L.B. Griffin is surrounded by her family in Wiltshire. Before retiring she always wrote around her full-time paid job. Her stories touch upon social issues and are filled with gentle hints of romance. Her women don’t see themselves as courageous, strong, or survivors, but they certainly are.
Her debut, Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox has received 5 star reviews, amongst them Whispering stories and VINE reader/blogger Michelle Ryles, singing high praise: ‘Incredibly well-written, Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox is a magnificent debut. It’s a poignant, disturbing and a heart-warming page-turner that has left me chomping at the bit to continue Harriet’s story.’
The sequel, The Twenty-One-Year Contract, is available for pre-order.
Avis: Welcome, Lynn! It’s so good to meet you, and I know your fans are going to love your book, Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox! Let’s get started with our first question! Did you have to cut any favorite scenes?
Lynn: Yes. The story started out at 180.000 words. Obviously, I was told it was too long. I worked hard and pared it down to 130.000. Then found it was still too long. It was suggested in the end, that it naturally fell into two books. I learned a lot from that. Cutting out your ‘darlings’ hurts but can be empowering.
Avis: Wow! 180,000 words is a bit long! LOL! I love the “cutting out the darlings” part! If you can do that, you are ready to get to the real story, which you do in your book. It’s hard to let them go, though. Next question: Do you Google yourself?
Lynn: When Google first emerged, (yes, I’m that old!) someone said they found me, and my picture with some blurb on this worldwide net thingy. I never provided either. It turned out to be an advertising campaign for the FE college I taught at. They had mentioned it, asked my permission, but I hadn’t a clue what they were talking about. Of course, I just had to look. Amazing. The only other time was when my husband searched the net when my book was about to be released – he couldn’t wait to show me. It all still feels very surreal.
Avis: For those of you who aren’t familiar with FE college, in the UK, where Lynn lives and writes, FE means Further Education. It’s a strange thing to see yourself online, but it’s a food think that people can google your name and find out more about you, so Kudos! Our next question: Does your family support your career as a writer?
Lynn: My whole family have been absolutely amazing. The trouble is when I read this now, I feel so very needy. But I am so very grateful for all their help. My IT skills are next to zero, but my family have been with me from the very start of this very exciting journey. My daughter, Kelly has started her own gifting business, I Love Surprises, and balances that with her one year and 12 year old, yet she still finds time to help me with the IT side of things! With what seems to be just clicking a few buttons, she has made me short clip videos for promotional purposes, and they are brilliant. She also said she would be happy to do the same for others if they were interested. I am so lucky.
My son Sam is just the same. He has stepped in and helped me out with blogging – which was one of the conditions of the contract with The Wild Rose Press. Sam, like so many parents he is busy with his work life at ElevateOM along with managing a growing family, but he is always there to lend a hand. Even when I don’t ask!
My husband, well what can I say. I am blessed and I know it. He is so encouraging and supportive, and steps in when I get frustrated with the computer. At times I just want to chuck it out the window, but when he comes along, I know I can breathe again.
Avis: Your family sounds amazing, and to get that kind of support without even asking is a blessing! Thanks for the info on your daughter Kelly, and her offer to create video clips! Here is the next question: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Lynn: Yes. I doubt that anyone will find them unless they know the real me. So yes, I’ve hidden a gem or two, really just for me to know, and others to discover if they care to.
Avis: I have a friend who does this. He calls them Easter Eggs! Sometimes I can find them, but sometimes not. It’s a fun thing to build suspense and fun for fans of your work! Last question: If you didn’t write, what would you do for work? / What real life experience made it into your novel?
Lynn: I’ve always written around the paid day job. We had a growing family and bills to pay. Plus, in later life I never considered giving up paid work to write, simply because I never felt my work was good enough and we still had the bills to pay.
Before I retired, I would get up at silly o’clock in the morning, write as much as I could, then fly out the door, toothbrush in hand and sometimes forgetting I still had my slippers on! At night, after the kids went to bed, and, if there was an ounce of creativity or energy left, I might do a little more.
When I was given an opportunity to lecture SLDd (Specific Learning Difficulties/disabilities in FE (Further Education), it was a joy. Whilst I taught those wonderful, beautiful students, they taught me so much more about life that I never truly knew existed. Similarly, when I moved into Adult social care/occupational therapy, the people I met were amazing. Its fact, each and every person has a story to tell. Paid work opened my eyes and my heart to so much more. What I’ve learned from them is woven into the very fabric of my stories. They never saw themselves as courageous or survivors, but my goodness they so are.
Avis: Our lives inform our writing in so many ways, and it can’t help but show up in our writing! Your explanations, especially wearing your slippers out the door, speak to a devotion to writing that is heartwarming and shows true devotion to the craft. I get a sense of that in your pages, in how you develop your characters, and in how you create the world of your characters. Really well done!
Lynn Griffin, thank you so much for being a guest on Your Next Favorite Author! I look forward to your next book The Twenty-One-Year Contract and your next interview with us.
Here are Lynn Griffin’s links to social media and to buy her book!
The Twenty-One-Year Contract to be released late spring of 2022.
L.B. Griffin’s historical, mystery romance Secret’s, Shame, and a Shoebox takes us to the 1950’s and one woman’s journey from grief, to coming of age, to battered wife, to strong independent woman. We follow Harriet Law’s and her beloved grandmother in a “two-up-two-down” in the seedier part of London. But Harriet and her Nana don’t mind. The people all have warm hearts and generous natures, and both are surrounded by friends who love and care about them.
When Harriet meets Tom and he shares his dream of expanding the bakery with his tasty confectionary inventions with her, they are both smitten with the idea and each other, but Tom says that because of their age difference they can only be friends. Harriet wishes for more but understands and grants his wish.
Their work at Daisy’s bakery keeps them close, and their friendship blossoms. When Tom invites her out to the opera, she hopes he is going to break his oath of friendship and offer her more, their evening is interrupted by CJ Rutherford, a man she met at her second job as a waitress at Luigi’s Italian restaurant, steps in to derail Tom’s plans for romance, and sets in motion a series of events that will change Harriet’s life, but not for the better.
Things with CJ are good at first, but things soon change, and before Harriet realizes what’s happening, she’s finds herself in an abusive relationship with a criminal who eventually steals the one thing she has left of her Grandmother, a priceless oil painting. After months of abuse, losing her mind and her health, Harriet devises a plan to escape, but before she does, she finds and takes incriminating evidence the CJ had been using to blackmail wealthy acquaintances.
Harriet moves to a safe house program with other battered and abused women, and she begins to heal. On a walk to the park, an old acquaintance calls her name, and Harriet, terrified, tries to run. The woman is CJ’s mistress, and when CJ emerges from the shadows, Harriet is terrified.
Sound like a lot? It is! This complex and intricately developed tale follows Harriet as she overcomes hardship at every turn and emerges stronger than ever. When she reunites with her friends, they learn that CJ never mailed her letters to them, and they rally around her, even Tom, whom she fears will never forgive her.
