Got a Craving? Meet Sofia Grey…

I’ve got a very special guest today and I’m excited for you to meet her:  Sofia Grey, author behind the Talisman Series!

Sofia is on tour this month promoting her newest release, Craving  (you can check out her book trailer here). She’s also giving away 3 copies of Craving to 3 lucky commenters across the tour!! How fun is that? Just make sure you leave a comment here and you’ll go into the draw. I’ll cross my fingers for you 😉

P.S. Don’t forget to check out the book excerpt she so graciously shared – Enjoy!

CravingBlogtour

 

My invisible friend

Did you have an imaginary friend as a child? I had an imaginary pony. She was called Flicka, and was a perfectly well-behaved palomino, unlike the bad-tempered nags I rode on Saturday mornings at the local riding school. Hey, I was seven years old. I had a vivid imagination!

21147569_s - girl with pony

 

Having an invisible friend might be fun though. Imagine it. They could sneak in to the places you couldn’t go. Your boss’s office, to see just what he does behind the closed door. To the busy kitchen of a fancy restaurant to see how frantic they really are, and why your order has taken forty-five minutes to appear.

The possibilities are endless * grin *

In Craving (Talisman #2), Dante has several invisible friends – his spirit guides.

Excerpt:

I crawled into my sleeping bag, rolled up my leather jacket for a pillow, and relaxed for the first time that day. My lids were heavy, and sleep beckoned. Then Ingrid appeared.

She looked like a small child with fair skin and blonde plaits swinging down her back. Today, she wore a white wool dress and furry boots, and a blue scarf matching the vibrant color of her eyes.

“Hello, Dante. Why are you on your own?” She perched on the table, her legs swinging back and forth. I sighed and forced myself to be polite.

“Hello, Ingrid. I called you earlier, where were you?”

She scared me. And…” The swinging stopped. She shuffled back a little, crossed her legs in front of her, and rested her chin in her tiny hands. “I didn’t feel safe.”

My hunch had been right about Screamer, aka Melissa. With luck, she wouldn’t bother coming back tomorrow night. “Why didn’t you feel safe, Munchkin?”

“I don’t know.” Blue eyes regarded me, an impish expression on her face. “Do you want to play a game? We could play something. I’m bored.”

“I’m tired, Ingrid. Do you mind if we play tomorrow, instead?”

She huffed, glared at my bike and then back at me. “He said you wouldn’t want to play. You’re no fun anymore, Dante.”

~

Craving (Talisman #2)is available 10 June 2014, from Time & Tide Publishing – Get your copy today! Here’s where you can find it:

Amazon All Romance Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Goodreads |

Time & Tide Publishing

On Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest? So is Sofia! Connect with her here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sofia.Grey.Romance.Author

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sofiagrey1/

Twitter: @SofiaGreyAuthor

 

 

 

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FOCUSED, PASSIONATE, INTENSE: MY INTERVIEW WITH TOP CHEF WINNER MICHAEL VOLTAGGIO

In January 2012, I had the honor of sitting down with the owner of ink. Restaurant, ink.sack and Top Chef champ (and fellow Frederick-tonian) Michael Voltaggio. I really wanted to re-post this piece – let’s all get our inner chef’s inspired, shall we? It’s the HOLIDAYS!!!

PS – I have the Voltaggio Brothers (yep, Michael AND Bryan!) homemade applesauce recipe..it’s SO easy to make! I’ll post it in time for Thanksgiving 🙂

 Focused, Passionate, Intense: Meet Top Chef Winner Michael Voltaggio

When entering celebrated Chef Michael Voltaggio’s new restaurant, ink., one cannot help the feeling as if interrupting a conductor who is privately guiding his orchestra through its greatest concerto. With movements that are quick and decisive it’s no wonder three words come to mind to describe Voltaggio: focused, passionate and intense.

It’s this focus, this passion and this intensity that seeps its way out of the kitchen and onto the main floor here in the home of his newest passion project. Tucked away in the corner of a non-descript brick building on famed Melrose Avenue, ink., opened in September in the heart of West Hollywood. LA’s newest eatery boasts an industrial interior with a minimalist vibe and has quickly become a must-stop for foodies and Top Chef enthusiasts alike.

