Fate Captured seeks ARC recipients

 

First of all, I should officially announce that Fate Captured, my upcoming contemporary romance, won an award! First place in the Contemporary category of the 2015 Heart to Heart contest, organized by the San Francisco Area chapter of RWA.

https://sfarwa.net/contest-winners.htm

I submitted only part of my manuscript to the contest, and it took me a while to shape it the way I wanted, but it’s ready to pop out of the oven. I love the story, I’m head over heels in love with Trish and Markos, and I hope readers will love them, too. Again, I prepared two versions: a “clean” story (closed door bedroom scenes) and a Spicy one where nothing is insinuated. 😉

Fate Captured is Book One in the Greek Tycoons series. It’s a standalone contemporary romance, featuring a cocky Greek hero, a meddling heroine who’s set on fixing him … after she breaks him, a Greek island setting, hot conflicts, hotter makeups and an epic HEA.

The book will need a boost from early reviewers, so I’ve decided to send out Advance Reader’s Copies to readers who enjoy reading romance books. If you’re interested in receiving a complementary copy of Fate Captured before its official release on April 21 in exchange for an honest review on Amazon, please sign up, using the following form:

http://goo.gl/forms/KMzz6jTjNE

fc cover samples (1)

The beautiful covers for the two versions are credited to Alex of 187Designz.

And here is the blurb:

Can two wrongs win Mr. Right?

Trish Swan is living her dream. She gave up chilly Boston for a sunny Greek island to write her novel. But she likes hot crime between the pages, not before her eyes. Yet, she doesn’t think twice about turning in a video she captures of a cop roughing up a man–but maybe she should because fate throws her a curve ball she least expects.

The mind-numbingly hot Greek from the bar isn’t just a cocky bad boy in need of a little love. He’s a shipping heir wrongfully accused.

By her.

Career in ruins, Markos’ life is a hot mess, all thanks to one sexy do-gooder who keeps popping up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Touching her becomes addictive, so maybe he could forgive her for doing her civic duty. But when she dredges up ghosts from his past, messing with his sanity, she gets a real taste of what he’s capable of.

With a man’s life on the line, Trish prepares for a head-on collision that will push Markos over the edge. What does she stand to lose anyway? Her heart?

He already owns it.

____________

Here’s the link to the signup form again: http://goo.gl/forms/0kb0h8h7ek

In case, you remember my previous release, Fate Accompli, this book has been pulled down from Amazon, I’ve thoroughly edited it and will relaunch it early summer as Fate Awakened, Book Two in the Greek Tycoons series.

Whether you sign up to get an ARC or not, thank you for visiting my online home! I should blog more, but this year I work full time, and it’s not easy to juggle everything. I promise I’ll try harder though. 🙂

MM Jaye

 

 

 

 

 

Marjory McGinn – WIP interview

This week’s Q&A features Marjory McGinn, a Scottish-born journalist whose three years in the wild Mani region in southern Peloponnese during the economic crisis led to Things Can Only Get Feta, an inspiring travel memoir. Marjory’s love affair with Greece actually started in Australia through her friendship with Anna, a Greek girl, and continues to this day. As a Greek in love with my own country, shouldn’t I be super excited to have a chat with Marjory about her life and her work?

After you read the Q&A, make sure you come back up here to link to MM Jaye’s Friends Write (my other blog) for a hilarious excerpt from Things Can Only Get Feta.

Marjory welcome to my blog. We’d love to know a bit more about you and your interesting life.

I think I’d describe myself as a fairly restless spirit who likes new experiences and challenges and that probably started as a child when my family migrated from Scotland to Australia where I was brought up. Aussies are adventurous and free-spirited and I am sure a lot of that rubbed off on me. As soon as kids leave school there, they tend to go on a big overseas trip which I did, too. I ended up in Athens teaching English for a year which is one of the reasons I developed a life-long love of Greece.

Back in Australia, I started my career as a journalist on Sydney newspapers and I specialised in arts stories and celebrity profiles. Later I moved back to Scotland with my partner Jim and worked as a freelance feature writer for a few years before the travel bug hit again. In 2010, during a British recession, we decided to have an adventure in the remote Mani region of the southern Peloponnese, which inspired my non-fiction book Things Can Only Get Feta. We took our crazy terrier dog Wallace along as well and that certainly guaranteed a few memorable incidents.

Could you give us an idea of what your current project involves?

I am currently writing a kind of sequel to the first book, which was about our first year living in a hillside village in the Mani in 2010/11. We ended up staying in this region for three years, so the sequel charts the final two years with a nearby, but slightly different, location and many more adventures and dramas as the economic crisis intensified, and a few other elements as well.

