Friday, January 6, 2012

Cozy Guest Friday: Liz Flaherty + Giveaway

Welcome, Cozies, to our first Cozy Guest Friday of the year! I’m pleased to welcome author Liz Flaherty, whose latest novel, One More Summer, will be released this month from Carina Press….

Grace has taken care of her widowed father her entire adult life and the ornery old goat has finally died. She has no job, no skills and very little money, and has heard her father's prediction that no decent man would ever want her so often she accepts it as fact.

But she does have a big old house on Lawyers Row in Peacock, Tennessee. She opens a rooming house and quickly gathers a motley crew of tenants - Promise, Grace's best friend since kindergarten, who's fighting cancer; Maxie, an aging soap opera actress who hasn't lost her flair for the dramatic; Jonah, a sweet gullible old man with a crush on Maxie.

And Dillon, Grace's brother's best friend, who stood her up on the night of her senior prom and has regretted it ever since. Dillon rents Grace's guest house for the summer and hopes to make up for lost time and past hurts - but first, he'll have to convince Grace that she's worth loving...

Stay tuned for a sneak peak from One More Summer! For now, we go now to our Cozy correspondent, Tink, who is still sharing Captain Jack’s quarters on the Black Pearl somewhere in the Carribbean.... Take it away, Tink….

*a chorus of “Yo Ho Ho, and a Bottle of Rum”*

Tink: Arrr, maties, and hello from the Bermuda Triangle! As you can see by the patch, I have been officially inducted into Captain Jack’s crew. They call me Red-Handed Tink, aka Mrs. Jack Sparrow :)
Liz, it’s good to have you aboard! We’ll put one of the hands to work on getting us a round of drinks. If you were a mixed drink what would you be and why?

Liz: I would be a strawberry frozen margarita. Because (1), I’ve gotten girly in my dotage, (2) I’m as sweet as I can be J and (3) I can kick ass if the occasion calls for it.

Tink: If you were stranded on a desert island and could bring only one of each of the following…what would they be? Person? Song? Book?

Liz: Person would have to be my husband. We’ve been together for two thirds of my life and I don’t want to go to any islands without him, no matter how crazy we might drive each other. The song would have to be “It Is Well With My Soul” because even if I were not religious, the lyrics would offer comfort and quiet if I needed it. Book. Is a fully-loaded Kindle cheating? If it is, I’ll go for Kathleen Gilles Seidel’s Till the Stars Fall simply because it is that good and I’m due to read it again.

Tink: What would be the name of your pet gourd?

Liz: Felix. Because he looks like a Felix to me.

Tink: Now for a bit about your book. If you wrote to music, what would be this book’s theme song?

Liz: I have never, ever thought about this. “Amazing Grace” was the first thing that came to mind simply because the heroine is Grace and I think she’s amazing, but that’s just too…easy, and neither the book nor Grace fit. Wait, I know! There’s a song on an old favorite exercise video called, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” There are huge mountains of pain in the book—how Grace and Dillon cross those mountains is the story.

Tink: What are the first words your hero speaks to your heroine (or vice versa)?

Liz:  Grace says, “Dillon, you’re late.” His to her were, “The cats wanted in.”

Tink: Would you define your hero as an alpha or a beta? Why?

Liz: If I had to pigeonhole him, I guess I’d say beta with closet alpha tendencies. He’d never start a fight and would try to talk himself out of one, but he’d still be the last guy standing. And he’d still be talking.

Tink: Does your hero prefer to wear boxers, briefs, a kilt? Or commando? ;)

Liz: Briefs. White ones.

Tink: What is your heroine’s idea of the perfect date?

Liz: One where she doesn’t have to dress up or wear makeup. She’d a whole lot rather just stay home and eat pizza.

Tink: What is your favorite thing about each character?

Liz: Grace is the best friends anyone could have. Friendship is the one relationship that—I think anyway—is as important when you’re 80 as it was when you were eight, and Grace is good at it.

Dillon is a good friend, too, and he’s funny, and he’s a loving man who doesn’t pretend not to be.

Tink: More seriously, what was your biggest challenge crafting this story or these characters?