When comparing ink.’s menus from one week to the next, it can be noted that a limited amount of items are part of his regular repertoire. Voltaggio prefers mixing things up weekly. Served on small plates and meant for sharing, his menu is peppered with interesting options that ring of familiar fare, yet with a culinary twist.

A dish such as the jidori chicken and waffles with hot sauce served with whipped maple syrup is his creative spin on the traditional dish of Southern fried chicken and waffles. Voltaggio also expands diner’s minds and palates by offering a kale salad tossed lightly with burrata, Asian pear, pumpkin seeds and a yuzu sauce.

Other menu items that are tempting taste buds to come out of their humdrum shells are the beef tartare that is served with horseradish snow, hearts of palm, and a sea bean chimichurri. There’s also a dish of brussels sprouts, much like a side dish served for a family dinner. Except Votaggio finishes his version with thinly sliced pig ears, house-cured lardo and apple.

As if one restaurant wasn’t enough, Voltaggio also opened a culinary sandwich shop, ink.sack, in August. In his own way, he has made the ordinary sandwich quite the opposite. The menu at ink.sack offers sandwiches such as a beef tongue Reuben and the “CLT”, his take on the traditional BLT. Voltaggio’s version has the lettuce and tomato but the similarity ends there. The “C’ is a chicken liver mousse topped with crispy chicken skin as the bacon substitute.

Voltaggio also makes sure to tip his hat to his Maryland roots, by including Maryland Crab Chips on ink.sack’s daily menu. Homemade deep-fried potato crisps dusted with Old Bay seasoning adds a new spin on the BBQ potato chip for resident Angelinos. This is definitely not your run-of-the mill sandwich shop.

Sitting down with Michael Voltaggio, you begin to understand his rise to stardom amongst other culinary favorites such as Thomas Keller or James Beard. Food enthusiasts think nothing of including his name among lists of the best. The reason?

He’s becoming one of the greats himself.

“I work the line, I cook the food, I order it, I wash the dishes if I have to. I want to be in my restaurant cooking, not be the guy that is never (there),” said Voltaggio.  “I want to focus, right now, my time in LA.”

How does he spend his time when he owns and operates not one, but two restaurants? Well, there’s a consulting gig for a to be announced project in India on the agenda and don’t forget about the cookbook, VOLTink, which he’s been on the road promoting with his brother Brian. One thing is for certain; Voltaggio’s schedule is not for the faint of heart.

In fact balance is something he finds himself struggling with on a daily basis.

“Lately, it’s been all traveling, so I really haven’t had much time to have a lot of  “fun” at all. I used to go hiking a lot. When I had time, I did things like normal people do: I’d exercise and surf, I went outside. I’d like to be able to go outside again,” he said with a grin.

In the midst of his hectic schedule, there is some light though. “I do go out to eat, I ride my Harley and I like to go to shows and concerts when I can.”

Voltaggio’s talent and passion became properly introduced when he was as a teenager, living in Frederick, Maryland, attending Thomas Johnson High School, playing football and working part-time at the Holiday Inn.

“I was in school full time, going to football practice then going to work. I think out of the whole course of my day, the part I looked forward to the most was going to work, and it wasn’t just because I was getting paid. It was fun. I was working on the line cooking food. I couldn’t wait to get there everyday.”

This education helped as he began planning his restaurant after his Top Chef win in 2009.

“I think Los Angeles is a city that has never been taken seriously as a food town. Within the past five years, (we’ve seen) this small food community start to get bigger and bigger, and grow and grow because there is a need for it. People are interested in going out to eat in LA. Food is big, but it hasn’t been as chef-driven or chef-branded.”

When asked what restaurants or nightlife he likes to imbibe in when traveling home to Frederick, Voltaggio’s grin widened as he shared, “Olde Towne Tavern and of course, I’m going to always go check out Volt.”

And where will Chef Voltaggio be in the next few years?

“Hopefully, still in LA, still running ink, maybe with a couple smaller restaurants around,” he said thoughtfully. “I missed my twenties and most likely am going to miss my thirties, so I’d really like to enjoy my forties.”

Photo credit: Alex Horner (for LA Times Magazine)

Photo credit: Alex Horner
(for LA Times Magazine)

 

 

 

Why I Love Skype….

Being a long way from home can be hard – like now. I’m currently in Wellington, New Zealand working and finishing up the next book in the Abby George Series.  It’s so pretty here, and the people are incredible….But it’s WINTER. Yes, if that confuses you, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Several of my friends have been shocked when I shared pics with them or the temperature. While most of my friends and family prep for temp’s in the 90s today, I’m in front of a fire, drinking coffee and dusting off my Uggs.

Life is good 🙂

However, I do miss my home, my family, my pets and my friends. Thank goodness Skype  – makes it so folks like myself can see those we love and get to feel like we’re “a part of” the daily life we may be missing. With that lead in, I want you to say hello to  my nephew, JW. He added a graphic to his Skype when we chatted the other day. Luckily, I grabbed this screenshot 😉

Here’s to a great weekend… and  go Skype someone YOU love today! Right now…Do it!

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 10.01.01 AM

Five Questions: Lia Davis (and a giveaway!)

Today, I’m hosting author Lia Davis on my blog! Lia’s latest book, Death’s Storm: A Divinities Novel, was released just a few weeks ago. Lia is not only the mother to two young adults and two very special kitties, but she is also a wife to her soul mate, a paranormal romance author, graphic designer, and co-owner to Fated Desires Publishing, LLC!

Um, and you thought YOU were busy?

DS2withlogoAM

 

I caught up with her long enough to ask her a few questions and to learn that she’s planning on a special giveaway that’s detailed after her interview. Read on for the book blurb, info on where to get the book and how to find Lia!!

Five Questions with Lia

 1. What inspired you to write Death’s Storm?

Death’s Storm is the second book in my Divinities series. So everything just fell into place. By the time I finished with Forgotten Visions, I know what Khloe needed to throw her off balance. And her death demon does that.

 2. When did you start writing?

I’ve always loved creative writing and making up stories since I was elementary school. It wasn’t until I started reading paranormal romance about four years ago, that I decided to dive in and start writing to be published.

3. If you had one piece of advice you could share with beginning authors, what would it be?

 Never stop writing. Write for yourself and write what you love to read. Also join a critique group.

 4. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

 I started out as a pantser, but now I’m a hybrid. LOL. I have to develop my characters and create chapter outlines before I sit down to write the story.

 5. Favorite holiday food?

 Sweets! Fudge, iced sugar cookies and other holiday treats.

 

~~ GIVEAWAY ~~

 

Lia is giving away a swag pack to two randomly chosen commenters. Please leave your email address in your comment to qualify. 

Want to keep up with Lia? Try her at any one of these places:

Author website | Fated Desires Publishing | Books Amour | Heartthrob Haven

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | G+

 

Blurb for Death’s Storm:

Technical genius and demi-goddess–aka Divinity–Khloe Bradenton relies on no one for help, and she definitely doesn’t need comfort from anyone other than her twin. After her parents died by the demons’ hands over two years ago, she has graciously stepped up to her place in the war between demons and witches. When a creature far more dangerous than the ones responsible for killing her parents claims he is her guardian, she is torn between her desires for the dark predator and the painful loss she has endured at the hands of her enemies.

 

One of the last death demons still in existence, Jagger has pledged his life to the Goddess Hecate. Charged with the guardianship over the Divinities, he is never to approach them, but to aid them from a distance. When the firestorm, Khloe, sacrifices herself to save her twin and best friend and becomes the prey, he has no choice but to reveal himself to her. He is taken by surprise when the need to claim her as his own emerges. A desire he has never felt before could be more dangerous than the demons out to destroy them.

