Monday, March 25, 2013


A Happy Turn of Events
Guest Post by Ellyn Oaksmith
 Me after my Oprah makeover!
Life can turn on a dime. One event can propel your life in a different direction, vastly changing the outcome. Whether or not you believe in the chaos theory, we novelists and screenwriters make a living off this idea.
I had a random stroke of good luck that led to a sea change in my appearance and career. I was chosen, along with 9 other women, to interview Oprah Winfrey for the 10th Anniversary of O Magazine. I don’t suppose I’ll ever know what the criteria were; suffice it to say I was the only West Coaster. 
Harpo Studios, here I come!

I was flown to Chicago, my sister as my guest, and driven to Harpo Studios for a fitting. The stylist looked at what I’d brought, turned to the rack of clothing behind her and found me a whole new look. The only item she used of mine was a belt. The finishing touch was a lovely double strand necklace. I asked if she’d found it in a thrift shop. She laughed, telling me it was purchased in an antique store in New York. Later I learned that it cost nearly as much as my wedding ring. 

The next day, before meeting Oprah, we all donned our carefully steamed clothes and had our hair and make-up done. My reaction, upon seeing my made up face, was to shriek and run into the bathroom. The stylist, who’d seen me hotfoot it across the hallway in my 4 inch heels, chased me, begging me to stop rubbing my face. “It’ll look amazing on camera.” She was right.

The gorgeous flowers given to each of us by Oprah.

The rest of the day was a dream. Lionel Richie and Drew Bees, fresh from his Super bowl win were the guests. Afterwards, Oprah met us in a conference room before leading us to her office where we chatted for 3 hours. She was as charming, hilarious and incredibly eloquent as one would expect.

After the magazine article (Oprah Gets Interviewed by O Readers) came out, I changed a few things in my life. I self-published my book which led to Adventures with Max and Louise being published by Harper Collins. I ended what my children call “the overall phase.” I didn’t spend any more money. I simply paid more attention to what I was buying and wearing and tried to see what that hairdresser, make-up artist and stylist saw in me.

Because what those people do for a living isn’t to see flaws, the way we do with ourselves. They see possibilities. I wish every woman could have that experience. Because what it does is make you realize, when you look in the mirror, you need to use kinder eyes. And believe in your own beauty.

And if all else fails, stand up straight and wing it! 

Happy Spring!

Author Bio:

Ellyn Oaksmith is the author of Molly's story, aptly and endearingly titled Adventures with Max and Louise. A graduate of Smith College, Ellyn holds an MFA from the American Film Institute, where she won the Richard Levinson Fellowship for best second-year screenwriter. She's worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood, winning awards and optioning several screenplays. She has also written limericks for coffee cups, worked as a copywriter and PR writer, and even done a stint as a cook on a fishing boat off the Aleutian Islands.

Book Blurb:

Molly Gallagher does not like to be the center of attention. As the mysterious Diner X, her pseudonym for a restaurant review column, she thrives on blending in. But before you can say "medical malpractice," she wakes up from a routine procedure to find that her chart got switched with someone else's, and now her A cup runneth over.

Suddenly, unassuming Molly is turning heads wherever she goes. The man she's been pining for since high school is sitting up and taking notice, a very handsome stranger has captured her attention, and her lifelong dream of publishing a cookbook is about to come true. But Molly feels like an imposter. Will some advice from a very strange place help her figure out how to navigate her new, full-figured world?

Molly realizes her revamped shape might change her life. She just doesn't anticipate quite how much . . .

Buy Adventures with Max and Louise:


Connect with Ellyn Oaksmith:

Ellyn has generously offered to giveaway an e-book copy of her Chick Lit novel, Adventures with Max and Louise, to one lucky winner! You can enter up to 5 times using the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway will end at midnight on Sunday, March 31st, and a winner will be announced on Monday, April 1st.

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Friday, March 22, 2013


Ten Questions for Grace Mason

Single mom Grace Mason is the main character of Lauren Clark's new release Stardust Summer. Grace likes the quiet life, complete with her eight-year-old son, Evan, their tiny house, and her teaching job in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

When tragedy strikes one thousand miles away, Grace and Evan find themselves on an unexpected journey to Upstate New York. Not only must Grace handle her father's tragic passing, but she must face the woman she believes responsible for her own mother's death.

While Henry’s passing brings little closure for Grace, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to her new surroundings. What begins as a short trip results in a series of adventures for Grace, her son, Evan, Kathleen, and their handsome and charming next-door neighbor, Ryan Gordon, the town doctor.

Today, Stardust Summer author Lauren Clark talks with Grace Mason about childhood memories, her relationship with her father, Henry, and why it often takes the offering of forgiveness to find true happiness in life.

Lauren:  What did you want to be when you grew up?

Grace: I always thought I'd grow up to work at a university like my father, Henry. I loved the atmosphere and activity on a campus—all of the students rushing around—everyone had somewhere to go, someplace important to be. And everyone loved my father. It was like this big, extended family. I had Evan, though, before I graduated from college, so my plans changed. I work at an elementary school as a teacher's aide so that I can be close to my son every day.

Lauren:  Jock or princess in high school? If you liked sports, which did you play?

Grace:  I was definitely a jock. Growing up, I was always outside, one of the tomboys in the neighborhood, always throwing the ball around with my father or playing kickball with the boys down the street. My father liked weekend adventures—fishing, camping, bike riding, and swimming in the ocean. I grew up loving nature and the outdoors.

Lauren:  Which is worse? A hangover or a really bad sunburn?

Grace:  Since I'm an outdoorsy kind of girl, and I'm lucky enough to tan rather than burn, a hangover is definitely worse! I have Evan, and he's only eight years old, so I don't allow myself to indulge much. 

Lauren:  Favorite food?

Grace:  Growing up in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, summers tend to be brutally HOT! From April through October, I have fond memories of walking with my friends down to the corner store to get an ice cream cone. The weather was always so humid that we had to eat our cones really fast, or the scoops would melt all over our hands. I think this treat cost about 75 cents, and I can remember spending every penny I could scrape together on those cones! My favorite flavors are anything berry:  Strawberry, Raspberry, Blackberry. I love all of them!

Lauren:  Dream vacation?

Grace:  I've always dreamed about going to Europe, specifically England. My father once traced our family history back from when our ancestors came over from the UK to America in the 1700's. I'd love to take a month and go explore those countries, learn more about the people, their lifestyles, taste the food, explore tourist spots, art galleries and museums. I'm enamored with any British accent, love hearing about the Royals, want to visit Oxford, and am, of course, smitten with "Downton Abbey."

Lauren:  Best advice you've ever received?

Grace:  My father always told me to follow my dreams, which, when I was younger, involved getting my Ph.D. and spending my career teaching or advising on a large college campus. I did end up majoring in education, and loved the students at my school. Now that I've moved to New York, though, there may still be time for me to chase that dream after all.

Lauren:  Worst advice?

Grace:  My best friend in college telling me to "Go For It!" when I mentioned my infatuation with one of our professors. He was notorious for flirting, breaking hearts, and womanizing. Somehow, in my barely-out-of-adolescent existence, I thought that everything the man told me was somehow different than the dozens of other girls he'd romanced and released. The other issue? We'd all had a few drinks, my inhibitions were lowered, and he was alone at the end of the bar. My friends left me there, swaying and swooning, practically sitting in his lap. A few months later, he'd gotten me pregnant, moved on to another co-ed, then took a job teaching abroad. The experience was enough to make me swear off of most men for (almost) a lifetime!

Lauren: Talk about your relationship with your stepmother, Kathleen.

Grace:  Thankfully, we have a very good relationship now. It took a long time to get here, and most of that was my fault. I harbored much grief over the loss of my mother and blamed Kathleen for many years for her death. It took my own father passing away to bring me closer to Kathleen; it was Henry's way of bringing us together when he couldn't do it during his life. Kathleen's really amazing. She loves Evan unconditionally, treats me like her flesh-and-blood daughter, and sees the good in everyone. Kathleen also introduced me to Ryan Gordon, the love of my life. Now, how can anyone argue with a gift like that?

