Two hug-worthy words

Image

I’m Chuffed. Lisa Day Gives Love in the Vines 4 Stars

Image

Image

E-BOOK REVIEW BY LISA DAY
LOVE IN THE VINES by Magdalena VandenBerg
Magdalena’s story begins with Carla. Carla suffers from what many woman have experienced the what I called the ‘I need to break out of this rut.’ She does a good job making you understand the needs and emotions at play here. I know because years ago I had those same emotional feelings.
‘Love in the vines’ will carry you along the journey. For some readers her openness might be a tad to real. But isn’t that want a good writer should do. To make you understand and still be a little uneasy.
You can see how Matt’s history has brought him to the point where as the grapes ripened on the vine his attention to Carla blossomed.
You might not make the same choices as Carla and Matt, but you’ll see not only how it can happen but why.
If you are a wine drinker Magdalena throws in an interesting array of wine growing and making facts. So whether you drink Pinot Noir, Syah, or wine from a box. Hold your glass up for ‘Love in the Vines.’

For more on Lisa Day, and to read her views, click here

Thank you Lisa!

Food, wine, love and betrayal. Like wine, love begins in the vines. Betrayal begins in the heart of a marriage. Love in the Vines is a contemporary romance novel set in the intoxicating world of wine and food.
LOVE IN THE VINES is Out Now and available to buy US$2.99 on Amazon Kindle. If you don’t have a Kindle device – download Kindle to your PC, Mac or mobile. It’s easy – I did it!

Book Review. The Reunion by David Burnett.

THE REUNION
By David Burnett
Genre: Romance

The Reunion is a complicated love story between Michael and Allison who after years of marriage still love and adore each other. But unresolved issues from their past threaten to destroy their life together.
This Reunion poses the question, is true love enough to conquer personal insecurities, desires, and good and bad choices made?
Once a vivacious, outgoing, popular, and talented artist and runner, Michael chose to follow in his father’s footsteps becoming a successful, yet rather staid and dull Estate Lawyer. Now he works for clients he doesn’t necessarily like, jogs around the neighborhood, and can’t remember the last time he’s picked up his sketchpad.
Married for twenty-seven years to Allison, he has become everything she wants him to be. A partner in well established aw firm. Respected in the community, a good husband and provider to their strong-willed daughter Alicia. Much to Allison’s relief Michael’s art ambition dwindled to nothing.
Alicia thinks her Mom, is so tightly bound by her own rules and insistence at keeping them, she has bestowed her the nickname, St Allison. Control is an issue for Allison, and her teaching vocation demonstrates her need to keep everything under her reign.
Allison’s life operates according to the rules she has written for her and her family. Add to this, her need to conform to what she thinks society expects from her, and her strong Catholic faith. Pursuing passions, or living life to its full potential, are to Allison, just frivolous notions.
A letter arrives inviting them to attend Michael’s high school reunion. Allison is all in favor of going. Michael is reluctant to reconnect with people he hasn’t seen for twenty or so years. Allison’s powers of persuasion work, and they go.
The theme for the reunion is “Turn Back the Clock,” and as Michael’s old school pals, in particular Linda, recount the stories, a picture of a younger Michael emerges. He was fun, mischievous, popular, and a talented artist. A far cry from the self-described dull lawyer he has become.
A few days after the reunion Allison leaves to take her students on their annual week long Literary Tour. On the morning of her departure, Michael drops Allison off at school. While waving the bus off, he bumps into an old college friend, Stephanie. A keen runner, she is still in great shape, vivacious, and now an ambitious lawyer who has not forgotten the man who had years ago broken her heart.
Incidentally, Stephanie is married to Bill, a teacher at Allison’s school.
Inspired by the confidence of his old school friends, Michael decides to “pick up his sketch pad” again and rediscover his artistic talent. Stephanie, once his running arch rival convinces him to lace up his running shoes again.
Allison is aghast as to the changes her husband is making. After all what will the partners at the law firm think?
An opportunity arises for Michael to apply to attend Art School for one month in New York. Much to the horror of Allison, he applies and is accepted. As Michael rekindles his love of art and running, Allison shuns any real interest in supporting her husband.
Deep seeded insecurities drive Allison to the point of hurting those she loves the most. Her own frailties and lack of trust become her own worst enemies.
With her husband busy with his work, the gym or in his art studio. Allison immerses herself in work, and decides to attend a work conference. Held an eight-hour drive away from home, another teacher accompanies her for this life changing road trip.
I enjoyed The Reunion, in particular Michael’s character. He had the courage to rediscover his passion, and to live life. On the other hand, his wife was to a point his “wet blanket” letting her insecurities, high morals, and need to remain in control, almost threaten to destroy everything she holds so dear.
Allison had it all, but never seemed to be happy.
I found Bill and Stephanie to be totally deserving of each other. Bill is only motivated by self-interest, and his actions, in particular his anger outburst are totally reprehensible.
Set in the South, The Reunion reflects the intricacies’ and personality of the region.
The Reunion is more than a complicated love story. Readers will enjoy the journey into the artistic world, and the discovery of some of England’s most magnificent historic landmarks.

