Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Where Would You Like Your Nipple?

I'm truly honored to welcome Mackenzie Crowne, a down-to-earth, witty, intelligent woman affectionately known as Mac. She's not only a fellow author, but also a wife, mother, and grandmother who has faced many challenges, most especially breast cancer. Mac fought the disease with everything she had and is now a cancer survivor who has written an incredible book -- WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR NIPPLE? She's here to celebrate the release of her book and possibly inspire every woman (and man) to do those breast checks, to get those mammograms, and to pay attention to any irregularities.

Welcome, Mac!

 I love the description on the front of your book: Navigating the Breast Cancer Abyss with Humor and Hope. Can you tell us a little bit about this amazing book?

Thanks so much for allowing me to visit today, Jan and for spotlighting such an important subject. Hmm. Let's see. The description of "Nipple" is my perception of my battle with breast cancer. The call delivering the diagnosis left me standing at the edge of a gaping chasm with no idea how I could possibly reach the other side and victory. But really, what choice did I have? Life is precious and I want to experience every moment I can. So, after freaking out for about a week, I set out on a journey. I have to say, I felt like Frodo in Lord of the Rings much of the time, but each trial, mastectomies, chemo, radiation, brought me close to the other side of the abyss, to victory.

It takes a lot of strength and courage to battle that frightening monster of an illness and to share the experience. Where did you find the most strength?

I wouldn't call it strength so much, but desperation,stubborness and belief. First and foremost, I relied on my faith. Life can become overwhelming at times, and not just when you are facing a battle like breast cancer. As a child runs to a parent when their world spirals out of control, I turn to God to find peace in life's storms. I spent many an hour in His spiritual lap over the course of treatment. I also had a tremendous support system in my family and friends. They were there for me every time I cried out, and quite a few times when I hadn't. Lastly, I was freakily lucky to find a slot with the top doctors in the Phoenix area for surgery, plastic surgery and oncology. How can you fail when you're working with the best?

If you could give women (and men) one piece of advice what would it be?

For those who have been diagnosed, take a deep breath and have faith. The medical community has made some incredible strides recently and new discoveries are being made every day. This battle sucks but it's doable. Don't give up. And for those who haven't been diagnosed, be diligent in prevention and early detection. You know your body best and while self-exams may seem simple, they have the ability to not only save your life, but make your battle infinitely less debilitating by catching the cancer early.

In your book, you refer to Psalm 91:4 that says it all. It brought me to tears. Would you mind sharing those incredible words?

While I am a Christian, I'm not a particularly religious person. Rather, my faith is very personal and strictly between me and God. I'm not one of those people who quotes scripture but I do have a Bible and occasionally a verse will jump out with a private message just for me. For those of you who haven't read Nipple, my sister and I were diagnosed with breast cancer within a month of each other and early on in our respective treatments, we discovered we had both been directed to Psalm 91. In it's entirety, the verse speaks of doing battle and coming out victorious, but for me, it was all about 91:4. He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge. Let me tell you, those words were like a giant hug from God and during the worst of times, with my family gathered around me in support, I found refuge with the feathers He provided.

Mac, in your book you talk about keeping a journal. Would you like to say a bit about that?

Actually, I'd never kept a journal before, but while waiting for the diagnosis, which I pretty sure I already knew, I NEEDED to talk to my dad. He had passed away a few years earlier, and I missed him so much at that moment that I sat down and wrote him a letter. I wrote him many more over the course of the next few weeks and those letters eventually became the format for my journal. I spilled out my fears and weaknesses to the best man I have ever known and I swear I hear his voice and felt his boundless love when I needed them so badly. I also shared the bizarre incidents that seemed to happen on a daily basis -- like the day I was asked when I would like to start chemo. Hello - never! And when I finally found myself on the other side of the abyss, celebrating victory as the survivor I'd worked to become, I discovered Dad and I produced a sort of emotional guide to getting there. Where Would You Like Your Nipple is based on my journal, and includes several of those letters.

With your book, you've shared a lot of wisdom and eye-opening information. I think it's a must-read for everyone. Can you share a link or links for those who would like to check it out?

It would be my pleasure "Nipple" is available in digital format and print. You can also find the links at my home on the web www.mackenziecrowne.com .

One last thing, Mac, in the Acknowledgments of your book you give thanks to the talented artist that did a great job on your cover, but you also mention a documentation project "Faces of Courage". Would you like to share information about that?

Most definitely. Isn't the cover gorgeous? As I tried to do in the book, it projects hope in the midst of despair. The name of the cover image is Open Heart and this past weekend I had the thrilling opportunity to meet both the model - an eleven year survivor, and the artist, Lisa Scholder. Lisa has a heart for survivors. She's an incredible woman and artist who assists survivors in discovering the beauty of their altered bodies through her body painting art. She's currently sharing her talents, working with Faces of Courage, a non-profit raising funds to provide camp getaways for cancer and blood disease patients and their families, on their Bodies of Courage project. You can learn more about Lisa and Faces of Courage at their websites.

www.lisascholder.com  and www.bodiesofcourage.org

Mac, I would like to offer heartfelt thanks for being on my blog but also for writing this book. Also, if you wouldn't mind sharing the titles and links to the other books you've written, that would be awesome.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to visit with you today, Jan. And I'd love to share the info on my other books. I'm a romance writer at heart, as you know.

Gift of the Realm is a modern fantasy romance set in Ireland ~ available at The Wild Rose Press  and Amazon .

That Dating Thing is a contemporary romance in the midst of Wall Street greed ~ available at Still Moments Publishing  and  Amazon .

And coming this fall, The Billionaire's Con, another contemporary from Still Moments. Publishing.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Next Best Thing! (blog hop)

I've been tagged by Julia Hughes in The Next Big Thing blog hop! Thanks, Julia!