Lauren: For your wedding, share the something old, something new, something borrowed, & something blue.

Grace: I still pinch myself when I think about my wedding. My entire life changed after my father died, and meeting Ryan Gordon was the most unexpected thing to come out of such tragedy. He's sweet, kind, and wonderful to Evan. 

Old:  My father was an old-fashioned sort of guy, always handsome and dressed well. He carried a small gold pocket watch with him at all times, which amused the students and college staff to no end. I had the florist create my bouquet so that I could carry the watch with me when I walked down the aisle. 

New:  Since we've had so many mishaps and accidents over the last year, we all decided that it would be best if I forgo the high heels and wear something low and sensible for the ceremony and small, intimate reception we'll be holding outdoors at the college. I actually shopped for weeks before stumbling on the perfect little pair of white satin ballet slippers. They match my simple silk dress perfectly, with just the toes peeking out from the hem. I'm hoping to be able to dance long into the night, under the stars, until Ryan tells me it's time to leave for our honeymoon.

Borrowed:  Kathleen offered up a strand of fine pearls to wear during the ceremony. The necklace is delicate, with graduated pearls that take on a pink color in the outside light. They were a gift to her from my father, Henry, which makes the necklace all the more special.

Blue:  As a surprise, Ryan took Evan on an adventure to find me the perfect little pre-wedding present. My son decided that Corning Museum of Glass would have a gift unlike any other. He spent several Saturdays creating the delicate glass beads that make up the bracelet. The beads are in three shades of blue:  Baby Blue for the way that the sky looks over Keuka Lake in the mornings, Turquoise for the clear, bright color at midday, and Indigo for the Stardust Summer skies I love so much.

Lauren: Define true happiness.

Grace: About a year ago, that would have been really difficult. I thought that I was happy in Ocean Springs. I had my career, my son, and my house. I had a huge buffer from the real world and kept myself busy with teaching, Evan, and occasional walks near the ocean. I didn't realize how lonely and isolated I was until my father, Henry, passed away. It was like I felt that I had forever to get over our differences. I thought that I had plenty of time. And then, one day, he was gone before Evan and I could say goodbye.

I miss him so much now, but living in New York, on 'his' lake and in his special place, I feel his presence all around me. I've regained a sense of what's truly important—family, friends, and unconditional love. That's true happiness.

Author Bio:

Lauren Clark has been a voracious reader since the age of four and would rather be stranded at the library than on a desert island. In her former life, she worked as an anchor and producer for CBS affiliates in Upstate New York and Alabama. Lauren adores her family, yoga, her new Electra bike, and flavored coffee. She lives near the Florida Gulf Coast.  

Book Blurb:

Single mom Grace Mason doesn't believe in miracles, magic, or love at first sight. She likes the quiet life, complete with her eight-year-old son, their tiny house, and her teaching job. For Grace, happiness means that nothing much ever changes in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

Then, one thousand miles away, tragedy strikes. A massive heart attack leaves Grace's estranged father comatose in an Upstate New York hospital. While a team of doctors fight to keep Henry Mason alive, Grace and Evan rush to his bedside to say their final goodbyes.

Henry's passing brings little closure for Grace, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to her new surroundings. What begins as a short trip results in an entire summer spent with Henry's second wife, Kathleen, and her next-door neighbor, Ryan Gordon, the town doctor. When a series of unlikely events lead to Evan's disappearance, Grace must face her worst fears to find her son and bring him back home.

Stardust Summer explores the complexities of forgiveness, what it means to be a family, and the fabulous possibility of falling in love—again.

