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Thursday 10 August 2017

HOW I DISCOVERED WHAT I HAD - a guest post by Miriam Drori

Today I welcome back a dear friend and writing colleague - Miriam Drori.  Our paths first crossed five years ago, in an online workshop which went on to produce Miriam's debut novel (Neither Here Nor There) and my second one (Nice Girls Don't), both of which are published by Crooked Cat Books.

Miriam has now branched into the world of non-fiction with her new book Social Anxiety Revealed (due for publication on 22 August 2017).  I had the great pleasure of working with Miriam as editor of Social Anxiety Revealed - and, believe me, it is a book which everyone should read.

Welcome, Miriam!  Please tell us more about Social Anxiety Revealed.

Thank you, Sue!

It was over thirty years after I left school (US: grade school) vowing never to connect again with any of the girls I’d spent the past seven years with. I put my name on a social media site, a forerunner to Facebook, that reunited school friends. Friends! I thought with a humph. The only schoolfriend I remembered wasn’t on the list. Still, I added my name, not expecting anyone to contact me. Perhaps I wanted them to know that I’d done all right for myself, despite them.

Yet, one of them contacted me and I came to a decision. There was no point in continuing to communicate with her without mentioning our joint past. Surprisingly, she didn’t disappear when I brought it up. She even apologised for her past behaviour and also introduced me to another of the gang: Gill.

Gill had more time to write. We wrote every day. She asked the right questions and I was ready to open up. After a few months she told me, hesitantly because she wasn’t sure I was ready to hear it, about social anxiety. I probably wasn’t ready then, because it took a few more months for me to look up the term. That was when I realised that social anxiety was a thing, and that it included everything I’d been writing to her about. I joined a forum for people with social anxiety and took a group therapy course.

Then the tables were turned, somewhat. I realised Gill carried a lot of guilt for the way she’d treated me all those years before. I tried to assure her that I didn’t blame her at all. I told her she was only a girl who didn’t know any better at the time, and that I didn’t see the lovely, kind woman she had become as the same person as the girl I knew once. I don’t think I succeeded.

My new book, Social Anxiety Revealed, released on August 22, explains all the aspects of social anxiety. It has been created by a lot of people who know much more than they’d like to about social anxiety. It is dedicated to Gill, someone I’m now proud to be able to call my friend.

In a later guest post, on Jennifer Wilson’s blog, I write about the process of coming out about social anxiety.  In the meantime, you can find out a little more about me - and the book - on YouTube, by clicking here.

About Miriam

Miriam Drori is the author of a romance, Neither Here Nor There, and co-author of The Women Friends: Selina, the first in a series of novellas based on a painting by Gustav Klimt. She is married with three adult children and enjoys folk dancing, hiking, touring and reading.

Miriam sees the publication of Social Anxiety Revealed as an important step in fulfilling an ambition that began in about 2003: to raise awareness of a condition that’s very common yet little known.
Miriam has struggled with social anxiety for the past fifty years, although for thirty-five of those years, she didn’t even know the name of it or that a name existed. Only recently has she come to the conclusion that she shouldn’t have been struggling at all, but rather making friends with it.

In order to introduce this book and as a place for discussions with readers, Miriam has begun a blog that’s devoted solely to the topic of social anxiety: Everyone is welcome to visit and comment.

Miriam Drori can be found all over the Internet, including Miriam’s website and blog, a blog devoted to social anxiety, Facebook author page and Twitter.

Social Anxiety Revealed will be available from Amazon from August 22 in paperback and ebook formats.

Wednesday 2 August 2017

SHADES OF GRAY - An interview with Aimee Brown

Today's guest is the fabulous Aimee Brown, whose debut novel Little Gray Dress is published today by Crooked Cat Books.  I had the pleasure of working with Aimee as editor of this  book - and believe me, it is an amazing story.

Welcome, Aimee!

What prompted you to first start writing? What was the first thing you wrote?
I decided to do NaNoWriMo in November of 2016. That really pushed me forward. I got the idea for a bad bridesmaid dress in my head one night and sat down to start writing. I promised myself I’d write 2500-5000 words a day and somehow, I did!

Can you summarise your latest work in just a few words?
Weddings, Engagements, and Mean Girls (… oh my!)

What was the inspiration for this book?
I have always been obsessed with weddings which are what inspired all the weddings. But I also am a huge fan of quick moving romantic comedies. It’s just what comes out when I sit to write so it was pretty expected when that was the direction the story went.

Did you do any research for the book?
I did! Most of the research was done on areas of Portland that I needed quick reminders of as I wrote. I did some research on a few of the ‘Romanian’ aspects of the story. I did research weddings, bridesmaids dresses, and similar things. Mostly, though, I wrote what I already knew, the things in life that are familiar to me.

What does a typical writing day involve for you?
No day is the same for me. I have 3 teenagers, 3 dogs, 3 cats, a tank full of fish, a husband, house, small business and SO much to do that I really just sit and write whenever I find the time or when the mood strikes. Sometimes that’s first thing in the morning and sometimes it’s the middle of the night when insomnia strikes.

How do you decide on the names for your characters?
I love doing name searches and I seem to always fall in love with the older names. The ones you don’t hear every day. Esmeralda is a name that I’ve always actually liked but knew it was a tad too long to use throughout the book so, Emi was born (although in hindsight I kind of wish I’d spelled it as Esme). I also have always loved the name, Jack. It seems modern yet is so old school. And had I thought of it when I had my last son that would probably be his name. It’s funny that I didn’t even put two and two together that I have a paternal grandfather named Jack (short for Jackie) because I always just called him ‘Grandpa’! Sadly, he passed recently so now it’s kind of become a tribute to him. Besides those two, I just went with a name and created a character based on what that name portrayed personality wise in my head.

Do you plot your novels in advance, or allow them to develop as you write?
There is definitely no plotting going on in advance. I’m a total panster. I try to come up with a good opening and from there the characters seem to write the story for me. Which is good and bad as they often don’t go in the direction I think they may go. LOL

Which writers have influenced your own writing?
So many, especially the chick-lit legends! Sophie Kinsella, Meg Cabot, Janet Evanovich, Emily Giffin, Candace Bushnell, and so many indie authors that I’d hate to list them out and forget someone!

What has been the best part of the writing process…and the worst?
The best is definitely getting to know my characters while creating their story. It’s like I’ve created my own group of friends and now that I don’t spend every day with them, I miss them! To me, Emi, Lily, Jack, Liam, Evan, Hannah, Amelia and even Greta are a part of my everyday life. I constantly wonder what they’re up to, before realizing they can be ‘up to’ whatever I want!

Now the book is published and ‘out there’ how do you feel?
It’s a little nervewracking! LOL, As much as I love all the amazing feedback from readers it’s still so odd to me that they’re talking about MY book! I mean, I knew I loved it, but I wasn’t prepared to have others love it as much as I do. I’m kind of looking forward to that first terrible review to feel as though I’ve really ‘made it’. (if I keep telling myself that maybe that’s how I’ll actually feel! LOL) I truly want everyone to love it though as I think being my first book it will always be really close to my heart.

Is there a message for the reader? 
Nobody is perfect. We all have body issues and self-esteem issues. We aren’t all a perfect size 2 who always says the right thing. We all overthink things and have major life-altering misunderstandings in life. We are stubborn and very rarely do the right thing at the right time. I really don’t have a ‘lesson’ for readers besides to bring them realistically flawed, loveable characters and a story that hopefully will leave them with that ‘I’ll miss these guys’ kind of feeling after they’ve closed the book.

Do you have any advice for new writers?
UGH! So many! Even though I’m a brand new author I feel like I’ve learned SO much throughout this process. It’s taken me 10 years to get a complete story finished. The one thing that really sticks out to me though is to just write. Who cares if the first draft is total shit. Mine was! (even my second, if I'm completely honest, had a lot of flaws – as you know, you were my editor!) It’s much easier to ‘fix’ a story that has issues than to create a new story while trying to be perfect from the starting gate.