Today, I'd like to say a few words about my part of a Christmas anthology that was recenty released - THREE WISE MEN. Three sweet, heartwarming stories that will make you smile or perhaps sniff back a tear or two. The anthology is about three men who need to wise up to find love: Alex, Nick, and Evan. Nancy Ricker wrote about Alex, Laura Ricker picked Evan, and I chose Nick -- tall, handsome, scowling Nick.

Bar owner, Nick Barstow had his heart broke three years ago at Christmastime and hasn't moved on. Every December he pastes on a scowl and it remains in place until the New Year. He knows it's a stupid way to deal with the heartache, but hey, it works for him...until this year. As a favor to a friend, but against his better judgment, he hires Macy Williams who quickly changes the dynamics of the bar. She also seems hell-bent on fixing what ails Nick. He wants her gone, until he realizes that he...wants her.

What is the working title of your book?

Three Wise Men!

Where did the idea come from?

The thought of doing a Christmas anthology was exciting. Since I write romance, I pictured three hunky heroes. The title came soon after.

What genre does your book fall under? 

Contemporary romance.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

For Nick, Ryan Reynolds! For Macy, Meg Ryan!

What is the once-sentence synopsis of your book?

For the anthology: Three men who need to wise up to find love.
For Nick's story: Will Nick give his attraction for Macy a chance, or will the muck of heartache keep him anchored in the past?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

We decided to self-publish.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I think we decided at the beginning of August to do this project with a target date of October 1. I was almost finished writing Three Days With Molly, so I had to put off my story about Nick until the first part of September -- although I had a ton of notes about where I wanted Nick's story to go. After I finished with Three Days With Molly, I went full-throttle with Nick. So I think the first draft was finished the third week of September, with the final draft being completed by October 1. Whew!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I truly don't have an answer for this question. I think Nick's story is unique, although it does have bits of humor like my other books do.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I love the Christmas season and wanted to write a book about finding love at that magical time of year.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

Regarding the anthology, I think the surprise in Alex's story would definitely clinch their interest. In Evan's story, the excitement of first love would be a sure draw. In Nick's story, I think the bar setting gives it an unusual twist. He's the sole owner and lone employee until Macy enters the picture. Everything in his life changes and he's not too thrilled since he's grown accustomed to the comfort of the rut he's in. Macy takes him out of his comfort zone right away.

Spoiler alert! The heroes in this anthology are all very different, especially in their ages. If you'd like to check out Alex, Nick, and Evan, you can find them at:

Amazon --   http://www.amazon.com/Three-Wise-Men-ebook/dp/B009PSAPR6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1350274133&sr=8-3&keywords=nancy+ricker

Barnes and Noble -- http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/three-wise-men-nancy-ricker/1113467504?ean=2940015573558


Friday, October 12, 2012

Cover reveal for THREE WISE MEN!

I recently teamed up with authors, Nancy Ricker and Laura Ricker, to do a Christmas Anthology! We titled it: THREE WISE MEN and we wanted to share the amazing cover with you!

Thank you, Deborah - with Tugboat Design for another great cover!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


This blog post is part of THE NEXT BIG THING and I was nominated by Melodie Ramone . Thanks, Melodie, for tagging me for this fun blog hop!

Today, I'd like to talk about my latest release, THREE DAYS WITH MOLLY! The story of country-rock star, Finn Riley and lawyer aide, Molly Williams was a fun story to write! Finn, a self-proclaimed 'heartless bastard' is about to embark on a summer concert tour and he's in dire need of a personal assistant to cook and clean for him. Molly Williams and her lawyer boss are stressed to the breaking point. Out of the clear blue, the boss gifts Molly with three months off with pay while he heads to the Caribbean for a breather. Molly's friend hooks her up as Finn's assistant. Trouble brews the second she steps on the tour bus!

Here are the list of questions for The Next Big Thing, and my answers:

What is the working title of your book?

Three Days With Molly!

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I thought it would be fun to throw two characters together in close quarters to see if they would fall in love or kill each other. A tour bus seemed like a good choice.

What genre does your book fall under?

Definitely contemporary romance, but it's so much more: humor, spice, comedy, and love!

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

When I started writing Three Days With Molly I saw country singer, Jerrod Niemann, as Finn Riley. Since the question is which actor... hmm...maybe Bradley Cooper.

As Molly, hands down it would be Anne Hathaway!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Can two work-aholics with trust issues lighten up long enough to follow their hearts, or will they kill each other before the summer concert tour is over?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I've self-published Three Days With Molly!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I started this story on May 1, 2012 and published September 12, 2012 - My first draft was done somewhere in between. I have no specific date, but I would say early August.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I think my books favor Jenny Crusie's books. Her books are funny and have quirky characters. I'd like to think mine are the same.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

When I get an idea, I tuck it in a folder. After I complete one book, I'm looking for the next one to write. A quick search of the folder produced the scrap piece of paper with notes about falling in love on a tour bus.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

I think it would be the unusual situations that Finn and Molly find themselves in. Even though the main stage of the story is a tour bus, everything doesn't take place there. I also think the secondary characters are a fun addition to the story.

If you'd like to read Finn and Molly's story, you can find Three Days With Molly on both Amazon  http://www.amazon.com/Three-Days-With-Molly-ebook/dp/B0099SDQMS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349195836&sr=8-1&keywords=three+days+with+molly and also on Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/three-days-with-molly-jan-romes/1112878875

Thanks again, Melodie Ramone!

I'd like to tag the following people to keep this fun blog hop going:

Sharon Saracino

Debra Burroughs

Denise Moncrief

Kevin Rau

Joya Fields