Purchase Stardust Summer:

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Monday, March 18, 2013


Everything's Coming Up Roses:
A Preview of Broadway's Bookish Shows This Spring
Guest Post by Ruby Preston

Each year as the weather starts to gets nicer and New York City begins to wake from its winter hibernation, it can only mean one thing – the Spring Broadway season is here! Ok, maybe the change in seasons doesn’t mean this for everyone, but at least for me, as both a theater lover and Broadway producer, I cannot wait for the spring to bring a flood of new musicals and plays to Broadway.

This Spring’s show line up has just as much promise as the flowers popping up amongst the New York City concrete, and good news for readers -- many of the shows coming to Broadway are based on famous novels. Here are just a few upcoming shows that might capture the imagination of readers by bringing the story from the page to the stage:

Matilda (opening April 11th at the Shubert Theatre)

I cannot wait for this musical to open up on Broadway! Transferring to New York from London’s West End (where I was lucky enough to see it!) Matilda is a musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book. About a magical girl whose love for books is a refuge from her unhappy family life, Matilda is guaranteed to enchant both the young and the young at heart!

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (opening March 20th at the Cort Theatre)

Audrey Hepburn made the movie an unforgettable classic, but people often forget that Breakfast at Tiffany’s was first a novella by Truman Capote. Isn’t it funny that a man who became famous for his true crime novels penned one of the most enduring romances of our time? I can’t wait to be swept up in Holly Golightly’s quirky New York romance!

The Testament of Mary (opening April 27th at the Walter Kerr Theatre)

Yes the play is the story of Mary during the crucifixion of Christ, but religion aside- this play promises to be an otherworldly delight for two reasons: first, it marks the Broadway world premiere of amazing Irish writer, Colm Tóibín's recent novella for the stage and second, it stars the brilliant Fiona Shaw, a four-time Olivier Award-winning actress who might be most famous for playing Harry Potter’s less than loving aunt Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter films.

Big Fish (opening October 6th at the Neil Simon Theatre)

A musical all about story telling? Yes please! A new musical from composer Andrew Lippa based on the book by Daniel Wallace, I can’t wait to see the tall tales woven in the novel brought to life on the stage.

Ever After (opening date & theatre TBA)

Based on the 1998 Drew Barrymore film based on the Cinderella fairy tale, this new musical will be the second Broadway show about the maiden who lost her glass slipper to open on The Great White Way this season. Normally I like as much variety on Broadway as possible since there are so many different playwright’s voices out there waiting to be heard, but in this case, when it comes to one of my favorite fairy tales, if the slipper fits … then on with the show!

Author Bio: 

Author Ruby Preston is an award-winning Broadway producer who has helped to bring many musicals to the stage. Her first novel “SHOWBIZ,” described as “The Devil Wears Prada” meets NBC’s Smash, received widespread praise and was featured in various theater publications. Now a promising talent in the literary as well as the theater world, Preston’s newest release is the second book in her Broadway Trilogy.

Book Blurb:

Aspiring Broadway producer Scarlett Savoy has almost everything she needs to make her first musical a huge success- millions in financial backing, a talented (not to mention handsome) young director, and a big-name Hollywood starlet as her female lead. But with none of the theater owners in town willing to back a novice, she’s missing one final piece of the puzzle: a Broadway theater. Just when Scarlett thinks her show might never see the footlights of day, an unexpected meeting with the young, eligible son in the Stewart theatrical empire changes Scarlett’s Broadway prospects forever.

STAGED, the second novel by Broadway producer Ruby Preston, continues the saga of Scarlett Savoy and the colorful cast of theater characters introduced in SHOWBIZ.

Buy Staged:


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Friday, March 15, 2013


Upcoming Release: The Selkie Sorceress (Seal Island Trilogy, Book Three)

Author: Sophie Moss

Genre: Irish Fairy Tale/Fantasy Romance

Release Date: April 25, 2013

Book Designers: Blue Harvest Creative

The Seal Island Trilogy has a brand new look!