 

Love in the Vines Characters. Introducing our Leading Lady, Carla.

Name: Carla
Occupation: Administration Assistant
Status: Married with two children
Likes: Chardonnay, desserts, gym workouts, and spin cycle classes. Clothes are a constant work in progress.
Dislikes: Early morning alarms, Saturday morning children sports, Brussels Sprouts and Oysters

Favorite Quote: “Time stands still for no one.”

It was only a matter of time before his smouldering gaze would snap me out of the resignation that I was never going to be a domestic goddess.

Now feeling like a full-time appliance, it was plug me in and I’ll do it, with one day repeating into the next. I never felt on top of that ever-present laundry pile. It was always crying out to be washed, folded and put away.

Married to my childhood sweetheart, I’ve been busy as a stay at home Mom, raising our two boisterous and totally loveable children.

Truthfully? I’m bored witless by domestic routine, and I’m desperately wanting to return to work.

I couldn’t believe it when serendipity knocked and the door to a job at a local prestigious winery opened.

Very soon life as I once knew drained like an empty wine glass. Only to be refilled by the irresistible lure of the man with the green eyes.

Love in the Vines is a contemporary romance e-book set in the intoxicating world of wine and food.
Food, wine, love and betrayal. Like wine, love begins in the vines. Betrayal begins in the heart of a marriage.
LOVE IN THE VINES. Out Now for US$2.99 on Amazon Kindle.

“…I enjoyed the way the story unfolded against the romantic backdrop of a winery with realistically drawn characters. Definitely a story of the easy drinking variety, perhaps a merlot! A great read for summer…” Amazon Review from a reader in New Zealand.

If you already have your copy of LOVE IN THE VINES, thanks! Honest reviews are always welcome.

LOVE IN THE VINES. Getting to know our winemaker, Matt.

This week I’m going to introduce the main characters from my new book LOVE IN THE VINES. A contemporary romance e-book set in the intoxicating world of wine and food. Yum!
Just in case you’ve missed my earlier blogs, here’s a little teaser about Matt, our handsome, yet moody winemaker.
Leaving behind the city lights, casual late night flings, and the shattered remains of his marriage all Matt yearned for was a peaceful life spent among the fruit laden vines sipping his own award winning wines.

With the ink now dry on his divorce papers, the last thing Matt wanted was to fall in love again…
Reaching over to touch the grapes, Matt said with a shy yet knowing smile. ‘Sugar, sunlight, alchemy; I like to think of it as chemistry and magic conspiring together and, with a lot of love, nurturing and attention, it is all that these little ones need.

LOVE IN THE VINES is Out Now on Amazon Kindle. Only $2.99. If you don’t have a Kindle Device. Don’t worry. Simply download Kindle to your PC or Mac. Click here for more info.

