Posted at Nov 8, 2016 8:56 am
Last month I decided to join The Romance Reviews (TRR) Year End SplashParty. It goes from November 1st through the 30th and there are hundreds of prizes for romance readers. I filled out the form to provide all the information they needed for my book “Dancing in the Sand”. Then they asked for a question with multiple choice answers relating to my book so participants in the game could win a prize. I came up with the question, included three possible answers along with the correct one and sent it off. I was then supposed to post on my blog or Facebook page telling readers the answer.
Easy, right? If I had done what I had intended, and wrote up the blurb that day, everything would have been fine. But work and other commitments detained me and before I knew it, it was November and I hadn’t posted anything. So, I sat down at my desk last weekend to get the job done. The problem was, I had no recollection of my question.
I will tell you right now that Ava’s mother left her family to become a choreographer for a popular television dance show. But before I could tell you that, I had to email Carole at TRR and explain the error of my ways while apologizing for asking her to find my submission amongst the hundreds of others so she could remind me of my question. Thank you, Carole and to all you readers. I promise this lesson has been learned.
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Posted at Oct 10, 2016 3:03 pm
For a website that has fun contests, tons of romance reads, and your chance to become a reviewer, go to TRR. For the entire month of November they will be giving away fabulous prizes and an opportunity to play fun games at their Year End Splash Party. You can also win a copy of “Unchained Memories.” Stop by and enjoy the party.
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Posted at Sep 3, 2015 7:58 am
Beginning today, and over the next two months, I will be stopping at 13 blogs answering various interview questions about my book, about writing, about life. Here is the schedule:
September 3: Independent Authors
September 10: Unabridged Andra’s
September 17: The Blog of C.R. Moss
September 24: The Reading Addict
September 24: Christine Young
October 1: BooksChatter
October 8: Archaeolibrarian – I dig good books!
October 15: LibriAmoriMiei
October 22: Writer Wonderland
October 29: Romance Novel Giveaways
November 5: Booklover Sue
November 12: Erin Cawood
November 19: Long and Short Reviews
Please stop by and you will have the chance to win a $25 gift card.
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Posted at Aug 20, 2015 9:44 am
With six days to go until the release of “Dancing in the Sand,” I thought you might like to get to know a little about the heroine, Ava Woodward. Although busy working on a trial brief for an upcoming trial, she agreed to give us a few minutes of her time.
Q. I understand you were a dancer. What got you started in that field?
A. My mother was an incredible dancer and a dance teacher. Ever since I was a baby, she took me to the studio and set me up in a playpen where I could watch her teach. I loved the classes with the little ones. I couldn’t wait to start myself. When I turned five, I took my first ballet class and was hooked ever since.
Q. You and your roommate at NYU, Carrie Stanhope, planned to audition for a position with a major dance company. What made you drop out?
A. (Sighs) Life. Reality. Sometimes we need to change our plan dependent upon the circumstances. I knew it would be a shot in the dark to be chosen out of hundreds of would-be dancers who’d be auditioning. I decided to be practical and go to law school. A career in law gives me security. I need that.
Q. What type of law do you practice?
A. I work for a firm here in New York City doing environmental litigation. We mainly represent non-profits fighting the natural gas drilling companies from fracking.
Q. That’s a lofty goal.
A. (Nods) I’d like to see the next generations survive without getting sick or dying from chemicals in their drinking water.
Q. I understand your dating, Brian Stanhope, your friend’s brother. How is that going?
A. (Smiles) Good. He’s an amazing guy. And very close with his sister as well as the rest of his family.
Q. How did you meet him?
A. I actually met him a long time ago at his parents’ house in Newport. Carrie had invited me to his graduation party weekend. We had a great time. Really connected. (Lowers lids) Unfortunately, he had a horseback riding accident that weekend, and he didn’t remember me due to a head injury. We lost touch. Until recently.
Q. Doesn’t he work for the family business, Stanhope Natural Gas?
A. He does.
Q. How does that affect your relationship since his company drills for natural gas?
A. We try to stay away from topics that present philosophical differences. He has the right to make a living working in whatever field he chooses. He was destined to work for the family company since he was born. My career has no effect on him.
Q. Do you ever see yourself pitted against each other in the legal arena?
A. (Laughs) No. We’d never let that happen.
Q. Your friend, Carrie, dances with the New York Ballet Company. Any regrets?
A. (Swallows) She’s an amazing dancer and a fabulous performer. I’m so proud of her. She’s doing what she was meant to do. And so am I.
Q. Your mother is a choreographer for “So You Think You Can Dance.” Do you go to any of the performances?
A. My mother moved to L.A. thirteen years ago. I haven’t seen her since.
I’m sorry, but I really have to get back to work. If you need any other information, just read “Dancing in the Sand.” Thank you.
Posted at Aug 8, 2015 3:10 pm
There are eighteen days till my launch date and I’m thinking of New York City, which is it’s own character in the novel. I love New York. The electricity of millions of people walking the streets is so vibrant, you can feel it in your bones. Ever since I was a young girl and watched “That Girl” with Marlo Thomas, I wanted to be her–although I never aspired to be an actress.
As soon as I graduated from college, I headed to the City and found a job as a paralegal on Park Avenue between 49th and 50th. I lived in a brownstone with a roommate on 85th and First and took advantage of the museums, ballet, theater and restaurants –at least to the extent my measly salary would allow. Back then, the Metropolitan Museum of Art didn’t charge a fee but suggested a donation. If you didn’t have it, they would let you in anyway. Co-workers who had season tickets to the ballet always thought of me first if they couldn’t make it on any particular night, so I was the beneficiary of many performances. My girlfriend and I saw the second half of several plays because no one checks tickets after intermission.
Ava Woodward, the heroine of “Dancing in the Sand”, attends NYU as a dance major in the beginning of the story. While I didn’t go to NYU, I frequented the area while at Fordham Law School (next to Lincoln Center) since I had friends who lived in the Village.
The places Ava visits with Brian in the City, while not identifiable as a specific restaurant or theater, could be one of many places you may know. When they go to Brian’s sister’s dance performance, it’s at Lincoln Center.
I hope you’ll enjoy moving through New York City with Ava and Brian as much as I loved being there with them.
What’s your favorite place in NYC?
Posted at Aug 1, 2015 12:24 pm
Ava Woodward is a dance major at NYU where she is one of the top performers. She is doing what I would have loved to have done, had I had the talent. So in some respects, Ava is my alter ego.
Since the age of 4, I took ballet lessons, then pointe, then modern jazz and tap. While I considered myself shy growing up, being on stage was such a thrill. The nerves went right out of you once you hit the boards because the stage lights essentially blinded you from seeing the audience.
Taking dance lessons throughout my high school years defined me as a dancer – because I certainly was not an athlete (despite trying softball and basketball). I continued taking a few dance classes in college and even while I worked in NYC as a paralegal prior to attending law school – not because I had visions of becoming a professional dancer like Ava, but because I loved it.
Ava has a passion for dance that came from her mother, who was ballet teacher. Her mother brought Ava to the studio as a toddler while she taught classes, and Ava began her dance journey at age 5. Continually practicing and going to professional performances, Ava aimed for a career in dance, attending the best schools to help her achieve her goal.
She was a brilliant star at NYU and had plans to audition for many of the major dance companies at a showcase sponsored by the school. Of course, you will have to read the book to find out what happens. If you go to the “Books” section of this website, you can read an excerpt.
“Dancing in the Sand” will be released on August 26, 2015.
Posted at Jul 26, 2015 1:42 pm
They say “thrills are much more about anticipation than action.” I’m sure that’s true and I don’t want to wish away the summer–it’s my favorite season. But August 26th is the release date for “Dancing in the Sand,” my second novel to be published. I’m nervous, thrilled, and overwhelmed all at the same time. The critic in me whispers, “What if no one likes it?” The optimist in me shouts back, “Of course someone will like it. You know your mother will.” And that pesky businesswoman stomps on the brakes. “You are so not ready. Did you do all 25 things on your marketing plan? You only have 25? Did you do 5?”
So here I am on the last day of vacation in Bradley Beach, contemplating the weeks to come before “Dancing in the Sand” is released. I take a breath, smile, and get to work. Maybe I can cross one thing off my marketing plan today.
Posted at Mar 29, 2015 1:35 pm
The new year has brought me back to writing, which always makes me happy. I participated in New Jersey Romance Writer’s 30K challenge during the month of February. Never guessing that I could possibly write 30,000 words in my latest manuscript in 28 days, I took the challenge and learned that if I woke up at 6am, I could write 500 words before getting ready for work. Since the goal was to write 1100 words a day, I was almost halfway there by 7:15 am. A good thing to know for future writing. Since I am such a plotter, I had plotted my new manuscript, tentatively titled “Nicki’s Story” during a week’s vacation in January. Armed with my blueprint, it was easy to keep those words flowing and the plot moving. I am now halfway done (at a much slower pace) at the end of March.
The good news I received toward the end of March, was that “Unchained Memories” has finaled in the New England Chapter of RWA’s Reader’s Choice Contest for Best First Book. I am honored, grateful, and dancing with joy that my book is receiving awards. I had also won Wisconsin’s RWA Write Touch Reader’s Award and finaled in the New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf Contest.
The “waiting for news” has to do with my manuscript “Dancing in the Sand.” It has been with my editor at The Wild Rose Press and I have been waiting on pins and needles for the last two weeks, hoping to hear good news. I just looked at my emails today (Sunday) at one o’clock, and there was an email from my editor saying “Guess What?” written at 5:30 am. Now my heart is racing and I respond. “What?” I have been checking my emails every 5 minutes for a response. Her latest is “Want a Contract?”
I believe this can now move to the category of good news. 🙂
Posted at Jun 24, 2014 2:05 pm
I love being busy, but I must say, my real life is interfering with the growth of my characters’ lives. My work schedule has become increasingly busy as I have added collaborative divorce to my regular litigation case workload. To read more about Collaborative Divorce, you can find my articles and blogs on Stark and Stark’s website at www.stark-stark.com. There is also an article in the June 11, 2014 edition of US 1 that I authored about the topic
On June 15th, I was interviewed by April Sette for her radio show The Buzz on 920 AM. I talked about practicing law, writing romance, raising a family and participating on two non-profit boards. You can listen to the interview at www.newjerseybuzzradioshow.com.
My daughter is getting married in December which requires invitation lists to be put together, photographers to be siphoned through, gowns to be ordered, a shower to be planned and dozens of other tasks too numerous to mention, but all seemingly important. I’m not complaining (really)! I love weddings and hosting a gala event is almost second nature given the years I’ve been involved in planning Thomas Edison State College Foundation’s Annual Gala (which I am still planning for this October).
October is a big month for me this year. I am being inducted into the Italian American National Hall of Fame. The black tie event is October 25th in Atlantic City and I am thrilled to be a part of it.
Sliding back a month, the Italian American Festival is in September at Mercer County Park. I will be featured in the cultural center speaking on my roots in the Italian community, my career, and of course my book, “Unchained Memories”.
Now if I can only get back to writing.
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Posted at Mar 27, 2014 5:34 pm
Last night I was invited to an internet radio show for an interview. The half hour went by so quickly since I was talking about UNCHAINED MEMORIES, the inspiration for it, my characters, the setting , the cover and my new work in progress. To listen to the interview, just go to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/broadcast-from-the-bistro/2014/03/07/author-maria-imbalzano