Sunday, February 17, 2013

Grace Unexpected by Gale Martin: Interview and Excerpt: Heroines with Heart Tour Stop



What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?  That I was a funny person. That my characters could also be funny and that it came pretty easily to me. At one point, I didn’t think this was much of a gift because I thought all people could write funny characters and situations. As one of my accomplished writer friends told me, that is not the case. She says she couldn’t write funny if her life depended on it.

What was the scariest moment of your life? When I was 18, I moved to New York to go to acting school. I was living with my aunt and uncle in Bay Ridge, which is a Brooklyn neighborhood quite a distance from my theater trade school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I went to a Halloween party, taking the subway into the City in my Halloween costume—a kind of fetching bunny outfit and forgot to bring a change of clothes with me or a raincoat. That was a very long and scary subway ride home from that Manhattan party at 2 a.m. wearing nothing but bunny ears, a leotard, and a fluffy cotton tail. (This was *way* before "Rudy" Giuliani had kicked all the bums out of Manhattan.) I suppose I’m lucky I’m not a cadaver.

Have you attended a high school reunion? What did you learn? I only attended one high school reunion—my 20th. I wasn’t there ten minutes before I remembered why I chose to forget most of those people for two decades. Besides the fact that I hardly recognized anyone, I was rudely reminded that sometimes you can’t go back and make things better. Unlike red wine and George Clooney, some things don’t improve with time and age, not one iota.

If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be? I would tell my seventh-grade home economics teacher (what is called family and consumer science today) that I am sorry I acted up in your class and that I actually made broiled grapefruit just after I got married to try to impress my new husband.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Believe it or not, I wanted to be a tap-dancing missionary. Today I am neither, although I did win third prize for doing a tap dance in a junior high talent show where I taught English for my rendition of “Putting On The Ritz” by Taco.

What makes you happy? Honestly, really simple things make me the  happiest. My grumpy cat being less grumpy and nestling into my upper thighs whenever I’m on my laptop. A nice (full) glass of red wine while I’m cooking dinner. Cleverness of any kind. Buena vistas in nature—sunsets, clouds, streaky clouds at sunset. I really love singing the communion liturgy: “Lamb of god, you take away the sins of the world. Have mercy on us,” the one that begins in a minor key and then becomes augmented. Yeah, that one.

What is the next big thing?
I'm an ENFP, for you Myers-Briggs-aholics. I can't help myself. Typically, I have five plates spinning at one time. (And I'll let you in on a speshul sekrit: I need to focus on following through on my projects. Big time.)

My new high-power job and hefty commute haven't afforded much time for writing. At least that's what I tell myself.

Since I have (literally) at least a half dozen WIP's, I thought I'd tell you about just one of them.

I have 40,000 words written on WHO KILLED TOM JONES? It's a cozy mystery set in the fictional town of Hankey, PA, about the murder of the front runner in a Tom Jones Impersonation Festival.


Here is a 199-word pitch for WHO KILLED TOM JONES?
Like noisy, preening peacocks, Tom Jones impersonators are descending on Hankey, Pennsylvania, for the first annual Tom Jones Festival—the setting for my cozy mystery WHO KILLED TOM JONES?
Eleanor “Ellie” Tetzel is a twenty-something unlike other Hankey High grads. While her figure remains girlish compared to her filled-out friends, her taste in men is singularly mature. Ellie’s gaga over the onetime heartthrob Tom Jones—just like the female residents at the rest home where she’s an aide.
When Ellie learns about the impersonators’ festival, she takes her senior friends on a field trip to the semi-finals. There she meets a handsome contestant—Evan—who’s knocked out of the competition but solidly in the running to become Ellie’s blue-eyed soul mate until he’s accused of murder. Someone’s drilled three nails into the head of the leading Tom Jones sing-a-like, and Evan is caught standing over the body, holding the nail gun.
With Evan awaiting trial behind bars, it’s not unusual that a young detective and the murdered impersonator’s lawyer are bucking for Ellie’s affection instead of working the case. With the rest home folks aiding her, can kindhearted Ellie discover who really killed “Tom Jones” and prove Evan’s innocence?