Griffin develops Harriet, a hero we can love and care about, someone we all root for. We laugh, we cry, and we cringe, as Harriet maneuvers her way through the pitfalls of abuse, and the dark climb from depression and fear. This book will have you biting your nails but will not disappoint. A must read for historical, mystery romances, and readers of women’s fictions. I highly recommend this fabulous novel and give it five stars!
Terry Segan resides in Nevada. The beach is her happy place, but any opportunity to travel soothes her gypsy soul. The stories conjured by her imagination while riding backseat on her husband’s motorcycle can be found throughout the pages of her paranormal mysteries.
Avis: Hi Terry and welcome! We look forward to learning more about you as an author and writer!
Terry: Thanks for having me on your blog, Avis. It’s always exciting for me when I get a chance to talk about my writing life.
Avis: Let’s get started! What was your hardest scene to write?
Terry: My hardest scenes to write in Precious Treasure were the journal entries of the Confederate soldier. Not being a history buff (my high school grades would attest to that), I still love books where an aspect from the past is tied to the present. That’s where the mystery comes in to connect the two. The story takes place in current times on Long Island, where I grew up. Tying in the Civil War and the soldier’s experience as he fought his way north, took a lot of research. I wanted the details to be as accurate as possible regarding the uniforms, weapons, food, and day-to-day life of the military during that time. Part of what I looked up were actual letters written home by the men in battle. It amazed me how eloquent their writing could be.
Avis: That is fascinating! You’ve done some amazing research which enhances the story so well! I loved how you wove the past and the present so seamlessly through your book. Now for our next questions: How many hours a day do you write?
Terry: Most weekdays I write about four or five hours a day. Of course, there are days when I have those ‘ooh shiny’ moments or ‘squirrel,’ and then the hours get reduced. I don’t like being locked into a specific word count or schedule, so if the weather is beautiful and calling to me, I listen. On weekends my husband and I try to get out on the motorcycle and enjoy the outdoors. It’s hard to shut down my brain when I’m working on a story, so even when I’m not in front of a keyboard, I’m working out scenes or plot lines in my head.
Avis: Distractions are a writer’s bane, but all work and no play would make our writing very dull, and your writing is anything but dull, so good job! Our next question: Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Terry: I’d have to say my books are a mix of standalones and works with connections. Precious Treasure is my second book and definitely a standalone. My first book, Photographs in Time, involves time travel, matchmaking and murder, and it was written to be a standalone. Fans who have read it, however, are asking for a sequel. That might happen. My next book will be the first in my new series called The Marni Legend Series and will have continuing characters. While each book in the series can be read by itself, there will be the occasional spoiler suggesting they be read in order.
Avis: I think I have some reading to do! Your first book sounds right up my ally! This is our final question: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Terry: Writing energizes me because it’s something I love doing. Creating stories, which make readers laugh, cry, or check under the bed twice before turning off the light, gives me a thrill. When a reviewer states they didn’t see the plot twist coming or they laughed out loud, it inspires me to continue writing. How many other jobs are there where your sole purpose is making things up to entertain others? My imagination gets to run wild, which equally amazes and frightens my husband—goal achieved!
Avis: It sounds like your husband is a fan of your work! That’s amazing, and I agree. As a job, writing and creating stories that entertain and capture the imaginations of readers is awesome!
Thanks for being such a gracious guest! Following readers will find more information about Precious Treasure and links to Terry Segan’s social media sites as well as a review! So please read on!
Eight years ago, her husband disappeared. Does a hundred and fifty-year-old journal hold the answer as to why?
Janie Holcomb prays for closure once the courts declare her missing husband dead. Instead, she’s sent spiraling down a dangerous path.
When her lawyer delivers a package held in trust, she finds a cryptic warning along with a Civil War journal promising buried treasure. While seeking a connection between her spouse and the decades-old diary, Janie attracts the spirit of a Confederate soldier pleading for help.
Enlisting her brother’s assistance to chase down clues, they discover that not everyone they know should be trusted. Janie overlooks potential threats when the promise of new love stirs her emotions. Will her digging uncover the answers she craves or doom her to a similar fate?
Precious Treasure by Terry Segan brings murder mystery to the edge of romance with a chilling twist and a paranormal guardian. When brother’s William and Benjamin enter the Civil War, they want only to right a wrong that stole their family wealth and security, but they almost fail.
One hundred and fifty years later, the words of William Pelter Carver still influence and drive some people in the small community to search for the treasure, especially Janie Holgram’s husband who disappeared eight years earlier. Janie struggles to move on with her two young daughters and when she finally makes the move to declare Brian legally dead, she opens Pandora’s Box, so to speak, and our adventure begins.
Brian’s lawyer delivers a package to Janie with a diary and some paperwork on an old estate that has been on the market for years, the Brassel Field property. Her focus has always been on keeping her girls safe and cared for, while working at the business her husband had built with his best friend.
Janie opens the package and finds an old diary that she soon learns is from a deceased Civil War soldier from the Confederate Army found near the Brassel Field property and dressed in a Union Army uniform. As she reads this valuable relic, she realizes she is not alone and is startled to find an apparition standing before her dressed in a Confederate Army uniform pleading for her help.
Undeterred but shaken to her core, Janie begins the search for answers and in the process finds romance with the handsome and caring John Cooper. Is she ready for romance, though, and who is this apparition and what does he want?
Segan builds a world for this mystery that keeps us focused on Janie as she walks willingly into a world of danger and intrigue, a world that took her husband from her. With her brother Tom for support, Janie finds herself in trouble before she can devise an exit strategy. Readers will be sucked into the story and read into the wee hours to find out who this apparition is and what he wants from Janie. A fragile hero, Janie’s determination has us rooting for her as she follows the crumbs of clues she reads in the diary while falling into the arms of romance.
All she wants is answers, but Janie finds so much more in the compelling story of greed and high stakes speculation. This story will captive readers from beginning to end, and Segan’s deftly crafted conclusion will have mystery fans salivating for more.
Welcome Susie! It’s a pleasure to meet the award-winning author of Death by Sample Size! As an added bonus, Susie has been kind enough to provide a swimsuit buying guide that you will find after the review of her wonderful book!
Here’s a little bit about Susie Black:
Named Best US Author of the Year by N. N. Lights Book Heaven, award-winning cozy mystery author Susie Black was born in the Big Apple but now calls sunny Southern California home. Like the protagonist in her Holly Swimsuit Mystery Series, Susie is a successful apparel sales executive. Susie began telling stories as soon as she learned to talk. Now she’s telling all the stories from her garment industry experiences in humorous mysteries.
She reads, writes, and speaks Spanish, albeit with an accent that sounds like Mildred from Michigan went on a Mexican vacation and is trying to fit in with the locals. Since life without pizza and ice cream as her core food groups wouldn’t be worth living, she’s a dedicated walker to keep her girlish figure. A voracious reader, she’s also an avid stamp collector. Susie lives with a highly intelligent man and has one incredibly brainy but smart-aleck adult son who inexplicably blames his sarcasm on an inherited genetic defect.
