Thanks for joining me on the 2012 MARA-thon! This includes a national blog tour, as well as a physical book tour through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California. During the entire MARA-thon, please be sure to download your FREE prequel short story, When Whales Watch at www.MaraPurl.com/downloads. As of January 1, you’ll be able to find purchase links for all e-readers at http://marapurl.com/books/when-whales-watch.
This is posted from the road during my All-Indie-Bookstore book tour titled MAPPING THE JOURNEY OF YOUR HEART. Revisit the entire tour at any time by visiting www.MaraPurl.com/calendar where you’ll see event details, links to the bookstores, and soon, photo archives. To thank my blog hosts, I created the Double Blog Tour which includes “blog-backs” like this one. The Blog Tour will be archived at http://marapurl.com/fall-blog-tour-schedule.
California is many things to many people. Yet there’s something quintessential about “California Babes.” Kathy Holmes tapped into this essence when she created her wonderful blog, (“Flip Flops & Flabs” is the old title of her blog, now renamed.) Happily, she also recognized a kindred spirit and invited me for a return visit during this blog tour for my novel Where the Heart Lives.
“Women’s Fiction with Attitude” is the title of her blog, and “California Girl Fiction” is the theme, and since I’m a California girl who writes fiction with plenty of attitude, I seem to be a great match. What is it that connects my novels and stories to California? First, of course, California’s Central Coast is the setting of the Milford-Haven Novels. Second, my characters engage in the kind of quest for the deeper sense of purpose that’s become synonymous with the California Dream. Third, there’s a sense of fun, an irreverence, and an abiding sense of humor.
Since our last blog visit, we’ve both been busy—and each of us has a new book. I actually have two new works—a short story and a novel—each of which is as quintessentially “California” as is Kathy’s blog. When Whales Watch is a prequel short story about one of the Golden State’s favorite pastimes: whale watching. The story has a twist, in that it turns out the whale watchers are themselves being watched by the whales they’re watching. And the story begins in Morro Bay, the Central Coast’s favorite marina complete with sea lions and fishing, delicious sea food and kayaking, blue skies and silky seas.
Where the Heart Lives is the second novel in my series and features on its cover a map of that same Central Coast. In the story, my protagonist travels from my fictional town of Milford-Haven to another iconic part of the state—Los Angeles—from its lighthouse to its mountains, to its Hollywood heart. In my guest post I focused on that map, both from the perspective of using our “head” to plan a journey and from the perspective of using our “heart” to follow our intuition and experience an inner journey of discovery.
Speaking of using our hearts to follow an inner journey, I know my readers will be intrigued by the journey Kathy Holmes herself has been pursuing. When I asked her about the evolution of her novels, she explained that it was finding and meeting the father she’d never known in childhood that first sparked her writing. She started with the non-fiction book Myths of the Fatherless. “And then,” she explained, “I found this theme appearing in my fiction in a similar way.” This topic certainly struck a nerve for me, as my character Zackery discovers he’s adopted and begins his own parental search. Surely this is an epic theme for humans and for our literature.
I asked Kathy what matters most to her about her writing. “My writing comes from me and my experience in life—a girl who grew up in Southern California. That childhood is different from, say, a childhood in the Midwest. And so my writing takes on that point of view.” What does she find is the best way to reach her readers? “I call my fiction “California Girl Fiction” and I think it appeals to a California girl at heart. You don’t have to be from California but there’s a certain point of view or mindset. So just being myself on social media – blogs, Facebook, Twitter, is where I find a lot of my readers. I’ve also found readers on common interest social groups such as Fabulously40, Passporter (a Disney fan site), and Cruise Critic.
Kathy’s first published novel was Real Women Wear Red and I asked her where she got that title. “Red seems to be my signature color. I do remember asking for candy apple red shoes when I was a child. When I was asking how to take off some red scuff marks on my antique white dresser, my brother-in-law said, ‘A real woman would paint it red.’ And I had to laugh! I also think the book was titled partly as a response to all of that pink during the heyday of chick lit.” (I told Kathy I’ve become an official Real Red woman because red is the “heart” color.) Kathy struck a resonating chord with readers when she identified the concept of “Real Women,” so her brand new book two is Real Women Sing the Blues available on amazon for the Kindle.
There’s so much overlap and synergy between Kathy and me, even though we have yet to meet in person. One of the wonders of this internet-age is that we—all of us, including authors and readers—can connect through our core interests. I’d say both Kathy and I are helping to define what it means to be real women . . . those of us who use our heads, but live life from the heart.
For more information on the evolving world of The Milford Haven Novels, visit my new website www.MaraPurl.com where you can subscribe to my newsletter, follow me on social media, enjoy photos and videos, discover more special offers and more.