What can we expect from you in the future?
I am working on a couple of things right now- both I hope to be released in 2018.

One is an equally funny, fast moving, romantic comedy novel, that may or may not include a character from Little Gray Dress.  It’s being written as a stand alone so the main character is brand new and I think you’ll LOVE her! I know she keeps me in giggles most of the time I’m writing her scenes.

The second is a chick-lit/cozy mystery that takes place in a vintage Tiki Bar. It’s fun, romantic and has a mystery that even Nancy Drew would love.

Little Gray Dress 

Emi Harrison has avoided her ex-fiancĂ©, Jack Cabot, for nearly two years.  Her twin brother Evan's wedding is about to end that streak.

From bad bridesmaids' dresses, a hyperactive sister-in-law, a mean girl with even meaner secrets, and too much to drink, nothing seems to go right for Emi, except when she's wearing her little gray dress.

When she speed-walks into Liam Jaxon's bar, things get more complicated.  He's gorgeous, southern, and has no past with Emi.  He may be exactly what she needs to prove for the last time that she doesn't need or want Jack!

Her favorite little gray dress has made an appearance at nearly every major event in Emi's adult life.  Will it make another grand appearance when she least expects it?

Buy the Book:

Amazon US: ebook $2.99  print $9.99
Amazon UK: ebook £1.99  print £6.99
Barnes & Noble: print $9.99
BookPeople: print $9.99
Ingram: print
Baker & Taylor: print $9.99


Aimee Brown is a writer and an avid reader.  Little Gray Dress is her first published novel.  Her second novel is in the works now.  She's currently studying for her Bachelor's degree in English Writing.  She spends much of her time writing, doing homework, raising three teenagers, binge-watchng shows on Netflix, and obsessively cleaning and redecorating her house.  She's fluent in sarcasm and has been known to utter profanities like she's competing for a medal.

Aimee grew up in Oregon but is now a transplant living in cold Montana with her husband of twenty years, three teenage children, and far too many pets.

She would love to hear your thoughts on Little Gray Dress!  If you'd like to chat with her she's very active on social media.  You can find her at any of the networks below.  Stop by and say hello!

Find her here:

What reviewers are saying:

"A sparkling debut from an author to be watched." - USA Today Bestselling author S.E.Babin

"Delightful debut novel!  This book has all the earmarks of a fabulous rom-com!  I'm looking forward to much more from this author.! - Whitney Dineen, Bestselling author of The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan

"Wow!  It's Dynasty for the Chick Lit set.  It's Mean Girls in a little gray dress.  It's just so fun!" - Geralyn Corcillo, Bestselling chick lit author

"Little Gray Dress by Aimee Brown is simply a fun read to escape with while spending a day at the beach or cozying up on the couch on a rainy afternoon." - Effie Kammenou, women's fiction author & food blogger

"Little Gray Dress is a must read for any lover of Chick Lit!  Clear your schedule, put the kids to bed and pour yourself a nice glass of wine..." - Nikki LeClair, author of The Haunting Me series

"Witty & full of heart... a total gem!" - Camilla Isley, chick lit author

"Blogger turned author Aimee Brown debuts with a read that puts the romance into romantic comedy.  A cleverly told tale with a few surprising twists that make Little Gray Dress a standout winner." - KJ Farnham, author of the Click Date Repeat series

"Little Gray Dress is a fabulous romantic comedy debut by Aimee Brown.  She'll have you laughing & enjoying every moment of this book." - Tracy Krimmer, author of Dating For Decades and Lipstick & Lattes

"We've all been there: bridesmaid hell.  Aimee Brown perfectly captures the ups, downs, and drama of weddings, exes, rivalries and dating in her witting debut novel.  Little Gray Dress is one of this summer's must-reads!" - Holly Tierney-Bedord, author of Bellamy's Redemption and Right Under Your Nose

"A wonderful debut novel!  The author is a master of conflict, both small and big, and I'm a big fan of that.  The characters were likeable, except for when we were supposed to hate them (Greta!)." - Meredith Schorr, author of Blogger Girl Series