Liz: I have a tendency, not just in this book but in all the ones I’ve written, to make everyone sound too much alike. Since I can see and hear the differences, I expect readers (and editors) to be able to as well. It’s always a challenge to me to not just tell about their differences but show them, too.

Tink: Now for a more in-depth look at the author… I will now ask you a round of nosy and nonsensical questions developed by Bernard Peevo and used by James Lipton on Inside the Actor’s Studio…. Brace yourself J

What’s your favorite word? Least favorite?

Liz: My favorite word is joy. My least favorite, and I do apologize for this, is the f-bomb. When I was a kid and even thinking it would bring on the threat of soap in my mouth, it was good to have a word that was reserved for the truly awful—we no longer have one; it’s just become an annoying part of conversation. It doesn’t offend me; I just don’t like it.

Tink: What sound or noise do you love? Hate?

Liz: I love the sound of kids’ laughter—or nearly anyone else’s, for that matter. I can’t stand mindless whistling, though I can’t explain why.

Tink: What’s your favorite curse word?

Liz: Son of a bitch.

Tink: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

Liz: A travel writer.

Tink: What profession would you not like to participate in?

Liz: Politics.

Tink: Now for a sneak peak from One More Summer….

"This is supposed to be a prom.” Dillon pushed aside his dessert plate. He gestured toward the backyard. “The dance floor waits.”

Grace got to her feet. “Remember how fragile these glass slippers are.”

He nudged one of her bare feet with the toe of his sandal. “Damn near invisible too. Isn’t technology something?”

Dillon and Steven had placed citronella torches in the yard, and the scent of the oil blended with that of the flowers. The Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” filled the air and Dillon put his arms around Grace’s waist. Gently, not pulling her close. She rested her hands lightly on his shoulders, suddenly shy. Other than aerobics classes in the church basement that Promise had dragged her to, she hadn’t danced since high school.

As they moved across the lawn, however, his arms tightened and her hands crept up around his neck, the left one with its glaring white bandage held palm out. His muscled legs moved against hers, but the motions they made were liquid, graceful, and she wished whimsically for a waltz and a flowing dress.

The song changed, and he sang close to her ear. The grass dance floor was cool and damp beneath her feet, the star-filled sky a splendid ceiling, the flickering torches the most romantic of lights, the subtle scent of roses a seductive aroma. Almost against her will, Grace’s eyes drifted closed as his lips lowered to hers. The ambiance was lost on Grace as Dillon’s kiss took over her senses. All she felt were his hands splayed on her back, his body flush with hers. All she smelled was the pleasant mingling of charcoal smoke and Irish Spring soap that lingered on his shirt and his skin. She tasted only his mouth, flavored with wine and coffee, and she couldn’t get enough of it.

After the third kiss, when her insides were a roiling mass of sensation and emotion, she murmured, “Geezy Pete.”

He said, “You got that right,” and stroked a hand up her back. “What’s this? You didn’t wear a bra to the prom?”

She brought her injured hand into his line of vision and waggled it. “I couldn’t fasten it.”

His hand came around between them to cup one small, denim-covered breast. “What a shame.” He found her nipple and worked the bead of its tip between his fingers.

A low moan slipped uncaught from her throat. Clutching her composure like a lifeline before it disintegrated completely, she said, “The music’s stopped.”

“Do you really think so?” he whispered, and teased her lips with the tip of his tongue until they opened.

They had danced their way to where they stood among the trees. When she opened her eyes again, she caught sight of a torch to their left, anchored into the ground beside the single step that led inside the gazebo.

The gazebo.

“No decent man in his right mind’s going to want you, girl.”

“No, Papa,” she whispered, caught in the horror, and moved restively in Dillon’s embrace.

“Gracie?” His voice was soft, gentling.

“I need to go in.” The words sounded much more urgent than the situation demanded, but she couldn’t unsay them.

“Okay.” He answered immediately, and turned her toward the house, but didn’t release her. “I’ll take you back.”

Steven and Promise weren’t on the back porch. The candles had been snuffed, but the dishes remained on the table. “Leave them,” Dillon said, leading her firmly past the mess and into the house. “Steven and I will take care of it. You go on up.”

