Today I have a spotlight/special offer from our guest author, Christine Feldman.
Ms. Feldman has written a lovely collection of novella’s called The Heavenly Bites Novella Collection.
The collection follows the love lives of four women who work in or hangout at a bakery called of course, Heavenly Bites.
First up, is Trish Ackerly who meets her junior high school nemesis, Ian Rafferty, several years after he has moved away mysteriously before high school.
Second, is Nadia Normandy, who is used to having a love them and leave them attitude with men. So why is she wondering about Benjamin “Benji” Garner, the man Mrs. Beasley has conned her into giving “love” lessons.
Last but definitely not least, is a double billing of Aimee Beasley who decides to play cupid between her grandmother, the aforementioned Mrs. Beasley, with the uncle of their grumpy downstairs neighbor, Doyle Berkley. But, is Doyle Berkley really adverse to his young upstairs neighbor?
All three of these stories are fun, quirky, and have a lot of heart. The best part is that for a short time Christine is offering this great collection for .99 cents!
So, to tell us a little more about herself and her lovely collection, please welcome to the blog, Ms. Christine Feldman!
Hello, Christine! Thanks for joining us today. Please tell us a little about yourself and how you got started as an author.
Thanks for having me. I started writing when I was a kid, mostly about things like my own version of the Black Stallion stories and that sort of thing. When I hit my teen years, hormones kicked in, and I started appreciating stories that had a little more romance in them and less manure. 😉 And then I stopped writing for a long time when “the real world” seemed to take up all my time and energy, and I figured I would start writing again some day when I had more time. Several years ago, I had an epiphany and realized there was never going to be an ideal time to write, and so I decided to make the time. And I’m so glad I did! Yay!
One of my standard questions is asking about the author’s literary heroes. I always like to know what other authors inspire their work. I think it lets everyone knows part of what makes an author tick. Who would you say are your literary heroes and why?
Oh, good golly… it’s impossible to list them all. I love so many authors—from so many different genres, too. I always enjoy reading Neil Gaiman, J. R. R. Tolkein, Stephen King, Jennifer Crusie, Nevada Barr, LaVyrle Spencer, George R. R. Martin, Jane Austin—we could be here all day at this rate, so I’ll stop. J Pretty much I appreciate any author who is able to create characters whose lives just pull you in, or who is able to use words to paint a vivid picture in readers’ minds. Or who can make me laugh.
I, of course, read mostly romance but I do like to shake it up with some mystery and historical novels. Do you write in any other genres and if so what would you say is your favorite and why?
I do write other genres—I love fantasy and suspense—and I’ve also done a little screenwriting. A couple of my screenplays have placed in a few different competitions (one was even featured as a staged reading in New York, which kind of made me squeal: http://www.gsiff.com/content/staged-screenplay-reading-1 ), and I would love to rewrite them as novels. It’s on my to-do list.
Ooo, boy, though. I’m not sure I could pick a favorite genre; they all have a lot to offer. Is it cheating to suggest a fantasy story with romantic elements and a hint of mystery thrown in? If not, then I think that’s my answer. And if it is cheating, then… oops. Please don’t tell my mother.
What was the inspiration for this collection?
Well, I enjoy romance, and I love pastries. The natural thing to do seemed to be to write about love in bakery where they produce lots of lovely, sweet things to eat. Naturally, I was forced to spend a great deal of time in bakeries doing research to lend authenticity to my story setting. There may have been a substantial amount of taste-testing involved, but an author has to do what an author has to do…
Can you give our readers a taste of the collection? Something that says, ” I must buy this book today!”
Sure! Here’s the opening section of the first novella, Pastels and Jingle Bells:
It was probably inviting the worst kind of karma to be contemplating murder during the holiday season of all times, but that didn’t faze Trish Ackerly in the slightest as she stared through her bakery’s storefront window in shock.
It was him. Ian Rafferty, bane of her junior high school existence. She’d know that face anywhere, despite the changes in it. Sure, he was a couple of feet taller now and certainly broader shouldered, but as he glanced away from the winter scene she had painted on the window only yesterday and at a passing car that whizzed by much too fast on the busy city street, the profile he presented to her confirmed it. Yes, it was him. That same nose, the odd little scar above his eye, the familiar way he quirked his lips…
Her eyes narrowed. Ian Rafferty. That miserable, mean-spirited little—
Then he turned his face back to the window, and Trish gasped and dropped to the floor before he could spot her staring at him.
“What on earth are you doing?” came Nadia’s voice from behind the counter.
Trish huddled behind a tall metal trash can and glanced up through her dark bangs at her startled friend and business partner only to remember belatedly that they had company in the shop, namely wizened little Mrs. Beasley, whose startled eyes blinked at her from behind enormous tortoise-shell spectacles.
Well, there was little help for it now. “That guy,” Trish hissed, jerking one thumb in the direction of the window. “I know him!”
Both Nadia and Mrs. Beasley peered intently through the glass. “Mmm,” said Nadia appreciatively a moment later. “Lucky you, girlfriend.”
“No, not lucky me! That guy made my life a living hell in junior high. He’s a jerk, he’s a bully—“
“He’s coming in here, dear,” Mrs. Beasley interrupted her, with obvious interest in her voice.
With a squeak of alarm, Trish shuffled hastily behind the counter on her hands and knees and hunched into as small and inconspicuous a ball as she could.
Nadia blinked. “Trish, are you out of your—“
“Oh, you did not just shush me—“
“SHH!” Trish insisted again, knowing full well that she’d pay for it later, and then she pulled her head down into her shoulders as much as her anatomy would allow.