A Sneak Peek. Get to Know Magdalena VandenBerg. Author of Love in the Vines

tulips (1)Mum and Dad left Holland back in ’58 for a more promising life in a little far-flung country known as the ‘land of the long white cloud.’ Dad was the youngest of 13 brothers and sisters, so I can only imagine the huge puddle of tears left on the dock as family waved the ship goodbye from the safe haven of the Port of Rotterdam.
My Dad didn’t have any trouble finding his sea legs. After all, his Dad had spent his life as a fisherman, trawling the freezing cold waters of the North Sea on a boat not built with any home comforts in mind. But, Mum was, and still is a dedicated land lover. Spending days staring out at nothing but the endless blue of the ocean waters, was not the romantic life she had once dreamed of.
Thankfully the demands of a young baby, my older sister, mercifully distracted Mum from the boredom and the perils of being at sea.
Docking in New Zealand with only a couple of suitcases and a few hundred dollars tucked away in a tanned leather travel wallet, a new life for the young family beckoned. Despite desperately missing loved ones, good coffee and salt liquorice, Mum and Dad slowly came to grips with the Queen’s English and the Kiwi way of doing things.
Eventually, they chose to settle in Hawke’s Bay, a small province then known as the fruit-bowl of New Zealand. Within a few years, three little ones, including me, joined my big sister, Jacoba, around the dinner table.
As the youngest child apparently I was an oxymoron. A precious mistake. Regardless, we were all showered with a bewildering mix of Dutch-Kiwi love.
Growing up in an immigrant family and hearing all the stories of “back home” it was impossible to escape the overwhelming curiosity about the world that lay beyond our sheep lined shores.
Back then, New Zealand had a tiny population of 3 million, and a staggering woolen sheep community topping 60+ million. By the time I left high school (college), I had seen enough green grass to last me a lifetime. I craved more.
Fast-forward a few years.
Leaving behind a career in small town advertising and marketing, I packed my bags for the dazzling bright lights of Australia’s va-va-voom city, Sydney.
After a few months of doing a bit of this and that, I landed a fabulous job in an ad agency. Just as our department was about to get an upgrade from using clunky old fashioned word processors to computers, a friend suggested I try for a Flight Attendant position with Qantas.
Raymond from the movie Rain Man, had a few years earlier shared with the cinema paying public, that Qantas was the world’s safest airline. With that proclamation there was nothing for me to worry about.
Lo and behold I got in. After weeks of training, and learning a thousand and one different hairstyles to survive long haul flights I was ready to walk the aisles.
Qantas flew me to places I could only ever dream of visiting. Getting a contract to live and fly out of Italy for a couple of years, was in a word, bliss.
Eventually, the lure of serving chicken or beef at 30,000 feet lost its pluck. Even the glamor of occasionally being able to work in First Class wasn’t enough to keep me in my kangaroo covered uniform.
Thankfully my marketing brain still worked and through tenacity, and I guess being in the right place at the right time, I scored amazing jobs in entertainment marketing.
Specializing in live shows I got to work for the most incredible inspiring, hard-nosed, determined and creative people. The pinnacle was working for UK based entertainment entrepreneur, Harvey Goldsmith and for the creative genius of Cirque du Soleil.
From Sydney, Milano, Roma, USA & Las Vegas, London, Amsterdam….I’m now home reconnecting with my family in little old’ Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. This is where my life begun. And, this is where the rest of my life as a writer is just beginning.

 Like a great wine, love begins in the vines.
Betrayal begins in the heart of a marriage.

Magdalena VandenBerg
Author of new Contemporary Romance E-Book Love in the Vines
Out Now to buy on Amazon Kindle
Don’t have a Kindle Device – Simple. Download Kindle to your PC or Mac here

The Ecstasy and Agony of Giving Birth to an E-Book.

Black Knights Flaming Heart

Oh my god, the ecstasy and agony of writing my first proper, grown up e-book LOVE IN THE VINES was, and, still is, exhilarating and fantastically excruciating.

If I was wearing a mood ring the colors would change dramatically from the bright optimism of a hi-5 yellow to a sombre dark purple of, uh-oh what the hell was I thinking. In those doubtful moments an old blog post of mine, Back Yourself, became a force field. After all, I reasoned, if I don’t back myself, who will?

Love in the Vines lived for a significant amount of time inside my head, it was like having an imaginary TV switched on 24/7. I could hear the on-going dialogue and my mind’s eye could picture the different scenario’s. The internal conversations going on inside the privacy of my own head space left me feeling a little bewildered, loco even.

The only thing was, unlike real-life, I couldn’t find the remote to hit the off switch. Love in the Vines came everywhere with me. While out running, doing my Spin Cycle classes, shopping, eating, shampooing my hair and, I’m sure it even crept into my dream sleep. My new BHSF (best head space friend) was with me all time.

