Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Guest Blogger Karen Stivali

Welcome to my stop on the Holding on Tour! First, I have a guest post from the author, and then will be revealing my review for Holding On! Thanks for visiting, I hope you enjoy the post. Now, I'm turning it over to Karen Stivali!

British Heroes
I often get asked why I make some of my heroes British. Right now ,of the novels I’ve written, half my male main characters are Brits and the other half are American (that’s three of each for those keeping track).  One simple reason is that I’m a sucker for  a guy with a British accent.  I have been ever since I was a little girl. Living in England briefly while I was growing up did nothing to lessen the fascination. I like the way it sounds. I love the British sense of humor. My characters have a tendency to talk to me in my head for hours at a time so it makes sense I’d choose to hear at least half of them speaking with an accent I adore.
In regard to Daniel, the main character in Meant To Be, the sequel Holding On, and the star of two short stories (All I Need from the Foreign Affairs Anthology and White Wedding from the upcoming Wedding Anthology, both from Turquoise Morning Press) he had to be British. There was no doubt in my mind. I had the story for Meant To Be floating around in my head for nearly eight years before I sat down to finally write it. When  I did the character who’d been living in my brain all that time started speaking to me and I was initially surprised that he had a British accent. The more he talked and the more I listened to his story the more I realized that was the piece of the puzzle that had kept me from writing the story for so many years. I hadn’t listened to him yet. I hadn’t fully realized who he was until he started to speak.
There are things that men from different cultures and backgrounds can do that would seem inappropriate or downright awkward coming from American men. Daniel is, without question, decidedly British. His wit, his charm, his reserved nature, his particular quirks…there’s no mistaking him for an American guy. His British accent isn’t there just because it sounds cute or because it seemed like an interesting twist to the story, it’s there because it’s part of who he is. And, as a perk for me, it sounds lovely when I get to listen to it in my head.
Are you a sucker for a man with an accent? What’s your favorite?

When you have everything you’ve ever dreamed of, the hard part is Holding On.

British NYU professor Daniel Gardner thinks life can’t get better than the day his three-year-old stepdaughter, Ella, calls him Daddy for the first time. Then his wife Marienne tells him she’s pregnant. Daniel is thrilled, but worried about Marienne’s health. Not wanting to cause her stress, he turns to writing to calm his nerves. He pens a screenplay, thinking it’s nothing more than a mental health exercise, but when a colleague reads it and hands it to a producer, it turns into a production contract. Daniel accepts the offer and transfers to a teaching position at Dartmouth, hoping that small town living and a shorter commute will simplify his life.

As he attempts to juggle his new responsibilities, he gets an unexpected letter from Roger, the father he never knew. For the first time since they met, Daniel and Marienne are at odds; she wants him to give Roger a chance, but Daniel wants nothing to do with the man he thinks abandoned his mother. As Daniel and Marienne struggle, they must contend with interference from Daniel’s sexy ex-wife, who appears to want him back, and a handsome, all-too-helpful single dad who desires Marienne as more than a play-date pal. They must both confront deep-seated issues with trust and acceptance if they’re going to find a way to make their marriage work and hold on to the love they share.

Review rating: 4.5 LIGHTNING BOLTS

Review: What happens after the happily ever after?

We first meet Daniel and Marienne in Stivali's Meant to Be.  They story began there, and Holding On is the next installment. Now, you don't have to have read Meant To Be first, but I'm definitely glad that I did, because I love that there was a continuation in the saga that is these two characters.

So, the newness is still there in the relationship, but of course, as time went by, it wears off some.  Holding On is a very fitting name, because as their relationship comes to be tested, both Daniel and Marienne have a lot of soul searching and holding on to do. Trust will be tested and feelings will come to light. It's all part of an emotional roller coaster that we all refer to as life.  Stivali's characters are well created. Very rich with life, believable and readers can relate to them on many levels. I've got my eye on this author, as i can't wait to read more books from her. Holding On is beautiful, engaging and so full of life.

Author Bio:    

Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies and fictional British men. When she’s not writing, she can be found cooking extravagant meals and serving them to family and friends. Prior to deciding to write full time Karen worked as a hand drawn animator, a clinical therapist, and held various food-related jobs ranging from waitress to specialty cake maker. Planning elaborate parties and fundraisers takes up what’s left of her time and sanity.
Karen has always been fascinated by the way people relate to one another so she favors books and movies that feature richly detailed characters and their relationships. In her own writing she likes to explore the dynamics between characters and has a tendency to craft romantic love stories filled with sarcasm and sexy details. 
Karen has published three erotic romances with Ellora’s Cave: Marry Me (June 2012), Long-Distance Lovers (co-written with Karen Booth, March 2012) and Always You (Passionate Plume First Place Novella Winner, RWA 2012).
Karen’s women's fiction stories, published with Turquoise Morning Press, include Meant To Be (August 2012) and its sequel Holding On (November 2012). Both full length novels are currently available in e-book and paperback. A prequel to these novels, the short story All I Need, appears in the Foreign Affairs Anthology (August 2012). Another short story, White Wedding, which takes place between Meant To Be and Holding On, will be in an anthology due out in June 2013.
Also coming in 2013 Karen will have two contemporary romances releasing from Samhain Publishing.The first of these, THEN, AGAIN is due out on May 23, 2013. LEAVE THE LIGHTS ON will be out in November/December 2013. A new erotic romance novella will release from Ellora's Cave in Spring 2013 and JUST IN TIME, a follow-up to Meant To Be and Holding On that will focus on Justine, will release from Turquoise Morning in January 2014.

Connect with Karen!

   AllRomance Ebooks     Barnes & Noble


  1. I too am a sucker for a British accent ...or even an Ausie accent....YUM!

    Good review! I have this book on my wishlist.