Archive for February, 2010

Guest Blogger–Lauren N. Sharmen–Getting to Know Lauren

February 10, 2010

My guest this week is author and relationship advice columnist (and my dear friend) Lauren N. Sharman. When Lauren accepted my invite to be my guest, I was jumping for joy. A few years ago when I read her first book Growing Up Little, I said to myself, “Wow, can this lady write.”

She kept me captivated right from page one. I read the entire novel (100 000+ words) in one day without sleeping that night because I wanted to find out what happened to Nikki Braedon, the young, sympathetic heroine. Believe me, the next day was a struggle to stay awake, but I didn’t regret forsaking sleep for one bit. The story was phenomenal. I became a fan of hers instantly from then on.

Then of course, I had to read all her books in the McCassey Brothers series after that. Simply amazing.

For her guest blog, we did a question and answer session, which I posted below. I think you will enjoy it because you get to see a bit of why she is such a charming and gifted lady.

She was kind enough to offer a free PDF copy of No Worries, the first book in the McCassey Brothers series this week. So I’ll be choosing a winner next Friday morning, Feb. the 19th, from all of those who add a comment for Lauren on either of my blogs.

Here is a little something about the prize e-book:

Witnessing her mother’s murder put a label on Gypsy Lance that few people overlooked.  Raised in foster homes, she spent her childhood yearning for love and acceptance.  Nearly penniless, she arrives in Hagerstown, Maryland looking to put down roots and outrun a past she fears is about to catch up with her.

Blue collar bad boy Rebel McCassey knows what it’s like to try and escape your past.  No longer the hellion he once was, he’s never been able to shake his family’s bad reputation.  When he finds Gypsy lost in the woods, her unconditional trust and refusal to judge him by his infamous last name touch Rebel in a place he didn’t know existed…his heart.

When the demons chasing Gypsy are caught lurking in the shadows, Rebel vows to keep her safe; even if it means slipping back into his old ways…

And last but not least, her website:  http://www.laurensharman.com

1-What is the most memorable question one of your readers asked you on your column?

There have been several memorable questions, but the one that sticks in my mind most recently is one I received a couple of weeks ago. An overprotective mother refusing to allow her daughter to tryout for American Idol asked for advice. She was afraid to let her tryout because she didn’t want the girl to be disappointed. I’m really big on teaching your kids to be independent, and am a firm believer that sheltering them too much is extremely detrimental. For anyone interested, they can read the article here: http://www.examiner.com/x-3240-Relationship-Advice-Examiner~y2010m1d15-Overprotective-mom-afraid-to-let-daughter-follow-her-dreams

2-What is your all time favorite movie and why?

There are several movies that I enjoy. “Almost Famous” is one. As a writer who loves music, I can only imagine how much fun it would be to travel on a bus with a band, documenting their every move. The concerts, groupies, parties, and interaction with other rock stars would make an incredible story!!

3-Which authors have influenced you the most in your writing?

Hmm…a lot of the writers who influenced me are actually the historical romance writers of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s; Rosanne Bittner, Rebecca Brandywine, and Laurie McBain are just a few. Although I write contemporary, historicals are my favorite.

4-If you could change one thing in history that would cause a domino effect on modern day life, what would it be?

The assassination of Abraham Lincoln. He could’ve done this country a lot of good had he lived. I’ve always believed things would’ve been different if he’d been allowed to carry out his reconstruction plan. Can I have two? Because I’d also change the deaths of Janice Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. Just imagine what music would be like today if their influence hadn’t been cut short.

5-Who is your hero?

My husband Joey is my hero. He’s the hardest working, most supportive person I have in my life. Joey has never judged me, and has always loved me for who I am…warts and all. He’s the kind of person who thinks outside the box, and in turn, has taught me to do the same…which opened up a whole new world for me. He’s amazing!!

6-What did you wish for as a kid that came true later in life?

I wasn’t into the princessy stuff, and never wished for a prince or a castle or anything like that. Growing up, what I wanted was a muscle car. About five years after we got married, my husband went to West Virginia bought an old, beat up 1969 Chevy Chevelle for $2800. Although it did run, it was rusty, stinky, had torn and dry-rotted upholstery, and was almost the ugliest thing either one of us had ever seen. We took it apart piece by piece, labeled everything, and stored it all in bags in our basement. He spent a total of 700 hours restoring that car for me. He did a complete frame-off restoration…bought original parts off eBay, and drove all over the state picking them up. He also taught himself to weld so he could do all the work, and even painted it himself. I’ve never been a materialistic person, but that black SS Chevelle with the gunmetal metallic racing stripes is my most prized material possession.

