Spotlight, Author Interview, & Excerpt: Oranges for Miranda + Giveaway

Oranges for Miranda

oranges for miranda

Oranges for Miranda
by Annette Bower
Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance

Miranda Porter, a newly retired award-winning businesswoman, leaves home to transition into her new life stage. Always in control, this is her time to have fun without plans and responsibilities. Enter Renato Monteiro, a considerate tour guide with secrets. Miranda isn’t looking for long-term. She wants a purpose in her retirement. Could her purpose in retirement be finding love in this unlikely place? Could her aim be domesticity and caring for and be cared for by a newly found friend? Will a vacation romance end because of miles?

Renato Monteiro has decisions to make. Stay in his birth country where his female relatives want him to marry a woman young enough to give him children. Or does he return to his second home, where he has a purpose and has built a life without children? The day Miranda and he bumped heads changed his life and his pursuit. Now he must decide which is most important the family he was born into or the family he chooses.

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Excerpt:

A blue and white tiled stairway leading up to the second floor of a house caught Miranda’s eye. She positioned her phone and snapped photos as she thought about the amenities she would prefer in her perhaps forever home or home for a while.

Orange trees in yards were stunning. Back home in Regina, residents planted fast-growing poplar trees in front of a row of fir trees, which would be mature when the Poplars had reached their life span. Her mind leapt. Stacy and Nathan were her fir trees. Her parents started the business and expanded it for her, and she, in turn, developed it for her children. She shook her head, no more thoughts of her Canadian life to ruin this beautiful day with the azure blue sky, the white stucco buildings and the red tile roofs.

Miranda stepped onto the corner café’s patio and sat on the blue-tiled bench attached to the blue-tiled table. A young woman, dressed in black, appeared from a dark interior and gave her a menu with different flags denoting the various translations of the food items. She ordered black coffee and a glass of brandy as a treat she had read that many locals enjoyed during the day. While she waited, she searched in her guide book to discover the tiled pavement in the area was called calcada.


Author interview:

1. What inspired you to write this book?
I was interested in exploring what the third act of a young retired woman would be like. She was driven to succeed in business and chose to be a single mother while she was young and healthy. Her adult children are now running the successful real estate company, and she knows she has to leave or she will interfere. She needs to allow them to fly. So she leaves the country with thoughts of establishing a new home away from home.

I learned that men also grieve being childless. My fifty-five-year-old hero, because of circumstances, didn’t establish a long-term relationship with a woman, and therefore he hasn’t become a father. There are groups to assist women who have not chosen to remain childless, but there is very little support for men.

3. What surprised me the most in writing it?
I have frequently traveled to the Portuguese Algarve, and I was surprised when writing and recalling my adventures and how much I long to go back.

I was also surprised how many women and men chose to be single parents. More and more, we read about single adults who foster or adopt because they want to be part of a family.

4. What does the title mean?
Oranges for Miranda was my working title, and my publisher liked it enough to suggest we keep it. An older Portuguese woman gifts Miranda some freshly picked clementine oranges in an early scene and calls Miranda bela beautiful. During this time of indecision for her, the gift from a stranger represented women’s understanding. It also means a life cycle. The orange tree blossoms and then bears fruit. The fruit is the product that changes, either when eaten or turned into something else, but the orange lives on if the seeds are planted. Similar to Miranda’s succession plan with her children growing the business.

5. Did real people inspire any of the characters? If so, do they know?
Renato was inspired by a man I saw on a bus when I vacationed in Waikiki. This man was with an older gentleman, who I think was his father and a child, who I believe was his son. I watched this man interact with the man and the child with gentleness and love, and I felt the vibes. I surreptitiously took photos of him on the bus and when the party got off. No, he will never know, and I can’t share his picture because he doesn’t know and hasn’t given permission.

6. Do you consider the book to have a lesson or moral?
There is a surprise in the novel. One of my editors suggested I change it because she didn’t believe it. I ran the situation by my hairstylist, and she asked me if I was describing her neighbor. I decided that if she knew of an example, then there would be others. I won’t tell your readers; it would be a spoiler for Miranda’s character and Renato’s acceptance.

7. What is your favorite part of the book?
I like to create the growing attraction and love between Miranda and Renato. Although these are older characters who have experienced life, their goals for a relationship are the same yet different from a younger couple.

8. Which character was most challenging to create? Why?
Even though Miranda is indecisive at this part of her life, she has a lifetime of experience of being in charge. Renato has made changes in his life, and now he is back in the country of his birth. It was a challenge to have him indecisive about his choices.

9. What are your immediate future plans?
My immediate plans are to help many readers join Miranda and Renato on their journey to love. Our province is opening up, and I am planning reading events at libraries around the province. I enjoy reading to an audience.

I am also working on a new story. Unfortunately, I always start with too many themes and have to lose one or two gradually.


Author Info:

Annette believes home is where her stories percolate. And her home is a condo where she watches the urban life below, airplanes arrive and depart at the international airport, and the seasons change on farmland near the horizon. Annette travels extensively but always returns home to Regina, Saskatchewan. Whether at home or away, and even though directions are always a challenge, she wanders the streets, parks, and lanes observing how people live, love, and care for one another. Your way of sitting, holding hands, the way you tilt your head, or a t-shirt you wear may end up in one of her stories.

On her first trip to Olhos de Água, a fishing village in Portugal, she stopped at a café where the proprietors were a mother and daughter. Annette sat at the outdoor blue and white tiled table and ordered an espresso and brandy. While the sun warmed her back, she opened her new notebook. The older woman walked by carrying a basket, tipped her head toward Annette’s blank page, and shrugged. When black-laced heeled shoes struck the tile, and the scent of just-picked clementine oranges interrupted Annette’s writing, the woman plunked three oranges at the edge of her page. Annette cherishes this gift from one woman to another. Recently, Annette travels with an accompanying Orange and shares pictures on Social media as her way of honoring those Portugues women. A version of this event appears in her new novel, Oranges for Miranda.

During another trip, while searching for an address in Malaga, Spain, she asked a well-dressed man carrying a floral paper-wrapped bouquet if he spoke English? Would he direct her to the address? With impeccable English, he suggested she walk with him. They chatted, and she discovered he was a lawyer in his final days of retiring. Finally, she asked to whom he was giving the flowers. He lifted the cover to reveal a large crucifix. This detail has not appeared in a story yet.

In a coffee shop, looking south between glass tower office buildings, she could be anywhere in the world. However, she is home watching people on Eleventh Avenue run for buses, bring tea to a panhandler, and holding mittened hands while bending into the wind.

Annette uses experiences she gathered as a nurse, town administrator, elected official, traveller, and member of a large extended family to inform her stories because writing is her joy.

Annette Bower is a Soul Mate Publishing author of five contemporary romance novels. Her novel Fearless Destiny was first runner-up in the 2017 Sweet Contemporary RONE awards and winner of the Raven Award. Her novel Ponytails and Promises was a finalist in the 2020 RONE Awards and is the 2020 winner of the Raven Award.

Annette Bower

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Giveaway

Annette Bower will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Spotlight & Excerpt: The Clockmaker’s Tale + Author Interview & Giveaway

TourBanner_The Clockmakers Tale and Other Stories

BookCover_The Clockmakers Tale and other stories

The Clockmaker’s Tale
by Ian Williams
Genre: Science Fiction

In The Clockmaker’s Tale: and other stories, Ian Williams takes us to the near future and beyond. From a moon base where androids conduct experiments on human test subjects, to futuristic tours of the ocean depths that hide a terrible secret; from a society governed by harsh rule of law that is enforced by AI, to a humble clockmaker tempted by the promise of increased productivity through technological augmentation.

Covering issues such as environmental decay, the end of facts and proven truths, our growing waste problem, and humanity’s tendency to divide when we should come together, this collection of six science fiction stories relates as much to our time as it does to the many possible futures.

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Excerpt:

Returning to his briefcase, Alexander produced a card from an outside pocket. “Here,” he said, holding it between two of his fingers.

George took it and looked it over, now realising there was a sales pitch to follow. He’s better at this than I am, he had to admit. At the top of the textured card was the name of a company he was certain he knew but couldn’t quite place. “ACC?”

“Adaptive Cognition and Cybernetics. We specialise in cutting-edge, next-generation, technology. Our latest product was made for people just like you, who need more hours in a day than the good Lord provides.”

I left my work for this? George was less than impressed. “Thank you, but I…”

“Before you say no, how about I show you what I’m talking about?” Alexander picked up his briefcase and walked to the counter, where he placed it down and clicked open the catches. He kept his back turned until he was ready to present his product.

When he turned, George was immediately drawn forward, to inspect the object himself. He was fascinated by the curved design. It had a snowy-white casing, with delicately printed calligraphy underlined by a sweeping blue line, and a tiny, built-in, LED screen. It appeared as well-made as any of his clocks. Such a high degree of engineering, yet it remained a simple-looking thing.

“This,” Alexander said, not quite ready to hand over the device, “is our latest model. It’s called a Work Buddy.”


Author Interview:

  1. Tell us a little about how this story first came to be.

As with many of my stories, it first started as an image in my head. I saw an old man working in his workshop, while behind him, through the window, I saw the future. From that blossomed the collection of stories that comprise The Clockmaker’s Tale: and other stories. But the initial spark came from the juxtaposition of the old clashing with the new. Can a humble clockmaker fit into our idea of the future? What about if he had help, say from some piece of tech? The idea was to make a point, something that each story is aiming to do.

2. What, if anything, did you learn when writing the book?

In researching this book, I came to understand certain issues we face better than I had before. As these stories are concerned with our future, and how, if not handled correctly, our problems could overwhelm us, I wanted to know all I could about them. And the statistics are quite damning.

3. What surprised you the most in writing it?

What surprised me most in writing this book was just how angry some of these subject matters I’ve written about had made me before I began. I would often complain about the state of things to family and friends until I felt the need to put my feelings to paper. So, I consider this book my therapy of sorts. It certainly made me feel better to write it.

4. What does the title mean?

The title ‘The Clockmaker’s Tale’ is used to signify that this story was the one that I began with. Writing this story ignited my interest in putting my fears into story form, and from this story grew a project I am now immensely proud of.

5. Were any of the characters inspired by real people? If so, do they know?

I don’t tend to base my characters on real people. However, I will always take elements of others’ personalities that have intrigued me and add them to my characters. I find this makes my characters a little more real.

6. Do you consider the book to have a lesson or moral?

A moral, yes. Each tale tells of a future where we’ve ignored warning signs and allowed our worst traits to run riot. The message may be buried deep but it is always there. With a little teasing out, it becomes clear.

7. What is your favorite part of the book?

My favourite part of this book is probably the end of Post-Truth Tours. I found this one of the most satisfying endings to write. I won’t give anything away here, but this scene in question makes its point with the most emotive power. I wanted readers to be surprised by it, perhaps even a little shocked too.

8. Which character was most challenging to create? Why?

Again, Post-Truth Tours has the answer here. The main character, Flynn, posed a particular challenge to write. Namely, his views on the world he lives in. Some would call him naïve; others may say ignorant. He sees the world through eyes clouded by others’ lies.

9. What are your immediate future plans?

I am currently deep in the planning stages of my next project. It will be a short story collection exploring the altered timeline of a fictional British town rocked by a mysterious event. I plan to have a completed first draft completed by the end of the year.


Author Info:

Ian Williams is a Science Fiction writer from the UK. He lives in a small town not far from London. Ian had a short career in the UK Court Service but was forced to quit that job when his medical condition worsened. Now, from the comfort of his wheelchair, he writes the stories he has always wanted to read. His writing spans lightyears of space, to near-future Earths; from small changes to society, to entirely new civilisations.

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Giveaway:
Ian Williams will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: Sun, Sea and Summer Songs + Giveaway

TourBanner_Sun, Sea and Summer Songs

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Megan Slayer will be awarding a Prize Pack featuring a necklace made by the author to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Sun, Sea and Summer Songs
by Megan Slayer
Genre: Contemporary LGBTQ Erotic Romance

Two men, one song and a summer to reconnect.

Jude Sanders walked away from Blake Payton three years ago and vowed not to look back…but the song he wrote and recorded with Blake has become a hit and he’s forced to perform the song with Blake all summer. He’s got to make a decision—face the mistakes in his past and give Blake another try or turn his back on their love forever.

Blake Payton knew the moment he and Jude recorded Summer Song that they’d created a hit. Summer hasn’t been the same without Jude in his life and he sees the tour as the ultimate chance to prove they belong together.

Will the tour, their lost love and the song of the summer be enough to put the pieces back together for good?

Reader advisory: This book contains references to excess drinking and cocaine addiction, references to abusive alcoholic father and childhood poverty. There is a scene involving sexual assault.

First for Romance
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Read an Excerpt

His phone rang. He slapped at the table, using the vibrations to move the device within reach. When he checked the ID screen, his heart hammered. Bob Casey. The last time he’d heard from his friend and former publicist, he’d set up the initial meeting between Blake and Jude. What does Bob want? “Hi, Bob.”

“Blake, the man of the summer,” Bob said. “How are you? Should be flying high. Have you seen the charts? They’ve picked up Summer Song in the clubs and there’s talk of making a dance move for it. Nuts, right?”

“Nuts.” He needed to investigate the popularity of his song. “I’ve seen some of the charts, but I hadn’t heard anything about the clubs.” He reclined on the couch. “How have you been? Organizing up a storm?”

“Not quite a storm, but I have an idea. I can get you a stadium tour to promote your music if you’re willing to go out with Jude. Does that sound good? Sound like something you’d be interested in doing? I’ve got the whole thing pretty much lined up.”

Blake wobbled back onto his seat. Shock washed over him. Bob can’t be serious. “Because Jude agreed to this venture?” he snapped. “I really doubt he would.” He and Jude hadn’t talked in forever and their split hadn’t been amicable. Jude had vowed to ignore him, even if he was the last man on earth.

“No, but he’ll want to do it,” Bob said. “I know him.”

“Why? What do you know?” History hadn’t been kind to Blake, and there would have to be some serious cash involved to get Jude to sign on.

“I know the song is exploding. It’s everywhere and everyone wants to see you together. You two have chemistry. When you sing that song, people believe you love each other,” Bob said. “I knew from the moment I heard it you were meant for each other.”

At the time, he and Jude had been in love. “Jude won’t do it.”

“You don’t know that.”

“I’m pretty sure he won’t.” The words “I never want to see you again” were damn obvious.

“Will you do a tour? Ten to fifteen dates spread over three months? If I set it up?” Bob asked. “If I can get him to go on tour, will you go?”

“Only if he agrees, but I doubt it.” Blake shook his head. “You’ll have to do some serious magic to get it to work.”


About the Author:

Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and white hot themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been nominated at the LRC for Best Author, Best Contemporary, Best Ménage, Best BDSM and Best Anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon.com.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice. She’s an active member of the Friends of the Keystone-LaGrange Public library. Find out more about Megan and Wendi at her website.

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