Guest post: Larissa Reinhart, author of ‘Still Life in Brunswick Stew’…

Hi Larissa, and welcome to my blog! Congratulations on the release of ‘Still life in Brunswick Stew’ which is installment two of the ‘Cherry Tucker Mysteries’.  Can you start by giving us a sneaky peek at an excerpt of the book?

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Sarah Belle! I am so pleased to be here. You ask great questions!

This excerpt is from the beginning of STILL LIFE.

STILL LIFE front cover

 “Luke is the perfect model for a Greek statue,” I explained. “Tall, lean, with great muscle definition. Especially those indentations between his waist and hips.” I paused a moment in delicious ecstasy, ruminating over Luke’s V-cut. “He even has the dark curly hair and the straight nose of a classic Greek. And I don’t think he’s got a drop of Greek blood in him. Pretty sure Harper’s not a Greek name.”

“Nor Roman. You just want to paint Luke naked,” Eloise cackled. “This doesn’t have anything to do with art.”

“Of course it does. I have an eye for beauty, that’s all.”

“You got a thing for beauty, all right. As long as it’s got a—”

“You can stop right there, Eloise Parker. No need to get trashy.”

“I’m not the one obsessed with painting Luke Harper nude.”

“He never lets me paint him, nude or otherwise. I don’t get it. What’s the big deal?”

“Probably because he’s worried the criminals in Forks County will laugh at him after seeing his bare ass in a painting,” Eloise lifted her brows. “Hard to arrest somebody when they’re laughing at you.”

For those yet to read the first novel in the series, Portrait of a Dead guy, can you give us a blurb? 

In Halo, Georgia, folks know Cherry Tucker as big in mouth, small in stature, and able to sketch a portrait faster than buckshot rips from a ten gauge — but commissions are scarce. So when the well-heeled Branson family wants to memorialize their murdered son in a coffin portrait, Cherry scrambles to win their patronage from her small town rival. As the clock ticks toward the deadline, Cherry faces more trouble than just a controversial subject. Between ex-boyfriends, her flaky family, an illegal gambling ring, and outwitting a killer on a spree, Cherry finds herself painted into a corner she’ll be lucky to survive.

Final Cover Front

Cherry Tucker, and her co-stars, are unique and quirky characters; can you tell us a bit about them and the small town of Halo?

Cherry’s a classically trained artist determined to try and make it as a portrait artist and still live in her hometown of Halo, Georgia. Halo’s a typical Southern small town. The family names are old and the social hierarchy was determined generations ago.

Some of the cast include her siblings Casey and Cody, who are talented in their own rights but extremely lazy. Their Grandpa’s affection for goats out rivals his affection for the grandchildren he raised. Cherry can’t seem to shake off her sort-of-ex-husband, Todd, an accomplished poker player, drummer, and blonde beefcake. But she’s been reunited with her old college flame, Luke, who recently moved home and taken a position in the sheriff’s department. Luke and Cherry have a fire and gasoline relationship, which they struggle to overcome.

 

Who would play Cherry in the movie version? 

If Kristin Chenoweth was twenty-six, she’d be perfect. However, every time I see Kelly Pickler on Dancing With The Stars I hear Cherry. Except Cherry’s sassier and has less curves.

You’ve got the perfect combination of a sassy, kick-arse heroine and  crazy situations; where does your inspiration come from? 

Can I say I have no earthly idea? I just hear her in my head and put her in situations that amuse me. My seven-year-old daughter dresses like her (crazy outfits). And I listen to a lot of kick-arse female country artists when I write Cherry.

I’ve read that you narrowly escaped a ferocious monkey in Thailand, studied Archaeology in Egypt, taught history in Japan and the USA, and adopted two gorgeous little girls from China. How have these experiences impacted you as a writer?

I think all those life experiences gave me interesting perspectives on life and people. I’ve met a lot of different people from various cultures and collected those impressions. I like meeting people. Not a fan of monkeys.

closeup

 What does the future hold for Ms Tucker?

Cherry’s got a lot to overcome. Her family history has stunted her maturity in some ways, but it’s also made her fearless. She’s a fun character to write and her creativity makes her a unique amateur detective. I’m having fun with her in HIJACK IN ABSTRACT, her third book which should come out this fall.

A prequel about Cherry and Todd’s adventure on their way to the ill-fated Vegas wedding will appear in an anthology called THE HEARTACHE MOTEL, which comes out in December. The Heartache was especially fun because I got to write with two other Henery press authors, Terri L. Austin and LynDee Walker. The stories all take place at the dumpy, Elvis wannabe Heartache Motel in Memphis. Lots of hijinks ensue!

