Friday, November 27, 2015

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Birth of a Story

Normandie studied sculpture in Italy before receiving her BA, summa cum laude with special honors in English. Known for her women’s fiction—Becalmed(2013), Sailing out of Darkness (2013), and Heavy Weather (2015)—she ventures into the realm of romantic suspense with the release of Two from Isaac’s House. In early 2016, a novella, From Fire into Fire, will continue the Isaac House saga. Normandie and her husband spent a number of years on board their 50-foot ketch, Sea Venture, sailing in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. They now live in coastal North Carolina, where she takes care of her aging mother. 

I was 18, impressionable, willful, and a little (okay, maybe a lot) rebellious when I moved to Perugia, Italia, to study sculpture. And, honey, I was ready for adventure. I spoke schoolgirl French but no Italian, which meant I needed a quick course at l’Universitá per Stranieri.

Those years and the friends I made in Perugia remain in my memories, making the town and the school a natural choice as a backdrop for the protagonists in my first romantic suspense, Two from Isaac’s House, which takes us from the hills of Italy to the Jordanian desert and from there to an Israel on the brink of war with Hamas.

Picture me: new to Italy, new to the language, new to life on my own. I’d met a Canadian named Helen at the Terni train station and bonded with her immediately (and stayed friends for decades until her death a few years ago). We managed to survive the convent boarding house for a week before we moved out and found an apartment together, often congregating with other students who spoke English. It was at the apartment of one of these—a Scottish student—that we met some of the town’s Palestinian contingent. There, the conversation was lively, the wine and espresso flowed, and a bat flew in the open window.

I subsequently became friends with several of those young men and listened to their banter and their anger. I’ll never forget the day one of them announced that I was probably on an Israeli watch-list merely because we were friends. Can you picture my head jerking around in surprise? I mean, why? What had I done? (Do remember that I was still a teen.)

Years later, when I shifted gears from sculpture to fiction, I remembered that moment and decided to capture the sense of it in a story. Here’s the thing. I’d always read, but rarely had I picked up popular fiction. Now I began to devour bestsellers because I wanted to know how, why, and what sold. I was surprised to discover that nearly all those books had macho men and kick-butt women, a group into which I’d never (ever) fit.

Remember that bit of the rebel I mentioned? It came to the fore as I imagined a story in which the heroine and hero were normal folk, with no karate/kickboxing/gun-slinging abilities. What if my heroine were a teacher from North Carolina who unexpectedly inherits enough money to go adventuring as she’d always wanted? Let’s say she’s naïve and engaged to some guy who keeps putting off the wedding. And what if my hero were an engineering geek who has been conned into a little undercover work by his Israeli cousins? And what if the two of them meet up in Perugia just as bodies begin to drop?

Because you remember those guys who said I might be on an Israeli list? Well, what if they’d said that because they were actually not just boys longing to be in the fray but actually part of a terrorist recruiting cell?

You see where I’m going here?

I first wrote this story in 1991 and set it in the context of the Gulf War. In 1994 it won me the Alpha Award as Best New Fiction Writer of the year according to some rather prestigious judges. But it didn’t sell.

In 2014, Hamas started bombing Israel, and I knew it was time to get that baby out of mothballs and rewrite it.

And here you have Two from Isaac’s House.


Check. Solo trip before getting married? Check. Dangerous hot guy she shouldn't get involved with in a thousand years? Oh, honey, that's a check.

From author Normandie Fischer comes a new romantic suspense that takes the reader from the hills of Italy to the Jordanian desert and from there to an Israel on the brink of war with Hamas.

Rina Lynne has never traveled far from Morehead City, North Carolina. So when she inherits her father's secret stash, she's ready to kick up her heels and go adventuring before she settles down to marry her long-time fiancé. First stop, Italy. 

Enter Tony (aka Anton), an engineering geek conned into helping his Israeli cousins as a sort-of spy. From the moment he meets Rina, he's distracted, which is not a good idea when there's already been murder and theft. And from the moment Rina meets Tony, she's fascinated, which is also not a good idea. He's an Arab-American, and she's half-Jewish. And engaged. And then there are all those bodies dropping around them, each linked to the gathering storm in the Middle East.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Recipe for a Single Mom

by Dawn V. Cahill

Many years ago, my three-year-old son discovered a love for food preparation. He’d come up with all kinds of concoctions. Here’s one of them:

½ gallon of milk
2/3 quart chocolate milk powder
Approx 8 tbsp salt
¼ can of pepper
¼ jar of onion powder
½ box of petit fours

In a saucepan, mix all ingredients together on medium-high heat, stir, and enjoy. Note: In order to capture every subtle flavor of each ingredient, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to prepare before 6:00 am, before anyone else is up. I promise it will fill your home with a mysterious yet enticing scent, guaranteed to bring the rest of the family scurrying to the kitchen.

Doesn’t that look scrumptious? A half-gallon of milk mixed with chocolate powder sounds like a promising beginning, doesn’t it? Funny how life can imitate recipes. In my own case, life as a single parent started out not so bad. Once I rid my home of my alcoholic husband’s toxic influence, the atmosphere lightened as if the house itself breathed a big sigh of relief.

But then life threw a lot of salt into the mix. And way too much pepper. One of my sons began getting in trouble at school for disruptive behavior, at only 6 years old. His grades nosedived and his behavior grew increasingly unruly as the long year wore on. As this was happening, another son, the chef wannabe, was diagnosed with delayed development.

Sweet had turned to bitter.

I had eliminated one problem – abusive husband – but had acquired umpteen more. Child support was erratic, at best. Financial problems, like onion powder, is only tolerable in small doses.

Life had turned into a disaster that made me gag.

I decided I needed a way to sweeten up life again, and thought of the perfect solution: a delicious new romance! A purely selfish, yet pleasurable way to make life bearable again.

Of course, it didn’t work. Petit fours soaked in salt, pepper and onions aren’t so delicious anymore. Neither is romance when the rest of life isn’t working.

But here I am, twenty years later, my sanity still intact—at least, I hope it is. My son the aspiring chef is on the verge of graduating from college. My unruly son made it through school and has been on his own for many years.

So, you might wonder, how did I get from there to here?

It’s a long story, one I’ll have to save for next time. But it’s a testament to God’s grace. His merciful concern for the widow and the orphan.

Be sure to come back for the rest of the story.

She's a winsome poetess looking for work. He's a moody songwriter asking for trouble. When their lives collide, explosions are bound to follow.

There's only one problem.

He attracts trouble like Pike Place Market attracts tourists. Why would smart, gifted Luna want to be with a lying, thieving dreamer like him?
But without Luna, Howard faces a future as bleak as a Seattle winter. Will God give him a second chance to win the girl of his dreams?

SFF: Dawn is hosting a giveaway for her ebook, When Lyric Met Limerick. How it works: She'll take the names of all new followers--subscribers on her blog, or followers on FB, Twitter, and Pinterest, and choose one name next week. They just need to have a Kindle or Kindle app, and live in a country that has access to Amazon. The details are here

13 Days Left

Just one day shy of two weeks!

Felix Riley's brother, Dale, had it in for Claire. She never could figure out why, but the man made it his life's work to harass her, embarrass her, and foil her plans. Unfortunately, he was successful at it.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Two Weeks - Just 14 Days ...

Claire and Patsy had been friends since kindergarten. Most of the folks in Chapel Springs had been raised there and went to school together. Of course, that means everyone knows all about Claire. Still ... friendship is a gem of great value to her.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

16 Days Left!

Loving someone who's determined not to like you is hard; harder than anything Claire ever had to do. But her relationship with her son depended on it.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Win a free copy of my new book!

I'm over visiting on Southern Writers Magazine's blog, Author Visits. Come to this site,  today and say hello. Look for the name of my favorite coffee is and then email me at anemulligan [at] me [dot] com, telling me what my favorite coffee is. If you are right, your name will be put in the a drawing for a signed copy of my new book, Chapel Spring Survival.

Only 17 Days Left Until Launch Day

Did you know that all Claire's friends got together and published a cookbook? They did, and it's filled with their favorite recipes, along with several little notes to Claire. And a few anecdotes about what happened to a couple of characters from Chapel Springs Revival.

While you're waiting for Chapel Springs Survival to come out, you can buy that cookbook, appropriately named Chapel Springs Cookbook, here. And while you're over at Amazon, stop by and preorder Chapel Springs Survival.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Our Sweet on Our Readers Luncheon

The Book Fun Magazine covered our Sweet on Our Readers Luncheon and did a great job, so instead of me rehashing it all, here's the link. Please go read it, and if you haven't subscribed yet, you need to. It's very inexpensive! And if you're a reader, you'll love their articles.
The room was packed.

Haywood had us all in stitches with her stories.

I'm so jealous of Haywood's gorgeous hair.

In case you missed this one, we plan to have another next year!

Friday, November 13, 2015

20 Days Left!

Are you excited yet?

Chapel Springs Survival ~ Can they survive the revival?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I'm So Excited!!!

I wish I could play background music here of "I'm So Excited" but ....

I got to work with the narrator and she's a delight! She brought Claire to life. It was such fun to "hear" the characters that lived in my head for so long. Actually, they still do, since I'm working on book 4 in the series now. 

Chapel Springs Survival will release Dec 3rd, and in May of 2016, Home to Chapel Springs will release. The final book of the series will be Life in Chapel Springs. 

Hubs is hard at work on the cover for Home to Chapel Springs, and I think you'll love it. I know I do!

With a friend like Claire, you'll need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.

Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It's impossible not to, what with Claire's zany antics and Patsy's self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is their marriages. Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives.