Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Curl Up & Dye by Sharon Sala (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Sourcebooks Landmark and Author Sharon Sala, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Curl Up & Dye!

Author Guest Post

A Day In My Writing Life

A day in MY life always begins with everything BUT writing. My almost 94 year old mother lives with me full time. She has dementia and no short term memory, which means there is nearly always chaos and drama, but such is life and she is my precious Little Mama. I blog about her daily on Facebook, and she’s become better known than me.

After getting her fed, settled in her room with newspapers and a blanket over her lap, I answer email, do my daily blog, and then see what I need to do for the noon meal before I sit down to write. Sometimes I have errands to run, and I do them when Little Mama is asleep because it’s not safe to leave her alone much.

When I finally do sit down to write, I ALWAYS begin by rereading the last chapter I wrote, editing as I go, and by the time I get to the starting point I know where the story needs to go next. It’s a process I’ve developed over the past twenty-three years that serves me well. I’m fortunate that the story is always in my head. I dream the stories, and so the pieces of the book I don’t specifically dream, the characters always fill in for themselves. I’ve always said I’m just taking dictation and letting the story tell itself. When it actually does this, it’s SUCH a gift. Writers always know what I mean when I say this, so it’s not as unusual as you might think.

I also have to make sure that Little Mama’s meds are taken at the proper times, and that there is always chocolate on hand or some home-baked goodies for her sweet tooth. I love to cook, and especially to bake, so that’s not a hardship and it’s a good break from writing. As much as I love to tell stories, the physical aspect of it can be tiring and even painful. Stiff joints, stiff neck, aching wrists. It’s a hard life sitting on your backside, but someone has to do it. LOL

If Little Mama naps in the afternoon, I write some more, unless she’s kept me up so much the night before that I have to take a nap at the same time to play catch up. I’ll pick my grandson up from school and take him home at least one day a week because his mother is a school teacher and has to stay late for a teacher’s meeting.

I write the most at night. Little Mama’s dementia gets worse at night and sometimes it takes a long time to get her settled down to sleep, so I’ve learned to ignore interruptions and pick right up where I left off writing when I’m up and down taking care of her. Some day this will no longer be necessary, and I consider it a blessing that I am able to care for her in my home and know that she is safe, happy, well cared for, and loved.

My life is full, my days are busy, and I have the best job in the world; writing stories for people who love to read.

About The Author

Beloved by her brethren of fans, Sharon Sala, who also writes under the name Dinah McCall, has 99 books in print, is published in four genres: romance, young adult, western, and women’s fiction, and has sold more than 1.5 million books. Her books have appeared on USA Today, New York Times, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists 47 times, and have been published in many different languages. Sala was the 2011 recipient of the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award.


Book Review

The Curl Up & Dye by Sharon Sala
Book 1: Curl Up & Dye Series
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Format: Paperback - 289 pages / Kindle - 1255 KB / Nook - 884 KB
ISBN: 1402283962
Genre: Women's Fiction / Southern Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: The Curl Up & Dye

Novella: Color Me Bad
Book 1: The Curl Up & Dye

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Sourcebooks Landmark and Author Sharon Sala.

Book Description:

In The Curl Up & Dye (February 2014) no piece of gossip can get past the sassy women who run the Curl Up & Dye salon. As patron LilyAnne Bronte declares she’s finally ready to move on 11 years after the death of her fiancé to the war in Iraq, the women of the salon take matters into their own hands. Sala explores the hopelessness within LilyAnne that’s all too relatable, and reveals with honest humor and cutting emotions the realities young American women must face when they lose a partner and try to move on. It’s Sala’s soulful writing that will make readers want to befriend LilyAnne and join the ladies of the Curl Up & Dye in in helping her find love again.

Book Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Blessings, Georgia


LilyAnn Bronte already knew how fast life could change. Her past was a road map to prove it. But on this particular Friday in the first week of November, she experienced one of those déjà vu moments as the Good Lord hit Rewind on the story that was her life.