She nodded and moved toward the stairs, but turned when she stood on the second one. “Dillon?”

“Yeah?” He smiled at her, the expression not erasing the frown of concern between his eyes.

“Thank you. The ‘prom’ was wonderful.” Without waiting for a reply, she ran the rest of the way up the stairs.

Tink: And the final questions the pirates have been waiting all day to ask…. If you could choose anyone (real or fictional) to be the captain of your, er, ship…who would it be? 

Liz: Oliver Platt. Because, like Felix the Gourd, I like how he looks.

Tink: Which savvy piece of the Caribbean would you most like to take home – the Black Pearl, the Dead Man’s Chest, or the Fountain of Youth? 

Liz: The Black Pearl…and I’ll have Oliver, too.

Tink: Would you rather take your chances with a zombie, a mermaid, or Blackbeard?

Liz: LOL. My imagination isn’t good enough to get around this, so I’ll go with Blackbeard. Oliver will help me…

Tink: And most importantly – Captain Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, or Commodore Norrington?  

Liz: Captain Jack. Takes no imagination at all to answer that one!

Tink: It seems I have competition. :) Thank you for answering the crew’s nosy questions. From the Black Pearl, this is Tink and Captain Jack signing off….

Life is new and wonderful for writer Liz Flaherty these days. She retired from the post office in 2011, promptly gained 15 pounds—she swears it was overnight—and promised her grandchildren, The Magnificent Seven, that she would make each of them a bed-size quilt. She also planned to write all day, every day. What was she thinking?

She’s learned to write when she feels like it, sew when she feels like it, and maybe even to eat a little less. She’s gone back to school, where, yes, she is far and away the oldest kid in class. She’s learned to share the house and sometimes even the kitchen with Duane, her husband of, oh, lots of years. And she’s having a Very, Very Good Time. Her fifth book—she’s not really an overnight success; she just never gives up—is One More Summer a brand new release by Carina Press. She is thrilled to the point everyone she knows rolls their eyes as soon as she opens her mouth.

Visit Liz at her website and The WordWranglers where she hangs out with some of her best writer friends!

Cozies, you can find One More Summer this month at CarinaPress as well as Barnes & Noble and Amazon!
Liz has generously offered a giveaway for today’s Cozy Guest Friday. By commenting to today’s post and answering the following questions before midnight EST tomorrow, you will be entered to win a jar candle along with a book from her backlist:

What is your favorite scent and why? (If chosen as the winner, Liz will send your scent of choice!)

The winner will be chosen by the True Random Number Generator at and announced here at The Cozy Page on Sunday so please check back to see if you have won. (Chances of winning depend on the number of entries; you must be 18 years or older to enter.)


Kristina Knight said...

Great interview! Good luck with your book (and retirement) Liz!!

Molly Daniels said...

Loved this interview! I soooo want to read this, and also want to know if a fully-loaded e-reader is cheating on the 'one book only' question, lol!

My favorite scent is a three-way tie between Vanilla, Cucumber-melon, and Home Sweet Home. Vanilla, b/c it's a nice clean scent; C-M, b/c when I light it, it smells as if I'm standing in a melon patch; and HSH b/c it reminds me of my grandma's kitchen:)

D'Ann said...

That was a great interview, Liz!

Felix, the Gourd. Hahahaha!

Venica Weisend said...

My favorite scent is Lavender Vanilla, it is a combination of the 2 scents that is supposedly a turn on for men; but I just love it!!

Shawn said...

This is one of the most interesting interviews I've ever read! Good questions!

marybelle said...

My favorite scent is Rose. It reminds me of my Mother's garden.


Julie said...

I love lavender, because it's so relaxing. It's the scent of ,y favorite lotion! Thanks for the excerpt!

Cathy Shouse said...

I can totally relate to the challenge of making the characters sound different, Liz.

Great interview.

It's hard to choose a flavor but I like apple pie or cinnamon roll. Well, I guess I meant "scent."

What do you think one of my resolutions was? lol

Margie said...

Fun interview, Tink and Liz. Really enjoyed it.

Liz Flaherty said...

Thanks to everyone for coming by. I sooo appreciate it.