Book Description:
American detective, Sam Holt, has a knack for finding people who shouldn't be found. When his last case almost killed an innocent woman, he swore off detective work forever. But when that same woman asks him for one last investigation--to find her husband's long lost mother--Sam cannot refuse. Sam hopes this case will prove to everyone on Seal Island, especially clairvoyant artist Glenna McClure, that he has changed. But what Sam doesn't realize is that the closer he gets to the truth, the more danger Glenna is in.
Glenna will do anything to stop Sam from finding this woman, even if it means teaming up with a powerful sorceress she knows she cannot trust. But when the petals of a mysterious night-blooming rose begin to turn black, Glenna realizes an even darker force is at work. To protect the island and the people she loves, Glenna will have to face a terrible curse that has haunted her all her life before the final petal fades to ash.

To celebrate The Selkie Sorceress being almost here, Sophie is offering a HUGE giveaway this weekend! In addition to reducing the prices of The Selkie Spell (FREE) and The Selkie Enchantress (99cents) from March 15-19th, she is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!

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Monday, March 11, 2013


It's a pleasure to welcome Women's Fiction author, Sara Palacios, to Books by Banister today. Sara has been a reviewer at the fab book blog Chick Lit Plus for a while and now she's stepping into the spotlight with her debut novel, Love in Translation. I love the blurb for this book (Hello, there's mention of a "sexy Spanish chef" in it!) and can't wait to dive into the story myself. Read on to learn more about this exciting new voice on the Women's Fic scene and don't miss out on the excerpt from Love in Translation at the bottom of the post.

1) Can you give us a brief overview of Love in Translation?

Love In Translation is a love story with a bit of a Spanish twist. At its core though it is about learning to love and trust yourself and being able to forgive.

2) What's your favorite quality about your heroine/hero?

I would have to say her growth. In the beginning of the book she is very childish and quick minded. She does a lot of growing throughout the novel.

3) What made you want to write Love in Translation?

I drew the idea for the book from my love of the Spanish language and my husband’s background (he grew up speaking primarily Spanish – although you wouldn’t know it.) I thought adding in that detail would add an interesting twist to a love story.

4) How long did it take you to write Love in Translation? What is your writing process like?

It took me a couple of months to finish the first draft, but maybe about a year if you add in the first round of edits. For me, writing a first draft is typically pretty quick. I find the editing portion to be grueling and the most difficult.

5) If Hollywood comes calling and asks you to sign over the movie rights for Love in Translation, who would you like to see play Emily, Steven, and the sexy Spanish chef on the big screen?

Oh goodness, I’ve been asked this question a number of times and have the hardest time coming up with someone for Andres. I must admit that I have quite a soft spot for Taylor Kitsch. He would just need to grow out his hair and learn to speak Spanish … let’s make it happen. As far as Emily goes, I’m thinking Jennifer Lawrence and as far as Steven goes, I am thinking Joshua Jackson. I would love to know what everyone else thinks though!

6) How do you think of titles?

I had the hardest time coming up with a title for this book until I finally settled on Love In Translation. So, I guess hardly ever! I wish I thought of them more often though!

7) Tell us about your cover art design. How did you come up with the concept? Did you execute it yourself or have a professional do it?

There is a pivotal scene in the book between Emily and Andres that takes place in a field of bluebonnets, so the cover fits pretty perfectly. It took a while to decide on a concept, but once I had that, it went pretty quickly. My husband and I actually designed the cover together. I did a lot of the leg work and he came in toward the end and really made it sparkle. He is amazing at that kind of stuff!

8) The fiction market is so competitive now. How did you find an audience for your work? What do you think are the most effective ways an author can promote herself?

You are right, it is very competitive! I think ultimately what sells books now a days is word of mouth. So, I try to get my books in the right hands. I figure that if I do my job and write a good book, then the readers will help me do the work. Easier said than done, right?

9) What are your thoughts on love scenes in books? Do you prefer to read/write sweet/romantic encounters between your hero and heroine or spicy ones?

I prefer sweet with a little bit of spice. I think I cut them off before they get too hot and heavy because that is what I prefer when I read a love scene.

10) What are you working on now?

A new book. I hope to be finished sooner rather than later.