I’m guessing there’s loads of you who completely whole-heartedly 100% understand. When you’re doing something you love and feel passionate about, you can’t help but feel deeply connected. Like it’s in your DNA. It’s what you do. This thing that you’re doing makes you feel like you’re actually living your purpose.

Transferring the words from my head onto virtual paper was exhilarating. A torrent of words flowed to form sentences, pages and chapters. I’d read somewhere that when writing your first draft, don’t think too much, just do. Loads of writing. That’s exactly what I did.

The same article told me that your first draft would be awful. Chock full of grammar errors, and nonsensical sentences. I can only imagine for an English Teacher, my first draft was   red pen nirvana, with markings, crosses and slashes galore. It wasn’t pretty, I was definitely typing faster than I could think. But, I could see the potential.

What it needed was time, love, nurturing and a truck load of attention. Hours, days and weeks were spent writing, re-working, adding, deleting, changing, agonizing over words, weak spots, sex scenes, you name it. Slowly but surely, I felt more confident in the story I was creating. Until one day, my Mother wisely said, “Magdalena dear, it’s time to let it go.” Code for…publish it, get it on Amazon. Stat.

But, wait a minute Mum, if I do that other people will read my book (really!). Gosh, that means they’re going to love, like or god forbid loathe it.  Oh no, on top of everything else, now I’m going to have to learn the art of wearing a thick skin….


LOVE IN THE VINES – 
my first contemporary romance e-book is available now for you to buy, read, love, like or…. from Amazon Kindle.

If you already have a copy and, have read it or have it bookmarked to read. Please feel free to post an honest review on Amazon. Thank you.

Love in the Vines. Sneak Peek on GoodReads.

It’s been one heck of a week. All things considered I’m happy despite having a stonking nasty head cold.
As many of you know, when you work for yourself it takes a tremendous amount of self-will and effort to say “ok it’s time I crawled into bed and let sleep work its healing magic.”
The only thing is, sleep wasn’t top of my agenda.
With my new e-book LOVE IN THE VINES sitting pretty on the Amazon Kindle virtual bookshelf, the last thing on my mind was sleeping during the day. I’m a newbie indie author (yes, I am!) I need to pound the virtual pavement to find readers who will love, like or loathe my story. Hopefully they will share the love by talking to others about LOVE IN THE VINES.
Anyway, without going into too much detail after going through two Kleenex boxes of tissues I called in quits and slept. Funny thing is….life went on and no one but me, and now you, knew I was M.I.A for a couple of days.
Ah well.
After loads of sleep and my Mum’s famous chicken soup for the stuffed nose, I’m feeling much better and am back on the keyboard.
In case you missed out on my recent FREE giveaway weekend for LOVE IN THE VINES I’ve posted a few chapters on GoodReads. Click here for your sneak peek at Chapters 1 to 3.
I’ve only just discovered GoodReads – I know and it’s 2012….
Food, wine, love and betrayal. Like wine, love begins in the vines. Betrayal begins in the heart of a marriage. LOVE IN THE VINES is a contemporary romance novel set in the intoxicating world of wine and food.

Surviving. E-Book File Conversion.

This is not a how-to-covert-your-E-Book files. I’m blogging about that later….