7-How has motherhood changed you?

Honestly, the biggest change in me has been the realization that someone else depends on me. My daughter is almost 10 now, and although she doesn’t need me the way she did when she was a baby, she still needs my advice, guidance, and support. She depends on Joey for help with her math homework, though!

8-What is the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?

This one’s easy. Picture it: A crowded high school cafeteria, and a would-rather-not-be-noticed girl walking along the wall in her brand new white leather boots with wooden heels (give me a break, it was 1988). Just as she approaches a heating unit, she steps heel first on the slippery floor, slips, and her arms go flailing everywhere. In the process of trying to catch her balance, she hits the metal dustpan lying on the unit and sends it crashing to the floor. The noise echoes throughout the large room, and every bit of action and conversation comes to a screeching halt. All eyes turn to the source of the distraction, and the girl turns red from the roots of her hair to the tips of those white boots. I was completely mortified.

9-Anything you’re really bad at that you’d wish you could be great?

As embarrassing as it is to admit—as someone who writes for a living—I’m a horrible speller. Sometimes I come up with words that the spell-checker on my computer doesn’t even recognize! My 8th grade English teacher created, ‘The Lauren Dictionary’ as an end-of-the-year gag gift. She’d been keeping a list of words I spelled wrong all year, and presented it to me on the last day of school. I still have it…24 years later.

10- What is the best novel you ever read and why?

Wow, that’s a tough one…I’ve read so many. I’m going to have to go with “Outlaw Hearts” by Roseanne Bittner. I read it back in college and completely fell in love with the book’s hero. It combined three of my favorite things…romance, history, and a bad boy with a good heart. I still have my copy, and reread it every so often when I’m in search of inspiration for something I’m writing.

11-How do you feel about being a Relationship Advice Examiner and knowing your advice is helping your readers in some way?

I LOVE being a Relationship Advice Examiner!! I am a self-described Tell-It-Like-It-Is person, which I have always made clear to my readers. I don’t sugarcoat my answers or pacify people…they know that when they ask me a question, they’re going to get my honest opinion. People seem to enjoy my articles…and I’ve received several thank-yous from readers who have submitted questions. It’s awesome to know that my advice is helpful. If anyone would like to submit a question to me for relationship advice, you can email me at AskLaurenAdvice@gmail.com

Revamped Site and Two Free Reads

February 10, 2010

It’s my turn to blog. I’ve got a little news to post and then tomorrow author and relationship advice columnist, Lauren N. Sharman, will be my guest. I had a blast working with her on that post, so I hope you’ll get a chance to check it out then. She’ll also be offering readers a chance to win a PDF copy of one of her superb books.

It’s been loads of fun having guest bloggers. They may be my friends, but I am getting to see a whole new side to them I never knew, as are the readers, which is so cool.

Anyway, onto my news. First off, we’ve been working diligently to revamp my site. I believe the creators of Dreamweaver made this program for the sole purpose of boggling our minds. I have never worked with a more complicated program ever. But trial and error being our one and only crutch for a whole month, we finally figured our way through and managed to create a website we liked that didn’t give visitors eye strain. 🙂

If any author or artist would like us to post a banner or link back to his/her website or blog, just e-mail the info to: jjgiovanna@yahoo.ca . Please put ‘Banner’ or ‘Link’ in the subject line so I’ll see it, since that e-mail account gets a lot of mail.

And the other bit of news is that I’ve posted a couple of my works on my site if anyone is interested in reading them. One is my dark poem “Frankenstein, My Father”, which was originally featured in my chapbook “Tribulations of Existence”. The other is my horror story “United We Fall”, which I wrote last year. It’s a wild and whacky story about two brothers, a banshee, her big, scary pet, and a camp trip that makes a trip through Hell look like a walk in a park.

I got the idea for that story after seeing a doll’s head sitting in a tree while I walked in the park with my kids. The doll’s eyes seemed to follow our every move. And that night, thanks to the spicy tacos I made for dinner, acid reflux played a number on my brain and a nightmare about that eerie doll’s head fermented in my mind. Thus the idea of this weird story began.

The link to check out the story and poem is: http://www.giovannalagana.com/Others.html

So that’s it for tonight’s post.

Sweet dreams about banshees and creepy dolls’ heads, everyone. 🙂

Ciao-ciao,

Gio