11) Who are the authors who inspire you?

I’m a big fan of Emily Giffin, Jane Green and Sarah Jio.

12) What genres do you like to read? Do you stick to one or are you eclectic in your reading tastes?

I usually read fiction but am not partial to any genre in particular. I tend to read a lot of women’s fiction and chick-lit because I work for Chick Lit Plus and that is typically what we receive to read/review, but I do enjoy a good historical fiction or a good mystery novel. 

13) What was the last book you read that really WOWed you?

I finally got around to reading Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio and loved it. Oh, and I also read On The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves and thought it was very entertaining. 

14) If you could be plopped down in the middle of any book, which one would it be?

Lord of the Rings

15) If you could invite any five people (living or dead) over for a dinner party, who would they be and why?

Jennifer Aniston because I’ve loved her since Friends and she is gorgeous and seems so fun.

Meryl Streep because she is awesome!!

Emily Giffin because I am such a fan of her books and would love to hear her thoughts on writing.

Oprah because she is, quite frankly, Oprah.

And, Taylor Kitsch because he is HOT and we might need some time to start practicing Spanish!

Fast and Flirty 

Favorite scent?  Sandalwood
Favorite color?  Pink
Favorite food?  Pizza
Favorite word?  Crap!
Favorite article of clothing?  Pajamas
Dream vacation spot? 
New Zealand
Favorite time period in history?  Golden Age of Ancient Greece
Favorite girl's night out drink?  Chocolate Martini
Favorite date night activity?  Movies or mini-golf
Favorite song?  Carried Away by George Strait
Celebrity hottie on your laminated list?  Long-haired Taylor Kitsch
Novel hero crush?  Jack from Pillars of the Earth

Author Bio:

Sara Palacios is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a major in Advertising and a minor in English Literature. It was during her time in college that she really fell in love with the written word and ventured into writing her own stories. In addition to writing, Sara spends a majority of her time reading the works of other authors.  She reads most genres  – but thoroughly enjoys chick-lit, women’s and historical fiction.

When she isn’t busy reading or writing, Sara enjoys spending time with family and friends. She is happily married, the owner of two precious doggies and a new mom to a handsome baby boy. Sara is also an avid animal-lover, runner, yoga enthusiast, wannabe vegan, USA soccer fan, foodie and fashion blog-lover and Christian.

Excerpt (Lost in Translation):

We finish lunch and I make my way back to my apartment. I notice that most of the boxes that were stacked up in the hallway earlier are now gone, and there are only a few remaining. There is still no sight of my new neighbor.

I maneuver through the remaining boxes and then fumble around in the bottom of my purse for my keys.

I feel a soft tap on my shoulder and jump. 

I turn around and my heart begins to race. A gorgeous man stood in front of me. His eyes are deep brown, his hair is long and a silky shade of chocolate and his skin is glistening and tan.

My mouth goes dry. I stand there speechless, and staring upward because he is a few inches taller than me. The view from down here is actually very, very nice.

Hola,” he says in a deep Spanish accent. Then he smiles; his lips curving slightly up toward the right side of his mouth.

He is getting more gorgeous by the second.

I stare a little longer while I muster up the courage to say something. “Hi!” I say sweetly. I try to remain calm, “My name is Emily. Are you my new neighbor?” I ask, feeling like a complete idiot for stating the obvious.  

Neighbor, sí,” he says as he nods enthusiastically and smiles nervously. He points at himself, “Andres,” he pauses, waiting for a reaction, “Andres Antonio Guadalupe Ramos,” he says with pride. I watched his mouth closely as he said this – rolling his tongue around the Rs in his first and last name – and felt the hair on my arms stand up. 

I point at myself and tell him that my name is Emily, even though I am pretty sure that he got that the first time.

Andres stood there smiling. I can tell that he is nervous, which is good because I am nervous too. I look at him curiously, “Do you speak English?” I ask nice and slow. I’m not trying to offend him, but judging by his introduction and the pointing to his chest, I assume that he isn’t fluent.