Gale Martin is an award-winning writer of contemporary fiction who plied her childhood penchant for lying into a legitimate literary pursuit during midlife, writing her first novel at age eleven and finishing three decades later. 
Her new novel GRACE UNEXPECTED features a  professional woman with a heart of fool’s gold, who unexpectedly gets entangled in a love triangle. Her debut novel DON JUAN IN HANKEY, PA is a humorous backstage story about an opera company trying to stage Don Giovanni.
She has an MA in creative writing from Wilkes University and lives in Eastern Pennsylvania because she has to. 

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  


Links to my favorite reviews:




This contemporary romantic comedy features thirty-something Grace Savage, who has slogged through crummy jobs and dead-end relationships with men who would rather go bald than say "I do". In search of respite from her job, her mother, her humdrum life, she visits Shaker Village in New Hampshire. Instead of renewal, she's unnerved to learn that Shaker men and women lived and worked side by side in complete celibacy.

When her longtime boyfriend dumps her instead of proposing, Grace avows the sexless Shaker ways. Resolved to stick to her new plan - dubbed the Shaker Plan - despite ovaries ticking like time bombs, she returns to her life in Pennsylvania. Almost immediately, she's juggling two eligible bachelors: Addison, a young beat reporter; and True, a venerable anthropology professor. Both men have ample charms and soul mate potential to test her newfound Shaker-style self-control, and Grace appears to be on the fast track to a marriage proposal... until secrets revealed deliver a death rattle to the Shaker Plan.

Buy Book Links:


Novel Excerpt from Grace Unexpected 
Chapter 10: Hot Date

(After swearing off relationships following a bad break-up, Grace is being pursued by a charming man Addison Rinehart, who is 24 and eleven years younger than she is.)


