces me as a writer to look closely at something and pull from it a larger meaning. In nonfiction, you frequently have to show how a person, an event, or a moment represents the time period in which it exists, and, thus, allow a reader to access something that was previously foreign to them.

Similarly, in poetry, I find myself returning to moments in my life that I can�t seem to shake, and then working hard to tease out why they resonate so deeply with me. In both cases, to successfully translate that meaning to the page is profoundly satisfying.

I have not written any fiction, but I married to fiction writer! We both talk all the time about how we could never do what the other does. He can�t imagine having to write and being so �limited� by having to stick to facts�let alone doing all the work you have to do to uncover those facts! Meanwhile, I find the idea of having no limits terrifying! You mean the character could just die? Or your editor could suggest making them into a man instead? You could decide to move the setting to a different continent, or a different time period? It�s total chaos! I could never do it!


That's super funny how you and your husband get to see the other genre on a daily basis, but don't want to touch it! Out of all the fantastic books out there, what makes How to Love the Empty Air stand out from the rest?

When my mother passed away, I took an enormous comfort in books. I consumed veraciously books about grief: The Year of Magic Thinking by Joan Didion, Dear Darkness by Kevin Young, Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman, and more. How to Love the Empty Air is my attempt to give back to that community of writers whose work and vulnerability comforted me during that hard time. It�s an acknowledgment of how hard it is, how raw it feels, and how boundless grief can feel, but it is also a celebration of the light: the love you still feel, the ways the person you lost can still be seen everywhere, and how the people who surround you can lift you up. During my tour, I have been touched by how many people purchase books for themselves, but also for friends and family members who have suffered loss in their lives. It is my greatest hope, and would be the great honor, for my book to be a comfort to others, the way that the work I read helped guide me.

It's a much needed, much appreciated contribution I'm sure! Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you had known before getting published.

I grew up in a working class neighborhood, and saying I wanted to grow up and be a writer seemed about as possible as saying I was going to grow up to be the tooth fairy. I knew from an early age that if this was the path I wanted to pursue, I needed to forge my own path. I read constantly how important securing a mentor was�someone who was accomplished in my field already who could help guide me as moved forward in my career. Certainly, mentors have been helpful to me, but what I�ve found more true to my experience, and what I�ve learned has been proven to be more successful in studies on the subject, is my own peers. The theory is called �Horizontal Loyalty,� and the idea that instead of striving for mentors, you should form connections with peers whose work (and work ethic!) you admire. As time goes on, and you and your peers naturally begin to rise up, you will be able to help each other more directly, include each other more naturally in opportunities, and introduce each other to agents, bookers, publishers and venues who more authentically match where you are currently are as an artist. I have found this to be incredibly true in my own life. Peers whose work I�ve loved, and championed, have toured me, published my books, introduced me to agents, and guided me through tricky circumstances (like social media) that weren�t exactly in the wheelhouse of my older, more established mentors. So if I were to give advice to an aspiring writer, it would be to find peers whose work you adore, and begin to form connections with them. Those same poets crashing on your spare futon now might be the the family of artists whom you trust and rely on the most as you move through life as writer and human in the next few decades. It happened to me!

Now give us your best personal advice�something you wish you had known when you were younger and would offer to your own kids.

When my mother passed away, my father gave me all her old journals. In one, she collection quotes she found to inspirational, and buried in that journal, I found a short list she wrote in her own hand�I support the culmination of what she had learned from all the quotes she had previously written, and it remains the most guiding philosophy for me I�ve ever found. She wrote: �Know your Purpose; Be Present; Act Decisively, Don�t be Attached to the Results.� Under this list, she underlined the phrase �True Work.� I have this page framed in my office, and refer to it often. It is the best advice I�ve ever received: to be authentic, and to move authentically in this world, and let that be its own reward.

Where can you be found on the web?


It was a pleasure to be able to get to know you better today, Cristin! Thank you again for dropping by, and best of luck with future endeavors!

Giveaway!

Books � la Mode is giving away one print copy of How to Love the Empty Airwoohoo! To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
Are you a fan of poetry? What is your favorite poem or collection?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Cristin and I really want to hear your thoughts! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher�a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at FSB Associates!
Giveaway ends May 21st at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar on the right for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide�there are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

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