 

If you’ d like to contact Larissa, or learn more about her and her novels, just click on the links below:

Facebook

Twitter

Website

Blog

Publisher

 

‘Cookies for Dinner’, guest post and book review…

What do airplane toilets, a crow-fearing husband, engorged breasts, creaking floor boards, toilet-clogging poohs and animal sanitary products all have in common? Believe it or not, they are all elements of motherhood as described by Pam Johnson-Bennett and Kae Allen in their new book, Cookies for Dinner.

CookiesForDinner_LS_9781935052517_cov.indd

The book covers the period from pre birth/adoption to around five years of age, and each chapter is divided into stand alone anecdotes, which is a perfect structure if you don’t have the luxury of devoting hours to your reading habit.

I volunteered to do an open and honest review of this book for ‘Chick Lit Plus’ and the main reason I wanted to read it was because of the title – Cookies for Dinner really appealed to the mother in me. I was curious to see just how honest other mothers would be about their experiences on Planet Mum, and I wasn’t disappointed.

This book is a MUST for all  to-be mums, first time mums, experienced mums and grandmothers because it is not only hilarious, but heart warming, open,  honest and bridges the gap between being a ‘text book’ perfect mother and a real mother. Even Dads will get a laugh out of it, and an insight into the true world of motherhood.

I laughed until I cried, numerous times, not only because of the humourous writing, but because I could relate to the vast majority of these experiences. Whose child hasn’t suffered diahorrea at an inconvenient time or place? Who hasn’t had to pre-empt an oncoming tantrum in the shopping centre? Who hasn’t battled toilet training, breast feeding, and long family drives encumbered with various crises? The difference is that Pam and Kae write about their experiences with nitty gritty, open, all out clean honesty. There is no cookie left unturned here.

But what impressed me most about these ladies, was the innovative and unconventional ways in which they solved their varied crises. Duct tape. A garden hose. Re-engineered jumpsuits. Sippy cup envy.  I’ll leave you to connect the dots.

There’s something very special about this book, something that crosses cultural differences, geographical boundaries, religions, political views, age and even the great divide between working and stay at home mums. This book brings us together as mothers – women who do the hardest job in the world, who give of themselves every day to the people we adore. It allows us to laugh, relate and feel a little less alone in our struggle to be the best mums possible.

If it’s Gross and Disgusting, We’ve Touched it!

Hi Pam and Kae, and welcome to the blog. Can you tell us a little about motherhood from your pespective?

From Pam: If you know me then you’re well aware of the fact that I am a germophobic woman with just enough OCD to provide my family with hours of entertainment as they watch me attempt to sterilize the world. My journey during the writing of “Cookies for Dinner” was really an eye-opener for me and I have to pat myself on the back (because no one else will, I’m sure) because as I started working on the stories I realized I have touched a lot of gross of disgusting things as a mom!

When dreaming of motherhood I knew there would be diapers, scraped knees, some amount of blood, sickness, crying, tantrums and other unpleasant things but I wasn’t prepared for how much. When preparing my sweet baby for bed at night I had no idea that I was holding a child who was planning to decorate the walls of her room with her own excrement. I had no idea that my initial response to a child throwing up on my sofa would be to hold out my hands in order to limit the damage done to my furniture. I certainly wasn’t prepared for pulling dead spiders out of my daughter’s tangled hair (the spiders were a present from her brother) with my bare hands while trying to avoid hearing damage due to her intense screaming. I have had boogers shot at my face from the nose of a sneezing child while he lay in my arms and have landed flat on my butt on the bathroom floor due to poorly aimed peeing attempts by my potty-training son.

Ahh yes, motherhood… I love it… blood, vomit, pee, poop, boogers and all. Ok, maybe “love” isn’t quite the right word there.

From Kae: When I was pregnant with my first child, Matthew, my grandmother pulled me aside at a family function and told me with intense sincerity, “Just remember dear, everything that comes out of a baby’s body is good for your complexion.” At the time, I thought it was an odd comment, but I accepted the advice even though I had no idea what she meant. It only took a couple days of motherhood for that saying to become my mantra during gross motherhood moments.

I thought of it when I had to wear a washcloth on one hand like a catcher’s mitt every time I changed Matthew’s diaper because the cold air on his “fire hose” always made him pee. I used it when Christina would nurse a full meal and then inevitably proceed to projectile vomit down the front of my shirt while I attempted to burp her. With three lactose intolerant kids, one of which has intense motion sickness, I have cleaned up more than my fair share of gross messes. Once it involved a garden hose and once it involved the hot air hand dryer in a restaurant bathroom. Funny thing is, since I had my kids I have never had a break-out of acne. My grandmother must have been right. It seems that everything from snot to faeces was good for my complexion.