That should make a very interesting read! Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim for a specific word count each day?

We are in the southern Peloponnese again for a shorter adventure this time. I had already started the second book while back in Scotland and I am now slowly getting back into it again. When you’re writing a book about Greece, it helps to be here for sheer inspiration: olive trees, birds, the sea in the distance. I am very laid-back about word counts and don’t set a daily amount because once I am in the mood I can write fairly quickly.

Plotter, pantser or both?

Probably both. A non-fiction book needs a certain structure of course since it’s based on fact, but the rest of my book is narrative and involves experiences and the people I’ve met and I like that to be more unstructured, to flow just the way it wants to because even with a tight plot, as you know, elements pop into your head unbidden and you just can’t ignore them. A good travel memoir I think should read like a novel but be instructive and truthful at the same time, which is not always an easy thing to carry off.

What’s your main enemy in getting that first draft finished?

I think my main enemy here in Greece will be too many lovely distractions in the summer, like going to the beach, especially when it’s too hot to do anything else, and all the paniyiria in the villages in July and August which are always great fun.

Have you experienced writer’s block and how do you overcome it?

Having worked as a journalist most of my life, with tight deadlines, I have learnt to deal with blocks. I used to find that when my brain reached a dead end it was best was to walk away from the computer, walk around the newsroom, talk to people, and chill. Sometimes writers can try too hard to express themselves and that causes stress, and a block.  Sitting and staring at a blank screen doesn’t help either, so my second tip is, if you really can’t get going, start writing anything – a shopping list will do, or a daft poem, anything really just to get words on the screen/page. Before long the piece you’re supposed to be writing will come to you. The trick is to get a flow going.

That indeed is an excellent tip! Could we take a look at your workspace?

My workspace at the moment is the balcony on the house we are renting for the time being. It has a fantastic view over olive groves to Koroni harbour at the tip of the Messinian peninsula. I have my laptop on the balcony table, a few books and nothing much else. Probably the tidiest office I’ve had for a while. It’s so peaceful here that I can’t fail to be inspired to write but I find it’s best to do it early, or later in the afternoon because the blue sea keeps calling me away. The only other problem is that our dog Wallace keeps stealing my chair and wants to know what I’m writing about him this time!

Wallace is plain adorable! I’m sure many readers will envy your view. Now your photo is “pinned” on my Featured Writers’ Workspace Board on Pinterest. How do you intent to celebrate writing “The End” on your first draft?

I think I’ll be rushing down to the sea for a long swim and later a nice meal in one of the lovely tavernas that line the harbour front in Koroni and a nice jug of local wine of course. Bliss!

Idyllic. Which editing process are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself?

I didn’t outsource anything the first time, apart from the manuscript being thoroughly edited by my publisher Bene Factum Publishing (www.bene-factum.co.uk) in London. I did get my partner Jim to read my manuscript several times before sending it to the publisher. Jim is also a journalist with great editing skills and I trust him absolutely with editing and rewrites when needed. He now has his own editing business for Indy authors and if I am allowed to share it with you, the website is www.ebooklover.co.uk

That’s one of the main points of this column; sharing and promoting services useful for indie authors. Which social media are you more involved with and why?

I favour Facebook and Twitter mainly. My publisher is a small independent publisher and although he has done an excellent job in marketing and promoting the book, I think these days it’s a good idea for authors to do some of the promotional work themselves if they can. I think it is expected really, so I put regular posts on my FB author page and some on my personal page as well. I also use Twitter a lot. It’s fun and I think it works better for writers and gets your message out to a lot more people that you didn’t previously know. The great thing about social media now is that apart from making new friends, writers can connect with a lot of other writers and the possibilities for promotion are endless.

Is writing travel memoirs the genre you will brand yourself with?

I have enjoyed this genre and it has been very satisfying writing about Greece, a subject close to my heart and I’m happy to say a lot of Greeks contacted me after the first book came out last year to say it was a positive story about Greece during the crisis and that means a lot to me. But after writing a second travel book, I think I’d like to try a novel this time. I already have a plot roughed out in my head and I think I will enjoy fiction this time and really letting my imagination take flight.

Where can we find out more about you and your work.

I have a website called Big Fat Greek Odyssey which was started when Jim and I went to Greece in 2010 with information about Greece and the book and where to buy it. I also write a regular blog there with a Greek theme.

http://www.bigfatgreekodyssey.com

My FB author page is http://www.facebook.com/ThingsCanOnlyGetFeta

and my personal page is http://www.facebook.com/marjory.mcginn

you can find me on Twitter @fatgreekodyssey

Things Can Only Get Feta is available on Amazon in the UK

And from May 1 the book is available on Amazon in North America

The book is also available at Barnes and Noble in America

and Longitude Books

and in Greece at Evripidis bookstore in north Athens and through the Public website

For more details on where to buy the book visit http://www.bigfatgreekodyssey.com/greek-book.html

Thank you, Marjory! Getting to know you and your work has been a pleasure!

Thanks Maria for this great opportunity to talk to you about my work, and good luck with your own as well. x

 

 

A pie that reveals lost stuff: a pre Greek Easter story of lost and found

In the five months of this blog’s life, it has sort of branded itself as an all (genre) inclusive, writer-friendly place, and I never felt that random musings or personal experiences would make a good fit. Therefore, this post is an exception.

This week (the week leading to the Greek Orthodox Easter) is the most spiritually and traditionally rich time of the year. My parents have always been big on upholding tradition. The problem was that they weren’t exactly democratic as to the extent my sister and I were supposed to be involved; it had to be all the way, no questions asked, or else they’d meticulously work on our guilt complex. Of course, growing into my own skin, I soon revolted, and ever since, I retain my respect but keep my distances from traditions. One instance when I’ll consciously bring them forward is when I feel that my octagenarian parents need some soothing. And that’s what made me bake the Saint Phanourios’ pie last week.

Saint Phanourios pie

Saint Phanourios’ name means “the one who reveals” (the same etymology as “phenomenon”) and, according to the tradition, if you’ve lost something valuable and you’re in despair, all you have to do is bake his pie (which is more a cake than a pie) pray for his mother’s soul to find rest (there is no relevant evidence, but apparently she was sinful) and whatever you seek for will be revealed to you. In many occasions this has worked, but I was always skeptical, thinking that, of course, if you’ve exhausted all possible locations where you might have misplaced an item, you bake a pie, and resume searching, then the chances for the item to turn up afterwards are definitely better. Last week, though, I was forced to reconsider.

My dad is a prostate cancer patient and he has to have a very expensive shot twice a year. In spite of the recession, the state still provides for this particular shot. Last week, as he was going to visit his doctor for the shot, riding his antique motorbike (a wonderful conversation piece wherever he goes) the paper bag where he kept his insurance papers, the shot prescription with dozens of state stamps of approval, his cell phone and various documents, apparently slipped from the handle and he lost everything. No paperwork meant no shot. Reproducing it could take weeks. When I saw the state he was in, I thought he wouldn’t make it. To an eighty-six-year-old man, every little thing he owns is as valuable as a life line, not least the documentation that guaranteed his on-going treatment. Losing it equaled a small death. My sister and brother in law went out in a vain search, but I couldn’t do much as my little one was ill, plus I don’t own a car. Seeing my father white as a sheet, the only thing I thought of offering was the reassurance that I’d bake a Saint Phanourios pie, which I managed to put together in no time at all, hoping to assuage his fear.

And then, things started happening: a teenage girl called my mother, claiming to have found my dad’s cell phone. She’d gone through his contacts and located his home number. She hadn’t found anything else. My dad met up with her, got his phone back, and then together with my sister scanned the entire area, as the paperwork scattering near where the phone fell would make sense. They found nothing. When they returned empty-handed and desperate, my mom had another phone call. This time it was a man who had stopped at a red light and saw paper strewn on the street. He got off his motorcycle, thinking that someone was in need of those papers (because that’s how everybody thinks and acts, right?) picked everything up, went home, read through them, located a random phone number, called and got my dad’s home number from them. Every single item was retrieved.

Coincidence? You could say so. But check this out: the girl’s name was Io and the guy’s name was Ionas (both names are very rare in Greece)!! Well, I give up. The pie worked big time, and now I’m a convert.

The pie/cake is ridiculously simple to put together, delicious and also 100% vegan, so if I piqued your interest here is the recipe and the ritual:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup virgin olive oil
  • 750 grams (1.65 pounds) self-raising flour
  • 4 tablespoons cognac (brandy)
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup blonde raisins (sultanas) – roll them in flour first
  • 1 tablespoon mixed cinnamon and clove (ground)
  • icing sugar on top (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Mix sugar and oil well until sugar melts. Then add all ingredients apart from raisins and mix well. Add floured raisins and give batter a toss. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted at cake’s center comes out clean. Leave to cool. Sprinkle icing sugar on top if desired. Distribute to family members and pray that Saint Phanourios’ mother’s soul finds rest.

Sit back and wait. No, actually don’t. As with everything in life, divine intervention works best when you give a helping hand.

Happy Easter!