Audio Spotlight & Excerpt: Good Girls Curtsy + Author Interview

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Title: Good Girls Curtsy

Author: Dena Nicotra

Narrator: Kendra Murray

Length: 5 hours 26 minutes

Publisher: Dena M. Nicotra

Released: Dec. 31, 2020

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 

MayVee Baker has lived by the rules that shaped the edges and sharpened the corners of her existence since the earliest days of her childhood. Common courtesies, pleasantries, etiquette, and smooth manners formed her behavior and served as her compass. Even if it meant silencing her voice and sacrificing her own needs. She lost herself along the way.

Now she will need to challenge everything she knows to find herself, live the life she deserves, and raise her daughter to know how to slay her own dragons.

Acceptance, understanding, forgiveness, and grace open a pathway to finding our true selves.

 

Q&A with Author Dena Nicotra
  1. Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
    1. Other than some publication delays that were out of our hands due to the pandemic, It was seamless. Kendra Murray is a consummate professional and we’ve worked together before. She made it a very smooth process.
  2. Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?
    1. I think that any good book can translate well in an audio format, and there’s such a demand for it in our society today.
  3. Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    1. Not at all. I think that I was more focused on telling the story as a whole. That said, I definitely heard the characters in my head.
  4. How did you select your narrator?
    1. Kendra Murray and I worked together on another book I wrote called, “Simple.” She has a gift as a storyteller, and I am delighted to have such a great partner to help bring my stories to life.
  5. How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process?
    1. It only took one sample recording and we were off and running! We have a great rapport. I think I’m really lucky, because Kendra just gets me and my vision. Once the writing is done, it’s entirely in her hands and she brings it to life.
  6. Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
    1. Yes. We worked very closely on character traits, pronunciations, and even backstories when applicable.
  7. Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    1. Oh yeah. I wore those bobby socks in the third grade. Aside from that, there are definitely some characters in my book that are loosely based on real life inspirations. I study people, and I always patch traits together that I’ve stored in my head.
  8. If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
    1. I’d use it in a heartbeat! I love the concept of time travel! In fact, the first books I published (The Weaver Series) are based on the concept of being able to manipulate time and events. If I could use it, I would go back to my first year in high-school and I’d enjoy it more. Especially that 1965 Mustang I used to have…and I wouldn’t make a left turn in front of that car thinking I had the right of way. I was fine, but my car? Not so much.
  9. If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
    1. That’s a tough one, because I mash traits and cobble characters together from bits and pieces of people from different points in time that come together to sort of flesh out the characters in my head. For example, I see a younger Calista Flockhart as MayVee (think of the movie “The Birdcage). Maybe Neil Patrick Harris as Danny. Richard has bits of Jonathan Van Ness, especially his gorgeous hair. I definitely think of Harry Connick, Jr. as Lou (think of the movie “Hope Floats”). Deidra is a cross between Janeane Garofalo and a dear friend.
  10. Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
    1. Not for this book, but it has happened with other works.
  11. What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
    1. I believe that any talent takes nurturance and practice. If you love to write, make the time and never give up. Tell your stories!

good girls curtsy

Dena Nicotra was born in Southern California and grew up between the busy city and a small town in Arkansas. She is a copywriter, freelance journalist, and holds a degree in Communications. She currently lives in a small desert town in California with her husband and one very spoiled little dog.

She’s mom to two grown sons that she calls her sun and moon.

​When she’s not writing, she can be found in the kitchen cooking up something special for family and friends.

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Kendra performed in numerous plays in high school and college, and directed a play for her senior project, which earned her the school Drama Cup. She apprenticed at, and managed the Box Office of the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, Mass. She performed, produced and directed radio plays with Petaluma Radio Players. Kendra narrates audiobooks across many genres, as solo narrator and as duet narrators with her husband, Ralph Scott, all available on audible.com. She frequently “speaks” in character voices for her dog, Gandalf, and her cats, Merlin and Saffira. She has two young adult children and a stepdaughter. Kendra is an avid knitter and spinner, and is very crafty.

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Sylvie Denied + Giveaway

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Sylvie Denied
by Deborah Clark Vance
Genre: Women’s Fiction

 

As she enters adulthood in the turbulent 1970s, Sylvie thinks the way to change a violent world is to become a peaceful person. Yet she slowly sees how a childhood trauma thwarts her peaceful intentions and leads her to men with a dark side – including Enzo, the man she marries. Even as his behavior becomes increasingly volatile, she believes she can make things better with love and understanding. But finally living in terror. Sylvie must find a way to escape with her daughter and a way to claim her place in the world.
 
 

 

sylvie denied

Enzo took the wheel when he was up and drove all morning, saying he’d never seen such empty spaces. When the map told them they were near the Wildrose Reservation, he pulled over at the sight of a hitch-hiking man with long black hair and a deadpan face who ambled to the car and climbed in, reeking of alcohol. “I want to talk to Indians. The real Americans,” Enzo said.

The man didn’t reply, but as they approached a crossroad with no signs, trees, buildings or anything that distinguished it, the man gripped the doorknob and said, “I’ll get out here.”

Enzo pulled over. “Is this the reservation?” The man released the doorknob. “OK, you keep going. You go talk to Strong Hawk. Very, very wise man.” Then he ducked out of the car and walked backward, bobbing at them before turning down the crossroad.

Enzo said, “I heard Indians are alcoholics. I hope we find a sober one.”

“Do you realize how many stereotypes you have? You also say the Indians are an oppressed proletariat ready to rise up.”

Enzo said, “That’s social science, not a personal stereotype.”

“Not everyone is Italian, you know. Or even European.”

At an intersection where a small sign indicated Wildrose Reservation, Enzo turned onto a two-lane road of bumpy, cracked asphalt. Along both sides lay rusting cars, some with flat tires, others at such odd angles Sylvie couldn’t figure how they’d ended up that way. She’d been right in wanting to leave the States, she thought. This place proved its violent nature, its enduring abasement of those most vulnerable.

Enzo observed, “Don’t they have mechanics out here?”

“Please stop it,” she said.

They drove through barren snow-dusted plains dotted with naked trees until reaching a row of angled parking spaces. Unpainted clapboard buildings—two tourist shops and the post office—comprised the town. Enzo kept the engine running to stay warm while Sylvie entered the larger store called, with little imagination and a nod to tourists, “The Trading Post.” Tables were laden with necklaces and bracelets of Venetian glass beads, an array of turkey feathers dyed in gaudy colors, silver jewelry and Wildrose souvenir key chains and ashtrays. She visited the other store and found shelves of books and spinning metal racks of postcards presided over by a white man in a plaid shirt and bolo tie sitting on a stool behind a counter. She picked up two postcards and a few books about Lakota history and took them to the counter. Through the window she saw Enzo standing by the car smoking.

“That’s a good book, but here’s some better ones.”

The owner-proprietor-cashier walked her to the bookcases and pulled out one on the Lakota and Cheyenne. Sylvie wondered how he was allowed to operate a storeon the reservation.

“Have you heard of Strong Hawk?” she asked.

“Of course,” he answered. “James Strong Hawk.”

“How can I find him?”

“Funny, that guy’s becoming famous. Stay on this road, go ‘round the first curve, cross the bridge, then go about ten miles to another big curve. There’s a sign in front of his house with his name on it.”

She carried her purchases to the car. “Why didn’t you come inside?”

Enzo shrugged. “Wanted a smoke.”

They followed the directions until there at a curve where the road turned sharply left stood two small houses, a modular house and another house pieced together with found objects like an art installation—wooden crates, car windows, sheets of corrugated metal, tree trunks holding up the roof, even a pair of antlers. A sign between the houses read, “Strong Hawk’s Paradise.”

Originally from the Chicago suburbs, Deborah Clark Vance has lived throughout the US and in Italy. While raising her children, she earned a living by teaching piano lessons, selling her original artwork, editing a health journal, translating Italian, writing freelance articles and textbook chapters, working on a children’s educational TV series, teaching in a day treatment program for adults with mental and emotional illnesses, creating garden designs and teaching as a college adjunct. After completing a Ph.D. in Communication and Culture at Howard University, she taught and served as Chair of the Department of Communication & Cinema at McDaniel College in Maryland. Although she also contributed articles and chapters to academic publications, those only earned her a modicum of prestige rather than income. She’s keenly interested in the natural world as well as in social justice, spirituality and women’s issues. “Sylvie Denied” is her debut novel.

 
 
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Book Blitz & Excerpt: Joyous Lies + Giveaway

Joyous Lies

 

Joyous Lies
by Margaret Ann Spence
Women’s Fiction

Date Published: February 15, 2021

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

 

 

Maelle Woolley, a shy botanist, prefers plants to people. They don’t suddenly disappear. Raised on her grandparents’ commune after her mother’s mysterious death, she follows the commune’s utopian beliefs of love for all. Then she falls for attractive psychiatrist Zachary Kane. When Zachary claims her mother and his father never emerged alive from his father’s medical research lab, Maelle investigates. What she discovers will challenge everything she believes, force her to find strength she never knew she had, and confront the commune’s secrets and lies. What happened to love? And can it survive?

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Excerpt

The plants, she hoped, would have something to say.

With the door to the laboratory closed and the sound barriers in place, Maelle fixed acoustic sensors onto two potted plants, situated side by side in a glass dome so even the vibrations of her breath could not disturb them. Above one, she played a recording of the sound of a caterpillar munching leaves. The noise, when magnified so humans could hear it, sounded like the march of eager feet over rough terrain. After twenty minutes, she removed the recording, put on her earphones, and waited.

She heard it, a faint clicking sound.

The plants were talking to one another.

About The Author


Margaret Ann Spence writes about women, the choices they make, and what happens next. Her debut novel, Lipstick on the Strawberry, published by the Wild Rose Press in 2017, won the Romantic Elements Category in the First Coast Romance Writers 2015 Beacon Contest. It was a finalist for the 2019 Eric Hoffer Book Award and in the 2019 Next Generation Indie Awards. Joyous Lies, her second novel, launches on February 15, 2021.

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