He pauses for a second, and then pinches the air with his right index finger and thumb. “Un poco,” he says, indicating that he only knows a little.

This is going to be difficult since I only know a little bit of Spanish. It’s been years since I’ve said anything en español that wasn’t off a menu.  I make a mental note to go to the bookstore as soon as humanly possible to get some books to brush up on my conversation skills.

I took Spanish in high school, which meant I pretty much only learned nouns. I can tell you that a “cat” is a “gato,” and that a “mountain” is a “montaña,” but that is about it. Unfortunately.

I decided in college that I wanted to study French in case I ever wound up in Paris. Well, I haven’t ever been to France, let alone Europe, so that was obviously a mistake. I should have taken Spanish just like everyone told me to, but no, I didn’t listen. If I had only known then that 10 years later I would be holed up in my hallway with my gorgeous neighbor who only spoke Spanish, then I might have changed my mind. It was another case of, “if I had only known then what I know now.”

I shyly glance up at Andres, hoping that he will say something more, but he doesn’t. He just stands there smiling. I am dying to know more about him, and although I am usually the shy one, I can’t imagine how he feels. I know that I am going to have to be the one to initiate the conversation.

I think back to my junior and senior years of high school. I try a little harder to remember specifics from Spanish class. At first, I draw a blank, then suddenly, out of nowhere, several key introductory phrases pop into my head.

¿De dónde eres?” I ask, excited to remember how to ask where he is from.

His smile grows wider, “You speak-a Spanish?” he asks in choppy English.

I smile sweetly and tell him that I, too, only speak “un poco.”

He laughs and says something I definitely don’t understand. He then follows with, “Soy de España, de Madrid.”

My earlier guess was right. He isn’t from around here, but boy am I excited to have him as my new neighbor.

He looks at me eagerly.

Another question pops in my head.

¿Dónde trabajas?” I ask, curious to see if my question about his current work situation would lead me to any more information.

His smile widens, and now I have a full view of his perfect white teeth. “En un restaurante, soy un cocinero,” he says proudly.

This conversation is getting difficult. I can’t think of what a “cocinero” is for the life of me, and he knows it too. He looks around anxiously. “Un momento, por favor,” he says as he rushes inside his apartment. There are several large clanks and then within a matter of seconds, he is back in the hall, a cooking pan in hand. He holds it out for me, and then points at himself once again. “Cocinero,” he says eagerly again, and this time I nod, now fully understanding what he has just said. He is a chef, and he works in a restaurant. 

I rummage for something more to say, for another question or two, but my mind is blank. We are both eager to converse with one another, but since I can’t remember any more Spanish, we fumble through a few more questions and that’s all. It is a little awkward standing in the hallway in silence, but, luckily his phone rings and he excuses himself.

I am upset that I couldn’t remember more things to ask.

Hopefully, we’ll have better luck in the future.

Book blurb:  Still reeling from an unexpected breakup, Emily nurses her broken heart by spending time with her best friends and taking one-too-many vodka shots. After one long night, she takes a hard look inside herself and doesn’t like what she sees. She realizes that she has sacrificed too much in her failed relationships from the past and vows to never settle for anything less than almost-perfect again. As she picks up the pieces and regains her confidence, a sexy Spanish chef moves in across the hall and knocks her off her feet. What ensues is an unexpected and tantalizing affair that opens her eyes - and her heart - to a whole new world and leaves her feeling sexier than she has ever felt. Emily finally sees how easy love is supposed to be. Is happily-ever-after actually possible? Just when she starts to think so, she realizes that sometimes life gets more complicated before it gets easier. And complicated is an understatement when Steven (her best and oldest friend in the world) confesses his love for her. Everything spirals out of control as Emily must make a choice between love and friendship, and in doing so, possibly risk it all.

Love In Translation is a modern day love story about following your heart to unexpected places and taking chances in life … because sometimes you will find exactly what you are looking for.

Buy Lost in Translation:

Connect with Sara Palacios: