Good morning! Before I welcome today's guest to my actual campfire, I want to give you a camping update. As many of you know, my dear husband Pete retired. We've been looking forward to this Retirement Camping Trip. Last night we arrived at the https://koa.com/campgrounds/niagara-falls-new-york/ The nice thing about traveling with your own rig is the control you have for social distancing. We are entirely self contained and can enjoy our trips not worrying about masks and dirty restrooms etc. Over the next to weeks we'll be hitting New Hampshire/ Bar Harbor, Maine/ Boston, Mass./ Mystic Ct and then home. I have to take a rapid Covid test before returning to work. Almost seems silly. I'll be away from people, only to return home and go to a doctor's office where there are sick people. Take the test, I'm sure it will be negative but will I get infected during my time in the waiting room? Who knows.
Anyway this is the plan for the next couple of days. See a Great Lake for the first time. Watch the Falls. Go to a winery and pick up some local vintages. Hike with Hali. Cook over the open fire. Sit around the campfire. Check in on my Guest Blog, Reviews and so much more page, for pictures and stuff. follow my social media, or sign up for my newsletter. Thanks for popping by the campfire and now here's my guest now...
Hi Maria! Here's a blanket. It's a little chilly today. What can I get you, coffee, tea, cocoa, wine? The camp fridge is like the Starship Enterprise, you speak it, you get it.
Since it’s morning, I’ll take coffee. After 5, it would definitely be wine.
Girl after my own heart. Here you go. I do have some pumpkin spice if your in the mood. Tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp?
Nope. I’m not much for bugs, wild animals, scary nighttime sounds, or dirt. I don’t like to be cold either. On the other hand, I do like campfires (as long as I can go inside before bedtime), talking to friends for hours, and staring at a starry sky.
That's exactly why I have a 5th Wheel. Indoor plumbing, heat, and a bug free environment. Tell us about your latest project. What book are you talking about today and what’s on the horizon?
Today, I’m talking about “The Blueberry Swirl Waltz”. It takes place in the small factory town of Roebling, NJ in 1951. I loosely based my heroine (Katie) on my mother, who had grown up in Roebling, and was a ballroom dance teacher in Trenton, at Arthur Murray’s Dance Studio. The hero (Chaz) is a Roebling cousin who has come back home after college to work in the family business. Katie and Chaz reconnect at Katie’s mother’s Ice Cream Shoppe which was based on my grandmother’s confectionery and ice cream store. My fond memories from the early 60s of that shop came flooding back with this book. I interviewed my mom about the shop as well as her time teaching ballroom dance for my blog. The interviews are on my website at http://www.mariaimbalzano.com I also have a book coming out on October 21st. It’s part of The Deerbourne Inn Series published by the Wild Rose Press. It’s called “A Song for Another Day.” The hero is a singer/songwriter/musician who wants to break into the Nashville country music scene. The heroine is a singer/dancer who aspires to a role in a Broadway musical. They meet over the summer in Willow Springs and fall in love, but their careers are taking them in different directions. This book is available for pre-order on amazon.
I've read Blueberry Swirl Waltz and gave it a 5 Owl review. Here's the link if our guests are interested www.goodreads.com/book/show/53256993-the-blueberry-swirl-waltz?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=B0R37e4Vfh&rank=1#other_reviews Do you have a tagline or a Life Motto?
Not a tag line, but a life motto. I have two daughters (who are now young adults), but when they were younger and had a problem at school, or with a boy, or with a girlfriend, I would tell them, “We are not mush women. We are strong and independent and capable of handling any problem.” They always laughed at me when I said this, but today they are amazing women who are definitely not mush women.
I love that! I wonder who many "NON" Mush Women are with us today? Hand's up and be counted. How long did it take you from conception to publication?
If we’re talking about my first published book (which was published in 2013), it took fifteen years. I had a lot to learn (and I was working and raising two daughters). For “The Blueberry Swirl Waltz” it took about six months.
Wowza! Fifteen years. Can we say perseverance? Most writers have a posse. Are there any mentors, authors, or books, you would like to give a shout-out to?
When I first decided I wanted to write a book, I had no idea where to start. A flyer crossed my desk for a legal seminar called “How to Write Your Book in Fourteen Days – A Lawyers Guide).” It was given by Steve Manning. That half day seminar helped get me started, since all I had in my head was an idea. To this day, I use that guide to blueprint each new book.
Thanks for that information. I'm sure many will be looking it up especially me. I'll make it easy. Here's the link to the book. www.amazon.com/Write-Book-Anything-Days-Guaranteed/dp/0969261314 Will you share with us what literary success look like to you?
As long as I’m happy doing what I’m doing, I count that as successful. I recently retired from the practice of law. I was a divorce lawyer for over thirty years. Writing romance full time instead of battling it out in the courtroom makes me extremely happy.
Good for you. Being able to do what makes you happy is an amazing privilege. Do you have any Life Hacks for Authors. Tips, tricks, or anything you specialize in that you would share with others.
I believe the most important parts of writing a book are 1) outlining your story (my outline is a blueprint for every scene, every chapter) and 2) editing. Once I’ve tackled the inciting incident, the conflicts between the characters (internal and external), two turning points, and the black moment in my blueprint, the book is easy to write. The edits are then the most important and most time consuming exercise, but critical to making your book shine.
Wow, I'm more of a Pantser but finding with writing my second Impact Book I need more structure. You sound very organized. I guess it's the lawyer in you. Now, on to the fun questions. Do you have a special object like a piece of jewelry or keepsake of some sort? Can you tell us what makes it special to you?
When my first book got published, my husband took our family out to dinner and presented me with a gift. It was a diamond ring with five small round diamonds in a row. I call it my book ring. I had written five manuscripts and the fifth was the first one to be published.
What is your favorite mug or teacup if neither T-shirt with graphic or Meme?
I have two favorite wineglasses. One says “Oops! Did I buy wine again instead of milk?” The other says, “Home is where mom is.”
What's your favorite candy, cookie, pasta?
I love M&M’s. I’ve convinced myself that only having a handful isn’t so bad.
If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Start Me Up by the Rolling Stones. It gets me dancing, and I love to dance.
What’s your favorite fairy tale?
Cinderella. I love the rags to riches trope, especially where ball gowns are involved.
Maria, Thank you for spending time around the fire with us today. Before you leave, could you tell us where we can find your books, you, and maybe a sneak peak at Blueberry Swirl Waltz?
After a family crisis, Katie Hathaway must return home to help out in the family's ice cream shop. She leaves behind her dream job of teaching ballroom dance to spend her summer scooping ice cream and mixing milkshakes.
Chaz Hollander, Katie's high school crush, has also returned to town to work in his family's business. After Katie treats him to a blueberry swirl sundae, he invites her to the town's upcoming dance. The only problem is he has two left feet.
When Katie starts giving Chaz dance lessons, their chemistry ignites, and the postponement of her dream doesn't seem as ominous. But financial woes and a suspicious business deal cast a shadow on their budding relationship.
Here's a little exerpt
She’d thought she left this small town behind, yet here she was on the Fourth of July, standing on a patch of grass she’d walked over at least a hundred times while growing up. But this time, she was an observer, a silent owl using a tree for cover, taking it all in.
“Would you mind sharing your space with me?” Chaz’s intimate whisper rained through her veins, as his breath tickled the sensitive spot below her ear.
She peeked over her shoulder, and he was so close her blood effervesced. “I suppose I could. This is a very special spot that I reserved weeks ago.”
“I’d be honored if you’d consider it.” His magnificent smile sealed the deal.
“Consider it shared.”
Buy Links for The Blueberry Swirl Waltz
Barnes and Noble (Nook) www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-blueberry-swirl-waltz-maria-imbalzano/1136868420?ean=2940162717799
Apple Books https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-blueberry-swirl-waltz/id1508636829
Google Play https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Maria_Imbalzano_The_Blueberry_Swirl_Waltz?id=zubmDwAAQBAJ
BookSprout Review Link https://booksprout.co/arc/37947/the-blueberry-swirl-waltz