AVIS: So, our first question is one we all want to know the answer to: Have you always wanted to be an author?
SUSIE: I have been telling stories from the time I learned to talk, so I’d say yes, even if I didn’t realize until years later that becoming an author was the eventual outcome to my love of storytelling.
AVIS: Story telling is an artform, and your early practice honed your skills for this wonderful novel! Readers will surely want to know the answer to this question: What real life experience influenced your novel?
SUSIE: Like the protagonist in my Fashion & Foul Play Mystery Series, I am a ladies’ swimwear sales exec in the greater Los Angeles area. From the beginning of my career, I have kept a daily journal chronicling the interesting, quirky, and sometimes quite challenging people I have encountered as well as the crazy situations I’ve gotten myself into and out of. My daily journal entries are the foundation of everything I write. As a female who has succeeded in a historically male-dominated industry, it was important to me to write about the apparel business from a woman’s point of view. All my characters are based on real people, and the central characters are all strong, successful women who have beaten the odds. Holly Schlivnik, the main character in the series, is based on me with some poetic license taken, of course. The stories all take place in the fast-paced ladies’ swimsuit industry, where I have spent the lion’s share of my career.
Avis: Readers will be so happy to know that this is a series! Your career experience really informs the action and world building on the pages of your novel. We also must know: Did you have to cut any favorite scenes?
SUSIE: Yes, I did, and it was painful. My favorite scene in my debut novel, Death by Sample Size, originally had a hilarious description of the murder victim prior to her demise. Since it didn’t really advance the story or serve a real purpose other than make me laugh, I had to cut out a goodly portion of that out and stay focused on her miserable personality instead. I kept the description in my files and periodically re-read it, especially if I need a good laugh.
Avis: LOL! Just hearing about it makes me want to read it! I’m sure your fans would love to see that scene at some point! Since you were an apparel sales executive, this next question seems appropriate: What real life experience made it into your novel?
SUSIE: The murder victim and the protagonist’s colleagues are all based on real people I knew from the apparel industry. While the murder victim in the story did not get murdered in real life, her rotten personality and some of the awful things the character did in the story the real-life person actually did.
Avis: Oh, my goodness! That must have been somewhat satisfying to kill her off then! LOL. Sorry! Didn’t mean to go dark! As an author myself, I always wonder: Do you Google yourself?
SUSIE: Yes, since I’ve become a published author, I have Googled myself.
AVIS: Now I want to know what you found! I’ll add that to the question next time! Another important question is: Does your family support your career as a writer?
SUSIE: Absolutely yes. I am quite fortunate to have a husband and son who support my writing career completely. They are my go-to guys for information, opinions, and are quite patient with my continuous questions of “how does this sound?” or “which way do you think is better or more believable?” or “Ok, I changed it. Can I read it to you again?”
AVIS: You are so lucky to have that kind of support! That kind of feedback is so important to a great story, and it shines through in Death by Sample Size! So how about if we end the interview with this one: If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
SUSIE: The first answer would be to have been what I was; a sales exec in the wholesale ladies’ swimwear industry. But, given the opportunity, I would love to have been a stand-up comedienne.
Avis: Well, that makes perfect sense because your novel is filled with humor as well as suspense and a great deal of tension about “who done it!” Thank you so much for this interview and it’s been a pleasure to get to know more about Susie Black! Her social media links and buy links for her books can be found below, as well as her Swimsuit Buying Guide! Be sure to check out the review of Death by Sample Size at the end of this page.
Susie Black’s Death by Sample Size takes us into LA’s glamorous world of swimsuit fashion and design. Black’s experience as a successful apparel sales exec informs her world building and envelops us in the fashion scene turned crime scene that will have readers captivated.
Holly Schlivnik our hero works as Vice President of sales at Ditzy Swimwear, which has gone big in the LA world of swimsuit fashion. She understands the ins and outs of the industry, and she knows first-hand the movers and shakers. But when she arrives at the California Apparel Mart, where the big deals are made for next year’s styles, Holly finds victim one, Bunny Frank.
When the detective arrives, one of his first questions is, “Did Ms. Frank have any enemies?”
How does Holly explain that Bunny didn’t have any friends? Any one at the Mart could have killed her and gladly. Susie Black’s dry sense of humor leaps off the page as Holly tries to explain that eliminating suspects will be more difficult than finding them, but the detective is not amused. With the help of her friend, VP of Royal Swimwear and one of the “Yentas,” Queenie, Holly begins a pursuit of her own, and as she unravels clues, she is convinced she knows who done it—
Until the person she is focused on turns up murdered in similar style.
Susie Black’s murder/mystery leads us through Holly’s bungling attempts to help Detective Martinez, much to his chagrin, and even though he seems somewhat attracted to her, he won’t stand for her tampering with his investigation and destroying evidence.
Black’s whodunit will keep you reading into the night trying to figure out, Who killed Bunny Frank? Death by Sample Size gives nothing away. It delivers from page one and keeps us hooked until the last page and the satisfying reveal at the end. I highly recommend this fun romp through LA’s fashion industry, the buyers and the vendors, the glamorous yachts, and the lives of the rich and famous, all come together in this well-knit story of crime and passion. And good news: Death by Sample Size is Book 1 in AHolly Swimsuit Mystery series, so fans can expect more from our hero Holly Schlivnik.
Need a Swimsuit? DON’T PANIC!
By Susie Black
Hello. I am Susie Black. Before I became a cozy mystery author, I was a successful sales and marketing executive in the ladies’ swimwear industry. When I first got into the swim biz, my smart-alec Nana gave me a coffee mug that said, “Things could be worse. We could be trying on swimsuits.”
No kidding, Nana.
Whether you’re planning a Caribbean cruise or a day at the beach, the very thought of trying on a swimsuit can be intimidating enough that you won’t venture out of the dressing room, let alone show up wearing one at the pool. But if you know what kind of swimsuit style looks best on your body type, selecting one doesn’t have to be traumatic. Believe it or not, it can be a fun experience. Now, stop rolling your eyes. I can see you. Hey, come on, admit it; other than drowning or a painful sunburn, who has a bad time in a swimsuit?
With the right style, you can camouflage a flaw or accentuate a strength. It’s all in the art of illusion. Whether you want to conceal cellulite, hide back fat, or provide enough support for the girls, trust me, there’s a suit with the best fit for you. Want to show off? Need to slim down? No worries. You just have to know which style you choose is the right one.
Still not buying what I’m selling? Ok, then let me prove it to you: 3
The first step in choosing the best swimsuit that flatters you the most is to determine which body type is yours. It is also helpful to know your bust, hip, and waist measurements, bra cup size, and torso length.
There are others, but most women’s figures fall into one of four body types:
1. APPLE SHAPE: Your waist is wider than your hips and equal to or nearly as wide as your bust.
2. HOURGLASS SHAPE: Your bust and hips are about the same size width, but your waist is smaller.
3. PEAR SHAPE: Your hips are significantly wider than your waist and bust.
4. STRAIGHT SHAPE: You are thin all around, with no significant difference between your hips and bust.
Very few women are the same size top and bottom. Fortunately, swimwear designers have come up with a solution. Separates have revolutionized the options available for every body type. You can mix and match silhouettes, sizes, colors, solids, and prints to meet both your fit needs as well as quench the thirst of your imagination. 4
THE RIGHT CUT
The right fitting style is the key to finding the best suit for yourself. Like all the other clothes in your wardrobe, a swimsuit that is too small or too big can ruin your look.
Tips on how to select the right cut:
A one-piece suit will hide a thick waist. Choose one with shirred panels, details, dark or solid colors. High-cut bikini bottoms will make your leg look longer. If you are short, have bigger thighs, or are long in the torso, a high-cut bikini bottom is an excellent option. Halter and triangle tops draw attention to the bust. Bandeau tops will make the bust seem wider. If you are a pear shape and want to imitate an hourglass shape, choose a bandeau top with ruffles or a halter with a busy detail. 5
Broad Shoulders: There are a few things you can do to balance out your body when you’ve got a set of broad shoulders. Opt for a solid-colored suit with printed panels along the side. This will help create the look of an hourglass figure and evens out a boxy upper body. Look for an asymmetrical neckline, which will draw the eye up and away, instead of straight across.
If you have a large bust: For busty gals, before you do anything, get a bra fitting with a foundations specialist and try cup-sized separates. For the girls with big girls, regrettably, triangle bras and string bikinis are not your friends. Triangle bras don’t offer enough support for your girls. The string bikini bottoms draw your eye up to your big boobs and you look even more out of proportion than you already might be. Swimsuit tops that come in sizes S, M, and L won’t get you where you want to go either. Cup sizes and underwires will give you the support you need so your boobs stay where they belong and won’t be all over the place after you dive into the water. Opt for a fuller cut brief. Thicker straps and double-stitched bands will give you the most flattering results. To minimize a large bust, look for a straight across cut at the top of your swimsuit with wide-set straps. Try a bikini top with a thick chest band for extra support. Multiple straps on a swimsuit top add twice the support. Try a full-cut or a sports top. 6
Animal Attraction: A small animal print plays down the chest size. 7
Red is slimming and gives the illusion of your boobies appearing smaller.
If you have a small bust:
Finding a suit that flatters your bust can be a challenge. For smaller-busted gals, head to the separates section of the swimwear department where you can mix and match tops and bottoms. Swimsuit silhouettes with lift and support will create a flattering look and a comfortable fit. Try bikini tops with an underwire, adjustable shoulder straps, or built-in cups to add shape and support. Halter tops are also a great way to show a sexy slip of cleavage. A suit with padding, a pushup bra or a bra with a twist gives you a little something extra and a believable cleavage. The best bet for a gal with a smaller bust is to go for a top with embellishments or ruffles to give the illusion of a larger chest. Avoid a pancake bandeau top or a twist-tie front. 8
THE MIDDLE OF THE STORY
Waist: High-cut one-piece swimsuits and embellished bottoms are the perfect way to enhance your waistline. Add a subtler silhouette to your body for a more balanced curve. Mitered one-pieces and princess seaming provide definition while smoothing the contour created by your suit. Lengthening your waistline has a slenderizing effect and can make for an overall leaner-looking body. Monokini cutouts are also a great way to lengthen and enhance this area.
Tummy issues: Hiding a tummy is much easier than you think. Peplums are perfect for a day at the beach. A full piece with ruching can also help to conceal your stomach. Surplice wrap and color block one- piece suits camouflage a thick waist. Choosing any one-piece style with a plunging neckline will help to keep the focus upwards, rather than on your mid-section. Choose a swimsuit that accentuates your legs while giving you more coverage in the bustier and tummy area. One-piece tummy trimming suits smooth and flatten the stomach to make you appear leaner. Features such as ruching (gathering) or panel designs on the sides slim the appearance of the waist. Print designs down the middle of the body elongate the torso. Choose swim dresses, one-piece suits, and colorful sarongs that draw the eye downward. Avoid bikini sets and low-rise bottoms. 9
SHORT TORSO: The trick to elongating a short torso is adding length and lifting the bustline. Low-rise bottoms make your torso appear longer and halter straps draw attention to your neck and shoulders, making people skim over your short mid-section. 10
THOSE SWIVEL HIPS
To de-emphasize your hips, go with skirted styles that offer more coverage or sexy tops to draw attention away from the hips.
Low-rise bikini bottoms expose and highlight the hips. Embellishments at the waist or patterned bottoms with solid tops are also a great way to draw attention to this area. 11
SHAPE THAT BOOTY
Flat tush: While some of us would kill for a flat as a pancake derriere, having one is not a benefit when wearing a swimsuit that hangs in the back. If the suit sags in the tush, you might look like you’ve got a load in your pants. This is another time when frills and ruching come in handy, as they give the illusion of a bigger behind. Opt for bottoms in bright colors and loud prints to try and distract from a flatter tush. Also, showing a little cheek is preferable to full-coverage bottoms.
Big Butt: If you’ve got an ample backside, string bikinis and high-cut swimsuits can be uncomfortable and reveal what you’d rather not share with the rest of the world. Get a suit with enough fabric in that area so you’re not constantly tugging for more coverage or picking a wedgie. Avoid thongs, Brazilian, and other skimpy-cut styles. Look for designs with full-cut solid bottoms and printed tops that draw the eye up away from your not-so-tiny-tush and balance out your big booty. 12
Create a long and feminine line and show off your legs with high-waist bikini bottoms that can also lengthen the leg while offering more support through the tummy. Or try scoop front bottoms or bottoms with thinner sides to show more skin and dramatize the line of your legs.
Short Legs: If you want to elongate shorter legs, go for suits with high cuts in the leg. Since you are showing more skin, it will make your gams appear longer. And if you’re really brave, go for a thong for optimal lengthening potential. 13
Full Thighs: To flatter a fuller thigh, opt for bottoms with a little bit more coverage. Bottoms with a skirt can help to conceal part of your upper thighs.
A BOYISH BOD
Compact, Athletic Body: If you’ve got a boyish straight up and down figure with few, if any angles, the goal is to give the illusion of more curves. This is easily accomplished with a top with cups, padding, and gathering, and by picking girlie prints, ruffles, and bright colors. Don’t go for straight-across bandeaus, boy-cut briefs, or shapeless full-pieces, as this will only enhance your athletic figure. Push-up or padded tops accentuate your chest. Choose bottoms with belts, flirty skirts, and ruffles to give the appearance of a larger bottom. Avoid tie-side bottoms and sliding triangle tops. If you can’t even buy a single girlish curve, choose swimsuit sets that enhance both your top and bottom. Tops with ruffles, horizontal lines, and asymmetrical designs create a larger bust. 14
MINIMIZE OR MAXIMIZE
Love Handles: Fighting the bulge is easier than you think. A high-waisted bottom works wonders — just make sure it extends above your belly button to avoid a muffin top.
