Cover Reveal! The Merry-Go-Round - #Romance @DonnaFaz

The Merry-Go-Round
by Donna Fasano
Genre: Contemporary Romance

When Lauren divorces her husband, she has one thought on her mind...stepping off the merry-go-round. However, her life quickly turns into a three-ring circus: her hypochondriac father moves in, her ex is using her shower when she’s not home, and her perky assistant is pushing her out into the fearsome dating world. She also has to decide if the dilapidated barn and vintage merry-go-round she was awarded in the divorce settlement is a blessing or a bane. As if Lauren’s personal life isn't chaotic enough, this slightly jaded attorney is overrun with a cast of quirky characters who can’t stay on the right side of the law. What’s a woman to do? She can allow life to spin her in circles forever. Or she can reach out and grab the brass ring.

What are you working on now? 

I’m currently writing two projects at once. I've never done this before, and I can’t decide if I love it or hate it. I’m writing a Christmas Novella entitled Almost Perfect Christmas, the story of man who enlists the help of a woman in giving his daughter a perfect Christmas. Unbeknownst to him, his little girl has every intention of playing an angelic matchmaker. The other project is the first book of a 3-book series called Following His Heart, the story of a man who is eerily drawn to a woman, and after they fall in love, they discover what brought them together, and it just might tear them apart. Yes, the description is vague, but that’s just the way it has to be for now. I’m chuckling as I type this. Both books are contemporary romance novels and are due out this fall.

What are you reading now or what do you have in your TBR pile? 

I just finished Learning to Swim by Sara Henry. I’m currently reading Love Me Tender by Mimi Barbour. On my TBR pile you’ll find A Reluctant Hero by Jackie Weger, Creatus by Carmen DeSousa, The Neighbor by Dean Koontz, Three Junes by Julia Glass, One Way or Another by Elaine Raco Chase…should I go on?

What flavor is your writing style?

I always tell people I write cotton candy for the mind. Think back to when you were a kid and you took a bite of that delectable confection. What did you do? You smiled. That’s what I’m going for in my romance novels.

Was writing always the first thing you wanted to do in life?

No, I wanted to be a teacher, but then I met and fell in love with my husband. We married and began raising a family. It wasn't until my children started school that I started writing.

While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters? 

I believe there’s a lot of me in my protagonists. I write about women who are strong, yet vulnerable. My main characters and my secondary characters have flaws and make mistakes (don’t we all?), but then most of them do all they can to learn, grow and become better people.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

One piece of advice I often give to writers is to READ. Don’t just read in the genre in which you write. Read everything. And then figure out what you liked and what you didn't…and then think about why. Reading and analyzing the writing of talented people can help you perfect your own skills.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 

I bow down to readers! I am so appreciative that they spend their hard-earned money on my books and then take the time to read my stories. I am so blessed to have a job I love, and I wouldn't have this job if there weren't readers who love romance novels.

What inspired you to write your first book? 

I came to writing through my love of reading. I spent many a Saturday as a kid in the local library. I loved books, but I never imagined I would ever write one. My husband gets the credit for my becoming a writer. When my children started school and I decided to find a part-time job, he looked around at the piles of romance novels in our home and said, “You've read a lot of those. Why don’t you try writing one?” So, you see. It’s all his fault.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? 

Not my latest book, but one of my titles—Where’s Stanley?—features an ending that I didn't come up with. I handed in the completed manuscript, and my editor suggested a different ending. I wasn't happy, but I did as she asked. Personally, I think the book suffered for it, but readers seem to enjoy it.

What books have most influenced your life most? 

Old Yeller, Sounder, The Bell Jar, To Kill a Mockingbird…how can people read these books and not be influenced? There are so many titles that inspired me and moved me, molded and shaped me, there isn't time to name them all. The characters in these wonderful books help young readers to decide what kind of individual they want to be.

Do you ever experience writer's block? 

There was a time when I’d have said no. I have a plant-your-butt-in-the-chair-and-the-words-will-come attitude. But I did suffer writer’s block while my dad was battling cancer. It’s difficult to write feel-good happily-ever-after when your beloved father is dying.

Do you write an outline before every book you write?

I do, yes. I equate an outline with a road made; how do you know where you’re going if you don’t have a map? I might write the first chapter or two on the fly, but I always take the time to plan out where I want the story to go. Now that’s not to say that the characters are going to stay on the straight and narrow. They decide to veer off the highway every now and then, and that’s when I have to do a quick reroute.

Have you ever disliked something you wrote? 

I've never published anything that I disliked. I have started projects that haven’t seen the light of day, either because I couldn't figure out where to take the story, or I couldn't make the protagonist sympathetic or likable. It’s a rare occurrence, and when it happens, I just set the story aside and hope I can someday come up with a solution.

USA Today Bestselling Author Donna Fasano has written over 30 romance and women's fiction books that have sold 4 million copies worldwide. Look for Ehefrau auf Zeit (German Edition) due out September 16th, published by Amazon Crossing, and the first novel of the brand new 3-book Ocean City Boardwalk Series called Following His Heart, due to be released at the end of October.

10 Great Quotes on Enjoying Life

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching” ~Gerard Way

“Do anything, but let it produce joy.” ~Walt Whitman

“Enjoy life. There's plenty of time to be dead.” ~Hans Christian Andersen

“Do what makes you happy, be with who makes you smile, laugh as much as you breathe, and love as long as you live.” ~Rachel Ann Nunes

“Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.” ~Michael Jordan

“Happiness is like a kiss. You must share it to enjoy it.” ~Bernard Meltzer

“You can’t have a better tomorrow if you are always thinking about yesterday.” ~Author Unknown

“Life is like a roller-coaster. It has ups and downs. But it is your choice to scream or enjoy the ride.” ~Author Unknown

“We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.” ~Bill Watterson

“No man is a failure who is enjoying life.” ~William Feather

Avocado Crazy! #Recipes by @DonnaFaz

Who doesn't love avocados? Did you know that the avocado is a fruit and not a vegetable? It's also known as an alligator pear. Avocados have a distinctive yet subtle flavor and a smooth, almost creamy texture. Here are some of my favorite ways to serve them.

Excellent Guacamole

3 large ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced
¼ cup red onion, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 to 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, to taste

Mix ingredients together and serve immediately.

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Asparagus and Avocado Salad

2 pounds fresh asparagus, ends trimmed
2 medium avocados, peeled, pitted, diced
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
1 teaspoon fresh mint, minced

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil; add asparagus and cook until color just turns bright green, about 2 minutes. Rinse quickly under cold water, drain, and set aside. Combine avocados and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Add asparagus and lemon zest; toss gently. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegars, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir in parsley, cilantro, and mint. Pour dressing over avocado mixture; toss gently and serve.

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Lemon Pepper Avocado Spread

2 avocados, peeled, seeded and mashed
1 teaspoon lemon pepper (or more, to your taste)

Stir the lemon pepper into the avocado until well combined. Spread on flat bread or flour tortillas, or use as a dip for fresh vegetables. This spread makes a great topper for baked potatoes.