My phone rang the second after I hung up with Lacy. It was a transfer call from the operator, probably another local outfit wanting Soap Rock to sponsor their band competition, their wrestling tournament, their quiz bowl, their snooze festival. I put the call on speakerphone. That way I could check my email during their sure-to-be-annoying pitch.
“Grace? It’s Addison.”
Addison? He had to be calling me for something work-related because I’d be the last person I’d call after I wriggled out of his full-on kiss. “When I saw the call come in on 7000-1, I expected it to be someone asking for money.”
“Okay. Can you give me a hundred bucks?”
He wanted to play. I like this kid. But I shouldn’t play with him, should I? Game on, Boxer Shorts. “Can’t you do better than that? Draw it out more. Sound pathetic.”
“Miss Savage, I’m raising money to buy GPS locator chips for college students who’ve lost face at local bars.”
Lost face? Clever, and yet refreshingly self-deprecating. “I gave at the Nutshell.”
“I appreciated that.” He remembered losing his composure last night. Would he remember nuzzling my neck, too?
“How about this one? I only have three months to live, and I need money to have my ashes compressed into a one-karat diamond after I die. I want to leave it to the only woman I’ve ever loved.”
I stifled a giggle with the palm of my hand. “High marks for creativity. Might not make your girlfriend very happy, wearing your ashes on her ring finger.”
“Don’t have one.”
“But that’s not possible.”
“That I have a girlfriend?”
“No, that you can turn human ashes into a diamond.”
“Au contraire, ma chèrie. It’s not only possible. It’s been done.”
He can speak French? First Lacy, then True, now Addison. Does everyone in the entire universe speak French, except for little old moi? “I’m not hearing anything that moves me to part with Soap Rock’s hard earned net tuition revenue.” But I’m impressed with your French, monsieur. “You have one more shot.”
“Are you this tough on Cub Scouts selling popcorn?”
I had him right where I wanted him. “One more chance, Addison.”
“How about this? I’ve only done nine of the ten things Globe magazine says you have to do before you die.”
“At the tender age of twenty-three, you’ve already done the other nine?”
“I’m twenty-four.”
Twenty-four sounded bucket loads older than twenty-three. Stop the game now, Grace. “What else do you need to do before you croak?”
“I haven’t seen for myself that the earth is round. Am I to believe a couple of Italian astronomers?”
I doodled smiley faces on my desk pad fish.
“See,” he explained, “I need to travel north of the Arctic Circle during the summer solstice and spend a night, ideally in a hot tub, watching the sun circle above the horizon. Want to join me?”
“I’ll sponsor a hot tub if I can use it now and then. Does the sun really circle above the horizon?”
“I have no idea. What do you want to do before you die?”
It may have been an earnest question, but I wasn’t giving him an honest answer. “I’m an official spokesperson. I can’t go spouting off about things that might put Soap Rock in a bad light.”
“Off the record?”
“You’re not off the clock.”
“I guess you’ll have to carry to your grave that you deprived a dying man his final wish.”
“I’ll hire a Sherpa to help me with the baggage.”
“You’re a quick one, Grace. I got sloppy on you last night. Je suis désolé.”
More French. This time delivered with a sorrowful sigh. ¡Ay, caramba! Here was the part where I was supposed to forget that an attractive guy—a guy, period—said I was beautiful and smelled liked coconuts, and that he loved coconuts last night because it was the beer talking, but was now spouting perfect French. “Sacrebleu!” I said, because I learned it from the French-Canadian cat on the Cartoon Network, or from my French-Canadian boyfriend, couldn’t remember which—the little French I could retrieve from my garbled gray matter at the moment, adding, “No problem, monsieur. Been there myself.”
“Want to grab something to eat?”
“Already had lunch.”
“I meant dinner. Tonight.”
Should I ask him if he knows my age? “Do you know how old I am?”
“You spit that out faster than a cherry pit.”
“I’d be a piss-poor reporter if I couldn’t find out someone’s age.”
“Do you remember much from last night?”
“I remember having a good time to a point, after which everything gets fuzzy. I guess I drank too much on an empty stomach. You took me home. And I want to make it up to you.”
“I don’t think—”
“Normally, I don’t ask pretty girls with brains and beautiful smiles on dates, but I’ll make an exception for you.”
Cute line, but it sounded too perfect. “Did you Google pick-up lines, too?”
“I’d go to prison before I’d reveal my sources. Dinner at seven?”
“You’re a reporter. I’m in public relations. We’re not supposed to do things like have dinner together. Didn’t you learn about conflicts of interest at Columbia?” Not to mention that I’m on the Shaker Plan, buddy.
“I’m not asking you to wear a vial of my blood around your neck. I’m only asking you to dinner.”
The red light on my phone began to blink. I had another call coming in. “Maybe another time.”
“Have you been to Mike’s? Best Mexican I’ve had in a long time.”
Mexican? “I love Mexican food. How did you hear—?”
“Great! Mike’s. Seven o’clock.”
Goody stepped into my office, which he rarely did when I was on the phone, flapped his hands in the air until he had my attention, and pointed over his shoulder, toward the outer office.
“See you then,” I said, but Addison had already hung up. I left the phone dangling off the edge of my desk and sprinted into the reception area, only to find President Tollefsen slumped on the couch. Today his stoop was on a fifteen-degree angle. Something was definitely wrong.
“Been busy?” Les asked, rising.
Had Les heard me making dinner plans on company time?


Heroines With Heart is a massive blog tour that runs throughout 2013, that features books with strong female protagonists. We have authors from several different genres, including young adult, mystery/thriller/suspense, romance, sci-fi/fantasy, and Christian fiction. We are also giving away fun digital prizes and sharing new and noteworthy books throughout the year. Want updates?


February contest!

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