She was sweeping the front sidewalk of Phillips’ Pharmacy, where she worked, when she heard the low, sexy rumble of a hot-rod engine. The skin crawled on the back of her neck as a shiny black pickup truck went rumbling down Main Street.

Before she could see the driver, sunlight hit the windshield, reflecting directly into her eyes. At the same time she went blind, she heard him rack the pipes on the muffler, just like Randy Joe used to do when he picked her up for their Saturday night date. But that was a long time ago, before he went away to war in Afghanistan and got himself killed.

She had no idea who was driving this truck, and when she looked again, it was turning the corner at the far end of the street and then it was out of sight.

For LilyAnn, seeing that truck and hearing the pipes rattle felt like a sign. Was it the universe telling her she was living in the past? Because if it was, she already knew that. Or was it Randy Joe sending her a message, and if it was, what was he trying to say?

As she resumed sweeping, a car drove up and parked in front of Dalton’s Fitness Center next door. It was Rachel Goodhope, who ran the local bed and breakfast in Blessings. She got out wearing her workout clothes and waved at Lily as she ran inside.

Lily eyed the woman’s big boobs and toned body and began sweeping in earnest. Rachel looked good for a woman in her late forties, and everyone knew she liked to stay fit. She was on her third husband, and there was talk he might be getting the boot before long. No one could actually put their finger on what the problem was with Rachel and her marriages. Some said it had to do with her choice of men, while others hinted that Rachel would be a hard woman to please. Still, she obviously saw the need to stay fit in case she was ever in the market for husband number four.

Lily was of the opinion that any woman with a backbone and the nerve to speak her mind should be difficult to please. Her great-great-grandma, Delia Bronte, had put a musket ball through a Yankee captain’s hat during the War of Northern Aggression because he had not taken it off his head when he forced his way into her house. Lily liked to think she had a little bit of that in her, as well. 

Just thinking about that Yankee intruder and her great-great-grandma’s gumption made her push the broom a little harder across the sidewalk. But seeing that truck had set her to thinking about the past, and before she knew it, she was knee-deep in memories long since gone.

My Book Review:

Readers, are you ready for Southern Fiction at its best? Well I have a sassy new novel for you! In The Curl Up & Dye, author Sharon Sala weaves a heartwarming romantic tale with enough sassy Southern charm and humor that is sure to make you smile.

Eleven years ago, LilyAnn Bronte was the Peachy-Keen Queen of Blessings, Georgia—the prettiest, smartest, and most popular girl in town, going steady with the star quarterback, a high school career on the fast track to success. Then Randy Joe was killed in Iraq, and somehow LilyAnn got stuck in the past and just let herself go to seed.

Ruby, Mabel Jean, Vera, and Vesta of the Curl Up and Dye have been itching to give LilyAnn a makeover, but she knows it would make more than a new hairstyle for her to get her life back.

Until one fateful day, when a handsome stranger roars into town, and LilyAnn has a revelation. But is this handsome stranger the one that will help LilyAnn forget the past and move forward, or could it be Mike Dalton, the boy next door who has carried a torch for her since the tenth grade?

I have been a fan of Southern Fiction for a while now, and author Sharon Sala's The Curl Up & Dye was just what I needed to keep me entertained during a recent snowstorm. The reader follows the emotional journey of LilyAnn Bronte as she finally lets go of living in the past, learns to move forward with her life, and unexpectedly discovers a second chance at love along the way.

Set in the small Southern town of Blessings, Georgia, the reader is treated to an eclectic set of townspeople who dole out Southern charm and hospitality with a dash of sass and sweet tea! This story has a great mixture of humor, drama, danger and romance that easily transports the reader smack dab in the middle of Blessings. You can't help but immerse yourself in LilyAnn's emotional journey, and with the help of quirky antics and small town meddling by the lovable townspeople, and humorous Southernisms like "bless your heart". The Curl Up & Dye is an enchanting and cozy romantic story that will pull at your heartstrings while keeping you thoroughly entertained.


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