The bell on the door jangled cheerfully then, and a gust of cold air heralded Ian Rafferty’s arrival.
“Hi, there,” Nadia greeted him brightly, surreptitiously giving Trish’s foot a little dig with one of her own. “Welcome to Heavenly Bites. What can I get for you?”
“Cup of coffee would be great for starters,” came a voice that was deep but soft, and far less reptilian than Trish expected. She cocked her head slightly to better catch his words and heard the unmistakable sound of him blowing on his hands and rubbing them together to warm them. “Cream, no sugar.”
“Sure thing, honey.”
“Your window art,” his voice continued, and Trish straightened ever so slightly at the mention of her work. “It’s fantastic. Can I ask who painted it?”
“Absolutely,” Nadia returned, turning her attention to getting the coffee he requested. “My business partner, Trish.”
“Is she around, by any chance?”
Nadia glanced down at where Trish sat scrunched up and did what Trish thought was a very poor job of suppressing a smirk. “She’s, um, indisposed at the moment. Why do you ask?”
“I’ve got a couple of windows that could use a little holiday cheer. Think she might be interested in the job?”
Nadia gave Trish another brief sideways glance.
Trish shook her head frantically.
“Tell you what. Leave me your number, and we’ll find out.” Nadia stepped out of reach before Trish could smack her leg.
“Great, thanks. Here’s my card.”
“I’ll see that she gets it, Mr.—“ Nadia glanced at the card. “—Rafferty. Here’s your coffee, and you, sir, have a very nice day.”
The bell on the door jingled again, and Trish cautiously poked her head up long enough to verify that Ian was indeed gone. She then ignored the fascinated look Mrs. Beasley was giving her and fixed an icy stare on Nadia. “I’m going to kill you. How could you do that?”
Nadia tossed her dark braids over her shoulder. “Hmph. Shush me in my own shop…”
“I don’t want to talk to that guy! I don’t want to have anything to do with him.”
“He seemed nice enough to me,” her friend returned, shrugging unapologetically. “And easy on the eyes, too.”
“And single,” put in Mrs. Beasley eagerly, one wrinkled hand fluttering over her heart. “No wedding ring.”
“Of course there’s no ring! No woman wants to marry the devil!” Trish sank back down onto the floor and leaned back heavily against the shelves behind her.
“He used to be the devil,” Nadia corrected her, examining the business card he had handed to her. “Now he’s ‘Ian Rafferty, Landscape Architect’. And he’s a paying customer, Trish. Face it, you could use the money.”
“Forget it. I’m not so hard up that I’d go crawling to Ian Rafferty for a job.” Trish scowled and folded her arms across her chest. “I have my dignity, you know.”
“Yeah? Why don’t you get up off the floor and tell me all about your dignity.”
“Oh, shut up,” Trish muttered, getting to her feet and snatching the card from Nadia’s hand. Wadding it up, she tossed it in the direction of the trashcan and stalked into the bakery’s kitchen…
I really enjoyed your novellas. In fact, I’d have to say my favorite character was Mrs. Beasley. She’s sweet yet sassy and knows how to get what she wants for the most part. I know this is like asking who is your favorite child, but who would you say is your favorite character in the collection and why?
You’re right, it is hard to pick a favorite! Well… I think part of me would love to have the self-confidence that free-spirited Aimee Beasley has (Mrs. Beasley’s granddaughter)—she does and says things that some people only wish they could, and that was a lot of fun to write. So I guess I’ll go with her. (Maybe she inherited it from her grandma.)
You mentioned at the end of your book that you are married, however, if you could pick any of the guys in your collection to go on a date with who would you pick and why?
Wow, you do ask hard questions, don’t you? Hmm… maybe Benji. There’s something about a guy with a good sense of humor, you know?
I do know. I’ve always said that a guy who can make me laugh has gotten halfway to my heart. 😉 I love to ask personality questions. So…with that being said, If you could be any dessert, what would you be and why?
Cherries jubilee. Because I love the name (it just sounds like a fun time—I mean, it’s a jubilee!), and because any dessert that’s served with fire is pretty dang awesome. Well, as long as the fire was intentional, that is…
Christine it’s been great getting to know you. Before you leave, do you have any words of wisdom for our aspiring writers out there?
Yes—make time for writing NOW, even if it’s just an hour or two on weekends, and whatever you do, persevere. Sometimes I think the real key to writing is just to hang in there and keep writing. No matter what, keep plugging away. And maybe keep a little ice cream on hand for those rough days that come along. I find it helps me immensely. 🙂
Thanks for having me on your site today!
Make sure you click on the link below to take advantage of the .99 cent price that’s being offered for a limited time!
Solid 4 out of 5 stars. A great read to have when you are just wanting a fun relaxing read. Great for this summer whether at the beach, pool, or watching the kids in the backyard.
5 out of 5 stars. It’s got banter, it’s got kissing, and its got some great laughs! What more could a Romantic want!?!
Christine S. Feldman writes both novels and feature-length screenplays, and, to her great delight, she has placed in screenwriting competitions on both coasts—and has even won a couple of them. In 2012 one of her screenplays was featured as a staged reading in New York City at the Gotham Screen International Film Festival (http://www.gsiff.com/content/staged-screenplay-reading-1), and later that same year she signed her first publishing contract. When she is not writing, she is teaching kindergarten, puttering around in her garden, ballroom dancing with her husband, or doing research for her next project. Please visit her at her website http://christinesfeldman.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChristineSFeldman, or follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/FeldmanCS.