Back Fat: The last thing you want is a suit with thin straps that will dig into your skin and make those unsightly flesh folds even more pronounced. So, reach for designs with thicker straps and high backs to smooth any lumps and bumps. 15
Big Hips, Skinny Legs: The key with this body figure combo is balancing out your shoulders and hips. And since you’ve got plenty of hips, pick a suit that gives the illusion of a longer neckline. Off-the-shoulder numbers will do the trick.
Cellulite: It doesn’t matter if you’re slender, plump, curvy, straight up and down, short, or tall — cellulite doesn’t care. And simply trying to cover it with those tiny skirted suits isn’t going to work. Look for swim dresses and tankinis with longer hemlines, but in eye-catching colors, beautiful prints, and details that still pack plenty of sass. 16
WANT AN INSTANTLY SLIMMING STYLE?
Try fun printed monokinis. They are slimming and show off your legs. Monokinis with a deep plunge front shows off your girls, yet gives you an elongated feel. A mitered suit emphasizes curves and creates a feminine line.
WOULD LOVE TO WEAR A TWO-PIECE SUIT BUT DON’T HAVE THE FIGURE FOR A BIKINI?
Here’s the perfect solution. Go for a tankini. This is a two-piece suit that looks like a one-piece. FYI: a one-piece swimsuit is also known as a maillot (pronounced Mio.). 17
ILLUSIONS TO ENHANCE YOUR BEST FEATURES:
To highlight a feature you like, choose a style with a bright color or pattern.
To conceal a feature you don’t like, choose a style with a solid color. Dark colors hide more than bright colors.
To add volume to your bust or hips, choose a style with ruffles or hardware details.
A petite small print like a ditzy floral makes you look smaller.
TIPS TO CHOOSE A FLATTERING PATTERN:
Chevron prints show a flattering side to your body and keep the eyes moving.
Vertical and angled stripes have a slenderizing effect. Horizontal stripes tend to make you look shorter and wider. So, unless you’re tall and on the slim side, horizontal stripes are probably not the best option. 18
Scars and stretch marks: Consider a cropped top if your scars are located on your chest, upper back, or shoulders. And suits with mesh insets allow for full coverage while still showing a bit of skin. Tankinis and one-piece styles work great to hide those stretch marks.
Pregnant: Since you don’t want anything too tight around your midsection, it’s best to look for tankinis since they provide ample wiggle room, sun protection, and easy access to your growing belly. 19
Burn Easily: Sun-sensitive ladies have it tough. You want to catch some rays, but you don’t want to look or feel like a boiled lobster after a day at the beach. Beyond having a coverup, your swimsuit can also provide some protection. Consider the rash guard. The long-sleeved tops aren’t just for surfers anymore.
PLUS SIZE OPTIONS:
A woman with a less than perfect figure still wants to look her best in a swimsuit. Remember when I said swimwear was the art of illusion? It is especially true for the plus-sized woman. Most plus-sized women are smaller on top and bigger on the bottom. The trick to de-emphasizing what’s big is to draw the eye up. Whether you’re wearing a one or a two-piece style, the best way to draw the eye up is to wear a print top and a solid bottom.
Most flattering plus-sized one-piece silhouettes:
Swim dresses, sarong-front tank suits, V-neck, or lattice front tank suits. 20
Most flattering plus-sized two-piece silhouettes:
Tops: Blouson tankini top, V-neck tankini top. Choose bright-colored print tops. Monotone prints work well too. Florals work great for plus-sized gals as well as some geometrics, ethnic, and animal prints.
Bottoms: swim short, swim bike short, shirred high-waisted brief, side-slit swim skirt. Choose dark-colored solid bottoms. Basics: Black, Brown, Gray, and Navy. Fashion colors: Eggplant and olive. 21
Now that you know how to find the best swimsuit for your body type, you can shed that cover-up and strut your stuff instead of hiding in the dressing room.
Please complete the short survey and send your answers to me at my E-mail address below:
1. What is your age?
2. Which body type are you?
3. Do you prefer a one-piece or a two-piece swimsuit style?
4. If you prefer a two-piece style, do you prefer to buy your suit as a set or as separates?
5. What is your number one fit problem?
6. Were you able to solve your fit issue with the information I provided?
7. If yes, what swimsuit style did you choose?
8. If no, what issue do you have that I didn’t cover?
9. How important is the price when you are considering the purchase of a swimsuit?
When you send me your survey answers, I’d also love to hear how you look in your new swimsuit. What can I say? I’m a sucker for happy endings. You can E-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. And now that you have the perfect style, if you want the inside scoop on how your new swimsuit really got from the designer’s imagination to the rack at the store, grab a copy of my humorous cozy mystery, Death by Sample Size, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads. Get ready to laugh out loud as I take you on a rollicking adventure ride through the Los Angeles apparel industry.
Looking for me? You can find me at:
Good luck and happy swimsuit hunting. See you at the beach!
Susie Black, author of The Holly Swimsuit Mystery Series.
Let’s start with a little bit about Jacquie May Miller: She lives in Washington close to her only child, Brittney, who is the light of her life.
Jacquie’s first novel, The Price of Secrets, is a work of women’s fiction which explores the tenuous thread connecting family and a love left behind so many years ago. Secrets of the past will either break or strengthen that slim thread, but not without a price.
In addition to writing The Price of Secrets, Jacquie has created May Daze, a blog exploring the value of friendship, family, and life’s little surprises. You will find her at http://www.jmaydaze.com where she has attracted a loyal following.
Welcome, Jacquie, and howdy neighbor! I live in Washington as well! Here’s your first question: Have you always wanted to be an author?
I have always loved to write, but never thought I would write a book. My writing journey started at age eleven when my friends and I started a neighborhood newspaper, complete with local news, an advice column, and advertisements–The Nosy Neighborhood News. Years later near the end of my “real life career,” I decided to take some classes and fell in love with writing all over again. I assumed I’d write some short stories, but to my surprise, one of those stories developed into a full-length novel.
I love to hear about people’s love affair with writing! I also love to hear about short stories that evolve into longer pieces. Another thing I wonder about author’s and their books is: What real life experience influenced your novel?
My first attempt at writing a novel included many of the kids I grew up with in my old neighborhood. Honestly, that real life story was a bit boring, so when I decided to start a new novel during NaNoWriMo, I let the kids grow up and meet again at their twenty-five-year high school reunion. A lot can happen in twenty-five years and my book, The Price of Secrets, is a story that brings all the secrets of the past to the surface. Many of the characters were patterned after people I knew but the actual story is pure fiction. Personalities are definitely drawn from real people, but I’ll stop there in case any of my old high school friends are reading this. Some of them might not be flattered by the picture I paint.
LOL! That’s a concern for author’s when they write about people they know! How about this question: What real life experience made it into your novel?
In my book, Jamie takes a ride on the rope swing in Frankie’s back yard. That swing existed in my youth and all of the neighborhood kids defied gravity swinging out over the gully, hoping we wouldn’t lose our grip and fall to our almost certain demise. We all survived, but I can’t believe our parents let us take that leap day after day. Was the gully as big a drop as I remember? Probably not, but the years and my vivid imagination make the drop more death defying with the passage of time. I’d love to take a ride on that swing today. I wonder if it’s still there…
I have to say, your rich memory has really helped develop wonderful characters and amazing plot twists, and I truly enjoyed The Price of Secrets! Read to the end for a review of this excellent read!
Jacquie May Miller’s novel, The Price of Secrets, had me hooked from the first line!
If I had known I was going to die today, I would have chosen my underwear more carefully!
Miller’s carefully crafted story begins on a flight to Seattle for her high school reunion. She is accompanied by her Twenty-four-year-old son for a reunion of his own with his grandfather, and he hopes to find out who his father is. Not that he didn’t have a father. Jamie had seventeen wonderful years with her husband Paul, who adopted Justin, but his death in a fire five years previous, left her a grieving widow.
Miller’s flash backs fill in the mystery of what happened on that fateful graduation night when Jamie Madison/Crandall sleeps with her second boy in two days. The first was her boyfriend the night before, and the second was her best friend whom she sleeps with after she finds her boyfriend in the janitor’s closet making out with another girl.
Jamie’s mother swears her to secrecy when she learns she is pregnant, and Jamie leaves Seattle for Berkeley on a full-ride scholarship and doesn’t look back, but only because she can’t. Her mother won’t allow it. A fierce and stubborn matriarch, Nancy Madison banishes Jamie and her illegitimate child, and Jamie loses her father, who chooses to fall in line with his wife, in the process too.
Twenty-five years go by, Jamie’s mother has passed away, and her twenty-five-year reunion brings her back to her hometown. She comes on a mission to finally find out who the father of her wonderful son Justin, is. So, we have a paternity question, a sister who can run. The DNA tests to answer it, and two men who are also single and available and making the moves on Jamie. We have and ex-wife who still loves her husband but has her own secrets, and a man who divorced his wife for keeping secrets that prevented him from becoming a father.
Miller develops a rich narrative voice in Jamie, and Jamie leads us with her heart. We feel her misgivings, her longings, her heartaches, and her joys as we journey with her to find out Justin’s father is.
The result will shock and delight you, as Miller unfolds the results clue by careful clue until we reach the satisfying ending. I enjoyed Miller’s reunions, her characters, and her settings in Seattle and the Bay Area in California. Jamie’s high school drama picks up where it left off at the reunion, and the jealousy and rivalries come alive, as Jamie tries to decide who will accompany her into the next phase of her life. This is a five-star read, and I highly recommend this rollicking fun, and at times steamy, read.
Avis: Welcome, Corinne LaBalme! I’m so happy we get to learn more about you and your fabulous book, French Ghost. Let’s begin with a little bio from Corinne.
Corinne LaBalme lives in France and loves everything about it… except eating snails. Her articles about European fashion, food and fun destinations have appeared in The New York Times Travel section, Diversion, La Belle France and France Revisited. Her favorite place to write? Any Parisian café with a good croissant connection…
Avis: How fascinating, and I envy you your food choices. Yummy! So, let’s get to the questions, shall we? What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
Corinne: Despite having several ‘real human’ friends who studied at Oxford, I trekked to the British university town solely to see where Lyra Belacqua (the gallant dimension-shifter from Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials) grew up; where playboy Sebastian Flyte (Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited) played hooky; and where Lord Peter Wimsey (the suave Sherlock from Dorothy L. Sayers’ detective fiction) actually attended a few classes
On the Wimsey front, it was fabulous to finally see the punts (small flat gondola-type river boats) which are so important in Gaudy Night and Wimsey’s college – Balliol – founded 1263. Since it was school vacation, I didn’t see too many proto-Flytes about. However, as Oxford is quite town-and-gown, the rundown hotel where I stayed was a dive that the shadier members of Lyra’s gang would’ve known well. There were about fifty cats in the courtyard and I’m sure that at least half of them were daemons.
Avis: LOL! I’m sure there were some daemons in the mix! What fun to explore the places where these great characters lived and got into mischief! The next question is: Do you want each book to stand on its own or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Corrine: French Ghost is the first book that I’ve ever planned as a trilogy. The mysteries in each book are one-offs, but the complex romantic arc of Melody and Carlos… well, it was a forgone conclusion that it would take three books for that terrible twosome to work things out. Book 2, French Toast, is currently in revisions. I’m hoping that French Poster Girl will see the light in 2023.
It’s been lots of fun to work on a second book in a series. It gave me the opportunity to re-visit and develop some of my favorite characters from Book 1: food-blogger Jenna Bardet, fashion model Ingrid Svenson, and stylist Joey Stahl.
Avis: I’m so happy to hear that Melody and Carlos aren’t finished. They are a lot of fun, and their steamy relationship is hot in so many ways. I love your titles, too! The next question is: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Corinne: Buying an Olivetti portable typewriter and a one-way ticket to France from New York. Post-college, I’d worked for several crazed clothing designers doing insane Devil Wears Prada jobs but within a week of landing at Charles De Gaulle, I was the fashion editor of a trendy Paris city magazine called Passion… and I’ve been writing ever since.
Avis: Wow, again! Your experiences as a professional writer are accomplished and impressive! I’m sure the Olivetti helped put you in the mood. That talent and expertise really shows in your novel, and I’m sure people will love all your books! Who wouldn’t love a romp around Paris!
Our next question is: What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Corinne: Since I’m bi-cultural, I’m going to cheat and give you two books.
Cold Comfort Farmby Stella Gibbons is, to my mind, one of the funniest books ever written. Even the minor characters – like the sappy loser promoting revisionist Brontë theory – are hilarious. It’s my happy pill. I re-read it whenever I feel down, and I’m always surprised that so few people have discovered this delightful book.
My French genes whole-heartedly recommend Astragal by Albertine Sarrazin, a Franco-Algerian writer who led a short and very dangerous life (much of it behind bars) before her death in 1967. Memoir? Novella? Essay? It’s impossible to confine Astragal to any category. If you’re lucky enough to track down an English edition, the preface will probably be by Patti Smith who (like me) thinks this unfairly overlooked masterpiece is a life-changer.
Avis: Cheating is allowed, especially if we get to hear about two great books! It’s such a pleasure to get to know more about you, and I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from you soon! Good luck with your writing, and cheers!
Corrine LaBalme’s debut romantic mystery French Ghost pulls the reader in on the first page, and takes us on a wild ride through Paris, Bordeaux, and beyond. With a cast of richly developed and crazy characters to support her hero, Melody Layne, we soon learn that she is the ghost. She’s a ghost writer hired by the world-famous actor Charles-Henri Banville, rich, talented, and a womanizer, but before she can even begin the job and after she’s spent most of the advance, Banville is found murdered on location of his latest film in Bordeaux.
Melody is torn. With all the research she’s done to prepare for this job, she’s found that Charles-Henry Banville is one of Europe’s worst sexual predators, and she has his journals to prove it. He might even be a pedophile, and the more she learns the luckier she feels that she doesn’t have to pen his sanitized and over-glorified version of his life.
But a girl’s gotta eat. When a drop-dead gorgeous Spaniard approaches her to finish the autobiography of Charles-Henri Banville, she jumps at the offer, only to find out that her new boss, Carlos Ortega, is the son of her former employer, Charles-Henri Banville Jr.. Without missing a beat, Melody continues her research for her new employer. Together they find out more about Banville the elder, but Carlos needs to prove that his father has some redeeming qualities, or his mom will refuse the bountiful estate!
Are you hooked yet? This novel is a fun romp with laughs and tears, mystery, and romance. It is a satisfying read that will suck you in and keep you turning pages into the night. I highly recommend Corinne LeBalme’s French Ghost. Mystery/Romance fans won’t be able to put it down!
Lis Angus is the author of Not Your Child, her debut novel published by Wild Rose Press, available now wherever you buy your eBook publications.
Avis: I personally loved your book. It was riveting, and a nail biter at the end. But I have several questions for you. The first is:
How important is setting to your story?
Lis: My characters, and the events that bring them into collision, could be set in many other places. In that sense the setting is not crucial, though Susan and Maddy definitely live in an urban, middle-class environment. But I chose to have the story take place in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, for two reasons. First, it’s a city I know well. While writing the novel, I many times walked the neighborhoods where the events take place, which helped me anchor the characters’ actions in a real, physical sense. Secondly, it’s a beautiful city, but one that American readers may not be familiar with; I wanted to bring Ottawa into their awareness, in the way that we often feel we are familiar with neighborhoods in New York City or London, simply because we encounter them so often in novels.
There are a few scenes, mainly flashbacks with the older man, Daniel, that take place in rural Alberta. It’s a setting not unlike many rural communities in the American Midwest, but I chose Alberta because it’s where I grew up and I could easily imagine how those scenes unfolded.
Avis: I love that answer. Setting is important to get right, and being able to walk through the setting, I think really did enhance your story. Here’s my second question:
Did you have to do any research in the writing of this novel, and if so on what?
Lis: I quite often found myself at a point where I needed some information and had to go digging for it. In what circumstances are Amber alerts issued? What legalities apply if someone harbors a runaway child? What’s the lethal dose of common sleeping pills? Could a mother have different DNA than her child? What year did Canada set up a national DNA database for missing persons?
For the key psychological underpinnings of the characters, though, I mainly drew on two aspects of my own knowledge. First, on my Masters degree in psychology and the years I spent working with children and families in crisis. And secondly, on my memories of being a young girl yearning for independence, and my experience as a mother facing the challenges of raising two daughters of my own.
Avis: Wow! I do remember reading about all of those things, but often we don’t think of the research an author does to make their story believable. All of your research paid off in Not Your Child.
My third questions is:
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Lis: Writing is definitely hard work for me. First of all, I’m not someone who imagines a story unfolding in my head like a movie: the story only emerges as I get it down on the page. So creating the first draft is quite draining: that’s where I’m groping to get to know my characters, what happens between them and why. And the first draft is just the beginning—then comes the fine-tuning. Going deeper into the characters, figuring out plot points and pacing, bringing it all to a satisfying conclusion. All that can take several drafts. And then there’s line editing: is it better to use this phrase or that one? Did she have green eyes three chapters back or are they brown? Have I overused a favorite word? At every stage, it’s work, and in a certain sense the book is never finished. Even when I reviewed the final galleys I saw small things I wanted to change. But there’s nothing so satisfying as having someone read the book and tell me they couldn’t put it down.
Avis: Thanks for your honesty, Lis! Writing is hard work, but all that hard work has paid off for
you in Not Your Child. It’s a riveting read!
To learn more about Lis and her fascinating book, check out the following sites and pages.
What happens when your only child disappears, and a DNA test says you are not her mother? This is the just one aspect of the complex premise for Lis Angus’ debut thriller, Not Your Child.
When Daniel Kazan, a white-haired farmer from Alberta, sees Maddie, he follows her. Maddie resembles his missing granddaughter Hannah’s mother at twelve, and Daniel’s insistence that Maddie is his granddaughter threatens Susan and sets in motion a series of events that involve the police, a lawyer, and DNA testing.
Susan and Daniel dance the precarious dance of who’s right and who’s wrong. And stuck in the middle is Maddie, who is tired of her mother’s suffocating control. After a bitter fight on the drive home, Maddie makes her mother pull over and she leaves, not with the intention of running away, but she doesn’t go home.
Maddie spends the night in her school, and Susan calls the police who search Daniel’s property. In a bizarre twist, Maddie seeks Daniel out after the police clear him, thinking he’ll help her while she takes a break from her mom. Daniel sees this as the chance he’s been waiting for and plans to take Maddie home to his farm.
When Daniel learns that a DNA test proves that Maggie is not Hannah, the level of danger ratchets for Maggie. Daniel makes one poor decision after another, and Maddie becomes suspicious. Susan’s intuition is the only thing that can save Maddie now.
In this story of family and mother/daughter relationships, Angus delivers plot twist after plot twist as the agonizing search for Susan’s daughter unfolds. Not your Child is a nail-biting, page-turner that satisfies from first page to last.
Sandy Young is the author of Divine Vintage, her debut novel published by Wild Rose Press, available now wherever you purchase your eBook and paperback publications.
Welcome, Sandy! Readers are ready to get to know you!
Here’s our first question:
Have you always wanted to be an author?
Sandy: I loved to write and read as a child and into adulthood and did imagine publishing someday. In my teens, I even submitted a short story to a big women’s magazine when they used to publish them. No, they didn’t accept it! But then I got into community theater, and it consumed my free time. Writing sadly took a backseat for way too many years. I’ve loved acting and singing in more than 75 shows, where my appreciation of vintage fashion evolved. The first draft of Divine Vintage was written in 2010 as part of three linked novellas, and I envisioned meshing them into one book. At a workshop with international bestselling romance author Catherine Lanigan, who had moved back to our area, she advised to turn this story into a novel. I wrote drafts of other books along the way, but always kept coming back to Divine Vintage. I eventually pitched it to land a contract with The Wild Rose Press.
Avis: That is so interesting. I always want to know more about my favorite authors, so thanks for sharing your love of vintage clothing with us! It makes sense that your first novel would blend one of your passions in your story, and what a blending! It’s a supernatural delight!
2. What real life experience influenced your novel?
Sandy: The initial hazy concept for the book was driven by my huge vintage collection, which fills a small bedroom. As a “pantser” who doesn’t outline ahead, the opening found me in Tess Burton’s new vintage shop as she nervously prepped to open the doors to the public. I read a lot of diverse genres, and some favorite books wrap around romance, historical elements, mystery, and a lighter, ghostly vibe. Ultimately, I’m pleased with the blend. And, of course, getting to describe some lovely clothing. I don’t dwell in the details but liken them to the lacy frill on a gown. Some of these garments come from my collection, and readers can see them on my web site at SandraYoungAuthor.com.
Avis: I’m surprised to hear you are a pantser because your story is so meticulously plotted and falls together seamlessly! Including all your ideas centered around the ghostly vibe of the owners of the clothing. It is pure genius! I encourage all readers to check out Sandy’s website and links. You’ll learn more about her and her collection of vintage clothes!
3. Does your family support your career as a writer?
Sandy: My fiancé’, Rick, is my proudest supporter. He leaped to buy the book when it was up for pre-order and marvels at how much time I put into preparation, building connections with readers and other authors, and establishing a “brand” image around my love of vintage clothing, acting, and singing. It’s definitely a full-time job.
Avis: Well, I’m happy to say that your hard work is how I met you, and your hard work is really paying off! It’s definitely a pleasure to know you as a dedicated author, and new fans will appreciate your connections with them as they read your book and get to know you! I can’t wait to read your next book!
4. What real life experience influenced your novel?
Sandy: I started out as a newspaper journalist and retired early from nonprofit management to finally focus on writing. In my last position as Vice President of a community foundation, I chaired a large coalition focused on helping the homeless and those most at risk in our county – where the book is set. That inspired me to add a homeless character and secondary plotline that are impactful to the main story arc. If I hadn’t been drawn back to writing, I’d still be working in such a capacity. I now volunteer for organizations that help our community in many ways, including some that focus on the arts.
Avis: What an interesting career you’ve had! The subplot of homelessness adds so much to the story. I wondered what prompted you to add it to your story, and how you knew so much about the homeless. It’s a powerful addition and creates such a rich dynamic with all of your other plotlines. It also explains how you could develop such a realistic character and situation surrounding this issue. It adds so much to your story, and informs us as well, on the issue of homelessness. Thank you for that!
I encourage all readers to check out Sandy’s links and read her fabulous, engaging story. The clothes and their owners become characters in their own right, and the romance of the characters from the past will capture your heart as much as the romance that develops between the present day characters!
Sandy Young’s debut novel, Divine Vintage will capture your imagination and your heart. This mystery/romance/historical novel crosses genres in the best possible ways and will keep readers satisfied from the first page to the last.
Young introduces Tess, a young entrepreneur, who is short on self-confidence, but long on moxie, and despite her ex-boyfriends destructive and negative treatment, she breaks from him and begins a new life and a new business in a new town.
Young opens the novel in Tess’s shop, Divine Vintage, and we learn that Tess gets more from the old clothing than joy, she gets a glimpse into the past, but her abilities become a problem for her when she meets a town matriarch Esther DeLeon.
As soon as the OPEN sign is turned and the door unlocked, in walk Esther and her grandson, the handsome Trey. After introductions, Esther pegs Tess as the perfect model for her Anniversary Tea and Style Show to benefit the local homeless shelter. Tess agrees and visits the beautiful Carver house to try on the clothes she will model. Tess finds Esther’s longtime family home meticulously restored and maintained and the clothing out of this world.
When Tess tries on the beautiful honeymoon gown, she is instantly thrown into a memory from the previous owner, Phoebe, a young bride killed the night before she is to travel to Paris with her groom, Edward Carver, Esther ancestor and the builder of Carver house. The crime is ruled a suicide/murder, but Tess gets a different take on what happened through the visions.
Tess’s connection to Trey goes from mere attraction to psychic connection as he is slated to wear the groom’s suit in the fashion show. She takes his arm to enter the ballroom, and faints. When she is revived, she proclaims that Edward did not murder Phoebe!
And thus begins the murder/mystery. Before it is solved, Tess and Trey enlist a caste of characters to clear the name of Edward Carver and lift the dark stain of murder from the family history.
This is a captivating read, and I highly recommend it! Young delivers a smart and savvy novel and develops Tess as a capable hero who is in charge of her own destiny, a strong woman who can solve her own problems, and solve a one-hundred-year-old murders in her spare time! Five-stars all the way!
I’m so excited! My debut YA novel, The Incident released January 5, 2022 from The Wild Rose Press!
I couldn’t be happier with this wonderful review from Chanticleer Book Reviews. 🙂
In Avis Adams’ creative young adult novel, The Incident, two teens face the precarious events and consequences surrounding a natural disaster while ultimately realizing the true value of friendship and family bonds.
Nearly seventeen, Josh Woolf has recently lost his beloved grandfather and is now concerned that his Dad wants to sell the family farm. While his father is away at a conference to address climate change and the potential of “El Primo,” a violent storm system predicted to wreak havoc across the country, Josh and his Mom batten down the hatches in preparation for a severe weather front headed their way. Amidst the tumultuous mayhem of dropping trees, shattered glass, and unhinged window screens, Adams finely details the storm’s intensity. She masterfully captures the fear of the unknown as Josh is forced to deal with a significant medical emergency then later defend his family’s property against encroaching ne’er-do-wells.
Meanwhile, Emma Tate is at odds with her own Mom and ventures out of the house to attend a downtown climate change protest.
With worsening weather conditions, she gets caught up in violent winds but luckily finds shelter with Lilli and Jade, the quirky owners of an artsy tattoo establishment. Jade’s comment, “It’s been a long year today,” truly captures the essence of time’s slow passage during the continuing days of hurricane chaos. This new trio of “sisters of the storm” soon form an unlikely bond, depending on one another in their efforts to help Emma get back home. In the aftermath of continuing storms, Adams creates an atmosphere with an apocalyptic feel. Suddenly the streets are filled with zombie-like wanderers, dogs appear wild, and looting and shooting define daily life experiences.
The book’s chapters move easily between the difficult journeys of Josh and Emma’s coming-of-age narratives.
While each story encapsulates their personal experiences, Adams unexpectedly leads their teen paths to cross, allowing readers to recognize the similarities of their circumstances. Themes about the desire for parental approval, and family love and pride, are aptly woven within a narrative laced with newfound friendships, violence and upheaval, and budding amorous interests.
Whether showcased through Emma’s nervous habit of chewing on the end of her ponytail, a Grandmother’s Danish plate collection that withstands the wrath of Mother Nature, or Josh’s finding solace in playing his violin, such added intricacies all serve as calming elements in a storm. While the opening prologue also serves as an audience draw indicative of a central character’s precarious situation, Adams purposefully returns to the scene later in the story to reveal a fortuitous meeting.
Readers familiar with violent environmental events will recognize the chaos and casualties Adams showcases. The Incident clearly offers a message about the inability to escape a hurricane’s path and the web of destruction and feelings of fear and helplessness it often leaves behind for those in its wake.
Adams leaves us with a contemporary tale that brings two storylines into a clever joining. As the present state of global warming forces its way into our consciousness, with a bevy of well-crafted characters facing the rising tensions of a planetary dilemma, Adams’ The Incident provides a quality and thought-provoking read.