 

Now Available at Amazon | B&N | ARe | Kobo

 

Win The Abby George Charm Bracelet! All You Need To Do Is…

RUM PUNCH REGRETS, my first full length novel,  is officially out! So, guess what I’m gonna do? I’M GOING TO GIVE SOMETHING AWAY!!! I love celebrating  – and since this is the 2nd book in the ABBY GEORGE SERIES, I’m giving away one of my  ABBY GEORGE CHARM BRACELETS – and it is gorgeous! It’s a replica of one featured in the book – it retails for $585. Handcrafted by Sevan Avakian, the amazing talent I collaborated on the Abby George Charm Series with, the ABBY GEORGE CHARM BRACELET is a Sterling Silver , one-of-a-kind, link bracelet with two charms: one is the two-bunch palm attached at the root (cool, right?) set with a Tsavorite and the other is a dainty heart set with a Ruby. I love this bracelet and I love that I get to give one away!

Best part? This is seriously going to be the easiest contest you’ve ever entered!! Now, how to do it:

1. Buy a copy of  RUM PUNCH REGRETS which is now on sale at Amazon and Barnes and Noble  – it’s available as an eBook or print!

2. Answer the questions below – the answers are found in RUM PUNCH REGRETS

3. Email your answer to contest@annekemp.com to be entered

It’s that easy!

Want a bonus entry? Buy the book AND subscribe to my blog and I’ll enter you again! See how I did that? (Trust me, you will WANT to get my updates for giveaways and fun contests!)

Want a bonus, bonus entry? Then please “LIKE” my page on FACEBOOK!

Want another bonus entry? Follow me on TWITTER!

The more you enter, the better your chances – GOOD LUCK!!

(Multiple entries into contest are only valid barring that contestant answers the question found in the novel, as the initial entry)

HERE ARE THE QUESTIONS:

1. At the beginning of Chapter Nine, what items does Abby pack for her trip to Nevis?

2. What is the “bit of island wisdom”  on Ziggy’s taxi cab that’s mentioned in Chapter One?

3. In Chapter Seven, Abby places a bet at the roulette table on what number?

4. Abby inspects Ben’s fridge in Chapter Four. Name at least three items listed that she sees.

5. At the end of Chapter Five, Ben gives Abby money to help her take a cab home. How much is it and what is the currency he uses?

And there it is! The winner will be announced on July 4th – so make sure to check back.

GOOD LUCK!

It’s Book Release Week!

This Friday, RUM PUNCH REGRETS is being released on eBook and as print-on-demand! You’ll be able to find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble (they have it for pre-sale, too!), iTunes, Kobo…soo many ways to read my fun lil’ book!

Today, I was a guest on Alexis Walker’s Happily Ever After Thoughts Blog – we did a fun interview and she’s arranged for a giveaway with one of my books. I think you may have ’til Wednesday to enter, so stop by her blog and do it!

Wednesday I’m doing a guest post on the Chick Lit Writers of the World blog, part of the RWA chapter I’m a member of. I’ll make sure to post the link once it’s up and running. I love writing at this blog for my fellow writers and sharing my stories or experiences among such an amazing and talented group of writers!

Friday is the big release (did I mention my book? RUM PUNCH REGRETS? Yes, that’s the one.) and along with it…a big announcement! There will be a giveaway and I have been bursting at the seams to share this with you for months. I can finally, FINALLY, tell you about it on Friday! All I can say is that if you buy the book and enter, you won’t be disappointed!!

There will be more giveaways on Goodreads and other fun contests, so please check back often and get your friends to join my email list here so they can take part, too.

Have a good week everyone and if you’re on vacation and pounding some rum punch? Take two aspirin and drink LOTS of water.

TRUST ME ON THIS ONE 😉

F*%k-Yeah Friday: What is Success?

I know..it’s Friday. And guess what? It’s time for MY opinion!! This week, for my first official “F*%k-Yeah Friday”,  I have a question for you…What is success?

I know, broad question, huh? Some folks define it through money, objects, trinkets and other “things”. Others will tell you that success is when they can get out of bed in the morning and make their own meal because they are so ill.  Success is subjective, it’s not something we can define as a  “get there moment”. ..Success is what matters to us – to you – at the time it’s experienced. Success is on our terms.