I’m now cross-eyed from editing my new contemporary romance e-book, Love in the Vines. After three, no, make that four edits, my Mom and sister begged me to stop and let my words go and move on…..
Having followed the Amazon Kindle formatting guide to the letter, I fooled myself into believing I had side-stepped the much written about code nasties and, that the file conversion from a word.docx document to html and e-pub would be a cinch.
Determined to go it alone so I could understand the “process,” my goal, was to do and master every single step myself.
So now, not only am I cross-eyed, my forehead is a little dented from hitting my head against the proverbial brick wall. And, I’m minus a few hairs from suffering through frustrating bouts of tearing my hair out moments.
Through error and trial, yes that is intentional, I learned about margin size, justifying paragraphs, indenting, page breaks, creating a table of contents; heading and chapters, bookmarking and creating hyperlinks for every chapter.
The usual soothing sound of my much loved clock began to grate as each minute ticked then tocked into another.
One pesky chapter wouldn’t behave. The hyperlink wouldn’t work.
I’d already taken out the fancy squiggles, as any graphic has to be devoid of surrounding text, but still no luck.
Finally after staring at the screen for a moment too long. I had my ah-ha moment. Calling Chapter 8 Chilled Rosé was the problem.
See that final e? The accented one? As the é is an inserted symbol, I figured Kindle must read it as a graphic code. Knowing graphics and text don’t sing in Kindle Harmony I changed the chapter to Dusk.
My hyperlink problem was solved.
Thank goodness for Google as I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I couldn’t download Mobi-pocket (file conversion software). Not too worry, said Google, Mobi-Pocket doesn’t work on a Mac. Download Calibre, watch the tutorial and hey-presto before you know it, you’ll have your e-pub file. Just how Kindle likes it.
That is the short version.
Needless to say, I have achieved my goal. I now understand the “process.” Well, at least I think I do.
I’m now seriously considering writing a step by step, how-to-do-it, e-book. Nothing fancy, nothing technical, no devious code to decipher just a “I’m not a tech-head, please break this e-book conversion and marketing stuff into yummy bite size pieces for me.”
A few hours ago I would have paid top dollar for a copy!
As the adage goes, ‘we live and we learn.’ All I can say is, yes we do.
Love in the Vines is now in the safe virtual hands of Amazon Kindle. After my successful upload, a nice note told me to sit back, relax and wait 12 to 48 hours before Love in the Vines will be available for sale in the Kindle Store.
Then, it’s time for me to turn the page and begin the next chapter. Marketing.
Would I have it any other way. Heck no.

Release date for Love in the Vines week commencing October 1, 2012.

From the moment I rushed passed her on the stairs, I knew it was only going to be a matter of time before we connected. This time though, the wedding ring was on the other hand. Not mine, but hers, and Carla was her name.
Taking the plunge from the glamorous world of advertising to the intoxicating world of wine, Matt’s dream of becoming a gifted winemaker had come true. Leaving behind the city lights, casual late night flings and, the shattered remains of his marriage all Matt yearned for was a peaceful life spent among the fruit laden vines and sipping his own award winning wines.
With the ink now dry on his divorce papers, the last thing Matt wanted was to fall in love again…
Reaching over to touch the grapes, Matt said with a shy yet knowing smile. ‘Sugar, sunlight, alchemy; I like to think of it as chemistry and magic conspiring together and, with a lot of love, nurturing and attention, it is all that these little ones need.
While hurriedly dressing I thought about that damn quote, “time stands still for no one.”  Well, it definitely did not stand still for me, a woman, having an affair. Time was against me as I raced back home. Checking for any messages before I left. I was dismayed to see a missed call and a text from my husband. He was letting me know his lunch was over and he’d be home within the hour.

 

 

Love in the Vines. Draft Blurb.

With my e-book cover ready to go and, the final Love in the Vines edit complete, today I wrote a draft blurb.
A synopsis as you will, a teaser for the reader to enjoy (or not) before deciding to take the plunge and buy….
If you have a moment, please read and if you’d like, leave a comment with what you think.

Taking the plunge from the glamorous world of advertising to the intoxicating world of wine, Matt’s dream of becoming a gifted winemaker had come true. Leaving behind the city lights, casual late night flings and, the shattered remains of his marriage all Matt yearned for was a peaceful life spent among the fruit laden vines and sipping his own award winning wines.
With the ink now dry on his divorce papers, the last thing Matt wanted was to fall in love again…
From the moment I rushed passed her on the stairs, I knew it was only going to be a matter of time before we connected. This time though, the wedding ring was on the other hand. Not mine, but hers, and Carla was her name.
Reaching over to touch the grapes, Matt said with a shy yet knowing smile. ‘Sugar, sunlight, alchemy; I like to think of it as chemistry and magic conspiring together and, with a lot of love, nurturing and attention, it is all that these little ones need.
While hurriedly dressing I thought about that damn quote, “time stands still for no one.”  Well, it definitely did not stand still for me, a woman, having an affair. Time was against me as I raced back home. Checking for any messages before I left. I was dismayed to see a missed call and a text from my husband. He was letting me know his lunch was over and he’d be home within the hour.