Saturday, March 31, 2012

Q&A With Donna Fasano

Award Winning Romance Writer

QBR: Who would you like your readers to know you are? 

Donna: I’d like to offer a sweet, slick response and say I consider myself a polished and professional writer, but that would be a bold face lie (I’m chuckling as I type this and I hope my readers are, too). First and foremost, I’m a wife, mother, sister, aunt, loyal friend and avid volunteer who lends a hand, a strong back, a shoulder to lean on, a listening ear and anything else those I love might need. It just so happens that I was blessed with the ability to create characters and stories that readers have found entertaining, and I am appreciative of this gift of Muse (or amusing gift, as it most often turns out to be) that I’ve been given.

QBR: When did you first know that you wanted to write? What inspired you to start?

Donna: My husband deserves all the blame for this one! Most authors know from very early in their lives that they are destined to write. I came to writing through my love of reading. I’ve had my nose in a book since I was a kid. When my youngest child started school and I was considering taking a part-time job, my husband looked at the piles of books sitting around our house and said, “You’ve read enough of these; why don’t you try writing one?” I thought he was nuts! But he planted a seed that sprouted and grew.

QBR: How did you come up with the premise for The Merry-Go-Round?  

Donna: At first, all I knew was that I wanted to write on the subject of divorce. But I wanted to create a divorce story that was different from what I had ever read in the past. I knew I wanted to begin with the actual divorce proceedings, and then I wanted to set my protagonist’s world spinning until she didn’t know which end was up. I can only hope I succeeded.

QBR: What is your creative process for determining the final title and cover for your novels?

Donna: I love the cover of The Merry-Go-Round! However, cover design is the very first thing a reader sees. And it is clear from my sales figures that my current cover isn’t wowing readers. So after a year of being an independent author, I’m finding that marketing and book cover design are not my strongest talents. It’s been suggested to me that The Merry-Go-Round needs a lighter, more amusing cover, so I am working with a professional illustrator and hope to have new cover art for the book soon.

QBR: Any advice to those who hold the dream of becoming an author?

Donna: Read. Read novels that have found critical acclaim and try to figure out why those books are a success. Read authors whose books have flopped and try to figure out why. Read books written by authors at various stages of their careers and see if you can perceive if/how the authors have grown in their craft. So much can be learned by reading the work of other authors.

QBR: Are you working on anything new that you'd like to share?

Donna: I am currently formatting the first eleven romance novels that I wrote for Harlequin/Silhouette. I wrote those books under the pen name of Donna Clayton and I’ve recently acquired the publication rights. These books are emotion-packed, sweet romances that are suitable for readers between the ages of 15 and 105. These books won awards for me and got my name on series best-seller lists. Some of my books are available for Kindle, Kobo, and other e-readers. Some are only available for Kindle. My titles: Mountain Laurel, Taking Love in Stride, The Merry-Go-Round, Return of the Runaway Bride, An Accidental Family, His Wife for a While, and Nanny and the Professor.

QBR: You’ve added some fun and very relevant quotes to the book. What are some of your favorites?

Donna: This is a book about one woman’s quest for a divorce, but it’s also the story of her life realization. Just like a merry-go-round, the tale spins into an unusual love story that’s filled with a wonderful, quirky cast of characters. I really had fun with the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. A couple of my favorites are:

“I got gaps. You got gaps. We fill each other’s gaps.” ~Rocky Balboa

Simple but sweet, and oh, so true! Couples fit together like puzzle pieces; where one party is lacking, the other ‘fills the gaps’. I have taken to using this quote in wedding and anniversary cards. People get a kick out of it.

“I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” ~Rita Rudner

Doesn’t this quote just make you smile? Every person who has spoken those vows knows how much work marriage takes, but sometimes you have to look at the humorous side of spending every day of your life with that one special person.


Donna's website/blog:

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**Comment below for a chance to win one of Donna's books. The author has offered to gift one Kindle book of the winner's choice.

Monday, March 19, 2012

New Facebook Timeline

Some Helpful Hints

Since we're all going to be forced into the timeline by March 30th, I thought I'd better look it over and see if I can figure this whole thing out. Yes, it looks fancy and visual, but it also looks cluttered and confusing. Let's start with some basics. 

First, when you come to the page with the new layout, it will look something like this. Photos, likes and apps are now at the top of your Page. Photos show in the first spot, but admins can change the order of everything else so sometimes you might see "likes" or "Top Fans" and other times it might be "blog" or some other added feature.

If you notice the red circle around the word "highlights" that is a drop down menu. The page will automatically come up showing all posts by admin, but in this menu you can change your view to see posts by friends or posts by others. Each time you return to the page it will return back to posts by the admin.
Note: If you want to see reviews from fans you'll need to switch the view to posts by others or scan the box in the right side column marked "recent posts by others..." see below for more on this.

The left side column will be posts by QBR. Once you scroll down you can still hit "more recent posts" to see more. The right side column starts with any page "shoutouts" and then shows a list of recent posts by QBR fans. So this is another way you can click on posts and see what others have shared including reviews. Once you get through those type of updates on the right it switches to posts from the page so they will alternate (left to right) going down the page.
The two circles indicate tiny arrows that show the order of the post (like on a timeline). So if you see something on the right side that is a box only then, that is probably an update and not a post. As you scroll you'll see boxes with arrows and those are posts.

The timeline will take some getting used to but I think we'll all survive and learn to work with it. This is still new to me so I'll try to add more info here as I use the page and learn more features. Feel free to post questions below or to the QBR wall. 

Thanks for sticking with us through the change.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

HAPPY 50TH BIRTHDAY (Special Top 10 edition)


In 1962 the world may not have known how memorable and influential the following novels were or would become. This year they celebrate 50 years of entertaining and inspiring readers.

A dystopian novella by Anthony Burgess. A terrifying tale about good and evil and the meaning of human freedom, A Clockwork Orange became an instant classic when it was published and has remained so ever since. Brilliantly told in harsh invented slang by the novel’s main character and merciless droog, fifteen-year-old Alex.

The story begins with a small bug, named Van Vleck, yawning. This yawn spreads (as yawns are terribly contagious) and then the book follows various creatures, including the Foona Lagoona Baboona, the Collaspable Frink, the Chippendale Mupp, The Oft, and the Krandles, throughout the lands who are sleeping, or preparing to sleep. A Warning is printed on the inside cover of the book: "this book is to be read in bed" as it is intended to put children to sleep.

This novel was written by Ken Kesey. Set in an Oregon asylum. The novel was adapted into a Broadway play by Dale Wasserman in 1963 and then into a film (one of my personal favorites) in 1975 film which won five Academy Awards. Time Magazine included the novel in its "100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005” list.

A fantasy/horror novel by Ray Bradbury written about two 13-year-old boys, Jim Nightshade and William Halloway. They have a harrowing experience with a nightmarish traveling carnival that comes to their Midwestern town one October. The novel was adapted in 1983 for a Disney film in which Bradbury was the screenwriter.

Island was the final book by English writer Aldous Huxley, and is the account of Will Farnaby, a cynical journalist who is shipwrecked on the fictional island of Pala. Island is Huxley's utopian counterpart to his most famous work, the 1932 novel Brave New World. He wrote the novel in poor health after being diagnosed with laryngeal cancer.

This Science Fiction novel as written by Madeleine L'Engle. The story revolves around a young girl whose father, a government scientist, has gone missing after working on a mysterious project called a tesseract. The book won a Newbery Medal, Sequoyah Book Award, and Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, and was runner-up for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Standard reading in many sixth-grade classrooms.

This was written by Helen Gurley Brown, as an advice book that encouraged women to become financially independent and experience sexual relationships before or without marriage. The book sold 2 million copies in 3 weeks and made The Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Time bestseller lists.

This is the ninth novel in Ian Fleming's James Bond series. It is the shortest and most sexually explicit of Fleming's novels, as well as a clear departure from previous Bond novels in that the story is told in the first person by a young Canadian woman, Vivienne Michel. Bond himself does not appear until two thirds of the way through the book. Fleming wrote a prologue to the novel giving Michel credit as a co-author.

This a work of detective fiction by top selling English language author Agatha Christie. One minute, silly Heather Babcock had been babbling on at her movie idol, the glamorous Marina Gregg. The next, Heather suffered a massive seizure, poisoned by a deadly cocktail. It seems likely that the cocktail was intended for the beautiful actress.

This is author James Jones's fictional account of the World War II Galloping Horse portion of the Battle of Mount Austen. The story focuses on a number of characters and their differing reactions to combat. The novel has been adapted for motion pictures twice, first in 1964 and then in Terrence Malick's 1998 adaptation.

*What other classics celebrate birthdays this year? Feel free to comment below with books you feel deserve some recognition.

**If you’d like to participate in QBR’s Top 10 List guest blogs, head to the fanpage and sign up in the Notes section.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Birth of a Wizard by MJ Schutte

Guest Review by QBR fan Angie
My 5 star review for "Birth of a Wizard" by MJ Schutte

Since I finished "Energy," the first book in this series, I couldn't wait for the next book to be released. Now that I've finished reading "Birth of a Wizard", I'm once again in awe of this author's remarkable ability to take the reader on an extraordinary adventure that will have you feeling as though you were part of something big.

"Birth of a Wizard" is the second book in the Energy Chronicles, and it leaves no room for disappointment. It picks up where it left off in "Energy," the first book in this series. Again, as in the first book, this is a fast-paced epic fantasy adventure that catapults the reader into a beautiful world created by the author in which to escort the reader on an unforgettable journey into the lives of Brighton and Lilian and their companions.

Prepare to have yourself pushed across the boundaries of your imagination in a story full of unexpected twists, hold-your-breath suspense; and falling in love with characters that will stay in your mind long after you've finished the book. Exciting new characters are also introduced in this instalment of the Energy Chronicles, such as elves and the moon people. Mischief, the beloved black panther from the first book in this series, makes his reappearance in "Birth of a Wizard," to add to the butt-kicking action this author writes so well.

MJ Schutte paints his characters realistically and passionately. You'll easily laugh, cry, smile and cheer along with them, just as much as your heart will break at their loss. This magnificently written book will leave you breathless in anticipation of the last book in this trilogy. Here is one exciting journey you don't want to miss out on. Whether you're a fan of this genre or not, I can assure you, you will find something in this story that will appeal to your taste. I highly recommend this magical read to young and old alike. It will leave you wanting more!

Available for:
Birth of a Wizard (The Energy Chronicles: Book II)
Birth of a Wizard: The Energy chronicles: Book II
Barnes and Noble