My personal successes have ranged from buying my first car (on my own) to landing a part a I really wanted to receiving a rejection for my book. Stop gasping. Yes..I can view rejection as success – it has taken me years to see that and LOTS of fabulous therapy, but I can.

With rejection comes the lesson…for me it was getting past the “no” part of the email or letter and then reading the other things the rejecter had to say. Sometimes people don’t want to reject something as much as we don’t want it to be rejected. And guess what? IT TOTALLY IS NOT PERSONAL! (soak this in…ok?) I know right? I feel like my eyes opened and I’m seeing the world from a different angle. It’s taken me a loooong-ass time to get that you can’t take the BS personally.

So tell me…How do you define success?

Have a good weekend you guys – look forward to hearing some answers 😉

Enjoy the Silence…

It is so quiet at my house this morning. I’m still in bed, the dog’s asleep at the end and one of the cats has snuggled in next to me. I wish I could say that I was in bed because I WANT to be…no, not the case. I’m here because the doctor has asked me to take bed rest. You see, apparently I am fighting off pnuemonia. Nice, huh?

When I say it’s quiet – well except for my hacking – it’s because last week I FIRED Time Warner. Yes. I did. I had a lot of reasons for this, one of them being I am addicted to television. I know I am, I always have been. It’s my escape. Now that I mostly work from home, it’s not a good addiction to feed. Instead of doing things I should be focusing on, I would watch another episode of “Charmed” or “90210”. Yes, I did just say those out loud. So what? Back off, ok? I’m fighting pnuemonia.

Now, being sick, I find that I miss the lull of the TV in the background, droning on but giving me company. You see, I had planned a very busy week for myself so I could not be around my “addictive” living room. Now, I am faced head-on with my decision and instead of being out of the house, flitting through life and not having to flip through channels, I am here realizing how much weight I put on having cable. Dumb huh?

A lot of this could be the meds or the sickness talking – eh. Who knows? I have some rented DVD’s for when I absolutely need to watch something. I also have the power of internet and Hulu! Yay for 2010 🙂

Most of all, I’m looking forward to just having quiet time. Maybe I’m Bohemian? Or brilliant? Hmmm…you decide 😉

Time Management. There I said it…

I need help. I really truly do.

I, Anne Kemp, the ultimate organizer and planner, is in need of someone to come assist me. I have organized the crap-oh-la out of many folks, to the point that I hear from them that they are over-organized (personally never thought that could be an issue). Yet, I cannot get my own act together to save my life.

Apparently this is a common illness among other uber-organized folks as well – We’ve been so thorough and put together for our “jobby-jobs” that we get paid the bucks for, that when we come home, we’re done. And I mean DONE. Juggling my writing, the freelance writing aspect of my career, my column and blog, the production company we are in the throes of…well, it’s all a wee bit daunting. And I still want to be a good friend and have time to go “duh” when needed. Plus there’s sleeping, exercising and eating (in order of importance).

In the past, it’s been at the point I would come home  and just stare at the wall, the dishes and the stack of bills I needed to pay and not know where to go with it all. I just could not figure out where to start! I eventually would, but no with the same “vigor” I would attack projects for clients or my bosses. It’s not that bad anymore, but now that I am totally freelancing my writing all by my big girl self, it’s a whole new set of responsibility. I have learned that I don’t have to answer my phone just because a friend is calling, and I can’t say yes to everything because I “have time”. Oh no…I really don’t have the time, because I need to be working.

I’m actually going to have to get up earlier than I thought in order to get my work-that-pays-my-bills done and also be able to concentrate on other projects (like my book!) and have a life. I guess it all feels weird because it’s like I’m an adult. Again-ish. Or maybe this is what people feel like when they have kids, this sudden wave of overwhelming responsibility. Knowing it’s all totally up to me and if I fall on my face at this point…I only have the chick in the mirror to blame.

So, my first step to claim back my “time” is to get up tomorrow at 6 AM, and by 6:30, I will be writing my fingers off. And I will plug away and work hard, as much as I don’t want to. Not trying to whine, just trying to understand when the growing up part had to start happening. I moved to LA to stay immature forever 🙂

Anyone out there have any time management suggestions they wanna share? I’ll take them!